Friday, October 5, 2012

10k: 1980 Morgan 3-Wheel Tribute Replicycle

Before the Morgan Motor Company built cars that termites love, they had a reputation for building cyclecars, or three wheeled motorcycle powered death traps that could seat 2 to 4 people.  The reckless and wealthy can still buy Morgan 3 Wheelers new in the UK for about £25,000 GBP or $40,000 USD.  The reckless cheapskates can pickup a replica version for much less, such as this 1980 Morgan 3 Wheeler replicycle being offered from those crazy guys at MotoExotica (we love their regular ebay offerings and would probably spend a lot of time at their retail store if we lived closer) via ebay for $11,900 buy-it-now.

A handful of companies have built kit-car versions of Morgan 3 Wheeler including BRA (Beribo Replica Automobiles), Ace Cycle Car,  Triking-Cyclecars, but unfortunately it isn't clear who the original manufacturer of this body is.  We hope that some reader will be able to determine it from a repository of arcane knowledge combined with a Rainman-like ability to determine the make of any 3 wheeled kit cars.  We are regularly accused of being idiot savants without the we'll leave this identification to an expert.

The MotoExotica ad does say that it is powered by a Honda 500 Shadow motorbike engine, which should be a 500 cc V-twin overhead valve engine putting out 48 horsepower.  It doesn't seem like a lot of power, but the 80 horsepower version sold new in the UK today scoots from 0 to 60mph in 4.5 seconds, so we'd expect this slower version to do it in 5 to 6 seconds, which will be enough to keep you entertained.  It is fitted with a 4 speed manual transmission of unknown origins which powers the single rear wheel.  And yes - it can do a donut.

Inside the 3 wheeler is room for two, but it is technically licensed and registered as a motorcycle - so we assume that most states would require the driver to both have a motorcycle license and wear a helmet.  We aren't sure if this would be rigorously enforced as police in our native California at least, tend to turn a blind eye to all sorts of modified hot-rods and such unless you start driving like you are one of the hosts from Top Gear.  Or a driving a modified import Japanese (JDM YO!) car - those the good old boys in blue don't like.

We think this right hand drive 3 wheeled anomaly would certainly put a smile on your face every time you cruised around the neighborhood and technically it would be legal (but not prudent) to split lanes in California.  Overall we think this trike is priced reasonably considering its rarity, performance and cool factor.

See another trike for sale?  email us here:


  1. ~ i saw this earlier this afternoon on eBay and thought it a curious beast. you have hit on a couple of questions i'm hoping Scott or someone at MotoeXotica will provide the answers to. whomever needs me to make the 5 mile journey to conduct a PPI need only ask. any excuse to visit their facility.

  2. It would be an amusing, but 'leisurely' ride. They most likely chose the 500 Honda for its ease of swap and because it was less expensive than a Guzzi to get the right layout. allowing it to mimic the Morgan's look without having to modify the transmission. That Honda wasn't a particularly 'bright' performer to start with, so figure its performance is going to be about like the stock bike with a BIG passenger on back.

  3. The motor on this pictures is not form a Shadow 500. The Shadow has cooling-fins on the cylinder and the cylinderhead. The block that is used for this car is maybe from a CX 500.

    1. While you're correct about the Shadow 500 having cooling fins, it was also a conventional V-twin, whereas the engine in the picture is from a Honda CX 500 which is a completely different beast and has no cooling fins.

  4. The looks like a 1981 era Honda CX500 Shadow engine

  5. Yes - and the instrumentation is straight off a CX500 as well. Good dependable engine, though it likes to to live in the 4000-5000 rpm range. Not terribly smooth. The GL 650 might add a bit more boost, and in the same transverse twin configuration.


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