Nostalgia – 1938 Morgan 3-Wheeler F Super

By Rob Harvey
By Rob Harvey

Marketing Manager - Bridge Classic Cars

This is the story of John Piper and his 1938 Morgan F Super, told in John’s own words.

“My first car was a 1938 Morgan 3-wheeler, an F-Super with an inboard Ford Ten engine, reg GPG 539.

I bought her for £15 in 1964 when I was 16. She had been run into a Keep Left island in Bloomsbury, so she was a bit sad. The owner had bought her because she looked so ‘cute’ but had not considered the performance of a Ford Ten engine in a car that weighed almost nothing, nor the difficulty of manoeuvring in Central London with direct steering.

Anyway, his loss was my gain. Then I returned on the Sunday with my sister and my mum in her Austin Metropolitan, to tow my purchase home from Woburn Square. Sunday was a good day to choose because there was only minimal traffic. I had not been able to test drive, so it was a surprise to discover there were very little brakes and no handbrake! However, to the amusement of American tourists, we set out. The lack of handbrake was alleviated by the fact that she was so low to the ground, I could put my hand flat on the ground to hold her at traffic lights!

Her first port of call was Albion Mews in SE25 (long since gone) and the workshop of Major L T N (Larry) Barlow who was going to straighten out the front chassis bars and fix the radiator. In his opinion, when he had finished, they were probably straighter than when she had been pushed out through the famous hole in the hedge in Malvern Links. Larry had served his apprenticeship with the Riley company building Riley 9s.

Although I was sixteen, I was legally allowed to drive a three-wheeler since I had a full motorbike licence and she counted as a motorbike and sidecar. So I had the exciting opportunity of driving her home, having never driven a car before! I taught myself to drive in her, with a fully crash gearbox, mostly by trial and error.

On attaining seventeen years, I bought a 1949 2200 cc Triumph Roadster, so the Moggie had to go. I sold her to a colleague at art school so I was able to follow her fortunes for a while. A few years ago, during an attack of nostalgia, I contacted the Morgan Three-Wheeler Club. What a marvellous and helpful organisation! It turned out that my Morgan was still in use (save a temporary engine issue). She had travelled to the Nurburgring and to Brooklands and been raced at both venues.”

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