Twenty eight years ago I competed in my first Targa Tasmania, a 6 day tarmac rally that’s regarded as one of the best of it’s kind in the world. Racing through the normally tranquil countryside of Tasmania on some of the most amazing roads has now become a ritual to me.
So why do I keep going back … simple, I love the competition, I love sharing that competition with people close to me, and I love catching up with like-minded car enthusiasts, some of whom have become very close friends.
One of those people is Tasmanian Mac Russell OAM, who’s competed in 27 Targa Tasmania’s. Initially Mac and his mate Neville Smith raced in an HR Holden, but since 2000, he and his wife Marg have been crowd favourites in their 1976 Morgan Plus 8.
I used to think they were a little crazy battling Tasmania’s weather in an open car, as very rarely is there not at least a couple of cold wet days, but now I admire them for their love of the competition and as I eventually found out, Mac’s long standing love of the Morgan car.
Mac has an amazing collection of these British sports cars in his garage at Devonport, and his love for and knowledge of the marque is immense. But he has one that really fascinates me, a 2012 Morgan 3 wheeler.
It’s a variant of H.F.S. Morgan’s first car he designed and built in 1911 – a two seater, 3 Wheeler powered by a 7 hp Peugeot twin cylinder engine. Morgan built these cars (or are they actually motorbikes!!) until 1939 and he also produced the F Series four seater 3 Wheeler from 1932 to 1952, at which time the factory decided to cease production of all 3 Wheelers.
That was until 2011 when they re-released the 3 Wheeler, powered by an S&S 1983cc ohv V-Twin motor, matched to a Mazda 5 speed transmission, and according to Mac, he’s never had so much fun driving a car than he does in his 3 Wheeler. Incidentally the Morgan 3 Wheeler won Top Gears “2011 Not-A-Car of the Year” award, and I agree, I reckon they’re a motorbike!
If your wondering what the Morgan 3 Wheeler is really like, Jay Leno has a 1932 version in his collection and you can watch this link to see him put it through it’s paces.