Car Restoration Projects
A Three-wheeler for the Ducatisti
Ducati aficionado Allan Hawkins wanted to bolt on a third wheel for many years, but a sidecar on a ‘Duke’ race bike would be ridiculous, let alone sacrilegious!
Because Allan’s two Ducatis are racing-derivative bikes neither has a pillion perch and therefore exclude Trish, his partner-in-crime, from participating in bike trips.
Together they trawled the Internet for several years searching for the most legitimate three-wheel solution they could think of: a three-wheel Morgan. A Morgan offered the best of both worlds, having a motorcycle engine and seating for two adults, in sports car ilk.
The clincher was the fact that owning one of these very smart little vehicles had been a dream of Allan’s for a very long time.
Finally, around Christmas 2013, three Morgan three-wheelers popped up on the Internet: one was a race vehicle in Queensland that was quite expensive; the second was in outer Western Sydney, and a third was overseas.
So Allan’s digit hit the keys on his mobile phone and after some discussions, the one in Sydney appeared to be a good choice. However, there were 17 interested parties, including one in England and one in the USA.
The owner wanted some time to talk with the suitors and to weigh up his options, after offers had been received. And there was Xmas to deal with as well.
So, it was February 2014 before Allan was able to consummate a deal. With a trailer he’d borrowed from a fellow car-club member, Allan headed west to collect the prize.
The Morgan they acquired is a 1934 model MX4, fitted standard with a 998cc Matchless water-cooled motorcycle engine (a JAP engine was an option). It’s stirred along by a three-speed forward and one reverse gearbox, and is chain-driven to a single rear wheel.
The seller was then-81-year-old Englishman, Todd Hamilton, who had brought the car with him when he came to Australia in 1982. Todd Hamilton was a motorcycle and racing car enthusiast and a long-term member of the Morgan Car Club. He had many great bikes, an open-wheel racing car and other vehicles at his property in Sydney. In spite of his age Todd had a couple restoration projects on the go when Allan rocked up.
Todd had purchased it from its resting place in an English country farm garden in 1975 and had taken on an intense restoration program, to bring it back to its former glory. To his horror, he discovered that the farmer had at one time needed a section of flat steel, so he had tin-snipped a large chunk out of the car’s tailpiece, in order to satisfy his requirements.
The restoration of this beautiful red Morgan is nothing short of excellent.
“I am absolutely stoked at having fulfilled my dream of owning this great little car and I reckon it is the finest example of a 1934 model Morgan MX4 available,” said Allan Hawkins.
When driving it, Allan is as busy as a one-armed paper hanger, because the accelerator is a lever on the steering wheel and the non-synchromesh gearbox lever is on the left side.
Shifting gears is a real juggling act – in particular making a downshift, as you have to steer and control engine rpm with your right hand and move the gearstick with your left hand, making the obligatory engine rpm throttle blip all at the same time.
Some owners successfully race these machines!