This is a Meccano model of a typical 1930s three-wheel Sports Car. The car shown above is a Morgan Super Sports built between 1927-1939. These cars often had a twin cylinder motor cycle engine mounted at the front in later years many three wheelers had conventional car engines.
They were also know as "Cyclo" cars and were a popular form of cheap motoring in the nineteen twenties and thirties and in the early "Post War" years. Because they had only three wheels they were technically classified as a three wheel motor cycle and carried a much lower road tax. These vehicles could also be driven by the holder of a motor cycle licence without the need to pass a car driving test. One early requirement of this rule was the vehicles could not have a reverse gear.
Although not based on any particular car the model has many similarities to the Morgan one of the best and most popular types of three wheelers. Other makes of vehicles such as the Reliant had a single wheel at the front and two at the rear. The tricycle Delivery Van is another type of three-wheel vehicle I have built.
My Meccano model is an "enhanced" version of model 4.14 of the 1954 Number 4 manual. It started out when I purchased three pre war red and cream road wheels at the Reading Toy Fair in the Autumn of 2008. When I saw them I thought the wheels would be just perfect for this model, the guy apologized for only having three but I only want three I explained!
At the time the model plans were published the parts would have been red and green but I decided it would look attractive all in blue. The blue parts are from several eras of Meccano production, 1930s cross hatched semi circular plates, early 1970s blue plastic plates, 1978 dark blue strips and recent zinc plated parts. The basic body structure of the model is very similar the instructions as you can see from the 1954 manual illustration below. The model depicted probably represents one of the later Morgan cars with a conventional engine.
I rather liked the idea of motor cycle engine so I built my version with a replica engine this made from brass parts consisting off two worm gears, two small flanged wheels for the cylinders, a coupling, a short socket coupling and at the rear a chimney adaptor for the crank case. Long screws are the exhausts outlets and on one side is connected to the exhaust pipe consisting of a crank handle , flexible coupling , brass coupling and short rod.
I was inspired to build my Three-wheeler by other versions of the model made by Tony Press and Brian Willis.
Original instructions are shown above click here to see all the manuals for this period.
Image of Morgan courtesy of The morgan Three-wheeler.
Published January 29 2009 Revised December 14 2020