Three Wheels In The Park

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Today was Free Travel For Seniors Day on the buses so I took the opportunity to go to Fremantle to see the send-off for the Brockman Port-to-Whiteman Run. It is an excuse for old-car guys and gals to drive around and then sit in folding chairs trying to outdo each other. They are under public scrutiny all the time and pretend that they don’t love it…but I know…

Note: free travel for seniors is every day but during the week it is restricted to the middle of the day. On the weekend they figure the buses and trains are empty enough to withstand the onslaught of the over-60’s. At the price of petrol and parking I am certainly prepared to be patronised by the state government.

Back to the park. There were vehicles of all sorts – many I have seen before at Hyde Park or Whiteman Park but some that are new o me – and that is what makes a car show worth going to whenever to opportunity arises.

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One of today’s treats was seeing a Morgan three-weeler in action. Regular car enthusiasts know that modern Morgans are organically grown out of enchanted wood under the dark of the moon by the British equivalent of Nibelungen and have been know to spontaneously disintegrate if exposed to daylight. Apparently this was not always so. Once upon a time Morgan made three wheel vehicles and some still exist. I cannot say if the design for three wheels was adopted because of a wheel shortage in Great Britain and this was a way of producing four sports cars where only three would have formerly been possible, but I would not be surprised.

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The design is perfectly conventional otherwise, what with the engine and its open valve rockers being placed out in front of what may be a front axle, or not, and then what looks like a radiator cowl, but don’t quote me on that, behind that. Followed in short order by a cockpit with seats for the round-shouldered and eventually a tail shroud for a wheel.

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Wait a minute. That makes four wheels. They did have four wheels all the time…

I think the person who thought up the engine configuration was also responsible for designing the exhaust pipes and mufflers and tail pipe. I can think of no other explanation – there could not have been two of them in the same factory.

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The cockpit of this car seems also to have an extra lever attached to the steering wheel with what may be a motorcycle control and a screwdriver handle. I think they have something to do with the engine. There is a gear stick that may have something to do with the transmission. I believe I also see a brake.

Well, appearance aside, the thing works. You can see from the photographs that the owner drove it from the ground and presumably has reached Whiteman park and the folding chairs. You have to admire his sense of style and pluck driving this on the open road – let us hope he does not have to drive the Mitchell Freeway at rush hour or Leach Highway during Truck Time. It is the sort of thing Terry-Thomas would have loved.

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