1931 Morgan Aero Super Sports / A Popular Collector Car

Featured in this article is a 1931 Morgan Three-Wheeler known as the Morgan Aero Super Sports.

1931 morgan three wheeler
1931 Morgan Three Wheeler

The Morgan Motor Company made a name for themselves on an icon, the Morgan Three-Wheeler. Harry Morgan, the company founder and a very skilled engineer, developed one of the most successful lightweight cars of the early days of automobiles.

What became known as the “Cyclecar” was the fitting of a powerful motorcycle engine and a simple transmission into a light-weight chassis and body. It’s true that there were more than one manufacturer of Cyclecars however the Morgan Motor Company was the most successful. The Morgan Runabout was the first Morgan Cyclecar and it was a popular vehicle. Harry Morgan is often referred to as the man who first introduced motoring for the masses, similar in some ways to Henry Ford’s reputation in America.

morgan three wheeler
Another front view of the 31 Morgan Super Sports

Morgan Cyclecars were built at the original Morgan factory in Malvern Link.  The Morgan Cyclecar stood out with it’s reputation as being the best engineered and most reliable vehicle in it’s class. The car was so successful and well built that it didn’t take long for competitors to try to replicate it.

The Morgan Cyclecar transmission had two speeds but no reverse. To get the vehicle to go backwards required one or both of two things. The help of gravity and possibly a push by the driver. Engines were usually J.A.P. V-twins.

morgan aero 1931
The beetle back design of the 31 Morgan Aero Super Sports

J.A.P. Engines

Two engines stand out from the many produced by J.A.P. because of their contribution to motoring in general and motorcycling in particular. The first is the V-Twin which was manufactured in various sizes and power beginning in 1905. The V-twin was used in their own motorcycles from 1906.

The main advantages of the J.A.P. V-twin were their excellent power to weight ratio and reliability. This made them ideal for the Cyclecar.

Early Cyclecar Automobile Competition

Within only a few weeks of its launch at the Olympia motorcycle show in London in November 1910, the Morgan Motor Company entered the Runabout in the MCC London to Exeter Trial. This competition led to a Gold Medal. This was the first of many such victories in several areas of motor sport such as reliability trials, plus racing and record-breaking particularly at the Brooklands Autodrome.

The Runabout’s superior power-to-weight ratio enabled  Morgan’s three-wheeled cyclecar to outperform many larger engined four wheeler.

In a very short period of time before the outbreak of World War One,  Morgan’ s Runabout had won ten British and World Records for various classes of Cyclecars. In addition to this, Morgan won 24 Gold Medals in major reliability trials and had achieved many victories in racing competition.

See our AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below…

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An excellent book to explore the Morgan Three Wheelers in greater detain is…Morgan Road Test Book: Morgan 3-wheeler Gold Portfolio 1910-1952 by author R.M. Clarke.

morgan aero super sports three wheeler
Morgan Aero Super Sports

 The Morgan Super Sports

The Super Sports was in fact the successor to the Aero model.

In 1927 the Super Sports Aero (or Super Aero ) was introduced. It was derived from racing cars and  intended for competition. Contrary to the “sweeping tail” Aero models, the Super Sports Aero came with a beetle back rear end. It was fitted with a JAP engine. The dimensions had changed , as it was 2 1/2inch lower and 6 inch wider than an Aero.

In 1931 a new model was added to the range: the Sports Family. Like the Super Sports, this used the “M-type chassis” and it came  with a 1096cc JAP engine. It was a 4-seater model for the families who wanted to be carried in relatively cheap but in a sporting fashion.

31 morgan super sports
Interior and dashboard on the 31 Morgan Super Sports

Built from 1927-1939.

In 1927 Morgan the  Aero with a tuned engine and modified bodywork, it was called a “Super Sports Aero” or “Super Sports” or “Aero Super Sports” . Around 1932 a  three  speed model was introduced. In 1933-35 engines changed from J.A.P. to Matchless MX, MX2 and MX4 and body style from Beetleback to Barrelback.

Morgan came out with their first four wheel car in 1936. This was the Morgan 4-4 Series 1 with a four cylinder engine.

Morgan Super Sports Collector Cars

The most popular Morgan Three-Wheeler Super Sports are the early ones with the “beetle back” tail. The Morgan Three-Wheeler’s are generally thought to be the best of the class.

Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnlone)

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