Morgan Super 3 factory hire - Devon+Cornwall 3 days fun :D

Morgan Super 3 factory hire - Devon+Cornwall 3 days fun :D



Original Poster:

2,485 posts

158 months

Friday 8th September 2023
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In 2019 I had a wonderful drive in the Morgan 3-Wheeler (see for my report on that weekend), so ever since Morgan introduced the all new Super 3 on February 24th, 2022, I kept an eager eye out on the Morgan Motor Company and Morgan Experience Facebook pages for the inevitable announcement that it would be included in their hire fleet.
On November 2nd, 2022 the announcement was there, so I immediately went on the Morgan Experience website to book the Super 3 for a Friday till Monday weekend hire. Still having the same weird work roster as I did in 2019, I opted for the weekend of Friday 1st of September till Monday 4th of September because I had 6 days off then, so no need for using up my holiday days.
Being very early to book, the website still endured a few teething problems, because somehow my preferred dates were not available to select.
As I was sure I must be one of the earliest, if not the absolute first to book, my dates must be available to book, so I gave Morgan Experience a call.
Spoke to the wonderful and very helpful Catherine, and after she worked her IT-wizardry, I was able to select the dates of my choice.

Fast forward to November 18th, 2022. I arrived home to a notification from Belgian Postal Services saying I had a signed for delivery waiting for me at the post office. This could mean 2 things: signed for package of something I bought online, or something official. As I hadn't bought anything online recently, it must be something official. That usually means trouble, so during the bike ride to the post office I was wondering what payment I missed, or what else the official business could be. Mood changed massively after seeing that the envelope came from the UK, and became even more cheerful after spotting the Morgan logo.
A little bit excited I rode home, and opened the envelope as quickly as I could. Inside were a thank you letter from Catherine from Morgan Experience for being their first online customer, and a very nice enamel plate as a token of gratitude for being a great customer. Excellent customer service!

Super 3 booked, it was time to make reservations for the Dunkirk - Dover ferry, set the itinery and book hotels along that route as well. Having done Wales
already, I decided on other areas to drive in. The Lands End - John O'Groates idea had never left my mind, but like 2019 I decided against it, because it
is far too long a distance to cover in 3 days. Previous time around I covered 622 miles in 3 days, and the shortest (one way!) route from Lands End to John O'Groats being 837 miles, this idea will have to stay an idea for a little while longer. But after having seen a few episodes of Rick Stein's Cornwall on the BBC,
the Lands End part of the idea still looked very interesting. Cornwall looked very nice, so that would be the area to be explored in the Super 3.

Ferries, hotels and BnBs for the Thursday night in Malvern before collecting the Super 3 on Friday morning, Friday night in Devon on my way to Cornwall and Sunday night in Malvern again before returning the Super 3 to its rightful owners on Monday morning were quickly booked. Saturday night accommodation would be arranged later along the way, as I didn't know where and how far into Cornwall the Morgan would take me in one day. I had heard and seen on Rick Stein horriful stories about the width or better the lack of it of the Cornish roads, so distance travelled would not be much, I anticipated.

End of August could not arrive quickly enough, but finally it was there. Just like 2019 I had the late shift on Wednesday evening till 22:00, but contrary
to the previous time around, I took a few hours of sleep before departing for Dunkirk. Alarm clock set at crazy o'clock, I left home 4:30 to arrive in Dunkirk
around 6:30, perfectly on time to catch the 8:00 ferry.

I had booked the 12:00 ferry because of the late shift at work the night before departure, but I decided against that, because it would mean I would be a bit pressed for time to reach my Bed and Breakfast at a feasible time in the evening to make my dinner reservation later that night. 08:00 on a Thursday morning being a bit early for most folk meant the ferry was not even close to being fully booked, so I could take that one instead of the 12:00 one, without any problem. After arriving in Blighty at 09:00 LT, I headed for Maidstone to meet up with my pal Simon. As is becoming sort of a tradition, I first slept an hour and a bit in his spare room, before having lunch together.

After lunch, on my way to Malvern. My BnB for the night doubles as a Fishery Farm, or the other way around, depends on which way you look at it. did a hick-up so the room I was initially booked in had a double booking. Got an upgrade, free of charge, to a double room with a nice view of the fishing ponds. Next morning, the view was not so nice anymore!

Luckily, the forecast for the day was much better than the view out of the windows made it look.
After breakfast, time to go Spring Lane, to collect the Super 3 at Morgan Experience! A few hundred yards away from Morgan I passed a DIY store, where I bought some masking tape, which I used to tape my phone to the dashboard of the Super 3, so I could use it as a Sat Nav.
Arriving at Morgan premises, a Plus Four and a Super 3 in a very vivid blue hue were waiting in the "Reserved" area to be collected. I had hoped for a stand out colour, and this was exactly what I was getting. It also suited my choice of clothing for the day perfectly!

After doing the necessary paperwork, I was shown the ropes of dealing with the Super 3 by Nick. How to remove the tonneau cover, how to remove the luggage rack to be able to open the rear clam so you can access the -small- luggage area near the rear wheel, how to start, how to adjust the pedals, that sort of things. Most of it I remembered from my experience with the 3-Wheeler, but a little freshing up would not hurt. After that, Nick asked me if I had any questions. I did. I asked him what happened to Freddie Flintoff and how he's doing now. Talk about a mood changer! Nick got all defensive and started to reel off his PR talk on how it was no fault of or failure in the Super 3, that Freddie is merely a cricketer and not driver (which seemed very unfair, as he has his racing-license which are not handed out just because you took 5 wickets at the 2005 Ashes, so he is a capable driver in any regard) and that the fact that no information about his injuries were known was a good thing. If it were bad, the tabloids would be all over it, so no news is good news???
While writing this (7th of September) I did a little googling and found the following articles:
Seems he was doing the Super 3's top speed of 130 mph when the crash happened. Maximum speed I reached during the weekend was an indicated 90 mph on the M5, which was not fun at all. But I did it on the highway with no or only gradually sloping corners, not on a circuit with corners that are far more challenging. It didn't feel dangerous, but very, very uncomfortable. Can't imagine what 130 mph would be like. I don't want to find out!

The fact that the BBC is keeping a lid on matters is because they were very much in the wrong on the health and safety part of things. No ambulance was present on track, and Freddie had to wait 45 minutes in agony before an Air Ambulance arrived to bring him over to a hospital.
Nick gathered by me asking about Flintoff that I was concerned about my safety while driving the Super 3 (I wasn't), so he offered me a helmet to use during the weekend. I accepted, although with no intention to use the helmet while driving these 3 days.
After the Freddie mood change, things got back to normal and after some small talk it was time to get going. Stuffed my luggage in and on the passenger footwell and seat, and the right side of the tonneau cover and my rain gear under the rear clam (to never leave that space during the whole weekend, preferably!), leaving the left side to protect my belongings.

I set my itinerary beforehand, googling things like "Best driving roads Devon", "Best driving roads Cornwall" etc. First road to be taken was the A449 towards Ledbury. During my search for the best driving roads I encountered pictures of pretty cars of all sorts parked in front of the Much Marcle Garage. The garage looking very picturesque, great photo oppurtunity was becking.

After that, B4215 to Gloucester, A38 to Claypits, A4135 to Eastington and Lasborough, A46 to Sodbury, Dodington Ash and Lansdown near Bath.
At least, that was the plan. I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere along the route, because suddenly I found myself on a very narrow, steep road too narrow to be given a lettre and number combination, I'd reckon. Having done 25% inclinations in Wales previously in the 3-Wheeler I was sure the Super 3 would cope. But it turned out steep and narrow is one thing. The middle of the road soon became covered in mud and other "farm produce", which is a whole different kettle of fish! Of the 3 things 'steep', 'narrow' and 'slippery in the middle of the road', the Super 3 can only handle 2 at the same time!
So I spent an agonising half mile or so slipping and drifting the car uphill, while trying not to lose traction and avoiding the flint walls that were
surrounding the very narrow "road". If I were to stall the car, or lose traction, I would be in BIG trouble, as backing up down the hill would be a big NO-NO. My relief was very great when I reached the summit of the hill. Very close shave! No picture, as I was wrestling the car and didn't have the opportunity wink, but here's a picture of a similar road (albeit a bit wider, not as steep, not covered in slippery grime and not surrounded with stone walls).

After this scare, I was left a bit peckish so time for some lunch. English breakfast at the BnB being a bit lavish, I decided to have a light lunch at the Charlcombe Inn, Lansdown. Apparently, English don't do 'light lunch'. Cheddar Sandwich came with fries! Had a pint as well to rinse away the memories of the uphill battle previously endured. Had lunch in the garden, next to Bath Racecourse, Lansdown Hill, to be spotted in the background of the picture.

After lunch, A368, B3371 and B3135 to reach Cheddar Gorge from the east. Very pretty cliffs and views, great photo opportunities. Turned out I was very lucky in that regard, because during a stop for taking pictures, and setting my Sat Nav to the next waypoint, a cyclist came up to have a chat about the car. A lot of people start talking to you when you drive a stand out blue Super 3, so being shy is not recommendable for Super 3 drivers!
The cyclist told me today was a very quiet day by Cheddar Gorge standards. Normally taking pictures which show more than 50% rock surface would be impossible because cars would be blocking the view all the time. Further on, by the Cheddar Gorge and Caves car park and information centre, all was crawling with tourists, so I was glad I entered the Gorge from the east, where it was much more quiet.

Cheddar Gorge done, back on the A37, the A38 towards Bridgwater, A39 to Minehead and A396 to Wheddon Cross. Then the B3224 to Exford/Exmoor Park, Simonsback and Blackmoor Gate. I hadn't paid much attention to the fuel gauge, because I was having fun driving, and paying focussing on the road, but when I did, it was showing alarmingly reddish instead of the soothing yellow previously. Set the Sat Nav to the closest petrol station which was about 20 miles away. Exmoor Park is not a great place to run out of fuel! Should have taken the 5 litre fuel can I took with me in the 3-Wheeler as I was warned the fuel gauge in that is not very trustworthy. I reckoned 13 years of progress meant the fuel gauge was better in the Super 3, which I reckon it was, but is only of help when you look at it once in a while wink Reached a petrol station on mere fumes, but in time biggrin
Was setting the Sat Nav when I heard somebody shouting out: "Is it as much fun as it looks?" My reply: "It sure is!" Reply of the random passerby: "Fantastic!" Like stated before, don't drive the Super 3 when you are a bit shy!

I was getting close to Bideford, my place to spend the night, which was a good thing because it had started to rain. As it turned out, the aerodynamics of the Super 3 are very different compared to the aerodynamics of the 3-Wheeler. In the 3-Wheeler, when you are driving 35-40 mph or more,
the boundary layer created over the bonnet and the "windows" of the car streams over your head, so you stay dry when you keep your foot mildly down. In the Super 3, things are very different. Can't really recall whether you are seated lower in the 3-Wheeler, but wind hits you in the forehead in the Super 3, as does rain when it is pouring down. Furthermore, areas of low pressure are created in the cabin of the car, so rain gets sucked in, potentially getting you very wet!

Parked the car underneath a tree, donned a windbreaker (rain gear was to stay in the back still!) and got going again, now on the A39, the so called Atlantic Highway. I was only a mere 15 minutes drive away from my hotel, but that quarter of an hour was not the most enjoyable. Crouching away behind the "window" as far as possible to stay out of the wind, 15 minutes seemed to last at least a half of an hour. I was very glad to reach the Hoops Inn, Bideford, still relatively dry. Drove 229 very enjoyable, except the last 15 or so, miles on the Friday, but now it was time to enjoy the hospitality of the Hoops Inn. It comes with the highest of praise. Lovely, wonderful countryside hotel, authentic old interior, great staff and excellent food. Loved it!

Impressions of the first day of driving the Super 3: great car, better chassis than the 3-Wheeler, the bespoke, wider tyres instead of the off the shelf skinny tyres of the 3-Wheeler give the car better grip and inspire more confidence.
Albeit better to drive, it did feel lacking a bit in the entertainment department. Ditching the S+S engine in favour of the Ford Fiesta 3 cylinder due to emission regulations (Thank you Nanny-State EU!!!) took away the heart and soul of the car. Seems like fun is a forbidden word nowadays and it must be contained as much as possible. Big shame. But hey, that's progress for you!

After a very pleasant evening spent in the bar of the hotel, having had a lovely dinner and a few pints in wonderful surroundings, time to hit the sack. Driving the Super 3 is far more comfortable than driving the 3-Wheeler, but that didn't mean I wasn't tired.
The night must have been rather nippy, as the next morning the tonneau cover was covered in rime. Yes, it was still a bit chilly when I started up the car, but weather was looking very good for the rest of the day, with clouds dissipating quickly, and sun appearing rapidly. Apart from the 15 minutes of rain on the Friday, I was extremely lucky with the weather all weekend. The 3 days spent in the Morgan being the transitional period between the monsoons of the summer and El Scorchio of the first week of September, it could not have been better!

Back on the Atlantic Highway, towards Bude and Boscastle, I drove to Tintagel Castle, supposedly the birthplace of King Arthur. Parking was of the Pay and Display kind. Good thing I had my masking tape, because otherwise it would have been Pay, Display and Fly Away!

The rocks, cliffs and views were very pretty, but Tintagel Castle is bit of letdown.
If you like piles of stones and a half finished statue of a mythical king, it's the place to be, but I would call it a tourist trap.

After Tintagel I got lossed again, as Simon would say. (not sure if he meant 'tossed' or 'lost', but I know which one I'd prefer *insert greasy wink*).
Anyhow, I found myself in St Austell, where the local brewery provided food and beverages. After this detour, time to head to St Ives as was the initial plan of the day. A390 via Truro and Redruth, then the B3300 towards Portreath, and the B3301 to Hayle and finally A3074 to St Ives.
Completely ignoring the signs stating you must have a permit to drive in the old town centre, I drove the Super 3 along the harbour promenade, and the very narrow roads of St Ives Old Town.

Being the last Saturday of the holiday season, and weather being marvellous, the place was very crowded. The Super 3 attracted lots of attention.
When parked up, people were asking if they could take pictures of the car, with me in it! Not sure if that improved the pictures, but I happily obliged.
"That is absolutely stunning!" - Driver of a pick-up truck passing by.
"Congratulations!" - American tourist.
Yes, people like the Super 3. A lot.

Contrary to Thursday, Friday and Sunday nights, accommodation for Saturday night had not been booked yet. Not a very good idea! Like mentioned before, it being the last Saturday of the holiday season, and weather being great, places to sleep in or around St Ives were scarce, especially when you only start searching the app at 17:30.
And driving a car without a roof, with no means to lock it up properly, private parking was the number one search criterion. Set search filters to 'private parking', 'breakfast' and a reasonable budget and the app came up with only 5 hits. Of those 5, I chose the Tyacks Hotel in Camborne. Address being 'Commercial Street nr...', things appeared to be a bit less picturesque than the Hoops Inn, which they turned out to be. But the room itself being very comfortable, food great, and the Morgan safely parked up in their private parking, things were as good as to be hoped for when you don't know where you will end up so you can only sort out a place to stay the very last minute.
My friend Stephane asked me if I was not worried leaving the Morgan unattended overnight, with the cover easily removed, and Englishmen on a boozy Saturday night not known for their good behaviour. I replied that the Morgan is loved by everyone, and does not cause any envy whatsoever. Parking a Porsche or Ferrari in the centre of town on a Saturday night might have attracted some peeing or keying, but not the Super 3. Playing tourist took a lot of time today, so Saturday's mileage was a measly 148.

Sunday morning. Third and final day already. Where did 66% of my time with the Morgan go? Better get going and give the Super 3 some welly and enjoy the day to the fullest! Heading to Penzance, I took the A394 to Helston, and then Mabe Burnthouse and Penryn, where I went on the A39 towards Falmouth and Pendennis Castle. Pendennis is a proper castle, not just some slate or flint remnants of a Castle. Iniated by Henry VIII, together with St Mawes Castle on the opposite side of the river, it protected the estuary of the river Fal. The castle got updated with new artillery regularly and was still in use in WWI and WWII. Very interesting way of spending a few hours! Shop promoted free Mead and Wine Tasting.
There's no such thing as a free tasting, I can tell you. This 'free' tasting cost me 46 quid! Just like the Great Orme in Llandudno, Pendennis Castle is surrounded by a one-way road, this one leading to Pendennis Point. Parked up to enjoy the view of the bay.

Time to go to Falmouth, in search of some rivercaught oysters. Parking was of the Pay, Display and Not Fly Away type again.

Oysters didn't happen, because season only starts in October! Settled for an other, still delicious seafood lunch. Back on the A39, at Carnon Downs, I diverted towards Trelissick to catch the King Harry Ferry, of Rick Stein's Cornwall fame (at least to me). Some say it is only kept alive for the tourists, but I enjoyed it, although the crossing is a bit short. Must be because I am a tourist!

A few miles after disembarking the ferry, it started to dawn on me that in order to make it to Malvern in time, I must stay away from the backroads and use the highway (sadly not the Atlantic Highway) for the remainder of the day. Parked up, set my Set Nav and was a bit shocked to find out I was still a 4 hour drive away from my hotel in Malvern, almost all of the way driven on the A30 and M5! This prospect was not very alluring, but hours spent by playing the tourist in Tintagel, diversion to St Austell and visiting Pendennis Castle meant I had little other choice than to endure the M5 in the little blue Morgan. Maximum speed I reached in the 3-Wheeler 4 years earlier was around 70 mph (perfectly legal, maximum speed on the highway), so that was the speed initially driven on the M5 as well. Not a lot of fun was had. Wind hitting my head much more than I recalled from the 3-Wheeler experience, it was not very enjoyable. Luckily, after a few miles I remembered that I was in possession of a helmet provided by Nick. Turned in on the first parking along the M5 and put on the helmet. Much better! Although the helmet induces a lot of wind noise, the fact that my face was shielded from the wind made the ride much more endurable. Drove the remainder of the route at slightly less legal speeds in order to make it in time for dinner in Malvern later this evening. 90 mph was stretching it, can't imagine what driving it at 130 mph must have felt like, Flintoff being 4 inches taller than me, and -apparently- not wearing a helmet!
And that is even without crashing it! About 90 minutes' drive away from Malvern, I visited a Service Station to fuel up the car and myself. When putting up my helmet to get going again, a shout was heard. "Excuse me! Excuse me!" A lady was calling out to me. "Ever since the A30 me and my husband were trying to get a picture of your car. Can I take a few pictures now?" she asked. "Of course you can. My pleasure!" (should have asked her to send the pictures to me, but that thought only occured to me a few miles later on the M5)

Don't buy the Super 3 for its highway munching capabilities. They are pretty much non-existant. Enjoy it to the fullest on undulating, corner-heavy back roads, but stay as far away from the M5 as possible!

Reached the hotel around 19:20, perfectly in time to take a shower and make my 20:00 dinner reservation. Driving distance today was 278 miles, setting the total to 655 mostly very enjoyable miles. Sunday night's Cotford Hotel was of the pretty kind again, big benefit of booking early and not at the last minute.

Monday morning, return day. Set my alarm clock 30 minutes early, so I could have a quick early morning drive. This put the miles driven up to 666 miles (may or may not be a coincidence wink ). During filling up in the petrol station closest to Morgan Experience Centre, a Plus Four that had been enjoyed during the weekend as well, also pulled up for some dino juice smile

During handing over the blue delight, the elderly man in charge asked me if I came from the Netherlands. Me: "Yes." Him: "Where from?" Me: "A small village about 30 miles North of Amsterdam." Him: "I spent a lot of time at circuits in the Netherlands, especially Assen, watching bike races." Me: "So you must know Wil Hartog?" (6-time GP winner, including Assen TT 1977, who lives in the same village as where I used to live and my parents still do) Him: "Yes, I do! The Dutch Grass Farmer, as Murray Walker always called him!" Me: "Actually, he is a Grass Dryer, not a farmer" Him: "Never mind, Murray Walker notoriously got his facts wrong all the time." Small world! Fun encounter!

Verdict time! Apart from the M5 miles, I enjoyed the Super 3 a lot. It's a better car than the 3-Wheeler, can be driven fast around corners better, but it is a bit too polished for my liking. Turns out, I like my diamonds in the rough, not cut and shiny. The 3-Wheeler is even more of an event to drive than the Super 3, the S+S's 2 cylinders providing fun and emotions from idle engine speeds, the Super 3's 3-Cylinder needs revving it to conjure up sensations. A very good car in its own right, but I happen to like the 3-Wheeler more. Time to search the classifieds!

Edited by vincegail on Friday 8th September 13:56


Original Poster:

2,485 posts

158 months

Tuesday 17th October 2023
quotequote all
Thank you gents! Had a lot of fun driving the Super 3 and almost as much fun writing about it. Glad you liked it!