A blog just for my writing on cycling. It means, literally, "bicycle man" in Malay.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Trike Out, Trike In
Bicycle fanatics will have to excuse my writing about a motor vehicle today. However, if you stick with me, I think you’ll find it has some relevance.
I’ve often commented on the resemblance between a recumbent tadpole tricycle and a Morgan Three Wheeler. What I’ve not mentioned here—indeed many of my friends had never heard it—is that I had owned a Morgan Three Wheeler, an example of the famous Aero model, since 1982. I sold my third (and last) Model A Ford to pay for it. The Morgan was a project car, a basket case (haul it away in baskets) that had been passed from owner to owner without ever being restored. So far as could be determined, it was built between October 1926 and March 1927, and thus it was a 1927 model, Morgan beginning their model years in October at that time. Morgan’s highest-production year was 1927—they built 1700 cars. Very few of that vintage survive. Three-wheeled Morgans were made from 1909 to 1952. Perhaps 1200 exist today, but only about 200 of the survivors are earlier than 1933. There are perhaps 50 to 100 of the Aero model in all the world, and I was very excited to own one of them. It was the only true vintage (meaning 1919-29) sports car I could afford, the price of 1920s Bentleys and the like having long been in a bracket with real estate.
Morgan celebrated their 100th anniversary this year in England. Today they are the world’s one remaining traditional British sports car, the world’s only privately-owned car company, only family-owned car company, and perhaps the largest British-owned car company—on an average production of perhaps 500 cars a year. Everything bigger in the British motoring industry has been bought up by foreigners.
The Aero fascinated me. It appealed to my fondness for light, simple, efficient machinery, which is also a part of my love of cycling. In the first few years that I owned it, I did a lot of work to restore it. I found all the rare parts and had them refurbished. But it stalled out, as many restorations do, at the low point when everything is apart and it seems a long way uphill to get it all back together again. There are perhaps more antique cars in that condition than there are in running order. Then my priorities, career, interests, financial situation, residence and other vehicles had all changed. Occasionally I got interested in doing something about the Aero, but generally it just sat in storage and nothing happened. Periodically someone would inquire about buying it, but never, it seemed, at a price I wanted to accept. But finally, this year, one of my friends in the Morgan club was willing to give me what I estimated I had spent on it. By now, with other life plans in mind, I was ready to part with it. And so on August 22nd the deal was done.
It felt strange to have it go. Eager as I was to make the sale, I had moments of wanting to call it all off. But I knew better than to do that. I needed to get it out of my life, to lighten the load so I could proceed with my plans to move and enter new phases of life in new places.
And I had a use for the money too, most of which was used to pay off debts. On August 24th, I took delivery of my Trice QNT recumbent trike. Trike out, trike in.