Celebrating the historic Morgan Three-Wheeler

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IMAGINE half your body stretched out the side of a three-wheeled vehicle that’s competing in a race. You’re travelling about 100km/h and the asphalt is flying by your eyes barely a few feet from your face. Hands gripped, navigating yourself around the driver, you’ve got to lean across with all of your strength to stop the three-wheeler from tipping as you careen around corners.

This may sound like a nightmare to you, but this is how Su Neilsen and her father, Don Horsey used to race, back in the day. Don would be in the front of his prized 1939 Morgan F2, hands on the wheel, eyes fixed on the track ahead. Meanwhile, Su maneuverers freely around him unstrapped, helmet on, leaning left as the Don turns right and vice versa – a unique but crucial skill utilised to prevent the tiny three-wheeler from toppling.

The Morgan Three-Wheeler was first released in 1909 and remains a relatively rare vehicle in Australia. Initially, HSR Morgan wanted to design a motorbike but opted for a three-wheeled vehicle instead. Sales started low, but when a two-seated version was introduced in 1911, popularity surged.

Don purchased his cherished Morgan in 1975 without a body. The vehicle was damaged in transit and Don set to re-building the vehicle instantly. He painted it in red and yellow and has stayed that way since. By 1977, the car was already collecting awards, including winning the Morgan Three-Wheeler Club Enthusiast Award three years in a row against other owners worldwide.

Don and Su continued racing in the Morgan F2 for almost a dozen years and won countless trophies and competing in several states. Su even raced while pregnant with her son Michael, although she didn’t know she was carrying at the time. These days, Su and her husband, Gary Neilsen keep the family love of Morgans alive. Gary is a self-described aficionado of the marque and of course, the pair have their own gorgeous, navy blue 1939 Morgan FX, pictured here.

Both cars will be on display at Historic Winton, Australia’s largest all-historic race and car event, as part of a celebration of 110 years of Morgan vehicles. Historic Winton will take place at Winton Motor Raceway from Friday, May 17 until Sunday, May 18.