The iconic Morgan 3 Wheeler is set to embark on its most arduous adventure yet, the Trans-India Challenge. The 3,500-mile, 33-day journey around India will put the 3 Wheeler to the ultimate test as it takes on one of the world’s most demanding road networks.
The Morgan Motor Company has given official backing to the car’s drivers, 73-year-old entrepreneur and philanthropist Alan Braithwaite, and his wife Pat. In 1909, the Malvern-based car manufacturer produced its first car, a three wheeler, and the new 3 Wheeler, launched in 2011, takes inspiration from this original model. Featuring an 82bhp S&S V-twin motorcycle engine and weighing just 525kg, it’s one of the most exhilarating cars on sale today.
Very few modifications were required for the Challenge but, to help the car cope with the rough terrain, raised suspension has been fitted, by Bury St Edmunds-based Morgan dealer Krazy Horse. The car’s exterior, however, has changed very little and is certain to turn heads in India, where the 3 Wheeler has rarely been seen. And with no roof of any kind, the driver and passenger will be fully exposed to the elements.
The Challenge aims to raise £200,000 to support Indian aid NGO Goonj, and fund academic research into Goonj’s ‘circular economy’ model. This sustainable approach recycles urban waste to use as ‘currency’, rewarding rural communities for improving their local environment – such as roads, water supply, hygiene or schools. It mirrors Morgan’s ecological values, for example its use of sustainable woods in the construction of its cars and a zero-landfill policy for all materials.
The Morgan adventure has attracted support from Ralph Lauren, too. Throughout the Challenge, the team will be wearing polo shirts from its Earth Polo range, clothing made from thread derived entirely from recycled plastic bottles and dyed using an innovative waterless process.
Steve Morris, CEO of Morgan Motor Company, said, “The Morgan 3 Wheeler is the perfect car for the Trans-India Challenge because of the attention it brings: it’s different and it’s fun. You’re always on an adventure in a Morgan and you drive with a smile on your face. Not only does it demonstrate what a Morgan is capable of, but you also know it will bring attention to Goonj. It’s going to be a fantastic adventure all round.”
For Alan, Morgan’s support is a major boost: “We are delighted that Morgan has recognised the significance of the Trans-India Challenge. It will be a massive test for the car, but will certainly put Morgan firmly on the Indian map. With Morgan’s durability, and the materials used in the cars’ manufacture being sustainable and re-useable, this is the perfect choice of vehicle. It is also another milestone in recognising the ‘circular economy’ model championed by Goonj.”
The adventure starts just six months after Alan underwent open heart surgery: He added: “I actually needed more extreme modifications than the car for this trip, but I’m confident we’ll both reach the finish line in great shape.”
The 3,500 mile Trans-India Challenge, which will start from Mumbai on 1 February 2020 and take in cities including Pune, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Puri, Kolkata, Patna, Lucknow, Agra, New Delhi, Jaipur, Udaipur and Ahmedabad, before returning to Mumbai at the beginning of March. It aims to visit 11 Goonj centers or projects along the way.