Our beloved Morgan 3-Wheeler has many points that can be upgraded. Some are more important than others, of course, but there is one critical improvement to be done if you ever pretend to drive your car at night; and this is to change the standard halogen front headlamps for a much brighter and performant LED ones.
Why is that? Are standard halogens that bad? They are. I’m sorry to say this so directly and crudely: but they are ridiculous in terms of lighting. Simply terrible.
If you drive your 3-Wheeler in daylight, and just on few occasions at night but in nice painted and illuminated roads or streets, you’ll be ok with the H4 halogen bulbs in the standard headlamps. But if it ever happens that you have to drive at night, under a heavy summer thunderstorm, on tiny secondary roads with no white lines painted at all, you’ll immediately remember this post and understand why we say that the standard headlights are terrible.
We suffered this situation last year, on our way back from Grindelwald to Montignac-de-Lauzun. We had to stop at Cahors because it was raining cats and dogs again. That was a truly awful day. You can read about it in our post Long range campaign #2 – 3rd to 17th of September 2021 – The Speedy Marmots’ Journeys – look for Day 12 – September the 14th: Nyons to Montignac-de-Lauzun – and you’ll get an idea of the hell we passed through! Driving at night on those dark, black, unpainted French secondary roads with the so poor standard headlamps was something we don’t want to repeat. Never again…
Changing the headlamps for a new modern, and incredibly better LED version is so simple! We bought from M3W Services the LED set. It seems to be the same one used by Krazy Horse and other Morgan dealers. And installing those units seems a very simple task that can be done anywhere within just 20 minutes. If you have the correct tools, obviously.
The new LED headlamps have a middle horizontal light bar that works combined as a daylight – in white color – and as a turn indicator – in orange. But our 3-Wheelers already have the turn lights below the headlamps, so in our case I disregard the turn indicator wire and only connect the daylight one.
You’ll need a crimping tool to insert and connect the male plug for the daylight. The rest of the connectors are standard and the same that the car has. So, a simple plug&play task.
Once I have made all the connections, and put back in the headlamp in place, I turn on the lights and… OMG! What a huge difference! Compared to the standard halogen headlights, these LED look like a military anti-aircraft spotlight!
But I immediately spot a first problem: these new LED lamp sets protrude, and a lot, from the original chromed steel retaining rings. You may notice it if you look carefully at this picture below. There is a large portion of black painted metal protruding from the silver shining ring that holds them into the main shell. You have a much clearer picture later in this post.
It’s not just an aesthetic issue, but this also means that we can’t put back the protection grille we had in front of the standard headlamps.
The result is that we have now new fantastic LED headlamps, but we lose part of the vintage looking of our 3-Wheeler, mainly because we can’t put those grilles back, and the totally transparent lenses of the new headlamps show their modern LED interior.
There is a way to put these LED headlamps properly in the original shell, so they don’t protrude. But it looks like a more complicate job to do right now, and the truth is that when I made this quick swap of headlamps, we’re in Montignac-De-Lauzun, and about to leave for Switzerland for the 10th anniversary of the Jungfrau-Treffen in Grindelwald. So, I leave the headlamps as they are. Because I prefer to have much better lights and lose part of the vintage look of the Morgan than risking driving at night again with the poor halogen ones. And I’ll modify the installation later, with no rush.
We travel to Switzerland and come back home to Madrid without any problem with the 3-Wheeler. The modifications made on our little rocket work neat, and the whole has dramatically been improved from the dynamic point of view.
If you want details about the mechanical improvements, you’ll find different posts in the Hangar Works section of this blog.
And if you want to know about the trip to Switzerland, this is in the Long Range Campaigns section.
Now we’re back in Madrid, and I’m still thinking about a better installation of the new LED headlamps to solve this protruding problem, when I take our Morgan to Retromóvil, the classic car show in Madrid, held from 24th to 27th of November.
It happened that we talked with Tayre, the official Morgan’s dealer in Spain, and asked them if they will have a stand at Retromóvil this year. And if they will have a new Super 3 for the dates. Talking with our good friend Oscar Pollo, Tayre’s Morgan and Maserati sales manager, I told him about our idea to have three generations of Morgan three wheelers in the stand. And he loved it!
Said and done! We take to the Retromóvil Tayre’s – Morgan – stand the new Super 3 they just received from Malvern, our 5-Speeder, and Sergio Romagosa’s – another good friend of us – stunning 1934 Supersports. The stand is the most admired during the three days of the event. So many people taking pictures and asking about the 3-wheelers! It’s not everyday that you can admire more than a hundred years of automotive evolution under a same brand!
But the day I took our 3-Wheeler to the show, something weird happened. Again… Believe it or not, the same turn light front right support broke again. Again! This is the third time! And it broke despite the stainless-steel unbreakable reinforcement I recently made for these supports! The crazy thing is that this time it broke just at the very end, exactly after the point where the stainless-steel reinforcement ends. Unbelievable!
This is outrageous! I’m furious. I do a very discrete temporary fix for these days of the Retromóvil show, but I’m done for good with these stupid fragile supports!
I won’t be fooled again and won’t let Morgan replace the support for another one, again, made of cheese. I take the decision to remove the front turn lights as they are and use the LED headlamps integrated turn signal system.
And here we are, after the Christmas holydays, beginning of February, and ready to do this modification of removing the standard front turn lights, and do a proper installation of the front headlamps. A nice winter “do it yourself” job.
I ask my good friends of M3W Services about the correct way to install the headlamps, so they don’t protrude.
Steve and Chas reply immediately and pass me “instructions” they got from Krazy Horse, as a guide to do this job myself. They’re as follows:
Remove Chrome ring from headlight front by unscrewing retaining bolt.
Disconnect old headlights.
If using integral indicators remove M3W indicators and re-route wiring.
Glue the cork around the headlight, 4 pieces per headlight.
Bend the two clips on the chrome ring and fit the light into it with the rubber trim (x2) around the edge.
Bend the two clips back against the headlight to secure.
Connect the wiring from the sidelights and indicator. Red = indicator, Yellow = sidelights.
Reduce length of retaining bolt by 3mm as it will be too long.
Refit chrome ring and retaining bolt.
Everything makes sense. Nothing strange with these basic instructions. I check if I have everything to do the job, and the first thing that attires my attention are the cork pieces.
I’m supposed to glue four small pieces on each headlamp, to solve the protruding problem. These pieces, measuring 40 mm long, 10 mm large and 5 mm thick, are made of soft cork. Too soft in my opinion. They will be in contact with the inner side of the chromed ring, pinched between this ring and the main heavy body of the LED headlamps, acting like a spacer to pull inside the headlamps. But I’m convinced that they will disintegrate very quick because of the permanent vibrations of our 3-Wheeler’s headlamps.
And there is also another issue: if I use only these four small cork pieces so that the headlight is more inside the housing, flush with the chrome ring, I don’t see anything that prevents water from entering the headlight between the corks.
I don’t like this solution. And I think there is a much better way to get the same aesthetic result, using much more resistant material that will absorb perfectly the violent vibrations, and sealing for good the headlamp avoiding any water ingress.
So, I do a quick visit to a shop in Madrid, specialized in rubber pieces. I buy one meter of a good rubber band, 50 mm large and 5 mm thick. The material is quite cheap. I get the meter for less than 10 €.
The idea is very simple: cut it and make my own rubber O-rings and place them around the headlamp instead of the four fragile corks.
To do the O-ring, I use a metal ruler and a sharp cutter. And a special ultra-resistant flexible glue for rubber.
I cut out of the rubber band two 10mm wide strips, the same width as the cork pieces supplied with the kit. The metal ruler is not damaged by the cutter, so I can use it as a guide for the cut.
For the length, I simply use a measuring soft tape, and then cut the stripes to the exact length matching the circumference of the headlights, make sure it fits properly, and glue.
It’s an easy task. Everyone can do this at home!
When the glue is dry, I can check the result. I gently slide it in position, and I find it way better and satisfactory than using the corks!
In order to insert the headlamps into the chromed rings, now with the rubber O-ring, it’s mandatory to follow the step 5 of the instructions: bend the two clips on the chrome ring. If you don’t, you won’t be able to insert the headlamp properly.
The result is obvious. The headlights are now perfectly flush with the chrome ring.
The protruding problem is now solved. But solving it arises other problems. As you can see in the next pictures, the headlamp fits into the chromed ring after bending the two clips.
But at the bottom of the chromed ring, there is a tab. And this one is just in contact with the headlamp body now. And this is a problem, because the main chrome casing has a slot in which this tab fits, and if this does not happen, the closure is not achieved.
With the tab touching the headlamp body, there is no room for the insertion into the main chrome casing. This is something I’ll have to deal later, cutting the tab on the chromed ring enough to allow the insertion, but not too much so its task as retaining tab is still effective.
Now I must make sure that the headlamp is holding properly into the chromed ring, making sure it doesn’t move or rotate with the vibrations of the 3-Wheeler. Because the S&S huge V-Twin does shake the car for good!
To retain the new LED headlamp in position, I reuse the clips the original headlamp had. But as the new body is heavier and thicker, I bend the clips a bit to reduce the tension they’ll transmit to something reasonable. Otherwise, with the strong spring force they have it will be very difficult to put them in place or remove them.
This is an easy task with the help of small plyers. Now I can put four clips back on each headlamp to retain them solidly to the chromed ring. I’m just careful to place them properly around the diameter so they don’t bother with the tabs or bolts I’ll have to insert later.
The home tasks are complete! Now it’s time to go downstairs to the garage and fit everything on the car. I take all the tools and my large LED work lamp and start working on the Morgan.
First thing to do: remove the front turn lights. They come out easy. Then I remove the connectors, cut the wires there by the connectors, and pull out the cables gently, because I want to recover the LED orange modules without damage. They’re the same as the back ones, and we never know when we’ll need one as spare!
Now it’s time to use the Dremel and saw out the soft turn light supports. Why keeping them when you know they’ll break sooner or later? And without the turn lights, they’re useless.
The removal is incredibly easy. These supports are truly made of mild steel. A Simple thin indent with the rotor blade, and I can remove them by hand with little effort.
Look at the video! It was so easy! Now the problem is solved: I have no more front turn light supports to be worried about!
After sawing out the supports, the main arm that supports the headlights has an ugly scar where the support was welded and I made the cut.
It’s important to do some “plastic surgery” and reduce the sharp edges to get the area as smooth and aesthetically correct as possible. Again, a little bit of Dremel with a proper sandpaper head helps me to do it.
After letting the area smooth and clean, I apply a little bit of black metal paint. The scar is finally hidden, and not even a keen eye will suspect there was a support welded there before.
Before working on the cabling, I do a little easy task, which consist of inserting a M5 rivet nut at the bottom of the main chromed casing. Why is that? Well, our 3-Wheeler was ordered with the option of the headlight meshes. And these meshes were attached by two claw-like metal tabs which held the outer ring of the headlight meshes. One was at top of the chromed ring and fixed with the upper closing M5 bolt. And the other was at the bottom, riveted to the main chromed casing.
Instead of riveting again the bottom tab, I prefer to put a M5 rivet nut that will be more useful than a simple rivet, to fix the meshes again in front of the headlights.
That’s a very easy task with a drill and a good quality metal bit, and with a proper tool for the rivet nut. The rivet nut gets solidly fixed to the main chromed casing.
This makes the fixing of the metal claw-like tab much easier. And therefore, the installation of the metal mesh too!
And now it’s time to work on the problem of the chromed ring’s lower tab. The one that touches the headlamp body and doesn’t leave enough room to insert the thin metal sheet of the main chromed casing, so this tab inserts properly in its slot.
In the picture above, you can see how this tab gets into the main chromed casing slot. Once inserted, the tab protrudes quite a bit. Please allow me to repeat the same picture, explaining the problem. It makes sense here!
This unnecessary material is what doesn’t allow the chromed ring to fit properly into the main casing, because it touches the headlamp body leaving no gap at all for the thin metal sheet to pass through.
More Dremel and problem solved!
I test the whole assembly with the headlamps fixed onto the chromed ring, and now it works. Just a little fiddling but nothing difficult.
Now it’s time for the wiring! The good news are that the new LED headlamps have the turn signal light integrated in the middle horizontal bar. And therefore, the neutral cable is the same of the whole lamp. This means that we only must take one cable from the turn signal connector under the bonnet to the headlight, instead of two.
The headlamps box has a couple of yellow cables, long enough, and with the Faston connector matching the headlamps one.
I try to pass the cables through the flexible plastic hose, from the headlamp to under the bonnet. But it seems an impossible task. The cable is too flexible, and the flexible hose already has four cables inside, leaving very little room for an easy insertion.
The cable guide that I have is too thick, and therefore useless for this task in such a small flexible hose. Then I call my father. I’m sure he has a solution. He comes down to the garage and checks the situation. Then he leaves to come back minutes later with many options. Amongst them, a nice looking long thin rod made of soft brass. This is the perfect guide to feed the wire through the flexible plastic hose!
It’s so nice to have his support! After decades of building his own H0 train models, his experience and resources to solve this kind of tiny delicate wiring operations is stunning!
With this guide, I gently push the yellow wires through the hoses on each side. And once there, the task is easier. I do the pin connection, securing the connection with a bit of soldering.
Electric job done! I proceed with the appropriate tests and everything works fine. Right, left, warning lights… Now our Morgan has the headlights properly fitted, with the turn signals integrated, and the vintage looking metal meshes protecting the glass. Excellent!
We’re in the middle of summer 2022. We’re approaching the critical dates for this year’s Jungfrau-Treffen. This is going to be a very special event, as it’s the 10th anniversary of this fantastic Morgan 3-Wheeler meeting, prepared with so much love and great effort by Laurens and Rineke.
The exact dates to be in Grindelwald are September the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. The plan of our squadron is to arrive to Grindelwald the 31st of August, leaving as usual from Montignac-De-Lauzun a few days before that.
Last year experience was incredible, although quite tiring for all of us. In particular, the return from Grindelwald to Montignac-De-Lauzun was especially hard on the day we crossed Nîmes, with those terrible floods and torrential rain in some sections of the way (if you want to know about this awful day, you can find all details, pictures, and videos in our post “Long range campaign #2 → Day 12 – September the 14th: Nyons to Montignac-de-Lauzun).
Ana Maria and I found it especially hard and long. We made the entire trip in the 3-Wheeler from Madrid to Switzerland and back because we did not have then a proper car with which to tow the trailer with the Morgan on it. Exciting, but too long.
Fortunately, this year we have an amazing new “bomber” to tow the trailer: the brand-new Land Rover Defender. It will make our trip much more comfortable between Madrid and Montignac-De-Lauzun.
We discuss about this year’s route with our friends. To avoid repeating roads done the previous years, we agree to take a route going a little bit more North and enter Switzerland from the Northern side of Geneva.
The squadron’s philosophy remains the same: enjoy as much as possible small country roads. However, to avoid too many driving hours each day, we agree to use motorways in some parts of the way. And on our way back from Switzerland we decide to make a full last day on motorways, to make the comeback one day shorter.
The Speedy Marmots are asked to choose the routes again, and after a long research and detailed work, we create another navigator’s roadbook.
These navigator’s roadbooks are now becoming a classic! We always create one when we do a new “short fighter mission” – depending on its importance and distances – and any “long-range campaign”. For the long-range campaigns, we believe it’s mandatory to create this navigator’s roadbook. It helps me to memorize the route, with the critical images in the back of my mind. It gives us confidence. And Ana Maria, being such an amazing co-pilot, has a useful tool to make sure we never get lost.
We’re optimizing the information and the details, so this year we can make just one navigator’s roadbook for the whole trip. But it’s true that the comeback is one day shorter, and that we use motorways in some sections of the trip, simplifying a lot the indications on the roadbook.
The plan is to do two overnights on our way to Grindelwald. Leaving on Monday the 29th of August, and arriving to Grindelwald on Wednesday the 31st in the afternoon. And only one overnight on the comeback. Leaving Grindelwald on Sunday the 4th of September, and arriving to Montignac-De-Lauzun on Monday the 5th in the evening.
Apart the navigator’s roadbook, we create the files of Google Maps routes too, as a back-up for everyone. The positive aspect of having this technological backup, is that the other squadron members, who drive solo, can use these Google Maps routes in their smartphone if needed. We never split, but who knows?
During these weeks, Steve has done the big upgrades to our little rocket: Bleazey drive train upgrade, Walbro fuel pump, rear disc brake conversion, Öhlins shock absorbers, etc. This year our 3-Wheeler will be much more reliable and racier for such a long and demanding trip! We can’t wait to get there and test the Morgan with all these new improvements!
If you read our post “Hangar works #22 – The front turn lights support”, you’ll know that I took our beloved 3-Wheeler to Southwest France beginning of July, to M3W Services in Montignac-De- Lauzun. And I left the trailer there too. We plan to do a one-day trip from Madrid to Montignac-De-Lauzun in the Land Rover. It’s long but feasible and relaxed in such a comfortable car.
Day 1 – August the 24th: Madrid to Montignac-De-Lauzun
Ana Maria and I planned to drive together the Land Rover to Montignac-De-Lauzun on Wednesday the 24th of August. But this summer of 2022 seems to mark the real end of the Covid-19 pandemic. And this means that, fortunately, Ana Maria’s business – a bespoke travel agency – is overloaded with clients hungry to travel again after the last two terrible years. Because of that, we decide that I’ll drive alone to Montignac-De-Lauzun in the Defender, and she’ll fly on Saturday the 27th to Bordeaux, which is 45 minutes’ drive from Montignac-De-Lauzun, where I’ll go to pick her up. She’ll have three days and a half more at the office, and she really needs it.
The drive to Montignac-De-Lauzun is really nice. This new Defender is a fantastic car: quiet, powerful, and super comfortable. Despite the very long journey (720 km, mostly on motorways) it takes me to the destination without fatigue in more or less 7h30min. We’re so happy to have this new “bomber”.
I stay again in Le Papillon. I love this guesthouse! Just for the fun, because there is no need to, I check if the huge Land Rover fits in the garage. And it does. It helps a lot to download all the luggage direct into the house! But being practical, after unloading the luggage, I park the massive car in the main square, where there is plenty of room and that it’s just seconds away from the front door. Montignac-De-Lauzun is a very small village!
Day 2 – August the 25th: enjoying the countryside
This Thursday Steve is not at the workshop. I take my day to enjoy some relaxing solo drives in the area. I discover new places with the Land Rover, reaching few isolated villages not too far from Montignac-De-Lauzun.
This region is beautiful and deserves a longer stay than just a couple of days. The narrow roads are so relaxing to drive, and I can see some old country houses and barns abandoned that would do a very nice restoration project.
The Speedy Marmots are thinking about it. We would love to buy a property in the area. We just need to wait for the right moment and the right property to buy! It would help winning a lottery too, of course!
Day 3 – August the 26th: testing the car and installing the new LED headlamps
This Friday morning, I meet Steve at the M3W Services workshop. We discuss about the pending tasks on the squadron’s cars before we leave for Switzerland and see how I can help him.
It’s Chas’s car the one that needs more attention. Apart it needs a new set of front tyres, it’s misfiring at 4.000 rpm. We get crazy trying to find the cause. Apparently, all sensors run properly. After many tests, Steve decides to reset the ECU and download a fresh new software, as a corrupted software seems to be the only possible problem. And bingo! After the reload, the car runs smooth again. What a relief! There’s nothing worse than having an electronic “gremlin”. It’s the most difficult problem to find and solve.
Another task is mounting back all the upholstery on Charles’s car. The old tan leather has a beautiful patina but needed a serious cleaning. Chas cleaned it a few days ago, and now that the leather is dry and nourished it’s time to put all the parts back on the car. What should be an easy task shows to be more complicated because of a couple of loose nut rivets. Steve and I fix them, and I finally manage to finish the task.
Meanwhile, Mario arrives from Erfurt. He drove his 3-Wheeler from Eastern Germany, making the 1.350 km drive in non-stop-mode. What a brave man! We move the cars in the garage to do some works on Mario’s. It’s still fun to me to see many 3-Wheelers together!
Regarding our 3-Wheeler, all modifications and upgrades have been done but the LED headlamps. Not a big deal because I can do it myself. It happens to be a fast and easy task.
The new LED headlamps look like an easy pop-out & pop-in. But there is a little modification to be done in the wiring, as the new headlamps have a horizontal bar in the middle for the daylights that also can work as a turn light indicator. I decide to keep the original turn light indicators on their reinforced brackets, so the change is easier without rerouting any wires.
Just a cut and fitting a crimp connector and we’re good to go! It takes me half an hour to do the change, with the appropriate tools and taking my time.
I do some short test drives in the area, and I feel the car much more comfortable and faster on corners. The Öhlins shock absorbers are a massive upgrade! Everything works perfect. The only thing I can’t really test properly are the LED headlamps, as it’s daytime. I could see a clear difference when the car was in the barn, but we’ll have to wait to drive at night to see the real difference.
In late afternoon, Rob comes from his place in his Caterham Super 7. It’s another long trip of 700 km between Courchevel and Montignac-De-Lauzun! And Rob made it using secondary roads, where his Super 7 is one of the fastest and funniest machines you can drive. Another brave driver!
Day 4 – August the 27th: all pilots together
We’re all pampering and preparing our machines for the takeoff scheduled for Monday. And there is still an important task to do: fit new front tyres in Chas’ Turrino wheels. But as these are tubeless, and the Blockley they got are for tubeless mount too, it happens that the tyres’ wall is so hard that the usual Point-S garage can’t fit the tyres in the Turrino rims.
Saturday morning, Rob and I take the wheels, and a set of softer tyres in case the Blockleys can’t be properly fitted, to Marmande, where there are a couple of tyre shops that may help us with this. We first get to the DSN bike shop there. What a nice bike shop! Rob and I are drooling over some of the machines they have there. We give them the wheels with the Blockley tyres, and they try their best but can’t make the tyres’ wall to stick over the inside wall of the rim, so they can’t inflate them too. The Blockleys combined with the Turrino rims are a no-no for their motorcycle tyre machines.
We end up at Leclerc motor shop, where they finally manage to fit a set of tyres to the Turrino rims. During the wait, we explore the shop. What a gold-mine! We find many bling-bling accessories, some of them that would fit with Chas’ Squint Studio upholstery! Or the modern-looking black and orange Steve’s 3-Wheeler.
We send to the squadron’s WhatsApp chat the pictures of the best they have and try to convince Chas and Steve to add a few of those accessories to their 3-Wheelers, to make them more fashion trendy.
Our efforts are in vain. They’re too old-fashioned and can’t appreciate how cool is to have a pink vinyl steering wheel cover with Swarovski crystals. What a shame…
We look for more conservative stuff, such as a super-classy dream catcher, a set of perfumed dices, or the mythical head-shaking dog. But they still refuse to drive in style.
Seeing that it’s impossible to convince our friends to modernize their Morgans, we focus on what’s important, which is to recover the wheels with the new tyres mounted and return to Montignac-De-Lauzun. Finally, Chas has a new set of tyres!
During lunch, we receive a message from Charles. He just landed at Toulouse airport and will take an Uber car to Montignac-De-Lauzun. We’re surprised he got an Uber to do such a long distance, but the driver accepted the trip at a fair price apparently, so we’ll sit and hold a beer waiting for our friend!
Then it’s Ana Maria who writes from Madrid’s airport. She’s relaxing at the lounge with a mojito in hand! The holidays mood is in the air!
After lunch I drive to Bordeaux’s airport to pick her up. And we’re back in time for dinner at Chas’. The whole squadron is reunited again! But Steve and Annette who have a family dinner. We enjoy a nice dinner at Au Bosq, with some fights against huge hornets that end up in a hornet killing competition. Those awful big stingers seem to love the terrace and keep flying in like bullets, hitting the fans and the walls and anyone in their flightpath!
Day 5 – August the 28th: getting ready for takeoff
This Sunday there is nothing special planned. Apart Steve, who still has work to do on Mario’s car. And as he has help from Mario and Rob, the Speedy Marmots we decide to take the Land Rover and drive around, to enjoy this beautiful region.
There is a special village we want to visit: Saint-Avit-Seigneur. It’s just 45 min of relaxed drive from Montignac-De-Lauzun. The reason why we want to get there is that we’re dreaming about buying a property in the area, and we’ve seen a stunning property for sale in this village. It’s just a dream, because the price is way over our budget, unless we win a huge lottery. But hey! Dreaming is free! And we love looking at beautiful houses.
After clinging to the fence of the mill that we dream of being able to buy, and dry our drool, we enter the town and park to have a coffee in the town square, in front of the fortified church.
The place is so quiet, so relaxing and beautiful, that we keep on dreaming about buying something there. At the café where we sit, they sell local products. We look at canned duck and goose, as this is the region of France best known for its foie and products from such delicate birds. The products are handmade, prepared and packaged by local producers, which make them even more appealing to us. So, we buy a bunch of canned duck and goose food. Not the best for a healthy diet, but we’re on holidays, so, who cares?
We talk with the lady owning the café where we’re buying the cans. She’s very kind and recommends us a couple of restaurants in the area. We call the first options but, being a sunny August Sunday, they’re already fully booked. She recommends another nice local bistrot in the closest village, where we manage to make a reservation.
After the coffee and soda and the food shopping, we visit the church. It’s surprisingly big inside, and it shows a strong fortification with a walkway around the walls.
Saint-Avit-Seigneur is a small medieval town, very cozy and with very few inhabitants. A classic dream French village, with its cafés under the shadow of plane trees, it’s boulangerie, a little épicerie, and nicely restored medieval houses.
Within the town we can see few houses apparently abandoned. The dream keeps on… How nice it would be to buy and refurbish one of these!
After the short walk, we jump in the Defender again and drive to the closest bigger village: Beaumontois-En-Périgord. It’s just a 10 minutes’ drive. We park at the village’s entrance and walk towards its main central square.
This is another beautiful village. Bigger than Saint-Avit-Seigneur, but not too big either. While we walk the narrow streets, we can see many little cafés, shops, local groceries’ shops, and various restaurants.
We sit down in the main square, at the local bistrot where we made the reservation: Le Jean Bistrot. And we have a fantastic lunch for a very fair price. In this region of France, it’s not just the quality of the food, and the landscapes, but the kindness of its people, and the relaxed ambience everywhere. We’re enjoying so much these days here!
After the nice lunch we take another short walk within the village. We see a few houses for sale. Some to be refurbished and others looking good. We’re starting to get obsessed with buying something here!
But we wake up to reality and drive back to Montignac-De-Lauzun. We drop all what we bought at Le Papillon. Then we drive to Steve and Annette’s place to say hello, and check if Steve has finished or if he needs any help with the Morgans. Everything is done! M3W Services has done its magic and all the little rockets are ready for takeoff!
Ana Maria comes back to Le Papillon with the Land Rover, while I drive our 3-Wheeler to Castillonès to fill the tank with fresh 98 octane fuel. We’ve decided to refuel today, instead of tomorrow morning as the others, because tomorrow we’ll have the luggage rack mounted with the big bags on top fixed with the leather straps. We prefer to refuel now that it’s much easier. After refueling I take the Morgan to Le Papillon and keep it in the garage, ready to be loaded tomorrow morning.
At 19:00 we meet with the rest of the squadron at Au Bosq. From there we drive to Seyches, to enjoy dinner at Le Vieux Porche. Another fine dinner with the best company! We chat about tomorrow’s route and where to meet with Kevin Rose, another 3-Wheeler pilot, and his wife Cath, who will join us tomorrow, just for the day.
Everyone is ready for the takeoff!
Day 6 – August 29th: Montignac-De-Lauzun to Murol
We wake up early and pack everything. It’s takeoff day! We drive both cars to Steve and Annette’s place, where we park the Land Rover. We ‘ll leave it there until we come back from Switzerland. Ana Maria jumps in the copilot seat of our 3-Wheeler, and the Speedy Marmots and Steve do the short drive to Au Bosq, where Chas, Mario, Charles, and Rob are waiting for us.
All cars and pilots ready! We do the last checking and make sure we forget nothing critical for the trip. This year the squadron is complete again. Just Ari, Charles’ wife, couldn’t join us. But she has an excellent excuse: she’s taking care of their newborn son!
We revise the route and agree to make a first stop at Castillonès for refueling the other cars. We expect to be at noon at Uzerche, where Kevin and Cath are joining us.
We’re six cars this year, but one has four wheels! Rob is coming with us to Switzerland, driving his Caterham Super 7. Unfortunately, he will come back to Courchevel on Wednesday before we reach Grindelwald.
In the pictures and video, from left to right: Steve’s black & orange, ours in the Morgan Sports Green and the luggage in the back rack, Charle’s RAF-style one, Mario’s classy heritage, Chas’ Squint Studio special, and Rob’s Caterham Super 7.
Very last checking, a kind goodbye to Chris and Annette, message to Kevin confirming our departure, and “gentlemen, start your engines”!
Ana Maria will lead us again, as she’s in charge of the navigator’s roadbook. Helmets on, intercoms linked, chronograph in hand, and… GO!
The first section of today’s route is easy on good roads, with some traffic due to roadworks. It’s a main regional road, and we chose this one because we’re heading North to connect with the A89 motorway at Notre Dâme De Sanilhac.
Once we’re on the motorway, we push the machines to the speed limit and glide to Uzerche. The driving on motorways with a 3-Wheeler is generally a little bit annoying for us, because almost everyone who passes you is trying to get a nice picture or are filming with their smartphone. The fact that we’ll appear in more Facebook and Instagram posts than Prince Charles or Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t bother us, but it’s how they drive while passing you and taking these pictures and videos what can be dangerous. Because they don’t pay attention to the traffic ahead and they stay aside your 3-Wheeler at your same speed much longer than necessary. Those who own a Morgan 3-Wheeler and are reading these lines know what we’re talking about. But we’re on holidays and trying our best for not getting stressed by any baboons behind a steering wheel.
We get on schedule to Uzerche. Perfect timing! Kevin and Cath are already there waiting for us. We refuel and park the cars in front of the Intermarché and sit down for a quick lunch. The fun roads start now!
We restart the engines and exit the parking, now taking the kind of roads we like to drive. We’re seven cars now! Everything goes perfect, until we reach Chamberet. I check the rearview mirror again and we’re just two cars. Where’s the rest of the squadron? When we don’t see all the cars behind us for a mile in a simple and easy road, we know that something happened…
We stop and wait. But no one else is coming. We decide to drive back and see what’s going on. And we find the rest of the squadron parked on a small street on the side of the road, before the entrance to the village. Apparently, something’s wrong with Mario’s 3-Wheeler. His engine stopped suddenly.
We park our car and join them in the action. We’re betting for a broken time belt, as the symptoms are pointing to this problem. If this is the case, it’s not a big deal. We carry the spares and tools and it’s an easy repair we can do in less than half an hour.
Steve removes the engine cover, and we can see the time belt loose. But not broken. Strange…. What happened? And then, the big shock… A camshaft snapped! It broke clean! Oh my God this is almost impossible!
It’s the first time we see this in a X-Wedge engine. And it’s a major breakdown. To get Mario’s car running again, we’ll need to open wide the engine and change the camshaft!
And these are major works! And we need the spare camshaft (obviously no one carries camshafts as spares!), and Mario’s is a Stage 2 car with 569 camshafts, which are rare. Mario looks devastated. And we totally understand him. This looks like a very complicated situation. Will he be forced to call the road assistance this first day of the trip to Switzerland, and come back home to East Germany on a flatbed truck? This is not looking good at all…
But hey! We’re with Steve and Rob, two super skilled mechanics! And on the top of that, M3W Services has 569 camshafts in a drawer in their workshop, back in Montignac-De-Lauzun! Steve makes a call to a friend in Montignac-De-Lauzun, gives him the list of the tools and spares he needs, the exact place he can find them in the workshop, and asks him to take the van and drive to our location in Chamberet. It’s just 2 hours’ drive from Montignac-De-Lauzun! So, we’re relatively lucky that this happened the first day and not further from the M3W Services’ headquarters.
Ana Maria and I drive back to Chamberet to buy some drinks and snacks for everyone. When we’re back, we’re told that the rescue van with the spares is on its way, and Rob and Steve have already partially opened the engine.
This is amazing. Looking at our two friends, Steve and Rob, dismantling a still hot engine by the side of the road is unbelievable.
After a long hour, as there is nothing we can do but just watch, we talk about the options we have, and we all agree it’s wiser to leave the place. Heartbroken, part of the squadron leaves and keeps driving to Murol. We think it’s better to do so, and get there before the sundown, making sure we’ll have the keys of all the rooms, so whatever the time they make it to Murol they’ll have a nice bed to sleep in. Mario, Steve, Rob, and Charles as backup, stay trying to solve the situation.
Now we’re happy we made the Google Maps routes too! Because, as soon as they’ll repair Mario’s engine, those left behind will be able to follow the same path to our destination, using their smartphones’ Google Maps navigation app.
So, Chas, with Kevin and Cath, and the Speedy Marmots continue our route to Murol. The roads selected are beautiful. We’re crossing the Parc Naturel Régional de Millevaches first. Beautiful landscapes and, as usual on these isolated narrow roads, almost no traffic at all. We’re enjoying pure 3-Wheeler driving!
After less than a couple of hours driving, we make a short stop and try to get in touch with the ones left behind. The engine is totally open now and the van has just arrived.
Travelling with Steve and Rob is always a pleasure. But if you add to the equation that they’re capable of dismantling your engine by the side of the road, change a camshaft, and put your car back on the road in less than one hour (if they have the spares on hand, of course!), you realize that it’s not only a pleasure but a real luxury.
There are no words to thank them for being there, and their skills. Mario’s car is quickly fixed just after the van arrived with the spares! In less than half an hour Mario is driving again! Impressive! A true exploit that will remain in the memory of the squadron forever!
We keep going towards Murol, now entering another national parc: the Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne. Again, an amazing scenery!
We finally get to Murol and find the hotel. While we download all the luggage, Chas tries to get in touch with the ones behind: now they’re driving towards Murol trying to reach town as soon as possible. They might get here approximately in an hour and a half. Great news!
The Hotel de Paris is managed by a lovely couple. The owners were waiting for us, warned by telephone about the problem on Mario’s car. We have a very nice conversation with them. They tell us where to park the Morgans safely, just by the City Hall, a few meters from the hotel, and they give us all the keys so, when the rest of the squadron arrives, they’ll have access to their rooms.
Because here in France the restaurants close relatively early, we decide to go for dinner. If we want to have dinner, we can’t wait for the others to get to town, as restaurants will be closed. We walk to L’Arbalète, a classic regional restaurant, where we have a very nice dinner with cold beers and a very nice ambience.
Murol is a cozy small village, with nice old houses and a big medieval castle on the top of the hill that dominates the valley. From the hotel we can admire the castle illuminated at night. The place is beautiful.
It’s dark when we’re walking back to the hotel, and we can hear the roar of the V-Twins in the distance. We can’t believe they’re here! The rest of the squadron finally makes its entrance to the village, and we meet them in front of the hotel. What a relief to see them here! We still can’t believe they managed to fix Mario’s engine after such a major breakdown!
The heroes of the day are tired and are not thinking about dinner. It’s been a very long day for everyone. We go to bed, as we need to rest for tomorrow’s long drive, that will take us very close to the Swiss border.
Day 7 – August 30th: Murol to Crozet
We wake up in a partially cloudy day. But according to the weather forecast, we’re not expecting rain today. At least not before we get to Crozet, our destination today. The sightseen from the hotel over the hill with the castle is fantastic and refreshing.
We have a nice breakfast at the hotel, and we start packing and loading calmly the luggage in the cars. The parking we used is in fact the schoolyard, just by the City Hall. All the 3-Wheelers (and the Caterham) are aligned under the trees, ready for another exciting day.
We check Mario’s car carefully, to make sure it’s not leaking oil or if there is not any other hidden damage caused by yesterday’s fatal camshaft failure. We are relieved to see that everything is correct.
With full daylight, we can appreciate better the village and the views from where we are. It’s a very nice area, close to some ski stations, and it might be very cold in winter we guess.
It’s a fresh morning, probably because of the clouds hiding the sun. But this is precisely the best weather and temperature to drive the 3-Wheeler! Not too hot and with no sun hitting our heads along the route is the perfect scenario to enjoy driving these little rockets.
As Kevin and Cath are leaving us today, we take a nice picture with them before saying goodbye and starting the engines. It’s a pity they’re not coming to Grindelwald this year. We hope they’ll do it next year!
The first thing to do is to refuel at the village’s petrol station. As usual, the convoy attires a lot of attention at the petrol station, and a French couple on a motorcycle stops by to chat with us and take some pictures. It doesn’t take much time to fill all the tanks, and we’re good to go.
The route today is taking us very close to Geneva. Just 20 minutes North this city. To cover such a long distance, we’ll use motorways again. Mainly to drive around Lyon avoiding its terrible traffic. The idea is to drive the outskirts of Lyon, on the North side of the city, and as soon as possible to avoid the rush hour. The timing should be good if everything goes smooth.
The first part of today’s route is still in the Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans D’Auvergne. The scenery is fantastic, and we cross few small cozy villages like Sapchat and Saint-Nectaire Le Bas.
Then we quickly enter another natural parc: the Parc Naturel Régional de Livradois-Forez, where the scenery is as beautiful as before. We’re really enjoying the driving today, with very little traffic.
We drive towards the Col Du Béal. We struggle a little bit behind an army truck, as in these narrow roads you don’t have many chances to pass a big truck. But most of the time we’re alone on the road.
We stop at the top of the Col Du Béal to enjoy a hot coffee. It’s a nice spot and we can’t see any other car up here.
The day is still clouded, and the clouds on the downhill side of this col look very dark and menacing. We check the weather forecast just in case we have rains from here. But apparently the risk is still at the end of the trip, close to the Swiss border. Let’s cross fingers and keep going, hoping to stay dry as much as possible!
We enjoy a lot the downhill. The road is very twisted and fun to drive with our agile little 3-Wheelers. And the clouds are still holding the rain. In fact, we see the sun in some parts of the road. It looks like we’re avoiding the shower!
We’re getting close to the motorway, and we decide to make a short stop to visit the toilets. We better do so, as we don’t want to be in a “exploding bladder” situation while driving fast around Lyon. We get into a roundabout with a service area, and Charles and Steve are leading the squadron at this point. We see them getting into the roundabout and, before we do, without any reason, they do one extra 360 round into the roundabout, fast as lunatics. Maybe just for the fun or were they a little bit disorientated and couldn’t see the right exit to the service area? Who knows!
But here is what happens: after such a fast turn in the roundabout, while we stop at the service area just a few meters further, Charles detects an oil leakage over his footwell. His car is a right-hand drive one, so he could see the oil beneath his feet when he gets out of the car. We can’t see why there is oil there. Where does it come from? It seems to have leaked from the top of the gearbox. Quite unusual. But with the car stopped and on flat ground, there is no more leak at all. We’re suspicious about the reason of such an unexpected oil spilt from, we guess, the top of the gearbox. But we’re reluctant to open the area, as removing the gearbox cover implies removing almost all the upholstery of the car. We think it might be caused by the super-fast roundabout turn he just made. And as everything seems to work properly, we decide to keep going.
We finally connect with the motorway towards Lyon. Right foot on the floor and we drive around the big city without much traffic. We have passed the most feared part of today’s route, and the traffic from here should be fluid. And all cars are running very well. Good news for the squadron.
But then, on the motorway A40, some kilometers before the exit we must take towards Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, it starts raining. Light at the beginning, then very heavy rain. Ana Maria juggles and manages to put on her waterproof windbreaker, but when I’m behind the wheel I can’t put mine on. And on the highway, we cannot just stop at the edge to put on our raincoats, because of the danger it represents.
So, the only solution is to keep going, letting the 3-Wheeler’s aerodynamics and the small windshields deflect the water over our heads. Also, we are lucky enough to wear helmets, so the rain is not too bothersome for driving. But I inevitably end up drenched.
We finally reach the exit and stop just after the toll station. It’s not raining anymore, and we have good laughs because of the rain and how each one of us managed it. Charles was wearing a heavy cotton sweatshirt, and a T-shirt underneath. And with the rain the sweatshirt looked like something out of a car wash. He managed to remove it on the fly, but not without also taking the shirt with it in the maneuver. And when he got to the toll, the highway ticket is so soaked that the machine can’t read it. He has no choice but to call the toll help through the intercom, and a charming woman answers him and ends up opening him. But telling him with good humor that she can see him through the cameras – without saying exactly that she can see him in the 3-Wheeler with a naked torso… We all admit it must be quite a peculiar and funny vision!
From here, we drive with intermittent light rain and finally arrive to the Hotel Bois Joli, in Crozet. The clouds still menace with heavy rain, and Rob and the Speedy Marmots we choose to park the cars under cover, while the others let them in the open, trusting in the impermeability of their tonneau covers.
We’re soon at the terrace, protected by the open awnings, enjoying a cold beer, and chatting with some peculiar guests about cars and travels.
We can see the famous Geneva water jet in the distance. We’re really close to Switzerland.
It looks like the hotel’s restaurant is famous, because the parking, that was almost empty when we arrived, became little by little really packed with many cars arriving for dinner. Even a bus! And then it starts raining like hell.
Rob is unfortunately not coming with us to Grindelwald. His plan was to keep driving this same evening to his place in Courchevel. But the rain is too heavy, the beers so nice and cold, and the restaurant looking so nice, that it’s not difficult to convince him to stay here with us for the night.
We are all very tired, but we enjoy a fabulous dinner. And with our full bellies we head to our rooms for a well-deserved rest.
Day 8 – August 31st: Crozet to Grindelwald
It looks like a sunny day! The rain we suffered yesterday seems to have gone for good. There are just few clouds in the sky early this morning.
We gather at the hotel restaurant for breakfast and discuss about today’s route. Sadly, Rob is leaving us today, and will drive back home to Courchevel. But the rest of the squadron will be driving into Switzerland and use the motorways on the North shore of Leman’s Lake, avoiding entering any big city such as Geneva or Lausanne. This year all the group made sure we have the Swiss vignette for the motorways, so we don’t have any stress selecting the roads.
We will exit the motorway at Lutry, because our dear friends Pedro Freitas and Didier Leuba, who live in Montreux, are joining us there for the rest of the journey to Grindelwald.
The route today is the following one:
Crozet → Lutry (D89, D984C, D15C, D1005, D984E, D984C, D15, 1 & 9) → Vevey (Route de la Petite Corniche & Route de la Corniche) → Bulle (12) → Broc (Route du Jaun & Route de Pra Riond) → Jaun (Route de la Jogne, Route Pont-du Javro, La Tzintre & Haupstrasse) → Boltigen (Jaunpassstrasse & 11) → Wilderswil (11, 6 & 8) → Grindelwald (Grenchenstrasse, Haupstrasse & Grindelwaldstrasse).
After packing and loading the luggage on the Morgans, we drive downhill to the closest petrol station to refuel. Once all cars are filled and ready to go, we drive through few villages before crossing the border. Once in Switzerland, we take the Swiss motorway towards Lausanne.
Charles decides to keep straight on the motorway, splitting from the squadron. He doesn’t feel very confident with his gearbox. He feels something is not working as it should, after the oil leak he got yesterday.
We drive carefully to avoid speeding, and we make it to Lutry on schedule. When we get to the agreed meeting point, Pedro and Didier are already there waiting for us at the Coop parking. It’s so nice to see them again!
Pedro has some nice things for us: the 3D printed bins for our 3-Wheelers! We are many who always thought about putting some kind of tray in front of the gearbox stick. There is space for a little tray, and it could be useful to drop keys, garage door remotes, sunglasses, or anything else.
But Pedro is the first one (as far as we know) who has made a proper 3D design and used a 3D printer to manufacture these amazing bins. The best point of using a 3D printer is that we have a huge palette of colors to choose from! And it can be personalized with a logo if you want to!
When Pedro shared his idea on the big WhatsApp chat of the Grindelwald assistants, the success was immediate. He got dozens of orders for this fantastic bin. In our case, he proposed to print ours with our Speedy Marmots logo at the bottom of the tray. We love it!
And we can see it’s, as expected, a very practical bin! Pedro carries his sunglasses, EarPods and wallet there on hand while he is driving, showing that this bin is larger than we imagined.
After the warm reencounter with Pedro and Didier, we buy some light sandwiches at the Coop, as we plan to continue without more stops until Grindelwald. Sandwiches finished and we’re good to go!
From here we’re not taking more motorways. And we’ll do first the beautiful Route de la Corniche. This is a narrow twisty road over the Leman Lake, in the middle of the Swiss vineyards.
This is the area called the Lavaux Vineyards, a stunning landscape qualified as Unesco World Heritage site, and it’s totally worth a drive. The terraced vineyards pour their intense green into Lake Leman.
The beauty of the place is overwhelming. It is these kinds of roads that make our trips on the Morgan so special.
As usual, and because we’re leading the squadron, we regularly check the rearview mirrors to make sure that everyone is behind. But when we’re arriving to the small village of Cully, we can’t see any other cars but Didier’s. He is just behind us but no one else is following. We stop and wait, hoping nothing serious happened.
After a few minutes we receive a WhatsApp: Steve’s car had a small fuel leak. He smelled the spray and stopped immediately. One of the high-pressure hoses was leaking at one connection. Nothing serious, and easy to fix. At least for him, of course!
It takes them 15 minutes to solve the issue and get where we are waiting. We hit the road again, still enjoying these amazing views over the Lake Leman, as we drive relaxed in the middle of the vineyards.
We finish our trip through the Lavaux Vineyards in Vevey, just by the shore of the lake. From there, we take the road 12 (not the motorway) uphill and reach Bulle and pass very close to Gruyères. Maybe next time we’ll stop at Gruyères for lunch? Raclette and fondue mandatory! And of course, some meringues with heavy cream for dessert… But not today! We keep driving towards Jaun, looking for the Jaunpass.
We’re driving through the classic Swiss scenery: green hills, dense forests, cows grazing on the roadside, and today the extra of an intense blue sky and the sun shining!
We pass Jaun and climb to the Jaunpass. The uphill is a very twisted but fast road, that delights all members of the squadron. And the downhill is even better! Not that fast, but because we find a series of hard hairpins, challenging the steering of the little 3-Wheelers. But this is the perfect type of road for these machines! If the driver is skilled and experienced, there are very few vehicles capable to follow a 3-Wheeler on this type of road.
After enjoying the descent of the Jaunpass like children, we connect with the well-known highway 11 that takes us to Thun and Interlaken. From here the driving is calmer and allows us to enjoy the alpine landscapes on the way to Grindelwald.
We arrive to Interlaken relatively soon, and while crossing Wilderswil, and in the valley towards Grindelwald, we still enjoy a beautiful blue sky.
We’re back! Yes, we made it another year to Grindelwald! We arrived relatively early in the afternoon, and we quickly make ourselves comfortable at the Bernerhof Hotel.
Charles has also arrived, but his gearbox is apparently broken, stuck in reverse when he maneuvered to park in the back of the hotel. He calls Steve for help. Now there is no choice but to take off the seats and other pieces with upholstery out of the car, so we can access the gearbox. And what a surprise: his gearbox upper part, the one holding the stick, is open. The bolts came loose and that’s why he got this oil leakage yesterday! But the worst part is that with the top cover loose, the stick lost the connection with some kind of Teflon ball joint that connects the stick and its movements to the inside of the gearbox. That’s why he couldn’t change gears anymore!
If this happens to anyone else, it could be catastrophic. But Charles is skilled, and Steve is from another planet when it’s about 3-Wheeler mechanics. So, they fix the mess together in approximately one hour, and Charles’ car is ready for action once again!
Meanwhile, Ana Maria and I are shopping around in Grindelwald. She needs new technical trousers for the Morgan! She finally finds a pair she likes, and we’re back to the hotel with our shopping bag and a smile on her face.
Tonight, there is a welcome dinner at the Hotel Kreuz & Post, organized by Laurens and Rineke. But unfortunately, Ana Maria is working until late with her laptop, and when we try to join the party it’s too late and all tables are full. So, we walk up the street and have a nice couple dinner at the C und M. The sightseen from the terrace is incredible.
After dinner, we join the party at the Kreuz & Post for the drinks! It’s being another great day enjoying the Morgans and our friends! After the mandatory beers, it’s time to rest for tomorrow’s first day of this 10th Anniversary Grindelwald meeting!
Day 9 – September 1st: first day of the 10th Jungfrau-Treffen
Today the sun is shining in the blue alpine sky!
After the mandatory breakfast at the hotel, first thing to do in the morning is to refuel the Morgan. I drive the machine solo to the Shell fuel station, planning to fill it with nice and fresh 100 octane juice. It’s still relatively early and the fuel station is empty. When I’m refueling, the first colleague 3-Wheeler I see today stops to refuel here too. And it’s not just another 3-Wheeler, but a P101! One of the latest beasts to leave the Malvern factory!
The owner is Michael Ittensohn, a Swiss enthusiastic driver. He acquired his P101 recently, and I believe he just told me that I’m the first 3-Wheeler he sees on the road, apart his, obviously. It might be quite curious to see another one for the first time but coming from Spain! We have a super nice chat. What a nice guy!
We end up filling our tanks and drive back uphill towards the main parking in Grindelwald, in front of our hotel, where we’re all supposed to meet this morning.
Some of the drivers are already there, with their Morgans sunbathing at the back of the esplanade. Michael and I park ours side by side. And keep talking and looking at the spectacle of the many 3-wheelers arriving little by little.
Michael is waiting for a friend of his, Jose, of Spanish origin, who will join him as a copilot today. This is a surprise for Jose, as Michael hasn’t told him he bought his P101 and even less that today he’ll be joining a gang of crazy 3-Wheeler drivers coming from all over Europe!
Jose is another car enthusiast, and he seems to be enjoying as much as Michael such an original surprise!
This is the 10th anniversary of this Jungfrau-Treffen meeting, so a special year! And we’re expecting many to participate. This first day we can count thirty-four 3-wheelers in the parking! And Laurens and Rineke expect a few more to arrive for the weekend!
It’s impressive! It might be the largest Morgan 3-Wheeler meeting in Europe! What an incredible meeting. We can see so many modifications and different styles. It’s overwhelming. We can clearly see why the Morgan 3-Wheeler is such a peculiar and incredible vehicle.
Laurens and Rineke do their mandatory debriefing for today’s route, and we’re ready to go! The sound of such a massive swarm of 3-Wheelers starting the big V-Twins is like a thunderstorm. Many people who gathered by the parking to admire our machines cheers the roaring and wave goodbye as we drive down the street.
Today’s route was carefully planned by Laurens and Rineke. The morning part goes as follows:
It’s always a fantastic experience to drive with other 3-Wheelers. We really miss this in Spain, where, despite our efforts, we haven’t succeeded to find other 3-Wheeler owners willing to share adventures with us.
On our way out of Grindelwald, driving down to Interlaken, we’re the center of attention of everyone crossing us. It’s not every day that you can see a Morgan 3-Wheeler on the road! So, how about thirty-four of them?
The road on the North side of the Thunersee is an amazing piece of engineering and offers stunning views over the lake and some great tunnels in which the 3-Wheeler exhaust are much louder than usual… probably because many downshift on purpose to rev the engine and make it louder just for the fun!
The expedition today is enormous, and despite the large number of vehicles, we manage to keep all together during the whole morning and without incidents.
The driving through the Swiss landscapes is beautiful today, with a bright sun shining up in the blue summer sky and very little traffic on the selected roads.
The views are stunning. This region of the Swiss alps is probably one of the best places in Europe to enjoy the drive.
Once we’re in Thun, we drive uphill again, and cross Steffisburg. While we’re crossing the village, we see a few groups of children walking aside the street. And they immediately cheer up with our passage, some of them asking us to rev-up the engines to amplify the sound. It’s fun to see how everyone enjoys the passage of the 3-Wheelers.
We finally get to the lunch stop: the Gasthaus Siehen restaurant. We align the cars properly in the large parking and sit down in the terrace to enjoy a nice meal. During this lunchtime, Rineke gives us the t-shirts and badges specially made for this 10th anniversary edition. The badge is beautiful. Ana Maria and I are happy we ordered one!
It’s a very nice badge, made of steel and with a proper enamel drawing. It looks fantastic!
After the nice lunch and some coffee, it’s time to hit the road again! We all go to our cars and little by little start the engines, getting ready for the afternoon drive back to Grindelwald.
Just after leaving the restaurant, we’re driving behind Steve when we sense a strong gasoline smell. It’s Steve’s car that got another fuel hose connection leaking! We stop by him and ask if he wants us to help or just wait for him, but he seems calm and just tell us to keep going. He is confident he will fix it fast. And he does! So, few minutes later he is catching up with the group.
We get back driving on more small secondary alpine roads, crossing woods and small villages. We find very little traffic and the whole group drives relaxed back to Grindelwald.
Once in Grindelwald, Ana Maria and I head direct to the parking. This year, instead of parking outside with the rest of the members of our squadron, behind the Bernerhof Hotel, Ana Maria got an indoor garage spot included in the price she negotiated with the hotel. It’s a strange feeling not to park aside our friends, but the advantages of an indoor garage are clear, and we don’t hesitate to use it.
We have just time to get a quick shower and get ready to drive again, this time to do an amazing uphill to the restaurant where we’ll enjoy dinner tonight: the Schreckfeld restaurant at 1.962 m altitude.
We’re taking the Grosse Scheidegg pass, which is a tiny road usually not open to the public. We enjoy every meter of this route! The weather is still nice, and the views get better and better as we gain altitude.
The road is tiny and steep, so the convoy progresses relatively slow. And this is fantastic as we have time to enjoy the sights, and we appreciate more details of the landscape.
This is a very isolated road. No cars here, except the residents’ ones. And few valiant cyclists.
At a certain point we cross a car pulling a trailer. The 3-Wheeler is not precisely easy to maneuver but we’re forced to, as the car has the priority because he is pulling a trailer, meaning we are the ones having to reverse. After some funny minutes of 3-Wheelers pulling aside here and there, we manage to leave a gap big enough for the farmer to drive down the road, and we’re free to keep going up again.
Midway up to the restaurant, Franck’s 3-Wheeler starts misfiring seriously, and he is forced to stop and let pass the whole swarm. As usual, “Steve the Savior” stops by and stays with Franck trying to find the reason why his car said “enough” in such an uncomfortable cold and high-altitude spot.
While Steve and other good Samaritans try to restart Franck’s stubborn 3-Wheeler, the rest of the gang progresses uphill, reaching the restaurant.
We arrange the 3-Wheelers here and there while many approach to admire the machines. The funny thing is that these are not human, but a big herd of cows!
The cows literally run from all over the hills around the restaurant towards us and stay as close as possible to the cars, staring at everyone here.
Just in case any vicious cow tries to assault the cars, we leave Pierre the mog-bear in charge of the surveillance!
While we wait for Steve, Franck, and the others to reach us, we admire the breathtaking views from such a high position.
The sightseen over the Grindelwald valley and the peaks in front of us are stunning.
From up here we have quite a clear view over the road we’ve taken to get here. And we try to spot Franck and Steve, but no sign of them yet.
It’s getting dark and cold. So, just after seeing a fat fox running not far from where we are, we decide to get into the restaurant.
A few moments later, Franck and Steve arrive. They couldn’t fix the misfire, and they left Franck’s car parked where it stalled. They’ll recover it after dinner on the way back. As it’s downhill from there, for sure Franck will be able to drive it back to Grindelwald, and hopefully at some point, with lower altitude and air richer in oxygen his engine will come back to life.
We enjoy a classic cheese fondue, cold beers, and the best company! We must thank Laurens and Rineke again for such a wonderful organization!
After dinner, now totally dark, we drive back to Grindelwald. It’s not raining but foggy at some points of the tiny road.
This is the first time that we really drive at night with our new LED headlamps…. And Holly Molly! The improvement is simply amazing. We can properly see at night now! In some zones we drive a little slower, leaving enough space with the cars preceding us, so we can put the high beams on. Oh my God! It’s like having military anti-aircraft spotlights! The safety improvement is incredible. We hardly recommend everyone to change their standard halogen headlamps for these LED ones. The improvement is simply stunning.
We make it comfortably warm to the hotel, covered with our fleece Morgan blanked and the heated seats on. It’s been a long and beautiful day!
Day 10 – September 2nd: second day of the 10th Jungfrau-Treffen
We wake up with another sunny day in Grindelwald. It seems that the unpredictable alpine weather is going to be kind to us one more day.
We gather again at the end of the main bus parking area in front of the Hotel Bernerhof. The departure is planned for 10:00.
We start the engines on time, and the 3-Wheelers’ swarm takes off towards Wilderswil, down the valley.
The route planned for this morning drive is as follows:
The indications given by Laurens and Rineke warn us about some road deviations. We must pay attention as we are many cars, and this time of the year the Swiss roads’ maintenance works are frequent, and we may find unpredicted deviations on the planned route.
The pack drives along the South shore of the Thunersee. No one has issues taking the indicated exits and turns, early this morning, despite the long convoy is split at some points with other vehicles inserting between the Morgans.
But when we pass Wimmis, the convoy is clearly split in two big groups. We’re driving in the second one, and at a certain point, we need to stop by the side of the road and check maps and navigation systems, because it looks like we missed a turn somewhere.
It takes just a few minutes to get on the correct path again and reconnect with the other half. Reunited, we drive towards the beautiful Gurnigel Pass, crossing some nice small villages and forests before reaching this famous mountain pass.
We’re really enjoying the drive, under a nice sun and through these Swiss alpine landscapes!
The Gurnigel Pass is a very nice road, and the sunny day is simply perfect, offering stunning views and a nice warm temperature. Some sharp turns, fast drive, and a lot of torque-enjoying moments with the S&S big block purring.
The destination for lunch is a known place: the Schwarzsee. There is a very nice and posh restaurant there, the SchwarzseeStärn, where we enjoyed a lunch last year.
When we arrive, we have a great surprise waiting for us! Parked at the front door of the restaurant there is one prototype of the brand-new Morgan Super 3! How is that? Laurens contacted Morgan Motor Company and they talked about this special 10th anniversary of the Jungfrau-Treffen he was preparing. And they thought it was the perfect occasion to show the new 3-wheeler model to a lot of enthusiasts.
The prototype was driven from Malvern to Switzerland by Steve Morris, Morgan’s CEO. He came accompanied by his wife as copilot in the Super 3, and a couple of friends who were driving a new Plus Four.
This is a fantastic surprise. And everyone in the group highly appreciates the gesture of Steve Morris to drive the Super 3 here to show it to us.
This prototype vehicle comes in a nice metallic silver color combined with blue leather upholstery, and most of the options such as the side luggage bags, and the rear luggage rack.
It’s really nice to see this new model amongst all our 3-Wheelers. We are all inspecting the new model in detail and can see many differences, obviously. Some say they like it; some say they don’t. But the truth is that this is a fantastic new product, with apparently a clear step forward in technology and assembly quality.
Is this just the first impression, at first sight? Or has this new vehicle really an improved engineering compared to ours? Only time will say!
But there is something clear regarding the new model: this is the logical and only possible evolution of a 3-Wheeler, at least for the European market. Because there is no V-Twin available that you can couple with a traditional transmission such as the one on our beloved machines, and compliant with the Euro6 emissions’ mandatory specifications.
The look of the Super 3 is so much different than our model. It doesn’t look “vintage” anymore, it’s bigger, and the engine is 3 cylinders hidden under the bonnet. No bright exhausts, nor a massive V-Twin at the front anymore. But I insist: we’re told there was no possible way to couple a modern V-Twin to the classic Mazda 5 speed gearbox. All possible candidates complying with the Euro6 norms are pure motorcycle engines, that come with their gearbox integrated, and constructed in such a way that they can’t be coupled to a 3-Wheeler without dramatical modifications.
This said, we personally think this new Super 3 is a beautiful machine, very different but with its own charm. And we hope it will be a success for Morgan Motor Company.
Steve Morris will stay the next days in Grindelwald with all the gang, so, we’ll have many more occasions to check over this new Super 3. After the surprise encounter, we all sit down for the nice lunch that was waiting for us at the SchwarzseeStärn.
After lunch, we make sure we visit the toilets before jumping again in our cars. We still remember the critical situation we suffered last year after the lunch here! No more exploding bladders please!
Everyone gets into their cockpits, and we fire the engines. All cars align on the road after exiting the restaurant’s parking area, ready for takeoff.
And we’re good to go! Revs up! And the huge roaring of the more than thirty S&S V-Twins echoes in the valley.
But we’re forced to stop very soon. Why is that? It happens that this time of the year is the Swiss tradition of taking the cows from high in the mountains back down to the valley, and they use the roads.
We need to stop the engines and wait for the cows and the villagers to pass us. We shouldn’t scare the animals! These big cows can do a real mess on a regular car, so we can imagine what they can do if they get nuts, and it occurs to them to ram one of our little rockets!
We’re talking and admiring the animals walking down the road when we suffer a biological attack! And a pretty stinky one… As animals they are, the cows decide to evacuate the processed grass anytime and anyplace. So, while they’re passing by us, one of them decides it’s the best time of the day to empty its tripes just by our Morgan.
The big problem is not the smell, but the shrapnel… As the soft paste falls onto the hard asphalt, barely one meter from our car, it splashes, leaving the Morgan’s side and my left arm covered in hot shrapnel. I think I even have some fragments stuck in my beard. While Ana Maria cries with laughter, it comforts me to think that I am not a vegetarian, and that any day I will have my revenge, with a good T-bone steak from one of these terrorist cows on my plate.
Not very further, we cross another cows’ parade. This time we’re luckier and they don’t shower us with their detritus.
We keep driving back to Grindelwald, enjoying the nice country-side Swiss roads, but it’s not sunny anymore. The sky is getting darker and menacing as we’re approaching Thun. It looks like the alpine weather is preparing a big summer thunderstorm…
We hope it won’t rain until we’re back to Grindelwald, but we soon see there are high chances it’s going to happen. So, we all stop and put on our raincoats, just in case. Ana Maria and I also remove our front GoPro, as its foam wind slayer gets soaked when it rains. And lucky we did it! Because few kilometers later, before reaching the Thunersee shore, it starts raining cats and dogs!
Ana Maria and I have nice raincoats, but it’s raining so much that’s not enough, and everyone gets wet for good! From time to time, it stops raining, but these are short intervals between big showers.
We’re thinking about Steve Morris and his wife. What a baptism! Now he knows the hard side of driving a three-wheeler! Maybe he’ll ask the engineering team in Malvern to design a proper hood for the Super 3?
We decide to keep going as we had no guarantee that it’s going to stop raining soon. We manage to reach Grindelwald without stopping, despite the rain is very hard in some parts of the road.
We quickly park the 3-Wheeler in the indoor parking. The good news is that the rain has cleaned the cow’s shit, and the Morgan looks clean again. We run into the hotel and enjoy a nice hot shower.
But the day is not finished! We have plans to climb up to 2.222 m altitude to enjoy dinner at the Mannlichen restaurant! This year again, Laurens and Rineke managed to have the mountain road open for us – it’s normally closed to regular traffic, as it’s used only for maintenance – and we all reunite at the parking around 19:00.
We take our best and warmer clothing for this short drive uphill, but it seems that the heavy rain has stopped. It’s still clouded, but not raining hard anymore. Just some light drizzle here and there while we’re reaching the top of the mountain.
Once at the top, we’re delighted by a beautiful orange and grey colored sky, as the sun goes down.
The stormy skies offer a stunning view over the Grindelwald valley, with the Eiger, the Jungfrau and the Monch peaks between golden clouds and some rainbows.
Everyone enjoys the moment and take many pictures before getting in the restaurant, where we’ll enjoy some Swiss specialties another year.
The dinner is delicious and the atmosphere, as always, very lively and fun.
We share anecdotes, interesting conversations, and at one point the group offers Laurens and Rineke a special gift – a weekend at a spa hotel – as a thank you for so much attention and such a fantastic organization.
We also have a special mention and thanks for Steve and Craig, from M3W Services, because they’re not just friends but our saviors on many occasions. Their mechanical skills with our 5-speeders are becoming legendary!
Time to drive downhill, back to Grindelwald! Fortunately, it’s not raining at all anymore, and we can drive carefully back to the hotel.
The heated seats of our 3-Wheelers, combined with the fleece Morgan blanked and warm clothes, makes this drive back quite comfortable despite the freezing cold in such altitudes.
It’s been a wonderful day, but hard because of the late afternoon heavy rains. We’re going to sleep deep tonight!
Day 11 – September 3rd: third day of the 10th Jungfrau-Treffen
Today is meant to be the greatest day. With the big mountain passes on the route. And being a Saturday, we expect even more 3-Wheelers to join the party.
But we wake up with a very cloudy sky. And the clouds are very dark, menacing heavy rain, as it happened yesterday late afternoon. In fact, we can see from our balcony that it’s already raining in part of the valley.
The WhatsApp chat is on fire! Everyone is checking his weather forecasts, and not only here in Grindelwald but along the planned route. Most of the apps are announcing a terrible day everywhere. In our case, we use the WeatherBug app. I personally like this particular app because it’s based on the information collected by the nearest airports’ meteorological services. What’s more precise and accurate than an airport meteorological service? It seems it’s going to be a very bad day. Rain and thunderstorms are announced almost everywhere.
But the summer weather here in the alps is so unpredictable! You can leave the valley under a sunny and blue sky and get soaked in a blink of an eye minutes later. Or you can start the engine under the darkest clouds but enjoy one of the best sunny days of the year! So, we’re many discussing and with mixed feelings about today’s drive.
The route that Laurens and Rineke planned today progresses first along the Brienzersee (Lake of Brienz), then heads towards the Brünig Pass, the Susten Pass, the Furka Pass, and finally the Tremola Pass, to reach Airolo and have lunch there. The only pass we haven’t done before is the Tremola, and I personally really want to do it. But this road is not asphalt but has an old stone pavement, and when it rains it is very frequent that they close it because it is slippery, especially for motorcycles.
In the parking we are some having this same bittersweet feeling: the itching for jumping into the Morgan and hit the road with the risk to get soaked and freeze or be conservative and stay warm and dry in Grindelwald. The ones convinced about the driving get prepared with their best rain clothes, helmets and all sort of scarfs and blankets.
Steve Morris shows us the fantastic clothing he got from Malle London, a superb-looking rain jacket with a special knee guard, that are tailor-made for the Super 3!
After many minutes weighing the pros and cons and knowing that driving the 3-Wheeler under heavy rain can be miserable, Ana Maria and I decide that today it is preferable to stay in Grindelwald. Thus, Ana Maria will also have the opportunity to carry out a lot of work that has been delayed. And if we see that the weather improves, we can visit the Lauterbrunnen area, which is very close to Grindelwald and is said to be beautiful.
So, we say goodbye and wish the best for the day to all the valiant pilots that will drive today. We really hope they’re lucky and don’t have much rain!
Some who don’t want to drive under the rain, but still want to go, decide to share the 3-Wheeler, instead of driving solo. Chas and Mario will go together today in Chas’s 3-Wheeler. And Steve gets a copilot too.
After the big squadron departure, we get back to the hotel. Ana Maria switches on her laptop and dives into work, while I relax and enjoy the warmth of the room, keeping an eye over the windows, hoping for a ray of sun to show up.
We have no news from the group. I’m checking the radar images and my guess is that they had a little rain clearance before getting to Brienz, and rain just after and up the mountain passes. The first few pictures they share in the WhatsApp chat show that the weather forecast was correct, mostly.
But in Grindelwald it keeps raining insistently for a couple of hours. It is not until noon that we see the first small clearings of blue sky between the black clouds. And the progress of the clouds in the radar image seems to offer a sunny window in the Lauterbrunnen area for the next hour.
We decide to jump in the Morgan and visit this village and the natural wonders it offers around. For sure Ana Maria will appreciate this break from work! The road to Lauterbrunnen is relatively short: while exiting the Grindelwald valley, instead of turning right towards Wilderswil and Interlaken, you turn left and drive upstream along the river. It’s just 17 km, meaning 25 minutes’ drive.
The scenery is beautiful. High stone walls on each side of the road and many waterfalls here and there.
We pass the village and stop to visit the famous Trümmelbachfälle. It’s a series of ten glacier-waterfalls inside the mountain, made accessible by a tunnel-lift carved into the mountain. This amazing natural spectacle drains the glacier defiles of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, with an average water flow of 20.000 liters per second!
After parking the Morgan by the café at the entrance, we pay the 14 CHF (Swiss Francs) each fee and walk to the elevator. The place is absolutely worth the visit! The engineering works done to carve the elevator’s tunnel, and all the path up along the waterfalls is impressive. And the force of the nature in this place is overwhelming.
This is a place you shouldn’t miss to visit if you’re in the area! On the one hand we’re sad because we’re not driving with our friends, but on the other hand we’re happy to have the opportunity to visit this place.
The way to do the tour is taking the elevator first, stepping out between waterfalls 6 and 7. And then walk up to waterfalls 7, 8 9 and 10. To walk downstairs back to the bottom. The complete tour inside the waterfalls takes approximately one hour. There are a lot of stairs! You better are in good shape!
And take a raincoat in there! The spray of the waterfalls and the humidity in some parts of the path can get you soaked if you’re not wearing a waterproof jacket!
The glacier’s water has carved its path through the hard limestone for centuries and the magnitude of the water’s path is impressive.
We have enjoyed a long hour of partly cloudy weather, but as we walk back to the parking lot, it starts to rain again. This alpine weather is so erratic! We take refuge in the cafeteria next to the parking lot and wait for the rain to stop.
We enjoy our hot coffees for half an hour, until the sun appears again between the dark clouds. Then we drive back to Lauterbrunnen to enjoy our lunch there.
We park the Morgan at the end of the village and walk to the Weidstübli restaurant. We have a nice warm typical Swiss meal to recover our energy. We check the WhatsApp chat if there are any news of the group, and if they’ve being lucky avoiding the rain.
We can see some nice pictures of them driving up the Susten and Furka passes, and of course some of the Tremola Pass.
They suffered scattered showers along the route, and they crossed the Tremola under a thick fog hiding the scenery, and drizzling. What a pity! These are definitely not the best conditions to enjoy such wonderful roads.
According to some messages, it’s been raining hard in some parts of the route. But it’s not being a persistent rain at least! We agree it’s better to suffer short intense showers than having a permanent annoying rain. But the weather forecast was right. Rain and more rain, here and there.
They are now stopped having lunch, still with fog. We hope they’ll have better weather on the way back.
At least Ana Maria and I are enjoying few rays of sun here in Lauterbrunnen! The meal is delicious, and the restaurant is very calm and cozy. A nice spot to be noted for future visits to this village.
We drive back to Grindelwald before the heavy rains come back in our area. Even though the sun timidly shows up from time to time, intermittent showers continue to fall, although fortunately the rain is still light.
It’s being a short drive today, but the visit to Lauterbrunnen and the Trümmelbachfälle was absolutely fantastic. And it helped us to rest and recover our energies.
Entering Grindelwald we fill the tank to the top, again with juicy 100 octane Shell V-Power gasoline. And after parking the Morgan, we check everything is in order for tomorrow’s trip back to France.
Back in the hotel, we are happy to be here dry and warm, as outside it’s starting to rain intensively again. And it doesn’t stop raining until late in the afternoon, around half past five.
We’re enjoying the light and sights from our balcony when we receive a message from Christian and other ones that stayed in Grindelwald, saying they’re downstairs having a beer.
No need to say that we quickly join them! We enjoy our beers checking the WhatsApp chat for news and waiting for the squadron to come back here.
It seems that they’re having much better weather on the way back. Still with intermittent showers, but shorter and not so intense, and even some blue skies now that they’re arriving to Grindelwald.
They crossed again some of the cows’ parades around Innertkirchen. There the people of the town dress up in their typical costumes and decorate their cows with more care, since Innertkirchen is precisely where the most tourists are attracted by the celebrations related to this colorful event.
We admire the Morgans entering Grindelwald, by groups. Some have a big smile on their face, and others look really tired. It’s been a hard day! It’s logical, as it’s being a long drive, and under the rain in many parts of the route.
We enjoy the mandatory beers with the anecdotes of the day. A good one is that Charles was driving down the Grimsel Pass when he saw a suction cup on the asphalt. He stopped and collected it, and it happened to be the suction cup of a Morgan 3-Wheeler luggage rack. It was John and Marian’s! They’re lucky that Charles has a very keen eye! Otherwise, their trip back to the UK, without a proper support in the back of their luggage rack, would get unnecessarily complicated.
At 20:00 we all meet again at the restaurant Da Salvi for the farewell dinner. There is a great ambience. Chas and Mario decide to put on the Scottish kilts they bought during their recent trip to Scotland. Pure Afghan wool and manufacture! LOL!
Dinner is great. It’s so nice and relaxed to share these moments with so many friends!
Leaving dinner, it’s time to say goodbye to everyone. Because tomorrow morning we may not see most of them before we takeoff back to France.
We walk the street back to the hotel, behind Chas and Mario. We don’t know if crossing these two at night, dressed like this, is funny or scary!
Back in our room, we pack things as much as possible, and make sure than all batteries are full, helmets clean, and the navigator’s roadbook and stopwatch ready for the copilot.
The organization of this 10th Jungfrau-Treffen was incredible! We thank again Laurens and Rineke for such an amazing work! Your gathering in Switzerland always let us with wonderful memories!
Day 12 – September 4th: Grindelwald to Pérouges
This is the last day in Switzerland. Our small squadron splits here another year. Mario will drive back to Germany, but the rest of us will keep together back to Montignac-de-Lauzun. Charles is coming with us too, because he wants to let his 3-Wheeler in the hands of M3W Services with Steve and Chas, instead of driving it back to the UK as he did the previous years. We’ll be four cars then: Chas, Steve, Charles, and the Speedy Marmots.
For the first section of today’s route, to the outskirts of Montreux, Pedro and Didier will join us this year again. So, the squadron’s debriefing and takeoff today is for six 3-Wheelers.
We all meet as usual at the parking area in front of the hotel. We do the very last checks, say goodbye to Mario, Victoria (Pedro’s wife) and Caroline (Didier’s wife), and fire the engines.
Yesterday it was raining cats and dogs, but today the sun is shining in an intense blue sky. The weather is so crazy and unpredictable here! But hey! We won’t complain if the road is dry, and the traffic is light!
The first part of today’s route is taking us through some areas we already know. But we’ll go a little bit further and reach the shore of the Gruyère Lake. The roads are a pure delight today! Sunny weather, twisted roads crossing green prairies and dense forests, and very few cars in sight. We just need to be careful with cyclist. On Sundays these isolated roads are precisely full of them, because, like us, they try to avoid the main busy roads.
We make a first stop at Plaffeien. A classic short stop to drink a coffee or soda, and the mandatory visit to the local coffee shop toilet. We will keep together until the outskirts of Montreux, but as we don’t plan to stop before that, we say goodbye to Pedro and Didier here, because they’ll split from us in the motorway.
The route today takes us across many of these beautiful Swiss wooden bridges, over small rivers here and there. These roads are not mountain passes, but they offer a great Swiss charm too!
As we commented at the beginning of this very long post, this year we decided to use motorways too, instead of driving only on secondary roads. Because we want to get faster to Montignac-de-Lauzun, with just one overnight instead of two.
Once on the motorway, we cruise at nice speeds in the traffic. But it’s not too dense and we keep all together without any incident. Just after crossing the border, in France, we make a refuel stop and grab something light.
The French motorways allow us to drive at 130 km/h. The 3-Wheeler his plenty of power to keep this speed – and more if necessary – and the airflow is great to keep the engines cool.
We don’t drive as a pack, as with the curious filming and taking pictures become sometimes annoying. Therefore, we change speeds and lanes accordingly to make our trip more comfortable and agile. And Steve and Chas have the little transponder for the tolls, so they pass them using the special lanes much quicker than we do.
We take the exit taking us to Varambon. We could keep on the motorway more kilometers, but we planned the route that way, to have a nice end on isolated secondary roads before our arrival to Pérouges.
Pérouges is a beautiful medieval village, just before arriving to Lyon (from Geneva). Ana Maria chose this village for our overnight, because it’s really worth a visit. The village inside the city walls is for pedestrians only, but as we’re going to stay at the Hostellerie du Vieux Pérouges, inside the walls, we’re allowed to drive the Morgans to the center.
Our entrance in the old city, as you can imagine, is a big event for all the tourists that are walking the narrow streets this afternoon. Plenty of pictures taken and dozens of curious people gathering around the 3-Wheelers.
We leave the cars parked in the main square while we’re doing the check-in.
The Hostellerie du Vieux Pérouges is a really special hotel, composed by few of the medieval buildings of this historic village. We’re sleeping in rooms situated in a very old stone tower, few meters away from the main square.
The rooms are decorated according to the historic place. Very large rooms, with high ceilings and wood flooring, and medieval furniture. The wood cracks everywhere, but it’s part of the charm of this hotel.
After dropping our luggage in the room, we come back to the main square to move the 3-Wheelers to a parking place, hidden in the garden of another building of the hotel. We leave the Morgans resting under the shade of the old trees, but Charles, who prefers to leave his under the sun. When we ask him why, he reminds us that birds sleep in trees, and that he doesn’t want to be cleaning bird drops all over the car in the morning. Good point. But we’ll take the risk!
We come back to the rooms to have a nice shower. Ana Maria goes first, and she has no complaints with the bathroom. But when it’s my turn, I struggle to regulate the water temperature. I’m showering with warm water, suddenly it’s freezing, and seconds after I try to regulate opening more the hot tap, it’s boiling. What’s going on? I’m getting crazy!
After the shower we all come downstairs and walk to the main square, to sit and enjoy a cold beer in one of the terraces there.
It’s very sunny, and we relax watching the tourists leaving the place little by little, until the main square is almost empty.
It’s a beautiful place. And the last rays of the sun enhance the charm of the buildings around the square.
Talking about the shower and my issue with the water temperature, Charles tells me, giggling, that he was cleaning some clothes in his bathroom, side-by-side to ours, opening and closing intermittently his hot tap. And we assume he was the cause of my despair. The water system in the hotel is clearly not of the latest technology!
We finish our beers and head to the hotel restaurant, across the square.
The sun is hiding fast now. The village is really quiet, and we don’t see tourists anymore. It seems like closing time.
As we’re taking some appetizers and reading the menu, we see through the window some girls dressed quite weird. Like disguised in a burlesque way. And taking many pictures of themselves posing in strange manners. What’s going on?
We guess there is some kind of comic convention or meeting. It’s fun to see their aspect and the silly ways they pose for the camera. Moments later they disappear as fast as they came, and the village seems deserted again.
We have a fabulous dinner. Really nice chef they have here! The menu is classic French cuisine, and the quality is excellent.
After dinner, we do a short walk around the village. It’s a very small village inside the walls. Genuine medieval. Most of the buildings are nicely restored.
There is no one else on the streets now. This is clearly a day tourist place. At night it’s silent and absolutely empty.
The only thing alive we cross is a caring cat. She purrs during minutes while we pet her, and she follows us for a while asking for more.
We love this place. It was a very good choice for our stop tonight! We walk for half an hour, more or less, and come back to the hotel.
We climb the stairs of the tower and head to our rooms for the night. The building is in total silence. We only hear the distant cracking of the wood flooring when someone walks in another room close-by. We guess we are the only guests tonight. At least in this building. We quickly fall asleep.
Day 13 – September 5th: Pérouges to Montignac-De-Lauzun
We slept like logs! The place is so quiet! The village is still completely empty when we come downstairs.
We have a nice early morning walk in the village. We love Pérouges! It’s being a fantastic choice for our stopover.
We look for an open coffee shop where to have a light breakfast. They are not many in this tiny village, but we manage to get some coffees.
After enjoying the hot drinks and the morning rays of sun, we take the 3-Wheelers to the main square for the check-out and to load the luggage here.
We take a lot of nice pictures with no one around, because the village is still totally deserted. The scenery is really unique!
It’s not every day that you have the main square of such a beautiful French medieval village for your own!
The cars shine with the morning light, and the frame is perfect for the photo shoot.
It’s going to be another sunny day. As we’re not anymore in the Alps, the weather forecast is stable and announces sun along the whole route. We revise together the planned route before jumping into our cockpits. Today we’ll drive on motorways as much as possible, as we want to get to Montignac-De-Lauzun just after lunch.
Everyone gets ready, route clearly in mind, and we start the engines!
Ana Maria is our navigator again. She jumps into our Morgan, after taking the pictures above, and we put helmets on, check the intercoms are working, and go!
We exit Pérouges through the main medieval gate, and head to the closest petrol station first.
Today we’re not driving with the GoPro in the front, just the one on hand for Ana Maria to take short videos if we see something worth it. Because today we’re driving hundreds of kilometers on motorways, and there it’s unusual to have interesting video situations. But we still get a few nice pics of our rockets at high speeds in the French motorways.
We need to be careful and drink regularly, as driving in the open air makes you feel fresh, but reality is that it’s still summer, and it’s a very hot day with an intense sun hitting our helmets and bodies. Under these circumstances you can get dehydrated very quick without noticing it!
These 3-Wheelers are fast on the motorway too! The 2.0 liters massive V-Twin has such torque that we need to be careful not to speed over the 130 km/h limit.
After a couple of short stops, we finally arrive to Montignac-De-Lauzun. Ana Maria and I head to Steve and Annette’s place, to pick up our Land Rover and take it to Le Papillon in the village.
Once we’re at Le Papillon, we quickly download all the luggage and keep the Morgan inside the garage. A nice refreshing shower and we’re like new!
We go back to Steve and Annette’s for dinner at 19:30. Wow! Annette is an amazing cook, and again this year she has prepared a special menu: a lot of Indian stews and side dishes. Everything is delicious! The dinner is so relaxing and nice! When we’re here in Montignac-De-Lauzun, despite we’re hundreds of kilometers from Madrid, we feel like home. The company of our friends, the home-made food, the relaxed ambience. We are totally in love with this French region.
Day 14 – September 6th: French local markets
We wake up at Le Papillon, comfortably in “our” room, after a great night. Dinner yesterday at Steve and Annette’s was amazing. A little bit of excess of delicious Indian cuisine with beers took us to bed early, where we fell asleep in seconds.
Today we have two things to do. The first one is changing our front tyres for brand new Blockleys. It is time, as the Avons we have right now are almost gone. They lasted for a couple of Gridelwald trips and few “short fighter missions”. But after thousands of kilometers, it’s time to get new fresh ones. It’s nice that M3W Services has Blockleys on stock, amongst other brands. It’s the first time we’re mounting Blockleys, and we heard nothing but good critics.
We take the 3-Wheeler to M3W Services magic barn, and we take out the front wheels. We take the wheels, and the new Blockleys, to the Point-S at Miramont-De-Guyenne. They tell us that it’s going to take them a few hours, as they have previous appointments. No problem! We leave the wheels and tyres there and wait for their call when they’ll be ready.
The second thing we want to do today is getting to Castillonès, because today is Tuesday, meaning that there is a local market full of street food stalls, gathered with delicious products made by artisans from the region. As foodies we are, we can’t miss that! There we go! It’s just 25 min of relaxed drive from Miramont-De-Guyenne.
We park just by the street where the market is, and we start walking, drooling in front of every food table. The first one is dedicated to home-made pâtés. Goose, duck, pork, beef, volaille’s, wild boar, deer… Ana Maria has to pull me out of there as I was hypnotized staring at the clay molds in which they present all these delicacies.
A little bit further we feel some kind of traction beam pulling us towards a big white food stall. And this smell… It’s a cheese shop. Artisan French cheese, in a French village weekly food market! If you like cheese, you’re in paradise. We stare at the dozens – maybe more than a hundred? – different delicacies.
But the best is to come: the guy asks us if we would like to taste some. And as soon as Ana Maria replies, he detects her accent and asks where we’re from. She tells him she is from Guatemala but we live in Madrid, so we’re just passing-by, and then he gets like crazy and asks us to stay. And he starts offering small pieces of everyone and all possible cheese he offers, explaining with such passion each one of them! We stay there like half an hour and buy some kilos – yes kilos, I’m not exaggerating – of different French cheese.
The good point is that we have a portable cool box, almost hermetic, in which we can carry the smelly cargo to Madrid. Otherwise, the Land Rover would be like a gas chamber after a few kilometers!
After the market visit in Castillonès, we head towards Eymet, where we want to have lunch in a restaurant called La Cour d’Eymet.
When we come into the restaurant, we see we’re just the second guests they have. So, just two tables. The chef comes out to say hello and explains the different options he offers today. Everything sounds delicious, and we take few minutes to decide.
The descriptions on the chalk board look quite complex. They look very good, but we don’t know if the result, in a small village such as Eymet, will be as good as it sounds when you read it. But we’re in France! And here “cuisine” is a very special word… Oh My God! The meal is outstanding! What a place! We enjoy every plate we’re served. Each one more delicious than the previous one! This is a place we’ll remember and come back for sure next time we’ll be here.
After the fantastic meal, we drive back to Le Papillon. We quickly put the cheese in the fridge and think of having a nice repairing siesta. We need to recharge our energies, as tomorrow we’ll drive back to Madrid, pulling the trailer with the Morgan in it.
But we still have our wheels at the Point-S! They still haven’t called, so I decide to drive there and put some pressure with my presence. Ana Maria stays at Le Papillon working on her laptop.
When I arrive to the Point-S, the tyres are still untouched. I kindly ask them if they can do them next, explaining that we’re leaving early tomorrow, and I need to load the Morgan on the trailer as soon as possible this afternoon. They’re nice, and despite they’re overloaded with appointments, while I just jumped in without previous notice, they tell me they’ll do one more car and then they’ll take care of our wheels.
Excellent! I even have time to buy a white marker and paint in white the Blockley lettering on the side of the tyres! I like the result. The car looks more vintage with the Blockley letters painted in white.
Once they’re finished, I come back to Le Papillon, and take time to clean the wheels properly, as it’s much easier when they’re off the car. Then we both drive back to M3W Services and put the wheels back on and load the 3-Wheeler into the trailer.
We say goodbye to Steve and Annette because the plan is to leave tomorrow relatively early. We check the pressure of the tyres of the Land Rover and the trailer, and finally we hitch the trailer to the big Defender. Minutes later, with a heavy heart, we say goodbye to such good friends and head back to Le Papillon.
We park the trailer and the Land Rover in front of the City Hall. I secure properly the Morgan with the strong ratchet straps, leaving everything ready for tomorrow morning.
Day 15 – September 7th: Montignac-De-Lauzun to Madrid
Today we have a very long journey. 720 kilometers and, as we’re driving with a trailer, we’re limited to 90 km/h on both in French and Spanish motorways, it’s going to be long…. Very long….
The route today is as follows:
We leave Montignac-De-Lauzun at 8:30. The first part of the route is on French small narrow roads. After crossing Saint-Barthélemy-d’Agenais, I hear an unusual noise coming from the trailer. I switch on the rearview camera to see the front of the trailer and I see that the jockey wheel came loose, and might be touching the asphalt at some points, causing that noise. I stop and put the jockey wheel back to its secure position.
We cross the Canal De Garonne, which is part of the Southern canal network of France, connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea.
We finally connect with the motorway and can use the cruise control and relax driving South towards Spain.
We cross at noon the French-Spanish border and stop to refuel. Everything is going well. We revise the trailer and no signs of anything going wrong. And we keep driving through the Spanish Basque Country. But I check again with the rearview camera the jockey wheel, and I can see it’s loose again! Why is that? It’s normally very tight and secure, but something is happening to it that it becomes loose. We stop at a petrol station, and we buy some elastic thick strings to hold it even more secure; and we take the motorway again, hoping it won’t bother anymore.
Then, like 20 km later on the motorway, we hear a bang and we clearly see there is something wrong with the trailer. I check the rearview mirrors and I can see that one of the left tyres is flat. We thank God we have two axles in our trailer! As we’re on the motorway, we can’t simply stop, so we slow down and keep going looking for the next exit, hoping the second left tyre holds the load as it should. I check the rearview camera thinking that the strings we just put may be the cause. That one came loose and fell under the wheels. But they’re in place.
We finally get to the next exit, and we stop just before the toll, in a large side area where we can replace the flat tyre.
Flat tyre! That’s not a flat tyre! It’s a disintegrated tyre! Holy cow! We check the broken tyre, and it looks like it exploded violently and was ripped away from the rim. Maybe the fact that we drove a couple of kilometers to this exit for sure made more damage to the tyre, but not so much! Looking carefully at the inside of the tyre we can clearly see that it’s a bad quality crap. We’re furious!
We send a picture of the incident to the squadron’s WhatsApp group, and Charles immediately spots a detail on the tyre wall: “Made in China”. No comments…
The good point is that we can change the tyre without even disengaging the trailer from the Land Rover. As it’s a tilting platform, when we tilt it, the front tyre – the one we must change – lifts in the air without needing a jack. So, the wheel change is relatively fast: it takes us approximately twenty minutes.
We’re lucky that we designed the trailer with two axles, and with a spare wheel. When we designed and ordered it, the two axles were mandatory for us. And now we thank to have taken this smart decision. If this accident would have happened with a single axle trailer, we can’t think of the consequences, carrying the Morgan on it.
We stop by the next petrol station to check the tyres pressure, and more precisely the one of the spare wheel we just put on. After having everything properly checked, we hit the road again, driving carefully and hoping we don’t have a second tyre blast.
We make it home without any other incident at 20:00. So, the total trip today took us 11h30min. We’re glad to be home!
Our Grindelwald trip came to an end. Fifteen days of adventures, enjoying the 3-Wheeler and our friends! We’re looking forward for the next “Long range campaign”!
NOTE: by the time we wrote this post, we already went to a tyre garage to check about the tyre blow. The specialist pointed out that the tyres we have on our trailer are very bad Chinese quality. With few (three) internal layers and not appropriate for a trailer that heavy. Thanks to the two axles, the tyres resisted until now, but the risk of another blow is high. The guys who made the trailer saved peanuts on the tyres! Really worth the savings? We’ll change the tyres for good quality appropriate ones as soon as possible.
Since we wrote down the worksheet for M3W Services, Chas and Steve were teasing me about the shock absorbers. Chas, Steve and Mario have the Öhlins installed back and front on their 3-Wheelers. They have tried the standard Spax, the adjustable Spax and of course the Öhlins. They say there’s a huge difference. That the car handles incredibly better. That the Öhlins are truly the best if you want to improve dynamically the 3-Wheeler.
Changing our standard Spax shock absorbers for a complete set of Öhlins is something lurking at the back of my head that bothers me. But the cost of these beautiful shock absorbers is high. Really high. We’re talking about thousands of Euros! And we’re already doing a massive investment on our 3-Wheeler with the Bleazey drive train upgrade, the fuel pump change, the rear disc brake conversion, LED headlamps, and some more little things here and there. We have to resist all the jokes and funny WhatsApp messages going in and out, silly pictures, puns, etc.
I start to wake up at night sweating thinking about adding them to the worksheet!
But do we drive the Morgan enough through the year to justify such a big extra investment? OMG we do! We’re already doing the Bleazey drive train upgrade because we really do long trips with the Morgan. And we plan to do more!
And Chas, Steve and Mario keep teasing us… “and you’re two in the car! That’s a lot more weight and you’ll feel even more the difference with the Öhlins”, “and you know we drive like lunatics on twisted roads” and “keep your Spax if you plan driving Miss Daisy”, bla bla bla…
Let’s be realistic: we’re not adding them because they’re very expensive, but if they’re so good as our colleagues say, we’ll really feel the difference and enjoy the upgrade, won’t we?
It’s July the 16th, our wedding anniversary. Ana Maria and I are having a nice breakfast in a terrace in Madrid center, chatting about different things, when we’re revising the last WhatsApp’s messages of the squadron group. They sent another teasing image again: M3W Services has a complete set of Öhlins with black springs that would look simply perfect on our 3-Wheeler.
We discuss again about the benefits versus the cost, make some numbers, and take one of the best decisions we’ve ever made regarding our Morgan: let’s change the shock absorbers for a complete set of Öhlins!
Ana María sends the message, making this official: “Me, the boss, approve the Öhlins!!!”. Followed by a couple of clear pictures.
As our 3-Wheeler is already at M3W Services facilities in Southern France, the following days Steve sends some pictures of the works in progress, and obviously some beautiful ones of our Öhlins being mounted.
I’m driving the Land Rover Defender from Madrid to Montignac-de-Lauzun on Wednesday the 24th of August. When I join our friends, all works on our 3-Wheeler are done! I’ll have few days to test drive the car before Ana Maria joins us on Saturday.
On Thursday I start-up the little rocket after all the modifications done by Steve: Bleazey drive train upgrade, new reinforced clutch plate, new Walbro fuel pump, the rear disc brake conversion, and some little details here and there that I’ll mention in a later post. And of course, the complete set of Öhlins! In fact, this is the major dynamic change – with the rear disc brake – done to the car.
Let’s see if they work as good as they look! The little secondary roads around Montignac-de-Lauzun are perfect for a test drive. No traffic at all, very good tarmac, roads wide for two cars, with nice visibility, plenty of curves… And as background an amazing landscape… The perfect scenario! I fire the engine and go! Just some kilometers warming up the engine and getting familiar with the new clutch (the pedal doesn’t disengage the clutch as it used to). I already feel a much smoother ride. But is it just my feeling or does the car really handle better?
It’s time to see! second gear, revs up to 4000 and right pedal to the floor. The little rocket is launched furiously towards the incoming curves while the engine goes over the 5000 rpm. And right, left, again left, hard braking, accelerating like crazy again… OMG!
I put this in a separate line and in capital letters, to send a clear message:
THE ÖHLINS ARE A MASSIVE IMPROVEMENT!!!
The way the car absorbs the tarmac irregularities and the grip in tight bumpy curves is light years away from what I was used to. Amazing! The handling now, combined with a harder brake pedal with the rear disc brake, is so much better!
But is this just my feeling? Am I cheating myself? On Saturday evening Ana Maria joins us at Montignac-de-Lauzun. As soon as she jumps into the Morgan and we drive around the village, she tells me she feels the car different. “How different?” I ask. “Like more stable. More secure. I feel much more comfortable and safe at high speeds”. So, it’s not just me! The Öhlins “Magic” is a fact!
Is this a mandatory upgrade for your Morgan 3-Wheeler? It depends on how you use the car. But for us, tourers and fast drivers, it’s probably the best dynamic improvement you can do on your little rocket!
What’s next? While our 3-Wheeler is in M3W Services in Southern France, Ana María and I discuss about other improvements that can be done to the vehicle. We still have many tasks on the list for Steve! Now we’re focusing on dynamic improvements!
And one of the best dynamic improvements offered by M3W Services – and exclusively – is the rear disc brake conversion.
During its presentation in the Geneva Motor Show in 2011, the new generation of the Morgan 3-Wheeler – known as the 5-Speeder – was equipped with a rear disc brake.
However, when the car came into production, Morgan Motor Company changed this rear disc brake for a drum brake. Why? It’s a fact that those first units shown in the 2011 Geneva Motor Show were prototypes and many modifications were done to the model when it came into production, but no one really knows the reason why they changed the rear disc brake for a drum…
Was this a wise decision? In my honest opinion, it was not. Don’t get me wrong: our 3-Wheeler rear drum brake always performed correctly, and the time we’re changing it, it’s still looking pretty good.
But that’s not a surprise, because our car is just two years and a half old, still has few kilometres, and in Madrid the weather is extremely dry reducing the risk of rust to the minimum.
Why have we decided to change the drum for this beautiful disc brake? First of all, because a disc brake has clear dynamic advantages compared to a drum one. Despite the modern drums perform pretty well, the disc is still a better option for many reasons, such as the lightness, faster cooling, no mushy feeling on the brake pedal when the pads get worn, not affected by water ingress and rust, etc.
In fact, the 3-Wheeler rear wheel drum’s cylinders are known to seize due to corrosion, causing the rear brake shoes to stick on.
For all these reasons, we decide to make this improvement on our Morgan. The M3W Services disc brake kit looks fantastic!
The kit was specifically designed for the Morgan 3-Wheeler, so it works perfectly balanced with the front disc brakes. When it comes to design a disc brake, you need to make the proper calculations and dimensional designs to get powerful and efficiently balanced front-and-rear braking system. It looks like M3W Services have done this perfect!
The quality of the materials looks fantastic, and despite every 3-Wheeler is hand-built and M3W Services found constructive and dimensional differences between cars, they managed to produce a high-quality kit that can be installed on any of our 5-Speeders.
The first test kits were mounted on Craig’s and Steve’s rockets last 2021 summer and tested under the hardest possible conditions. It is a fact that Steve was testing this kit in his black and orange high performance 3-Wheeler when we went to Grindelwald last September.
The trip was back and forth from Southern France to Switzerland, and I can tell you we were not driving precisely slowly in the French twisted roads and the mythical Swiss mountain passes! The rear disc brake performed amazing during the thousands of kilometres we made!
This disc brake kit fits perfect on our 3-Wheeler. It also includes the hand brake system, via a classic cable acting on a separate braking pad in the calliper. Neat and easy solution.
Once installed, the disc brake looks neat, in harmony with the wheel and the rear arm. The route of the brake fluid’s line and hand brake cable are so similar to the original drum brake ones, that everything is installed in a very clean way, without interferences with any other element of the car.
From the outside, it’s really hard to see that the car has a rear disc brake instead of the original drum. But from the dynamic point of view, we can feel a difference. The sensation while braking is more balanced, and with a harder feeling on the pedal. The braking power remains the same, but we really feel it’s easier to modulate and stop the car in a smoother way. Both Ana Maria and I feel more confident with the braking system now.
We think it’s worth to make this change, not only for the better reliability, but for the performance too! Another satisfying upgrade of our beloved little Morgan!
Following the philosophy of making our 3-Wheeler as reliable as possible, we asked M3W Services to replace our original fuel pump for a much more reliable Walbro one.
The fuel system of our 3-Wheelers is a little bit weird. Why are we saying that? Because it is!
First, you have a fuel pump that delivers 190 litres per hour while the S&S X-Wedge engine of our little rockets needs just 45 litres per hour. Why is that? We don’t know. As simple as that. We have no idea why they decided to install such an overflowing fuel pump. Which pump is that? It’s a late 1990s Land Rover Discovery V8. We still can’t imagine why they decided to use such a pump, designed for a huge old 3.9 litres V8 engine, to feed our 2 litres V2. But it’s OK, as the S&S fuel injection takes the excess flow back to the tank.
Second, the fuel is sucked by the pump at the bottom of the right tank, through a basic inlet filter. You may expect to have another proper fuel filter between the fuel pump and the engine, before it’s injected into the cylinders, right? The answer is no: there is none. Another weird feature of our fuel injection system… So, any dirt particles shall be retained by the sock-type filter at the fuel pump’s inlet, and only.
Third, when the fuel hoses arrive to the S&S engine, the hose does not split in two in a proper Y to feed symmetrically each cylinder, but it gets first to one injector, and then continues to the second. With the high pressure and exaggerated fuel flow, there is no problem with that, and the engine runs as it should. This is not a technical issue, really. As we say, it works properly. However, some purists prefer to modify the routing and make a real Y with symmetrical hoses feeding each cylinder, as shown in the below picture.
Fourth and final, on the way back to the fuel tanks, the excessive fuel flow encounters a fuel filter. Yes, on the way back! That’s probably the weirdest part of the standard system. Why is the fuel filter on the way back to the fuel tank, and not before the injectors? Isn’t the fuel supposed to be filtered before being injected, and not after? The thing is that this fuel filter is acting more as a pressure regulator than a filter. Strange but true. It’s a simple Mahle K167 model, and its purpose is to reduce the fuel pressure in the system to the minimum 58 psi needed to feed the engine. It’s placed at the back, fixed behind the seats. Consequently, the only fuel filtration in our standard fuel system is just the sock at the fuel pump’s inlet. For sure it’s not the best design…
M3W Services offers a fuel system upgrade, consisting in a proper filter on the way to the cylinders, and a pressure regulating valve with a fuel pressure gauge fixed by the side of the oil tank. A nice solution to convert your fuel system as it should.
It’s not a critical nor mandatory modification to be done in our 3-Wheelers, but we may do it in a close future, mostly for having a proper filtration before the injectors!
But hey! We’re drifting subject here! Let’s focus: the fuel pump. The Land Rover original fuel pump is not reliable. Period. Too many of them have failed. And if you’re not carrying a spare, it can fail, or not…. But if it fails, you’re done. It’s the end of the journey with the 3-Wheeler. You’ll need to be trailered back home, or back to your Morgan workshop.
If you drive with the original Land Rover fuel pump, and don’t carry any spare, it’s like playing the Russian Roulette! Amongst those who use to tour with the 3-Wheeler, there are few carrying a spare pump. But the wisest thing to do, in our honest opinion, is to change the Land Rover fuel pump for a much more reliable Walbro one. So, the chances of being stranded on the side of the road due to a fuel pump failure are greatly reduced.
The exact model to use is the Walbro GSS342. Be careful if you buy one on the Internet! There are many Chinese fake ones around! The real Walbro GSS342 has stainless steel internals, not plastic!
This is a DIY job if you are a good handyman. In fact, as this is a quite common failure, there is a fantastic guide to do it yourself: the “5-Speeder fuel pump replacement”, by Ian Brett and Andrew Warren.
We highly recommend following their guide if you want to replace your fuel pump by yourself. You’ll need some other parts, but easy to find, and within the mentioned guide you’ll find all the necessary references.
But in our case, as our 3-Wheeler was at M3W Services for the Bleazey drive train upgrade, we included this task within our wish list. And Steve replaced it for us. He was quite surprised about the colour of the fuel in our tanks: intense blue. This is because Repsol here in Spain colours his new generation gasolines with such blue. Curious and different.
Now we have a reliable Walbro GSS342 fuel pump installed in our right tank. We keep the original one, that was still in good working conditions, as a spare. It really doesn’t take much room and I guess we’ll carry it with us for the long tours.
This is another “peace of mind” upgrade. We’re working in the right direction! Our 3-Wheeler will soon be as reliable as possible!