After an early knock-back on safety grounds, the 21st century revival of a 1930s sports car is now looking much more likely to make local showrooms. Morgan importer Chris van Wyk says he believes the super-retro Morgan now satisfies the safety needs of Australian legislators and he is pushing ahead with a deal in Britain that will include crash testing for certification.
"Fingers crossed," van Wyk tells Carsguide. "The main thing is that we need to do some crash testing. That's the main obstacle. If that's alright, then I think we can make it."
He says he is hopeful that the Morgan can be classified as a type of trike for Australia, not a car, and that will ease its passage. "There are three categories of trike in Australia. We think we can get it through."
The three-wheeler Morgan has just had its first public outing in full road trim, with a demonstration run at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Britain. The car is also headed for full-scale production and van Wyk reports huge interest in Australia.
"We've had an extraordinary response. I've had over 70 inquiries. Everybody asks if it will ever be complianced for Australia," he says. "In fact, it's a maybe. Right at the minute they are trying to get production started. The capacity this year is 200 cars, and they have over 400 orders with deposits and over 4000 enquiries."
Van Wyk says he is relying on the three-wheeler as time is running out - fast - for regular Morgan sports cars. They are not fitted with ESP stability control, which becomes compulsory in Australia next year - following the lead in Victoria - with a limited allowance for cars already on sale.
"The classic Morgans die in Australia in November 2013 because of the traction control thing. That's the limit for existing models. I'll get as many cars as I can before then," van Wyk says. "I've taken 17 orders since September last year. We'll hit double- digits this year, which is a big first, and a big improvement over 2009 when we were a big fat zero. "But I need the three-wheeler now as my bread-and-butter car."