Steve Cropley: My Berlingo is beloved, but it's no Bentley


Getting stuff written for the magazine is a weird challenge at present, although not unpleasant if you enjoy banging the keyboard as most of us do.

We’re all frantically writing up features we’ve had in notebooks for a month or two (the kind you put off because they require an excess of brain strain), while Richard Lane, who handles our first drives section, is frantically “looking down the back of the sofa”, as our editor puts it, for stray driving tales.

He has found some, as you’ll discover over the next few weeks. The big Bentley will feature soon, but that will be an easy win. It’s a fabulous car and I’ve got a trip around Britain (full story coming) to draw upon.


Despite the lockdown, I’m having an odd mind affair with the Morgan 3 Wheeler. As soon as permitted, I’ll proceed hot-foot to Malvern Linkto borrow one for an afternoon to scratch the itch.

I’ve been on the configurator ridiculously often and can therefore tell you that the (excellent) Mog website currently features a perfect example in silver with a black centre-stripe. I’ve also watched innumerable YouTube videos. My finding: our own was the best. It’s the only one that doesn’t have the car plying endlessly back and forth through the same bend but shows it in actual use. And above all, it doesn’t feature (as most do) the too-long, over-the-top ravings of a self-obsessed lunatic with a selfie stick.

However, I can’t fully account for how I’m feeling. When we had a 3 Wheeler long-termer, the pedals were in the wrong place, so I found it hard to drive. I think I’m so keen now because the 3 Wheeler is 110% about freedom, a poignantly precious commodity. You don’t drive one of these to get places, impress people or pick up a chest of drawers. Like no other car, you do it for the pure, abandoned freedom of the road.

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A friend and MG F owner, Tim Morris, reminds me that this capable, good-looking but thoroughly overlooked roadster is 25 years old this month. It brings back memories: I was part of a hack coterie that gave the company management so much earache that they decided a mid-engined soft-top two-seater was just what the market needed. And I drove a prototype back to the office for photography from the original Gaydon launch.

Despite its quixotic gas-sphere suspension, I’ve always liked the F. It’s a shame more people didn’t take the trouble to discover its charm.


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