Hooniverse Asks- Would You Buy a Three-Wheel Car?

Catfish from the front, cat turd from the back. . .

In the U.S., cars have to meet a lot of stringent safety and emissions standards. That onus can impact both the cost and performance of the vehicle, and have kept a lot of cottage-industry car makers from selling their wares here. A way around those standards is to build something that falls outside the narrow confines of what the government determines a car to be. One way is to make it weigh more than 6,000-lbs, which can also have a detrimental effect on performance. Another is to build it with only three wheels, making it not a car, but a vehicle that falls under the less rigid standards of motorcycles.
Aptera figured this out when designing their Burt Rutan-inspired vehicle. While the 2e is an enclosed two-seater that resembles more a futuristic car than a GX1100, it does without such mandates as bumpers, side-marker lights and the such. That means Aptera doesn’t have to crash test it, and, should they ever figure out their financial challenges, would provide buyers with something without the securities those standards afford.
Over the past century, a few trikes have made their way to the world’s roadways. In fact in some countries three-wheelers face different licensing requirements, and are the first cars that new drivers are allowed to tool around in.
But, while many a noble attempt has been put forth, no trike has ever really caught on and become popular. Sure, the CanAm is available, but that’s more an ATV for the road than a three-wheel car, offering no kind of weather protection and seemingly aimed at motorcyclists with no sense of inherent balance. There’s also the T-Rex, which takes that concept to a roll cage enclosing extreme, but that’s Canadian, and we all know that they’re different up there.
Other than the less-costly safety requirements, why bother with a trike?  The general consensus for builders has been weight savings, contending that cutting out that extraneous wheel, and what ever it’s holding up, will make the car lighter and hence more efficient.
So, seeing as there are a couple of three-wheelers on the market, as well as the possibility of snapping up an old Mog or quirky Reliant Robin, does the prospect of driving the equivalent of a three-legged stool hold any appeal? And, if it does, would in concern you that your three wheeler may not meet the same standards as your neighbor’s Kia?
Image sources: [Aptera.com, psfk.com]

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53 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- Would You Buy a Three-Wheel Car?”

  1. scroggzilla Avatar

    No, sir. I would not. Not even one of those old-timey Morgans.

    1. Thrashy Avatar

      Dammit, you beat me. And with a better picture to boot!

  2. ptmeyer84 Avatar

    NO! Due to childhood trauma with a similar three wheeled beast…
    <img src= "http://www.coleauctionsinc.com/2006%20Auctions/2006%20July%2020/Honda%20250%203%20Wheeler.jpg&quot;

    1. ptmeyer84 Avatar

      Jeez, bringing back so much pain and anguish made me forget how to post pictures

      1. lilwillie Avatar

        Ahhhh nice. I have a 110cc Honda 3-Wheeler. It so made me appreciate four wheels once I got older.

    2. engineerd Avatar

      I have a buddy that still has one of those. It still fires on the 2nd or 3rd pull, too. It's a blast to hoon around his property and neighborhood on, and really easy to pop wheelies on.
      Yes, I said, "pop wheelies". These are from the '80s and that's what we called it back then.

      1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

        Ours was an early version with no suspension and bouncier tires. it was nearly impossible to pop a wheelie with (yup, pop a wheelie) but was kinda fun getting it to do a "no-wheelie". You just bounced up and down until it got air, or you landed on your head.
        Usually, it was the latter.
        <img src="http://atc90.tripod.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/74atc.jpg"/&gt;

  3. Thrashy Avatar

    Is the third wheel on the sidecar? Would I look like Indiana Jones while riding it? Sure!
    <img src="http://www.bmbikes.co.uk/photos/photophotos/R60-2%20Steib%20%284%29.JPG"&gt;

  4. Kogashiwa Avatar

    Most three-wheelers are designed for economy and utility only and are thus pretty dull.
    I always liked the GX3 concept though:
    <a target='_blank' title='ImageShack – Image And Video Hosting' href='http://img297.imageshack.us/i/large20di20volkswagen20gx3202003pf0.jpg/'><img src='http://img297.imageshack.us/img297/2061/large20di20volkswagen20gx3202003pf0.jpg&#039; border='0'/>
    <img src="http://www.conceptcar.ee/volkswagen/gx3/image04.jpg"&gt;
    Anyway I ride motorbikes so clearly safety features aren't that relevant to me.

      1. Kogashiwa Avatar

        That is very cool, I hadn't even heard of that one.

  5. Syrax Avatar

    Maybe, as long as it isn't a leaning car. Leaning cars are so stupid.
    <img src="http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/tiny-leaning-cars-1.jpg"/&gt;

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      I used to like this commentator Syrax, but now he is dead to me.
      I keed.

      1. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

        Syrax was, or maybe still is, a fine commentator, but for sure he is four wheels
        Fourwheels good, two wheels better 😉

  6. engineerd Avatar

    Only if it's this:
    <img width =500 src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4a/1974.reliant.robin.arp.jpg"&gt;
    Of course, I don't want to drive it. I want to launch it.

  7. Alff Avatar

    I would, especially if I already had the replacement for the missing fourth wheel in the garage.

    1. Alff Avatar

      Love the Cyclops Beetle.

      1. Tanshanomi Avatar

        I like to imagine it as "Mike Wazowski's OTHER new car."
        <img src="http://www.crankycritic.com/qa/pf_articles/monstersinc/mike.jpg"&gt;

  8. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

    Maybe, if it looked like this
    <img src=http://www.blastolene.com/Monster_Garage/images/jessies%20trike2_jpg.jpg>

    1. engineerd Avatar

      What the h? That might be the coolest thing I've seen all day!

      1. Feds_II Avatar

        You seem to have missed out on the best years of Monster Garage. I weep for your loss.

        1. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

          Yes, before it became "bolt crap on here while the team bitches and Jesse broods in the corner building his media empire"

        2. engineerd Avatar

          Oh crap! I totally forgot about that! That was back in the good ol' days of Monster Garage.
          Speaking of which, has anyone watched Motor City Motors on Discovery? I watched the first 2 episodes and was supremely disappointed.

          1. smokyburnout Avatar

            You got past the first episode? Did the Ford GT race at the end give you some hope that the show could be anything other than a lame Monster Garage ripoff?

          2. engineerd Avatar

            It did. After the second episode I felt the need to pour bleach in my eyes, stab my ears with pencils, and rip the section of my brain that held the memory of the show out.

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      This, or variations on the theme: bike powered single rear, double-wishbone front. I'd probably shoot for a 2-seater.

  9. soo΄pәr-bādd75 Avatar

    Not if I lived in Mr. Bean's neighborhood!

  10. Juliet C. Avatar
    Juliet C.

    I want the Blastolene Road-Kill.
    <img src="http://www.nmpproducts.com/images/img_1244b.jpg"&gt;

  11. Feds_II Avatar

    Absolutely… If and only if it was one of those old timey Morgans…
    I've ridden a Can-Am Spyder, and thought it was pretty lame. The Piaggio MP3 is actually pretty fun, for a 3-wheeled scooter, once you figure out the tilt lock.
    But yeah, I'd rock a 3-wheeler for sure. 2 in front, 1 in back, nick named "The Shocker"

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      +1 for unexpected but accurate shocker reference.

  12. Tripl3fast Avatar

    No. Now get off my lawn.

  13. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar
  14. Tomsk Avatar

    I'd rock a tuk tuk (provided it had a 50+ horsepower sportbike engine).
    <img src="http://www.photosensibility.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/tuktukusa.jpg&quot; width="580" height="340" />
    And before anyone asks, yes, I'd probably rock her too…

    1. CEMan Avatar

      Yeah, but she would get boring after a whiles whilst the Tuk Tuk could go on for ever.
      But, to get to the question at hand:
      After all the options presented above, I would have to vote a whole hearted No F*%king Way!!

  15. ptschett Avatar

    If I wanted a 3-wheeler I'd get a sidecar bike, but this was too cool to not share:
    <"img src=http://files.myopera.com/SerbianFighter/albums/20… "width=500"/>

    1. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

      How big are knee crumple zones?

  16. Feds_II Avatar

    Man, I can't believe I forgot about the Ape!

    &lt;img src=&quot;” target=”_blank”>http://motorbike-search-engine.co.uk/classic_bikes/piaggio_ape_500.jpg&quot;&gt;
    And for the record, it is pronounced Ah-Pay, Italian for Bee.

  17. Maymar Avatar

    Does this count?
    <img src="http://mysite.verizon.net/janvdb/Pictures/cor_3wheels.jpg&quot; /img>
    What about this?
    <img src="http://gs.miklpa.dk/wp-content/2009/06/gs-pa-tre-hjul-lille.jpg&quot; width=500 /img>
    Anyways, I like the Aptera, and as a Canadian, I love the T-Rex. I'd also drive the afformentioned old-timey Morgan. So, yes, I'd buy a three-wheeled car.

      1. Alff Avatar

        I remember seeing that years ago. Looking at it now, I have to wonder which one has more horsepower.

    1. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

      If your count mine counts too.
      <img src="http://www.burnham-on-sea.com/news/2008/rally-day2-11.jpg"&gt;

      1. Maymar Avatar

        Normally I prefer my single wheel at the back, but in your case, I'd make an exception.

  18. CptSevere Avatar

    Man, there was a VW trike in the family for quite awhile. Silly, stupid, meatball contraption. It was a '70's Stire Stallion kit thing with a bendy springer front end and a 17 inch skinny moped front wheel, no brake there. Metalflake blue fiberglass body, bone stock single port VW engine. Slow, didn't turn, no brakes except for the stock VW rear drums, was just ridiculous. However, it was probably the funnest (not a word, but it applies), silliest, and most flamboyant vehicle I have ever had the opportunity to hoon. Put the fucker in first (VW first, pretty low), pop the clutch and it would wheelstand. At about fifteen miles an hour. With the gutless 1600 VW mill blatting through straight pipes. Seriously, you had to put the trike in second to make a left turn from a light, or it would skip that skinny front wheel across the intersection while you wrestled the handlebars, hoping that the thing would steer. Then, roll on the throttle and hear the mighty VW engine belch it's siren song. While you reclined on the hide of Naugas, watching the moped wheel in front of you bouncing around, clutching ape hangers while the cheezy springer flexed. I really miss that thing. VW trikes FTW.

    1. CptSevere Avatar

      Oh, I forgot to mention, GIRLS LOVED THE THING. Everybody from my mom to punk Betties loved that trike. They would ignore a Harley or a 'Vette to coo over it.

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