(VW) Trikes. You see them quite a lot
And administratively, it is quite often classics. Most of them are based on the rear part of the frame of a Beetle. They are pure fun machines. But their roots lie in the utility corner.
Motorcycles were things for dorks who couldn't afford a car. Sidecars were for people who saw their love life rewarded with the growth of extra family and for small entrepreneurs. Those small entrepreneurs used that third wheel as a carrier for their trade or tools.
But a sidecar combination still looked too much like a motorcycle and steered strangely because of the asymmetrical design and drive. That should have been better. That could be better with a rear axle with two wheels on the same line. The Harley Servicars were and are the best examples of this. And if they were a good idea? They were made from 1932 to 1973.
That kind of workhorse was useful. The later trend to build the engine part plus drive from VW Beetles as a drive unit for trikes was literally useless. It was a lifestyle clothing invented in the USA. And the idea was widely adopted. They are built to this day and, funnily enough, many riders just make a lot of miles with it. You often see them in journeys with disabled people who used to only ride in sidecars.
Tying together, say, "the front of an engine" and a piece of rear of a VW is not nothing. And no matter how you try to keep the construction between drive unit and steering head as tight as possible; a very strange phenomenon remains: the front is much too light. So even with an 1200 cc Beetle block you constantly make wheelies. Stretching the wheelbase helped against that. And when we recently found a key to such a trike, we found another thing that kept the front on the ground. The fork, including the front wheel and brake, weighed more than 1oo kilo.
"Doesn't look like anything"
The test drive after we put the stuff back together, showed that driving such a VW trike "looks like nothing." That is what we mean in the sense of what we see as handling, but also in terms of steering behavior. It is not a motor, it is not a sidecar combination, it is not a car ...
The first generation of VW trikes was fairly basic
But because the concept was American and fiberglass-reinforced polyester can make the Greatest Divine Designer in people, the bodywork of the tricycles became more exuberant, more luxurious, bigger and bigger.
Freedom & lifestyle must of course also be SAFE!
Because freedom and lifestyle must also remain safe, all kinds of rules were introduced regarding mudguards, lighting and leg protection. The latter resulted in 'more modern' trikes now driving around with an entire work floor of scaffolding pipe, where in the past any bangs were absorbed by the forward controls and ankles of the pilot.
In spite of the extremely positive input from trikers during trips for the disabled, these vehicles are somewhere in the shadow area between classic and motorcycle for us. But the sound of a free-breathing Beetle (Porsche, Subaru or Harley block) is and remains heart-warming.
There are a number of companies that specialize in VW-based trikes.
Be careful with impulse purchases in the US: the chance of getting a classic VW trike here is limited. The machines from those companies can be registered because they are manufacturers. Rewaco is a standing name in that corner.
But know that after a day of sending in your T-shirt you can get nasty sunburn.
The theory of evolution proven ...