Sunday, August 15, 2010

READERS RIDE: Homebuilt trike a junkyard motorcycle that's more car than bike

Call it a homebuilt trike or a recipe for a wild ride. One part Buick, one part Chevrolet Camaro, add some Toyota for good measure, then stick a Harley-Davidson fork in it. 

At first glance the 231 cubic inch Buick V6 with Holley valve covers looks right at home on Charles and Beverly Pilkington's trike. A closer look reveals homespun ingenuity and the evolution of parts that were added to meet needs as they developed. I didn't stop at their house to look at the trike, it just happened. 
Open air fun with a car's engine and transmission.

My wife, friends and family will attest that I will knock on anyone's door to talk about cars. On a recent Friday in north Alabama a black 1957 Chevy caught my eye (photos coming soon). I made a quick u-turn and ended up staring at this fierce looking trike guarding the front door of the house. I've dealt with some mean dogs on the way to doorsteps before. I never faced an owner that spawned a diabolical trike. 

Knock, knock
I knocked and a lady answered the door, her western drawl was friendly but she sounded a bit skeptical of my intentions. I assured Beverly I wasn't crazy, that I just wanted to photograph her cool cars and that trike. She told me that every time they take the trike out for a spin it draws a crowd. She filled me in on the details.

Trike specs
: 231 cubic inch Buick V6
: Buick 3-speed automatic
Rear end
: 1999 Camaro with drum brakes
Master cylinder
: 1979 Toyota
Fork assembly
: 1974 Harley-Davidson FLH 3 inch overstock
Gas tank
: boat
Rear wheels
: 20-inch diameter

Homebuilt parts
  • Frame
  • Custom Fat boy gas tank - for looks only. Real gas tank from a boat at rear of  trike.
  • Rear seat built in shop, front seat bought at Sam's.
  • Side steps added after melting shoes on exhaust
Test drive?
After taking photos Beverly asked me to come back for a ride on the trike when Charles was home. She promised me it would be a ride to remember. That big burly trike is scary sitting still. Is my life insurance up to date?

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