“The A-Z of Three-Wheelers” by Elvis Payne looks at the world of three-wheel motorcycles.
Three-wheel motorcycles have been making something of a comeback of late. Witness the Can-Am Spyder and a plethora of lesser trikes from the Far East. Harley-Davidson, which made the three-wheeled Servi-Car from 1932-1973, has rejoined the trike trend with its Tri Glide Ultra, a fully dressed three-wheeler for the Bar and Shield crowd.
While The A-Z of Three-Wheelers’ main focus is on vehicles with car-like aspirations, it recognizes the importance of three-wheeled motorcycles in the category, including three-wheelers such as the Scott Sociable made by Scott Motorcycle founder Angus Scott, the Ariel Tri-Car and the Convertible Motorcycle built by Lion Cycle Co. in the U.K. And while we’d be happy to see more motorcycle-derived three-wheelers in this book, the vehicles that are included are fantastic, ranging from the space-aged, aerodynamically shaped 1937 Airomobile to the 180-degree steering 1956 Bond Mk C Deluxe Tourer.
And yes, there is a Reliant Robin, the three-wheeler made famous by Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson in a drive report spent mostly on the Robin’s side, with Clarkson rolling it at every opportunity during his drive.
Three-wheelers from every continent are covered, and it’s fascinating to discover just how many companies tried — and mostly failed — to find success in the three-wheeled category. One of many companies that did find success was Daihatsu, Japan’s oldest car company and the first to make motorized tricycles in Japan.
Organized alphabetically by manufacturer, the book includes model details and features more than 470 photographs of different three-wheelers. Written by three-wheeler enthusiast Elvis Payne with an introduction by Charles Morgan, former chairman of Morgan Motor Co. (Morgan made three-wheelers from 1911-1952 and reintroduced a three-wheeler to its lineup in 2011), The A-Z of Three-Wheelers is a fun and informative look at three-wheelers produced over the last century. Crecy Publishing: 272 pages, $39.95. To order a copy, visit the Motorcycle Classics store: The A-Z of Three-Wheelers. MC