1999 - Volume #23, Issue #4, Page #33[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Home -Built Three - Wheeler
The three-wheeler was built in 1979 by a friend's brother, Kenneth Whitton. That same year, a farmer from a small town north of Dubuque, Iowa, saw it and talked Whitton into selling it to him, hence the name, "Iowa Farmer" written on the side. I purchased it for $2,500 10 or 12 years ago after it had been stored in a chicken house for years and was badly in need of some work.
It's powered by a fully dressed 455 cu. in. engine out of an Oldsmobile Toronado front-wheel drive car. The body of the trike is custom-built entirely out of sheet metal. No fiberglass or kit parts were used.
Another unique feature is that the two-seater is also equipped with dual steering controls, which come in real handy when the driver needs to put on goggles or a rainsuit. Then, the passenger simply takes over for a few minutes.
One of the modifications I made to was replacing the Honda front fork with a Harley Davidson fork. I found that the seals in the Honda just weren't strong enough to last. My son also added sports hubcaps to the rear wheels, which are Toronado originals.
The vehicle is capable of speeds of at least 85 mph. Because it weighs a whopping 2,500 lbs., gas mileage is nothing to write home about.
I've been offered as much as $20,000 for my three-wheeler, but I'm not interested in selling it. (Robert L. Patterson, 404 Rockport Road, Janesville, Wis. 53545-5123; ph 608 752-5934)
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