Neil Winn profile picture Neil Winn 7 years ago

6 Times Three Wheels Were Better Than Four

The Reliant Robin, with its unpredictable handling and ridiculous instability, did three-wheelers a huge disservice. Here are six examples of three-wheelers doing it right...

Remind me later

1. Morgan 3 Wheeler

BMW - 6 Times Three Wheels Were Better Than Four - Blog

Is there a cooler machine on sale today? When the Morgan 3 Wheeler was re-released in 2012 after a 40 year absence, the automotive world went into a collective meltdown. With its front-mounted S&S twin-cylinder engine it’s certainly not the fastest car in the world. And its skinny bike tyres also mean that it’s not the grippiest. But there is something about this rough and ready machine that appeals to us all.

When our own Alex Kersten got behind the wheel, he said that he didn’t know what driving fun was until he got behind the wheel of the Morgan. Take that, four wheels…

2. Polaris Slingshot

BMW - 6 Times Three Wheels Were Better Than Four - Blog

The Polaris Slingshot is the most modern interpretation of the three-wheeler concept. There has been some fierce debate in the US over whether this is in fact a car or a bike. In fun loving Texas the Polaris is actually classified as a bike, but it has been banned for having bucket seats. Because, for some reason, having seats makes it a dangerous motorcycle; can’t really seem to grasp that logic.

Anyway, whatever the Polaris is classified as, it’s a very clever and surprisingly affordable machine. The chassis is made up of a steel frame which ends right behind the two seats. Connected to this is a lightweight swing arm with a sizeable 265/32-20 tyre. The 2.4-litre GM Ecotec isn’t a particularly exotic engine, but it has enough power to overwhelm the rear tyre and its simplicity keeps costs down. The standard Slingshot starts at $21,199 in the US (£14,035) which is, let’s face it, ridiculously cheap.

3. Scorpion P6

(Skip to 6:35 to see the Scorpion)

If the Slingshot isn’t extreme enough for you, why not check out the Scorpion P6? Miami-based Scorpion Motorsports produces this insane three-wheeler, and we’d be hard pushed to think of a more hardcore machine for the road.

Weighing only 331kgs and featuring a Kawasaki 600cc, 126bhp motor, the Scorpion is seriously quick. We would absolutely love to drive one but for the time being they are US only. So we’ll have to settle for watching this brilliant video on repeat instead…

4. Grinnall Scorpion III

BMW - 6 Times Three Wheels Were Better Than Four - Blog

Based in rural Worcestershire, Mark Grinnall has been building the fast and capable Grinnall Scorpion since 1992. The car itself was inspired by the original Morgan 3 Wheeler, but the two machines are worlds apart in terms of technology.

Designed in house, the Scorpion III features a lightweight space frame coupled to the high tech BMW K40 1300cc motorcycle engine. 185bhp and 390kgs equates to a seriously impressive 460bhp/tonne.

Earlier cars were renowned for lifting a front wheel under heavy cornering but new double wishbones and in-board gas dampers have resulted in a much more accurate and controllable machine.

On a personal note, I owe this car a great deal of thanks. My dad bought his own Scorpion in 1998 and I’m convinced that regular weekend blasts through the North Yorkshire countryside kickstarted my passion for cars.

5. MEV TR1

BMW - 6 Times Three Wheels Were Better Than Four - Blog

On paper the MEV TR1 is a seriously impressive machine. Similar in style to the Ariel Atom, the TR1 is possibly the first exo-skeletal three-wheeler in existence. Powered by a Yamaha R1 engine, the TR1 packs a significant 430bhp/tonne figure. The Yamaha swing arm, racing brakes and double wishbone front suspension should keep everything under control.

If you trust yourself, you can construct the whole chassis for £3999 + VAT, but you’ll also have to add an R1 donor bike to the overall cost. Out of all of the three-wheelers this is certainly the most home brewed. Doesn’t stop us wanting one, though.

6. Campagna Motors T-REX

BMW - 6 Times Three Wheels Were Better Than Four - Blog

The T-Rex is certainly a car that lives up to its name. It’s officially the most bonkers three-wheeler on sale today. With a ferocious 200bhp motor from Kawasaki’s insane ZZR1400 and a six-speed sequential transmission it really is stupidly fast.

The rear tyre is a whopping 285/40 but that still doesn’t cure traction issues. Owners have reported wheel spin in any gear up to fourth. If you want a machine that will scare you witless at a moment’s notice, this is your car. Granted, £32,500 is quite expensive for a novelty, but you’re guaranteed to have a unique and slightly terrifying experience. Nothing on four wheels comes close.

So CTzens, would you ever pick three wheels over four?