I have been an avid motor cycle rider most of my life, I have owned many different brand motor cycles to include Harley Davidson, Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki. We had a Honda Goldwing trike conversion, that is mainly my wife’s and I still have my Honda VTX 1800 motor cycle that I enjoy riding. However, my wife has arthritis and has trouble sitting on a motor cycle seat. It is this condition coupled with a chance encounter during the Fayetteville Arkansas Bike, Blues and BBQ Motor Cycle Rally in 2012 that ultimately steered me on this course.
While at the 2012 Fayetteville Bike, Blues and BBQ motorcycle rally. We were walking around viewing the countless custom motor cycles and happened across two super-trikes. What really caught my eye was the bucket style seats they had. I thought to myself that could really ease my Wife’s arthritis pain when sitting on a motor cycle. Not to mention I thought those were the coolest trikes I had ever seen……it was love at first sight! Later that evening when we were walking in to our Hotel, I noticed another trike outside the lobby doors. This trike had been made from a front wheel drive Celebrity car with an old junky motor cycle front end on it. I thought to myself that it would look a whole lot better had the guy taken some more time with the body work and used a better motor cycle front end on it. I could not help but think to myself that I could do better.
After mulling it over for the rest of the night, I pitched the idea to my wife the following morning and she loved it. I could not wait to get home so I could get to work…….
Upon returning from Fayetteville and before actually getting to work I did lots and lots of online research. Most of the super-trikes had the big V-8 motor mounted to a transmission and headers positioned in the front of the trike with the rider sitting just on top of the transmission and behind the motor and headers. I did not like the idea and thought of the heat off the motor and headers being positioned at my feet and legs. I could not escape the fear that the heat would take away the joy of riding. I kept thinking back to the junky looking trike I saw outside our hotel lobby, in this configuration the motor and transmission would be behind the riders and so would the heat. Plus, with some creativity I might be able to maintain the steering ability of the front wheels and thus I would be able to crab walk the trike down the road.
I must have changed my back and forth a couple hundred times before deciding to go with the front wheel drive style car. The trick was to find one with a V-8, because I wanted to hear and feel that V-8 rumble and power. After some research, I discovered that Monty Carlo Super Sport and Cadillac were about the only cars that have a V-8 in a front wheel drive configuration.
So, I set off searching for the Monty Carlo, I looked in salvage yards and used some online auctions sites for salvage vehicles but I could not find one with rear end damage and the front of the car without damage. There were however more Cadillacs than you could shake a stick at and so a Cadillac it was going to be. Through google searches I found a Cadillac with rear end damage and the front of the car was in perfect running condition. I paid $5200.00 for the car, it only had 40k miles on it.
Next on the list was finding a motor cycle to use for the front end of the Trike. I settled on a 2003 Honda 1800 VTX C model motor cycle, I really liked the appearance of the smaller front fender and headlight compared to other models. Most important for me was the construction of the frame on this model motor cycle, it is steel vs aluminum that is found on other models and is heavy duty with well-built forks.
I did not initially plan on using the Camaro. The Cadillac and Honda motor cycle were planned before I began the project but the Camaro portion did not come in the picture until about a year and half after I had begun work. I knew I would need to do something to cover the back end of the trike, I initially wanted a rear end of a Chevrolet SSR or pick up but could not find one of those in the salvage world. I was walking through a parking lot and just happened to walk by a Camaro and the thought came that I could potentially use this vehicle because it looked like the right size. I went home and grabbed a tape measure and headed to a car lot and started taking measurements.
Initial measurements told me that it might work, but I would not know for sure until I had the body panels and started trying to make it fit over the top of the Cadillac. In its most basic description I had to place the back end of a Camaro over the top of the front end of a Cadillac. Doesn’t sound hard but these are two completely differently engineered and designed vehicles that were never intended to be married together. After an enormous amount of cutting, welding and shaping I made the rear end of the Camaro fit. Next was fitting the hood and front bumper and grill of the Camaro to the Cadillac and making it all look presentable.
With an exuberant amount of hard work I have crafted my own version of a Super-Trike. In the following pages, I have somewhat detailed the process that I went through during the build.