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1980 Custom 3-Wheeler

$7,900 6133 miles
Morgantown, PA

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1980 Custom 3-Wheeler

1980 Freeway Trike

During the Arab oil embargo, car manufacturers were turned on their ear scrambling for a fuel-efficient design, that would achieve higher mileage. The feds kicked in and were worrying more and more about air quality, so the automakers had to not only engineer more fuel efficiency, but also a much cleaner burn of said fuel.

This odd duck is a 1980 Freeway, a single-cylinder gas miser engineered by Minnesota-based High Mileage Vehicles Corp. (HMV). Designed to get 80-100 mpg, the company certainly paired things down to the bare minimum in an effort to achieve that figure- the awkward-looking trike is a single-seater, with the bare minimum of gauges and no visible driver amenities.

Exterior
2 pieces of yellow infused molded fiberglass come together to produce the exterior of this car. These panels have seen a respray that includes some drips and areas of overspray. Plexiglass windows in the rear of the car have been replaced, and when doing so, some uneven cutting lines were produced and now noted. A single front headlight and 2 fog lights are seen up front, and a large glass hatchback covers a carpeted cargo area. A note about the fiberglass panels is they extend to the undercarriage for aerodynamics that are more fuel efficient.

Interior
Utilitarian would be the word here, with a futuristic for 1980 single seat, placed within a sea of carpeting covering the in interior tub, and right-side panel. The door panel is left to bare black metal, with a pouch attached for storage. The dash contains a few buttons, one for headlights, one for oil pump, and one for wipers. A working AM radio is seen on the simple dash as well as the ignition switch. The rear of the driver contains a carpeted storage area roughly the size of a motorcycle side bag.

Drivetrain
These cars were built with parts available and this one has no identification as to which engine size was used. Original cars came with either a 345cc 12hp or 453cc 16hp engine, so it is 1 or the other! A CVT with chain final drive propels the single rear wheel. Reverse is not an option so avoid dead end streets.

Undercarriage
With 2 welded steel frames, one on the bottom and one at bumper height for rigidity, and all independent suspension, it has some technology for its day.

Touting gas mileage is one thing, achieving it is another. This car has some issues with the front suspension, and the rear drive wheel. Paint is fair, and mechanicals are definitely in need of a once over for a thorough checkup. An interesting and rare piece of automotive history that may be in the category of questionable significance, but for the person who is interested in oddities, this is definitely an important car.

 
 
1980 Custom 3-Wheeler
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