Tri Pod Cars for 3 wheeler kits in Australia. Reverse trike by Tri Pod Cars

Tri Pod Cars manufactures and sells a reverse trike, 2F1R, tadpole (call it what you will) trike kit of a design created by Andrew Hutchison in 2006 and first registered in 2012. Tri Pod Cars is based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia.

We build the chassis on our premises in Warana. Many other parts are made locally using CNC laser cutting and marine grade fibreglass techniques.


Click for the Tri Pod Cars 'Drive Naked' gallery.

Frequently Asked Questions -

Q - What was the main design goal of the Tri Pod 1?

A- The Tripod1 is all about fun at sensible speeds. As cars have become more capable handlers and faster in a straight line the fun factor seems to have fallen and the cost factor risen. I personally believe that fun comes from light chuckable handling, a decent amount of thrust, a delicate set of controls that really allow you to 'drive' the car, not have it drive you. The icing on the cake is affordable cost. Both in outright cost to purchase and running costs. The Tri Pod 1 is so damn light the brake and tyre wear is negligable compared with modern performance vehicles and cost to build can be as little as $25000 odd plus your labour.


Q - What do you mean by the above statement "not have it drive you"?

A - Many modern cars and bikes now employ significant amounts of electronics, power this and assisted that! For instance a modern hatch that is generally referred to as a 'fun car' is a VW Golf GTI. The current GTI employs stability control, anti skid, turbo charging, ABS, power steering, throttle by wire, assisted brakes and great gobs of electronics to allow all this to work together. The ECU drives the car, not the driver. It also weighs 4 times the weight of the Tri Pod 1 but has the same power as our Hayabusa or ZX14 versions.


Q - What license do I need and what is it registered as?

A - It is registered as a car in some states and a motorcycle in others. In NSW and Vic as a car and Qld and SA as a bike. Car licenses required all round except SA. WA, NT, ACT and TAS are open to careful reading of those states and territories dept docs. Ring and ask would be my advice. Helmets are generally not required. In the USA it is generally regarded as a motorcycle and seems to require a motorcycle license. Helmets are required in some states.


Q - Do I have to build it myself?

A - No you can contract us to build it for you. It will remain a kit car either way. It is not a prodcution car and each example does need to be engineered (a report written and submitted by an appropriately qualified and certified engineer) Budget between $40,000 and $50,000 all up depending on your required spec.


Q - Why is the passenger jamned into the left corner?

A - Primarily because it allows for optimum placement of the drivers seat. Our guess is that the TriPod 1 will be driven hardest when "passenger free". Hence a strong desire in keeping the "one up" load centralised. This driver seat placement also avoids offset pedals and any misalignment with the steering wheel relative to the seat. The fact also is that it may looked jamned into a corner but is quite comfy. No we can't change it, it is one of the key design features of this vehicle. It makes conplete sense when you sit in it and experience surprisingly good ergonomics for a kit car. Remember the trike is effectively mid engined and if you have ever sat in or driven an old Ferrari you know how annoying offset pedals and steering can be.


Q - Why have you made a passenger seat available when many reverse trike designs do not?

A - All sorts of reasons! It amazes me that many designs simply have avoided the issue of passengers. Pretty much all motorcycles allow a passenger and I have allowed for one in my trike design for the same reasons. As much as a serious thrash through the hills will most likely be conducted solo, many a cruise, a gentle drive, a country tour is more fun conducted 'two up'. Having lunch or a cup of coffee is more pleasant with company, well at least I find it is. If the wife is always hassling you to come along and you don't really want her to then simply say yes and then proceed to use the full potentail of the TriPod 1 and I assure you she will trouble you no more!


Q - Why is the radiator in the rear?

A - Perhaps the key reason is one of simplicity. Shorter pipe work makes for simplicity and less opportunity of airlocks in the system and an overheated engine. Keeping the rad in the rear also makes it possible to have a quite roomy storage area in the nose for luggage or helmets etc. In the hot climate that we live in Queensland it also helps with less heatsoak into the passenger area. A heater can be added if living in the deep south.


Q - Is it a car or a bike?

A - Its actually pretty much a car thats simply missing a wheel at the rear. It's controls and handling are as any good car is. Perhaps the only issue in regard to 'getting used to it' would be the sequential right handed gearshift (yes you could mount it in the centre if you like or use a quickshifter kit I suppose but really the easiest and most practical solution is to stick it over on the right open wheeler and LeMans prototype style. Hey the Americans have no trouble changing with their right hand...) which might take a couple of minutes for someone who doesn't adapt to change quickly.


Q - What electronics does the Tri Pod 1 employ?

A - None other than the donors original ECU. The Tri Pod 1 has no power steering or assisted brakes. No stability control, ABS, anti skid etc. This is taken care of by the driver by using the supplied cable operated throttle which controls a lag free naturally aspirated engine. Previously mentioned un assisted steering and unboosted brakes are controlled by the brake pedal and round steering thing. Decisions about quality of grip of a surface are made by the ECU in your head. I find it is much more fun this way.


Q - What testing have you done? Is this thing safe?

A - In 50,000 + kms of testing on all kinds of roads including the road to Cape York and various racetracks I have found the car to offer safe, neutral handling and excellent reliability. I suspect few kit cars have been punished in the way the original Tri Pod 1 prototype has. Always driven hard in an attempt to find what breaks, little has. A few specific items have had their design improved based on this testing, particularly the front mudguard brackets. These brackets are one of the few minor items that did fail on the trek to Cape York and back.


Q - Does the Tri Pod 1 have a reverse?

A - Yes it does. It has an electrically powered reverse that is easy and smooth to operate. An arm fitted with a dual sprocket arrangement at one end is lowered onto the top run of the main final drive chain. One of these sprockets is driven by an electric motor, the other meshes with the drive chain.


Q - What state is the spaceframe chassis in when supplied?

A - Fully finished! Powder coated in your choice of colour and gloss level, aluminium sheeted bulheads and floors supplied and fitted. Upper and lower wishbones are included as are the inner bushes and fasteners.


Q - What about the fibreglass parts?

A - Once again you can have them fully finished or straight out of the mould. Our moulds are not perfect, the panels do need the flash lines rubbed back, some minor finshing here and there and will need priming and painting. Personally I am not a fan of gel coat finish so no real attempt has been made to enable this as a viable finish alternative. Check our pricelist for a guide to the finish standard you would like. Be aware that there will be a bit of fibreglassing to do yourself to add nosecone catch, locating pins and stiffening panels although we can do this for you but we will need to hang the nosecone and fit the sidepods to enable this.


Q - Why only 3 wheels?

A - There are quite a few reasons to build a three wheeler, but the key one as has been the case many years ago too, is political reasons. It is a simpler process to rego a 3 wheeler in Australia. You are also allowed to use motorcycle power plants. These are the two key reasons I chose to design and develop a reverse trike but damn it the thing handles amazingly well and of course its super light. It also seems to handle rough roads better than a four wheeler as demonstrated on my trip to the tip of Australia, Cape York. Fun fun fun.


Q - What is the power to weight ratio of the Tri Pod 1 and what kind of car does its performance compare with?

A - With one person aboard and Honda Blackbird power the power to weight is better than 300BHP per metric tonne. This compares very favouribly with Porsche GT3, Supecharged Lotus Exige, Aston Martin DB9, Nissan GT-R, and confortably betters well known performance cars such as BMW M3, and most HSV models. The newer ZX14 and Hayabusa designs we now offer are around 450BHP per tonne.


Q - Will it tip over if I corner too hard?

A - As with any car with a wide track and low centre of gravity it is very hard to get it to tip over or roll, but it can happen. A three wheeeler is marginally easier to roll but ignore the old wifes tails of unexpected rollovers. The Tri Pod 1 is significantly wider in track than say an old morgan and has a much lower centre of gravity and mass. It could be 'tripped' as could a car but I suggest you are more likely to roll a family sedan before the Tri Pod.


Q - I want one! I want one now!

A - Sorry its a kit car. No instant gratification available... Either we have to build it for you or you have to knuckle down and build it yourself.


Q - How long will it take to build a kit?

A - It very much depends on what kit but lets say you order the 'comprehensive kit' with fully finished chassis and fully trimmed and primed panels. 6 weeks of 40 hour weeks should see it done. This is assuming you are running around buying up bits and pieces and orgaising custom fabricating of odd parts etc. If you were to order in a lot of the custom bits from Tri Pod Cars you save weeks! So much time is spent dury a build (for the first time) learning and understanding how it all fits together, organising all the parts, sourcing parts, finding tools, re finding tools, refinding the tool you just put down who knows where when the phone rang.....etc etc. Being organised and having us do some of the painfully boring stuff for you can speed up the build dramatically. 3 weeks is possible with a complete kit. BUT, thats three weeks of full time work which in reality rarely happens. Life gets in the way. 6 months would be a quick build. 12 - 18 months I suspect is realistic. Most of our builders get their car on the road with 12 - 24 months.


Q - What is a 'complete kit'

A - This is the most expensive way to build a Tri Pod but also offers the quickest build time and the least hassle. You source a donor and order the complete kit. Wait three months and you will have all the parts you need to get a Tri Pod running in a few weeks of full time work (or so, depends on tools you have and skills you have developed over the years). You will still need to perform minor trimmimg tasks to bodywork etc and still 'build' the car. It will still require thought and effort but you will not have to fabricate very much at all. Paint and trim are still up to you to organise.

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Tri Pod Cars

Andrew Hutchison

Phone - 0418 772 434

PO Box 1063, Buderim, Qld, 4556.

Australia

tripodcars@gmail.com

The Tri Pod 1 three wheel kit car is wholly made in Australia
Zooming around in the Tri Pod 1 three wheel kit car is like driving naked!This page was last updated 25-01-2016. Copyright and design owned by Andrew Hutchison.