Remember how Harley-Davidson bought a company that made a Citroën-powered, front-wheel-drive hang glider that had Renault and Honda parts thrown in? Not? Obviously you’re out of touch with your TriHawk history… depending on your point of view, either a very odd sidebar for Milwaukee pride or a promising precursor to now popular reverse trikes like the Can-Am motorcycle trike. Spyder or more like a Polaris Slingshot car.
In short, the TriHawk was never meant to be mass-produced, but it followed the trend of the economical 1980s—when emissions regulations stifled the enjoyment of sports cars, remember—to cut down to bring the vehicle down to its basic shape. Lose a rear wheel, lose a permanent top, cut out pretty much everything you can and put in a car engine – in this case a modest four-cylinder Citroën engine like the one in the GS – and you get something easy and fun. It’s a formula you see over and over again, especially when cost or external factors (like gas prices or emissions standards) make an engine replacement desirable.
The TriHawk only weighs about 1,200 pounds and has a fiberglass body with a fabric roof (which probably looks like a tent and is awkward to raise), real seats that look surprisingly comfortable, and a conventional manual transmission. We assume the driving experience is as bizarre as the wackiest look of the 1980s, but if a bit of onlooker attention is what you crave and a red Ferrari isn’t your cup of tea, you might as well get more. than the TriHawk. It will be sold at the Mecum auction in Las Vegas at the end of January.
Oh, and the Harley-Davidson connection? Apparently, HD bought the rights to manufacture and possibly improve the TriHawk, but then changed their mind and added it. Was Harley afraid that a reversible tricycle would eat into the sales of its conventional motorcycles?
Given the popularity of the current Can-Am Spyder and Polaris Slingshot, and the problems with its own HD sales, perhaps Harley should have explored the TriHawk’s potential further.