Who Killed the Goofball TriHawk?

Remember when Harley-Davidson bought a company that produced a Citroën-powered, front-wheel-drive trike with a mix of Renault and Honda parts thrown in for good measure? No? Apparently you’re not up on your TriHawk history … depending on your point of view, either a very weird sidebar for the pride of Milwaukee or a promising predecessor to the now-popular reverse trikes like more the motorcycle-like Can-Am Spyder or the more car-like Polaris Slingshot.

The long and the short of it is that the TriHawk was never destined for mass-production greatness, but it did follow a trend in the economy-minded 1980s—when, remember, emissions regulations were choking the fun out of sports cars—of paring down a vehicle to its essential form. Lose a rear wheel, lose a permanent top, carve out pretty much everything you can, and slap in an automobile engine—in this case, a modest Citroën flat-four, like the one found in the GS—and you end up with something light and fun. It’s a formula you see over and over again, especially when cost or external factors (like gas prices or emissions standards) makes a replacement for displacement desirable.

The TriHawk weighs just around 1,200 pounds and features a fiberglass body with a cloth roof (which is likely tentlike and awkward to erect), real seats that look surprisingly comfortable, and a conventional manual transmission. We presume the driving experience is as quirky as the very 1980s dorktacular look, but if a little attention from onlookers is what you crave and a red Ferrari isn’t your cup of tea, you could do worse than a TriHawk. It’ll cross the block at Mecum’s Las Vegas auction in late January.

Oh, and the Harley-Davidson connection? Apparently H-D bought the rights to produce and possibly improve the TriHawk, but then thought better of it and spiked it. Was Harley scared that the reverse trike would eat into sales of its conventional bikes?

Considering the popularity of the contemporary Can-Am Spyder and Polaris Slingshot, and H-D’s own modern sales woes, perhaps Harley should’ve explored the TriHawk’s potential further.

Source: Read Full Article