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Vanderhall autocycles drive a burgeoning trend

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By Maureen McDonald
Senior Editor
Michigan Bureau
The Auto Channel

If the Vanderhall, three-wheel autocycles weren’t parked next to the bar/coffee shop in the hallway inside the Huntington Center (formerly Cobo Hall) visitors might overlook the trio of vehicles inconspicuously parked there. No signage. No human trilling its benefits. Just vehicles. Spectacular vehicles.

The car speaks for itself, helped by a QR code. Website has no “about” section, just vehicles, dimensions and price. Mysterious marketing must pay off. The Venice GT model resembles a vintage race car you’d see on a hill climb activity, around the country club or wherever people who could afford a $36,950, ground-hugging vehicle might congregate.

More and more “trikes” are showing up on city streets, these fair-weather vehicles built to have fun. Stephen Hall, the CEO and founder told JustLuxe Magazine he started in the early 2000s to build a three-wheel prototypes. He moved from motorcycle engines to a Chevy L4 Turbo.

The autocycle-maker offers a two-seat Venice and Laguna models, a one-seat Speedster and soon an EV Edison2. The cockpit sits low to the ground, almost low enough to ride under a semi-trailer. Drivers jump over the body, like Henry Talbot, the race car driver in Downton Abbey.

The Vanderhill joins a larger group of autocycles that race through neighborhoods with stereos blazing. The category has a three-wheel design, a steering wheel and seat for the driver. A few have a seat for a passenger.

Stephen Hall told JustLuxe magazine the experience was “like driving a vintage car without any of the vintage car headaches.” Well, antilock brakes, Chevy engine, push-rod suspension would go a long way toward modernity.

Once more you could fit it in half a regular parking space, or a small chunk of exhibit space at the Detroit Auto Show. One day, Vanderhall might just add a passenger door.