Vanderhall autocycle gets 194hp and actual doors

If, say, you were a prospective customer of autocycle maker Vanderhall that has been begging for something more practical, the Utah company now has you covered โ€“ quite literally โ€“ with this new offering. Fans of the very (very) niche three-wheeler segment may recognise the new Carmelโ€™s form from the 2016 Venice, but new for 2019 is a GM-supplied four-pot engine, actual doors and (presumably to keep the Midwest US sun off its customerโ€™s heads) a removable roof. Morgan 3 Wheeler, eat your V-twin heart out.

Despite a sizeable bump in power over its Vanderhall siblings, the Carmelโ€™s engine sends drive to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox, meaning itโ€™ll come with none of the hilariously accessible throttle oversteer Morganโ€™s single-wheel-drive 3 Wheeler offers. But in the Vanderhallโ€™s defence, we suspect the boost from that 1.5-litre engine coupled to a pair of boots rather than one ought to give it very strong performance.

Anyway, the likely main draw to the Carmel will be its design, which is part-retro, part-modern, both outside and in. The suicide door-accessible cabin has a simple six-dial instrument cluster and glovebox as the only dashboard features, with a wood-rimmed steering wheel, leather trim and aluminium footrests adding to the theme. Only a pair of steering wheel mounted paddles remind of the juxtaposing ingredients behind the old school.

Sold? To get the top-spec GT variant (which comes with that lid), youโ€™ll need to fork out $43,950 (about ยฃ36k), but thereโ€™s also a $35k (ยฃ28.6k) Blackjack, which comes in option-light form as a part-blank canvas for your own modifications. Not that any are likely to make it to Blighty, with the US autocycle labelled by Vanderhall as an all-American machine made with US parts only. Something tells us exports to the UK arenโ€™t high on the agenda - although you could always do it yourself. Or you could make do with one of theseโ€ฆ

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (12) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Macboy 4 days ago

    Front wheel drive and an automatic? In a fun/toy these have to be two of the worst product planning decisions ever made if they want to sell this to anyone who want to actually drive it for fun. It's also not at all inexpensive.

    Edited by Macboy on Wednesday 9th October 17:04

  • redroadster 4 days ago

    Plenty of UK trike kits that fill this niche at much lower prices .

  • Ambleton 4 days ago

    redroadster said:
    Plenty of UK trike kits that fill this niche at much lower prices .
    Is there? The only vehicle similar I can think of is the Grinnall Scorpion, which is much smaller, bike engined and much more focused. Totally different.

  • Ambleton 4 days ago

    Macboy said:
    Front wheel drive and an automatic? In a fun/toy these have to be two of the worst product planning decisions ever made...
    Fwd on a reverse trike is the safest way. Most people dont realise this but with a rwd three wheelers (especially with a phat rear tyre) you can flip them very easily. It's a similar process to high siding a motorbike. I've seen someone do it to a triking and it's pretty scary. Ive also spoken to two other drivers (one Grinnall owner and an owner if a very well built home brew) that have also done it. In fact the inertia was so great that the home build flipped and rolled three times. The driver was seriously hurt, but is okay now.

    Morgan get around it by putting a skinny crossply rear tyre on it, which limits grip enough to prevent this issue. It also limits acceleration and cornering grip, hence a well designed fwd three wheeler will run rings around a rwd three wheeler.

    Your opinions on the auto box I agree with...

  • blearyeyedboy 4 days ago

    Ambleton said:
    Lots of sensible stuff about the physics of 3 wheelers.
    Absolutely correct, though I'd be a little more forgiving of the autobox.

    It is imperative for the stability of a 3 whether to have as much weight as far forward as possible. FWD does this neatly.

    I quite like the idea of this. My pockets aren't deep enough though.

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