Velocars and other interesting vehicles.

Discussion in 'Motorized Tandems, Trikes and Recumbent Bicycles' started by Intrepid Wheelwoman, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    I would imagine that Threadcromancy isn't permitted by the moderators so I thought I'd begin a new thread to follow on from this old one here .......

    http://motorbicycling.com/f44/wild-idea-24508.html

    The modern velomobile is far too hi-tech and expensive for me to even consider for a moment. However the velocars that were devised as low tech transport alternatives in Europe during wartime are a subject that fascinates me greatly.
     

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  2. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    And more........
     

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  3. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    This in particular is my favourite velocar picture......

    This is a 'Fantom' which is a Swedish velocar. Up until recently the plans for the Fantom were still available, only it's thought that not that many were actually made despite the numbers of plans actually sold.

    [​IMG]

    More vintage Velocars........
     

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    #3 Intrepid Wheelwoman, Nov 2, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2014
  4. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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    Actually, despite any impression to the contrary resultant from a minority of members, "Threadcromancy" is not only permitted, but wholeheartedly endorsed by the staff here - as you've noticed, there's some excellent information no less interesting simply because it's been neglected for a while. Nevertheless, starting a new thread relevant to your interests is of course a great way to offer your insight & gain more information... *shrug* It's up to ya'll ofc :D



    I'm personally fascinated by velomobiles/velocars & tadpole trikes in general, though there are some difficulties with the general concept. Expense is however not necessarily one of them, provided ofc you've some fabrication ability as there's a plenitude of DIY plans. A great resource for low cost, practical plans is Atomic Zombie Extreme Machines! - Bikes Trikes and Chopper Plans - one of my favorites being the 'Warrior Tadpole Trike' Warrior Tadpole Trike - AtomicZombie.com - YouTube member build example: http://motorbicycling.com/f44/amped-up-warrior-27931.html

    Where it gets ...tricky is ofc the body shell fabrication, wheelbase width & legality. It's extremely unlikely a body could be found that's ideal for a custom build and even if it were - just about all specialized velomobile & recumbent components are insanely overpriced. While just about everything other than the body shell can be found through other, more affordable sources or simply made - the body is a stumbling point, though not an insurmountable one if you've the time & resources.

    While (pedal) trikes in any configuration are road legal everywhere that I'm aware of (motorized is ofc dependent on local law), width becomes an interesting difficulty in regions that lack sufficient roadside/shoulder room, this would be even more of a problem with a passenger velocar with a side by side seating, if passengers are allowed at all in an unregistered, uninsured vehicle (which, admittedly I've not looked into).

    What is particularly unfortunate for velocar construction here in the states (as far as I know) is most, if not all jurisdictions outright forbid the use of any four-wheeled pedal vehicles, even if not motorized - as soon as you have that "extra" wheel it's considered a "home built automobile" and subject to all current inspection standards and requirements as such, which while also not insurmountable, radically changes the parameters of construction, resulting in something that's likely quite different from the vintage style velocars pictured.

    Nevertheless you're completely correct & I'd like to thank you for digging up these excellent examples, you're "getting my wheels turning" so to speak lol - There is such a huge amount of potential in this almost forgotten concept and what with rising gas prices I hope to see a resurgence of these "low tech transport alternatives" people devised during the rigors and shortages of wartime. As you've probably noticed, I'm building a motorized tadpole not completely dissimilar from some of what's pictured (tho recumbent for comfort & efficiency), but for now at least I'm forgoing a body shell... maybe next year though, who knows? Some of these pics are quite inspiring ;)
     
    #4 BarelyAWake, Nov 2, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2011
  5. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    Yes I've seen the pictures you have posted of your amazing Lifan powered three wheeler and was very much impressed by it. I can just imagine a lovely classic bodyshell inspired by the GP cars of the 1930s on your three wheeler :)

    Here in New Zealand we aren't troubled too much by the problem of a four wheeled vehicle no longer being a bicycle, but I had heard this before about some US states being generally unsmiling over the issue. Fortunately most of the old classic 4 wheeled velocar designs could be converted into a three wheeler without too many problems should the need arise. So far I haven't ventured forth on anything more than a three wheeler as I own a Hercules ladies heavyweight bicycle I converted into a tricycle with an electric motor hub to help things along. I also own a Chinese Phoenix bicycle with a very solid sidecar chassis attached, but I haven't done anything intrepid to that as yet.

    Living as I do in a rural farming district we don't have too many traffic problems, though one does have to very much respect the logging trucks and articulated milk tankers that share the roads if one wishes to remain alive. The township is set on the edge of a flat river plain so we aren't troubled very much by hills or steep ways of going. And I've always thought some of the long flat straight back roads in the district are just crying out for a velocar to test them out.
    The local police folk mostly smile and wave whenever they see me out and about. Being a somewhat old fashioned looking middle aged lady does have its advantages you know ;)
     

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  6. deacon

    deacon minor bike philosopher

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    I remember a very short lived attempt at this when I was about twenty five. It was called the ppv people pedaled vehicle. I never saw any outside the dealer's showroom though. Even then I thought it was a heck of an idea.
    \
    A motorized tadpole with a body might me something interesting to build. A modified Morgan body style would be appropriate.
     
  7. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    What a fun, well written and interesting thread this is. My Canadian friend Fasteddie (who isn't) and I are building tri cars. Mine is convertible from two wheeled, to two with sidecar and by next summer convertible to a tri-car with two wheels up front one in back. Fasteddie's build is under "Indian Tadpole" and mine in the thread "Indian Hiawatha". I've toyed with the idea of a two wheel conversion for the rear as well. Being legal doesn't worry me much providing everything can be converted from one configuration to another. I hadn't given much thought to a body, but will mull it over. It could be very light weight if it had a light wooden frame (or conduit) covered in stretched fabric like the old soap box Derby "cars". If you should discover plans for any of these interesting velocipedes please pass along links. I'd very much like to look over the front end steering options.
    I would also like to extend a hearty welcome to the forum.
    SB
     
  8. rustycase

    rustycase Gutter Rider

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    Fuel was plentiful and cheap, so when those ppv's were introduced they were just a novelty.

    Today, when the impact of the peak oil scenario is affecting us in our daily lives, many of us will be at the vanguard of meeting transportation needs.

    IMO, dacron over a cagework could suffice quite well at the speeds we travel.
    ...it works on ultralite aircraft!

    Best
    rc
     
  9. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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  10. rustycase

    rustycase Gutter Rider

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    I always liked the Morgan, with it's Vtwin power plant!

    But the Messerschmitt is my favorite!
    A friend had one... they give you a stick with it, to use through a hole in the floor, for reverse! lol

    Best
    rc
     

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  11. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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    I agree wholeheartedly, it's good for speeds far in excess of what we could ever hope for lol, in fact it's been the most likely candidate should I decide to create a body shell for my project due to my familiarity (a dacron/aluminum ultralight & sailing), it's ease of construction, extremely low weight, simple repairs and relative low cost.

    It's one real disadvantage is UV degradation, it becomes brittle after prolonged exposure - tho for this application it's fairly irrelevant as it'd not be a safety issue and it's easily repaired/replaced.

    For more relevant information on potential construction shapes & methods than aircraft, check out geodesic boat construction, such as this: Geodesic AiroLITE Construction - Geodesic AiroLITE Boats more info here: Frequently Asked Questions - Geodesic AiroLITE Boats under "Boat Covering (Skin)"
     
    #11 BarelyAWake, Nov 2, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2011
  12. Ibedayank

    Ibedayank New Member

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  13. rustycase

    rustycase Gutter Rider

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    Tnx Yank!

    WoW!
    Those microcars are AWESOME !!!
    ...and many of them are 3 wheelers... doing exactly like we are, staying beneath the radar to avoid taxes. Apparently the Brits taxed 4 wheelers at a higher rate than 3 wheelers.

    We can DO it!

    Anyhow, BA, I got another couple ideas for a rainy WX skin...
    I got a dacron sail for a universal 14ftr??? and some excessed dacron advertising banners and I could cut them all up to sew a pattern to fit over a framework.
    ...then I thought about the framework cage... to use over a bike or trike... I got a whole forest of old fishing rods! Many of em not really much to shout about, other than they COULD catch a fish for a kid... The glass rods could be used for something close to an aerodynamic shape. Then the cover slipped over it and stitched here and there... or velcro straps...
    One whole side should flap up for entry and exit.
    Gonna need some isinglass for the windscreen...
    ...or use tyvek in place of the dacron.
    it is TOUGH stuff ! and cheep!

    Best
    rc
     
    #13 rustycase, Nov 2, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2011
  14. Ibedayank

    Ibedayank New Member

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    look into the places the shrink wrap boats for winter storage
    should be pretty cheap to have a velo done
    not sure if epoxy would melt that or not if not could be used as a male mold for a fiberglass/carbonfiber body
     
  15. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    I've spent many happy hours gazing at that Microcar Museum website :)

    For a modern day interpretation of a Mochet Velocar check out this U-tube link....... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RferXHcG7x8

    It's also worthwhile having a look at Paul Elkin's website too. He uses Coroplast as a building material and does some amazing things with it.

    As for myself I still like plywood as a bodyshell material for motor assisted HPVs, but then I'm somewhat of an old fashioned sort of girl. That vintage long blue single seater velocar in one of my earlier posts has a 100% wooden body and I think it looks downright corker :)

    There is a Yahoo Group for the PPVs and they seem to be a very keenly enthusiastic band of folk. I remember when the PPVs first came onto the market during the oil crisis that followed the Six Day War. Quite a few magazines had articles about them and there was some interest, but then the oil came back on tap again and the PPVs were quietly forgotten.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. deacon

    deacon minor bike philosopher

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    If I remember the ppv I tried out did not have any gearing that was a real problem. If you were to do it today with about twenty one gears and a plastic body you might have something
     
  17. Ibedayank

    Ibedayank New Member

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  18. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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  19. Ibedayank

    Ibedayank New Member

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    I.W.
    being the trike I am building has almost a meter of storage space behind the seat
    and it is a delta the trhead is in this section of the forum
    I doubt the body will look exactly like anything else.
    But that will have to wait till the money tree blooms lots more fruit
     
  20. fasteddy

    fasteddy Active Member

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    Intrepid Wheelwoman,
    I have been watching your posts with great interest. A velocar has been on my back burner for a long time. Due to a moment where youthfull enthusiasm overcame normal intellegence I now need three wheels to get around hence the tricar I'm building with Silverbear.

    Add the fact that I'm a third generation antique dealer and antique furniture restorer anything has to look and feel old that I build.
    Having restored a 1952 Monark bicycle and built a sidecar for it I'd like very much to see a photo of your sidecar set up.

    I have an idea about what a velocar from the 1930's would look like and as soon as the tri car moves along a little further I'll start building one. Of course as I've mentioned here before a lottery win and living to 108 would help get all the projects I have in mind done.
    I would combine pedals and an electric motor so that when I get where I'm going the e-motor will get me back.

    Having owned a Morgan three wheeler very briefly (cash talked and fasteddy walked home) I have always wanted to see if I could build one that was similar.

    Time to start planning.

    Steve.
     
    #20 fasteddy, Nov 3, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011

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