If your Ford had a Matthew McConaughey, it would be a Lincoln

German teens get weird new three wheelers with four wheels

It looks like any Fiesta sized compact, until you check the back: hello dually single rear wheel.

Advertisement

Once you’ve recovered from your flashback to the BMW Isettas of the ‘50s, we can move on to explore WTF.

It’s essentially about driver’s licence rules. I’ll spare you the detail, but the basic rule in Germany is: you can’t drive a proper car unsupervised until you’re 18, but you can drive a motorised something that is less likely to kill you and maim others at 16.

In Germany, that ‘something’ used to be a light 125cc motorcycle if you were prepared to get a driver’s license for it. Those made 11 Kw (14.7 hp), and maxed out at 80 km/h (50 mph). Good enough for country roads, and they were legal on the Autobahn. Yes, the same Autobahn were M5s and 911s lunge for the horizon at unlimited speeds in the fast lane, and big rigs doing 90 km/h in the slow lane.

Advertisement

Since a rule change in January 2013, another category became legal, however: “three wheeled vehicles with symmetrically positioned wheels and a cylinder capacity over 50cc and designed top speed of over 50 km/h and a power output of no more than 15 Kw”

Advertisement

The first person to notice the effect was Auto Ellenrieder, Germany’s largest Piaggio importer, who noticed a sudden demand for larger Apes among young people. This makes perfect sense to a Jalop, I’m sure we can all agree, but less so to the parents of said teens, who noticed a total absence of any safety equipment whatsoever in the adorable scoottrucklets.

So Herr Ellenrieder got creative, and took a hacksaw to the rear axle of a Seat Ibiza and a Škoda Fabia, detuned their engines to 15 Kw (20 hp) and so the “Ellenator” was born. Yes, really.

Advertisement

By the looks of it, the beam axle hubs simply got inverted, and because the wheels are so close as a result, they legally count as a single wheel- just like the Isetta way back when. The conversion costs €4200.- ($4600.-) and can be done on new or used cars. The whole thing goes no faster than about 80 km/h, but you’ve got four dry seats, airbags, a roof, and cheap insurance.

Advertisement

Me? I’d be going Ape.

Advertisement

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

(Photo credits: Auto Ellenrieder; OlliFoolish, CC-by-SA 3.0 at Wikimedia for the BMW Isetta)

Share This Story