Forget the Toyota Prius, be kind to the environment with this rare 3-wheeler
An oil crisis is bad news for automotive business as the shortage of fuel means that a car isn’t much use to anyone. This became a real issue in the 1970s with the masses looking for means of personal transport that could be run on a shoestring. Enter the microcar, or more specifically the Freeway 3-Wheeler.
The UK had the Peel P50, and Germany the BMW Isetta, but America’s answer to needing to be frugal was this fascinating Freeway. This single-cylinder 3-Wheeler was manufactured by High Mileage Vehicles and claimed 10 - 100mpg. The microcar’s engine is placed directly behind the driver with a CVT transmission providing drive to the single rear wheel. There’s no reverse gear, so turning around in a tight space requires a small amount of manual labor.
While born out of necessity, the Freeway’s shape is pretty futuristic thanks to its aerodynamic nature — from some angles it could even pass as an ancestor to Volkswagen’s XL1. Its body was made from fibreglass in order to keep weight to a minimum, as was the car’s drag reducing undertray.
The interior seats one occupant with a small storage area for personal effects. A simple dashboard features a series of buttons for functioning things such as the lights and wiper, but also hosts functioning radio.
This bright yellow example is currently for sale with Classic Auto Mall and represents a good opportunity to add a real curiosity to your collection. The 1980 model is either powered by a 12hp or 16hp engine — apparently there are no identifying marks — and could do with a mechanical tune-up. However, one of the biggest draws of this Freeway is its low mileage, clocking just 6133 miles from new.
Only 700 of these microcars were built between 1979 and 1982 when High Mileage Vehicles closed. We think that this retro eco-car is quite the character, and certainly a machine that will have people raising an eyebrow.