TerraCraft Tilting Enclosed Reverse Trike Concept

TerraCraft tilting enclosed reverse trike

TerraCraft tilting enclosed reverse trike with retractable canopy

This just came across my desk and it looks so interesting I thought I should take a break from what I was doing to put it out here. It's a new concept from a Texas based company called TerraCraft. It's a rear engine, tilting reverse trike with an enclosed body.

It has a tube frame, retractable canopy and, to my eye, one of the better looking designs so far. The team includes some ex NASA folks, courtesy of the downsizing of the space agency and gets design leadership from Foresee Car Design.

The project is still in the early stages, but one thing I like is their realistic price projections, ranging from $40 thousand to $80 thousand, depending on level of trim and option packages. They clearly state they are aiming at a niche market of buyers who have the resources to purchase something like this, no mass market pretensions are in their plans.

Like so many other startups, this one may go nowhere, but if it does, it would certainly look good while doing so. Check it out.

Link: TerraCraft

Comments

  1. sfan says

    It is certainly much more interesting looking than the T-REX and could appeal to the same market. Still, it has a bit of a Hot-Wheels theme which could be good or bad depending on the beholder.

  2. DWolvin says

    Interesting looks, I like the almost 32 Ford ‘grill’ area blending into a buck rogers body. Hope they get it off the ground, Doers rule and the more the better!

    • says

      Yes, we feared that in the early design concepts. The design cue is actually a head on shot of the Bald Eagle, google image” eagle face” and put them side by side. we actually have some other variation on a concept page pending publishing. Thanks for the feedback. Wes Abbott Terracraft Founder.

    • zippy says

      @ DWolfin, that grill resembles a 33 Ford, not a 32 Ford. Just saying is all.

  3. Paulinator says

    Chrysler Prowler meets Messerschmitt.

    Definitely interesting, but very low volume.

    • todd says

      exactly what I was thinking – though “yay” on the Messerschmitt and “uhh” on the Prowler part.

      This looks like a nice concept. It would be great to see a bunch of lightweight vehicles like this on the road.

      -todd

  4. Hawk says

    Nice idea. Drop in a Hayabusa maybe?

    Seriuosly though, I was dismayed to see the demise of Carver. Their leaning suspension appeared to be a very good concept. I was further dismayed to hear that Harley-Davidson bought the intellectual property rights …. and buried them somewhere in their file 13 …. along with Eric Buell.

    A few years ago, I test-rode a Can-Am Spyder. To say that I was not impressed is an understatement. Even not being aggressive, I felt like it was trying to pitch me off in the corners. It was then that I decided when I became too old and wobbly to ride solo, I’d look for a leaning suspension three-wheeler …. with lot’s of power! Hey, I ain’t dead yet!

    Of course the enclosed cockpit would be nice especially riding on the wet coast of Canada in the rain forest.

    Thanks for the article Paul. Great stuff as usual.

  5. B50 Jim says

    Jay Leno will buy one if he gets a good retirement package from the network.

    Nice! Plenty of 3-wheelers exist but this one has real style. It’s out of my price range (WAY out) but I’d sure like to see one running down the road. Looks like a great place to drop a Motus — could even reduce costs a bit.

    But when I see “in the early stages” I read “CG graphics and no prototype yet”. Reading the website, I deduce they haven’t actually built one; they have a lot of talent to do the design work, plenty of CAD and CNC files, but nobody back in the shop welding up the frame. Call me skeptical, but we’ve seen so many of these exercises go nowhere that I’ll believe it when I see it. Designing a project is one thing; producing it is another, even in small quantities.

    • says

      We may hit you price range later with a production unit and kit down the road TBD. Plenty of backbone here, just bootstrapping and holding off the VC’s to take care of core group and mitigate control and dilution. WE have class A fabricators and welders on hand “inhouse”, along with strong supplier access and relations. Its an ROI deal between engineering and a single prototype. 10 cheaper than one to do it right. I will post some more pics of the rolling chassis asap. Thanks you for the input and have Jay give me a call.

      • B50 Jim says

        I appreciate the feedback. I don’t mean to criticize your company specifically; we’ve seen a lot of “start-ups” with good ideas and no backing, but it appears your ducks are in a row. I will watch for a TerraCraft on the road. I live in Chicago and work in the vicinity of the affluent North Shore; I see a smattering of vintage and exotic cars on the streets; perhaps there will be room in those garages for a TerraCraft as well.

        The next time I talk to Jay I’ll give him the word — I wish! But I’m sure he’s aware of your enterprise. A man who owns a roadster powered by a WWII tank engine would certainly go for a TerraCraft.

  6. Mel says

    Very nice…but price is everything. There have been lots of nice , but very pricey failures. Once you get beyond the retail price of a CanAm you are deluding yourselves. They do not need to be massively powered to be viable.

  7. Bob Slovey says

    You must prescribe to the same design concepts I do. That is, three wheel vehicles do not need to look like jelly beans or science experiments. They need to look like something I would want to buy and be seen in. Congrats! Very well done….. I would buy it!

  8. Christoph says

    Just looked at some renderings on the website. Have to say I think the exterior is interesting and will grow on me if I had one. Especially like the convertible look in matte carbon fiber. The shot of the seating though had me confused. It looks like motorcycle seating. That alone will cut off a large segment of buyers (IMO). I think people understand why motorcycles have their seating requirements and largely embrace the fact that they have to restrict what they wear when they use them. An enclosed trike design would seem to offer the ‘dynamics’ of motorcycling with the easy accessibility and without clothing requirements. My example is a couple going for an outing and the woman not being able to wear a skirt or dress because she has to straddle the saddle. Also having sit in that manner without any legroom option isn’t helping on extended outings. Surely the fact that it leans doesn’t mandate the seating as scooters lean and the riders feet are flat with a modicum of movement. Given that this seems aimed at higher-rolling trike enthusiasts, they will only part with their money when you give them what they want not what you tell them they can have.

  9. Renegade_Azzy says

    2 questions… is this a Wheels lean and body leans vehicle, or a body leans and wheels stay up vehicle? If teh wheels stay up, then put car tires on it. no one wants to replace bike tires every 3-7K, especially with the added weight.

    And what are we talking price range here? Looking at rich guy toy, or something the rest of us can afford to put on the maybe list?

  10. Cowpieapex says

    The aesthetics of this design are impeccable. I too wonder if the wheels lean as this would be my preference.In the diagram I see a steering rack which causes me to inquire if the designer is aware of the “free to caster” principal demonstrated by Tom Blackburn’s TBX3. It’s design and performance can be observed in this Video.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAcMmYSe6qA
    The last time I saw Tom the TBX3 was sporting a NASA logo on its fuselage, perhaps you know him.

    • DanP says

      From an aesthetic point of view, to my eyes it just looks wrong, too fussy and and contrived. I’m no aerodynamic expert, but it strikes me that the front end might be prone to lifting at high speed and also that there might be plenty of surface area for cross winds to get purchase on. Whilst the jet fighter style bubble canopy looks great, what’s it going to be like to ride (drive) when the screen’s splattered with road filth and rain water. Will there be windscreen wiper blades fitted and if so how would they deal with so rounded a screen profile?

  11. Drew says

    Styling borrows heavily from the Peugeot Liion concept. Interested to see what type of front suspension is used and how lean is achieved/controlled. Pricing may be an issue considering how many vehicles have been introduced lately. Even though it didn’t lean, Volkswagen would have ruled this space if it could have sold the GX3 at the projected price. Nice to see someone pushing the envelope though.

  12. Josh says

    Are you guys looking at the same machine I am?? It is easiest the ugliest thing I’ve seen in a long, long while..

    • Gildas says

      The sides, the tech aspects and the detailing are good, the front made me puke a little in my mouth. The laughing devil look is great for 2 to 4 year olds with a mean streak, after that it’s old news.

  13. '37 Indian says

    At $40-$80 thousand, I don’t see any advantage over a Corvette C7, which I would much rather have. I ride one of my motorcycles when I want to be exposed to the elements, I take the car when I don’t. When would I take this? It is an interesting design, the front end’s resemblence to the Plymouth Prowler is obvious, tilting technology is a plus (has Can-Am done this yet?), reminds me of kit trikes I’ve seen in the past that used Goldwing rear sections for power and ease of construction. It certainly would be a hit at local car shows. I suppose if I was handicapped or too old to keep my balance on a two wheeler, had always dreamed of owning a jet fighter, and had some inheritance money…..

  14. SausageCreature says

    I’m just wondering when the name of this blog changed from “The Kneeslider” to “The Knee Which Doesn’t Require a Slider Because it’s Resting Comfortably Inside of a Three-Wheeled Car”. ; )

    • todd says

      I guess then that The Kneeslider shouldn’t also cover cruisers (Exhaust sliders), adventure bikes (Nothing sliders), engineering and technology (Slide rule sliders), and special builds (Wallet sliders), or appeal to new riders or other people who cannot or have not gotten a knee down (Knuckle sliders).

      What a boring site that would be.

      -todd

      • B50 Jim says

        Not to mention old English bikes (oil sliders). Todd, you’re giving away your age by mentioning slide rules — yes, I have one and can even use it for basic calculations. But I’ll bet no math/engineering student since 1975 has even seen a “slipstick”. Too bad, actually; it’s quite satisfying to move the slide and window, then actually make your calculation come out right. Just remember where the decimal point goes.

    • B50 Jim says

      Who’da thunk it? It’s like a ring tone for a cell phone that sounds like an old-fashioned telephone bell. But it’s on a screen. You don’t get the tactile pleasure of working the slide and the satisfaction of interpreting those tiny hash marks that get harder to read as we old Boomers get older.

    • Paulinator says

      That’s gonna give America its edge back!!! Just think of what the nation did with slide-rules before…Apollo, the 747, Detroit, Dearborn, Milwaukie, John Deere and on and on and on and

  15. B50 Jim says

    When hackers sponsored by antagonistic foreign nations crash-and-burn the Internet, we’ll need those slide rules. If we put men on the moon using them for calculations, we can do most anything.

      • B50 Jim says

        I hope you’re kidding? Or not. I guess I’m really showing my age. For those of you whose education began after about 1970, when hand calculators hit the market at a reasonable price, a slide rule is a device used for mathematical calculations — imagine three small slats about a foot long and a half-inch wide (that’s 30cm and 8mm for you Canadians) laid side-by-side with the middle slat sliding between the two outer slats via a tongue-and-groove. The two outer slats are fastened together so only the inner slat moves in relation to the outer two. The slats are marked with logarithmic scales, and a window with a hairline slides over the whole works. By aligning the scales using the hairline you can multiply, divide, extract square roots, do trigonometry functions, exponents, locate the decimal point, work with scientific notation (for really big numbers) and, for all I know, discover the meaning of life.

        I should explain logarithms: devised during the 18th century by a French artillery officer/mathematician, logarithms are a convenient way to calculate large numbers by simply adding and subtracting “logs”, which are numerical values assigned to said large numbers. I’ve forgotten how to use them but they are handy. This was useful for calculating trajectories of artillery shells in the field. The slide rule takes advantage of “logs” for most of its functions.

        Anyway, a slide rule was a powerful tool for those who bothered to learn to use it. When I was in high school the geeks ordered the creme de la creme, the Post Versalog, through math class, and carried them in leather holsters attached to their belts while the rest of us were in shop classes. A good slide rule can be accurate to three decimal points, close enough for rocket science. I took a junior-college slide-rule course in late 1970, just as the instrument was becoming obsolete. My cheap plastic slide rule broke years ago but I bought an aluminum one at a resale shop and still use it for basic multiplication and division. It impresses the kids, who never heard of one.

        I hope this helps. Try Googling it — you’ll find a better description.

  16. Mike says

    Oh Jeez, not again!. I don`t care how boring a previous poster would be without the inclusion of such things on this site. It`s not a MOTORCYCLE!. It`s a CAR with 3 wheels!!!.
    The price is “realistic” to who ?. You must not have been downsized during the recent recession.
    Those of us old enuff to remember when bikes were a cheap source of fun for regular guys who couldn`t afford a car are puking!.
    This is another trinket/bauble/fashion accessory for the rich. Even they know if it was about performance they could buy a car that would do more for less $$. It`s another “look at me” in my “unobtainable to most” cool transportation device. Yeh, Jay Leno would have to have one.

  17. says

    You can look at my first vehice whit similar construction at http://www.voz.si
    It has electric motor drive that acchive 100km/h and acid battary for 100km range. Using more powerful controler and CVT transmition I can make it go 130+km/h (this is speed limit for EU highway) and whit litium battery it is no problem to have range 300+km (that far I have to go to get to sea;) ).
    My price is 10.000€ for acid and 20.000€ for lithium. All homologation forms for EU included (usualy in EU we have lot more problems geting car on a street). I do not know price for transport in USA.
    For more information write me on david@voz.si

    P.S. sorry for language mistakes. :)