Back around 1975 or 1980, Mechanix Illustrated, Popular Mechanics and Home Mechanix magazines had loads of articles featuring the work of Robert Q. Riley. The articles centered around do it yourself motorized vehicles, often combining power from a small gasoline engine with electric batteries or, in some cases, powered by one or the other alone. The vehicle bodies were often made of foam and fiberglass and the very clear plans for building everything were available through those magazines. I bought one set of plans back then, for a 3 wheeled Trimuter. Never built it but I still have the plans and they’re as relevant and easy to follow today as they were then.
Some of the vehicles became quite popular and were built in a lot of home workshops. They had names like Tri-Magnum, Doran, Centurion, Urba Electric, Urba Trike and lots more. There were even hovercraft (Pegasus), personal water craft (Hydrorunner) and submarines (Aquasub).
Although I remember his plans and vehicles, they were fading in my memory until I saw a link the other day on the Make Blog. I had no idea he was still selling those plans and he has a website with a lot of information and photos. What’s surprising to me is that with all of the interest these days in high mileage vehicles and electric or hybrid drive, there hasn’t been any coverage of these plans, or at least it’s been under my radar.
The Kneeslider readers will find a lot to look at with the Tri-Magnum, which is a motorcycle powered 3 wheeler, the Urba Trike, the El Choppers, actually they’re all pretty cool. Even recumbent bicycles, check the Ground Hugger XR2. With winter fast approaching, can you imagine what neat garage projects these would be? Especially with some more current technology to work with? Definitely worth a look.