I received an email a few weeks ago from someone looking for details on a motorcycle powered car and what she described triggered some memories. I couldn’t remember the name of the vehicle but I remembered what it looked like. As luck would have it, while looking for something else, I discovered the car in question, an Owosso Pulse for sale on ebay. These were powered by a Yamaha 400cc engine and have an electric motor for reverse. Very airplane looking which isn’t surprising considering their origins. A little research shows the story of both the LiteStar and Pulse, very similar looking vehicles that were offshoots of the same design from Jim Bede.
Jim Bede, you’ll recall if you are into homebuilt or experimental aircraft, designed and built a small plane, the BD-5, a very cool looking single seater with a pusher prop configuration. This eventually became the BD-5J, equipped with a small jet engine in place of the prop. Quick little sucker, too. James Bond fans may remember a BD-5J in one of the 007 films where it was flown through an airplane hanger.
Anyway, after building the BD-5, Jim Bede decided to try his hand at building a commuter vehicle and the LiteStar was what he came up with. Some business dealings lead to a split and the Owosso Pulse was built as well. There are more details on both of those vehicles here and here.
These kinds of vehicles are so cool, they remind me of the future vehicle articles we used to read in Popular Science with everyone wearing those clothes made from shiny fabrics and the buildings and highways were all up in the clouds.
see also: motorcycle powered cars