EXCLUSIVE: Two Seater Project 1975 Rupp Centaur

Josh MortensenBy Josh Mortensen

Update 6/16/17 – After having a buyer back out due to sudden heath problems, Glenn has decided to lower his asking price to $5,300! He also sent over photos of the Sprint parts car, which can be seen below. It actually looks decent enough to be a reasonable project car, so be sure to take a look at it too!

Now this is a rare and unusual find! And it’s rather fitting given the other day’s Runway Find. These three wheeled Rupp Centaurs are quite rare, just 1,200 were built. When they came out in ’75 they were so unique that even Elvis had to have one! Well, this one didn’t belong to the King, but it actually looks a lot like the one he owned. Reader Glenn E had big plans for his Rupp, which involved swapping the engine for something a bit more powerful, but life has gotten in the way and he has to let it go. If you’d love to have this rare three wheeler, he is asking $5,500 and it can be found in Ava, Missouri. You can contact him about purchasing it via the form below!

From Glenn – 1975 Rupp Centaur – I have the original rain cover for the interior which will make a good pattern, and the original trunk insert. The present engine is a Kawasaki 440 – 2 cycle in place of the original Rupp 440 – 2 cycle engine. It is not running due to sitting. Lot of extra parts including: two triple trees, one is on a cut off front frame piece, two radius rods, front fairing, trunk lid, two front fenders, one with mounting pieces, two sets of handlebars, set of shocks, gauge panel with gauges and controls, some wiring, headlight, gas tank and more.

I was going to put a 1988 Chevy Sprint turbo 3 cylinder engine in it, if you want to do the same it is available. The history I have is only word of mouth, It was purchased new in Minnesota the owner changed the engine and parked it, I purchased it from the next owner, and bought it to Missouri, purchased a salvage vehicle (the Sprint)  with 2 engines, life got in the way, health problems etc. I would like this to get back on the road, and realize I will not get it done!

The Chevy Sprint turbo engine would be a massive step up in performance from the Rupp or even the Kawaski engine. The original engine was actually a Kohler two stroke. While it was definitely fuel efficient, it wasn’t particularly powerful and it had serious reliability issues. Rupp originally designed these to use a VW Beetle engine and transmission, but they weren’t ever able to make the deal work. Glenn will include the Sprint and all the parts that are with it for an additional $1,400. I know that’s quite the jump in price, but the Sprint’s Suzuki built 3 cylinder is good for 70 horsepower and 80 foot pounds of torque. That’s not earth shaking power, but for something as light as this trike, it is more than enough power to get into trouble.

We don’t get any photos of the parts car or the spares. If the Sprint is solid and not seriously damaged, it might actually be worth reviving it. They are getting quite hard to come by these days and while they aren’t valuable enough to fully restore, if it’s complete it would be worth fixing up! And if the spare engine is complete and in good shape, you’d still have an engine to install in this Centaur. I like the idea of having more power in this three wheeler, but I would want to reinforce the body before adding any more power (these were known to develop stress cracks due to body flex). It looks to actually be in great shape, so you might even want to leave it alone and just drive it! So have any of you ever experience one of these Rupps?

Special thanks to Glenn for listing his Rupp with us! If you have a cool oddball like this that needs a new home, please consider listing it with us!

Asking Price: $6,900 for Rupp with parts car/$5,300 for just the Rupp
Location: Ava, Missouri
Mileage: 2,131 on Rupp/90,135 on Sprint
Title Status: Clean

Contact The Seller

Sorry, this one has SOLD!

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Comments

  1. Billy Baroo

    There was a gold one for sale in my area last year for 750 bucks. And it ran but needed brake work..This is way overpriced. And, you can get a nice updated, reliable sport bike engine for far less and have a serious troublemaker

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    • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

      You should have bought the one in your area, one sold at auction about a year ago in similar condition to this one for $7,600. I do agree that a sport bike engine would be cheaper and just as much fun, but Glenn is just throwing the parts car out there if someone wants to go that route.

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  2. Sonny Durham

    I love everything Rupp did and bc started. My first Mini Bike was 2 spend Rupp TT 500 . I think the price is right on at a starting price. 😎

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  3. whippeteer

    $5500 for a Sprint parts car???

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    • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

      I think I misread the info he sent me. He might have been saying $6,900 for the Rupp and the parts car or $5,500 just for the Rupp. I’m asking him right now to clarify.

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    • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

      My apologies guys, it’s $5,500 for the Rupp by itself and an additional $1,400 if you want the Sprint and spare engine.

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  4. Don H

    Suzuki Hayabusa ,will make it crazy fast way over 100 horsepower

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  5. Doug Towsley

    There was all kinds of this stuff out there in the 70s and early 1980s and the whole trike and 3 wheeler thing faded away, But it was a big deal for a while… Craig Vetter also played around with some different body work ideas for bikes and 3 wheelers and I got to a point I hated that dated goofy style,, especially the big windjammer fairings on many UJM bikes.. But between the retro 70s styling and the resurgence in interest in 3 wheelers I am sure there will be interest. It seems a bit high on price to me but I have no idea what these go for, I do KNOW prices and do spread sheets and track vintage motorcycles, so VERY familiar with the vintage bike market but truthfully, I just dont see three wheelers go for much money w/ early HD servicars and some UK makes AA and simalar being the norm. Something like this, I just dont see this crossing MidAmerica or Mecum big auctions anytime soon but you never know. Who knew Crocker Motorcycles were going to be as valuable as they are now.?

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  6. Don H

    The new modern trikes with Honda gold wing engines our Harley engines are way better than the old Vw trikes ,imo

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  7. LAB3

    If it where an original bone stock machine it might be worth that kind of money but this one ain’t that. Although you don’t see them often there’s still plenty of old VW trikes out there that could be had for much less. Chances are they’ve been cobbled together by an old outlaw on acid and need frame repair or re-engineering at which point you could swap in your favorite power plant. Missed out on a late 60’s Toronado powered machine a couple year back for $3k in need of a rebuild, still kicking myself for not grabbing it.

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  8. leiniedude

    Nobody mentioned the luggage rack yet. Boomers are jumping on the trike scene like crazy today. I dont think nostalgia, more like necessity. This scooter does look well preserved though. Years ago, the guy up the road had a home built trike for sale.It was well built. Reason for selling, he could not find an insurer.

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    • Pa Tina

      Nice rack!

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  9. KevinW

    I bought a Sprint from a coworker for $300 as cheap transportation because I was living about 30 miles from work. I remember the three cylinder motor getting outstanding fuel mileage. It was blue, so my youngest christened it the Smurfmobile. Not a bad car. Clutch cable broke, and was easy to replace during sleet and rain with my foot in a cast. Luckily, the parts store was within hobbling distance! Good Times!

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