1 of 700? 1982 HMV Freeway 16-HP

Certainly ranking as one of the most unusual vehicles of all time, at least among microcars, this 1982 HMV Freeway came along at a time when car companies and random inventors were trying to come up with something fuel-efficient after the gas crisis. The seller has this three-wheeler posted here on craigslist in Montague, New Jersey and they’re asking $7,000. Let’s check it out.

Most of us have seen examples of the HMV (High Mileage Vehicles) Freeway, sometimes referred to as Free-Way, here on Barn Finds over the years. They are really interesting and as with seemingly everything else in the vintage automotive world these days, prices are rising. I don’t know if $7,000 is a good price for this one or not given the amount of work that it needs, though. I really like yellow vehicles, safety-wise, when they’re this small. But, was this one originally red?

Stability-wise, the proper configuration for a three-wheel vehicle, at least for street use, is just as you see here, two on the front and one in the rear. Even more interesting than the vehicle itself is that they were made in Burnsville, Minnesota, a southern suburb of Minneapolis. There weren’t many vehicles made in Minnesota that I can think of, at least as far as being invented and manufactured there. Can you think of any others? The Freeway was made from 1979 to 1982 so four short years and only about 700 of them were made.

They were single-passenger vehicles, that is, driver only, at least legally. I’m sure that it also wasn’t legal to pack a half-dozen people into the trunk of a 1970 Olds 98 for movie night at the Drive-in. Seeing an exposed gas can is rarely confidence-inspiring for me, but sometimes it takes such a setup to get a vehicle moving if it’s in need of some troubleshooting, which clearly this one is. The interior hopefully won’t take a lot of work to get back in shape.

HMV reportedly offered at least four different powertrains for the Freeway. Gas engines were either a 12-horsepower or 16-horsepower Tecumseh single-cylinder, and there was also a diesel version listed in the company’s catalog but there are no real records of any of them being sold. And, of course, there was an EV version, which very few were made and sold. This is the big one, the 16-hp version and there’s no word on how or even if it runs, but it has new tires, and seeing that gas can makes me believe that it runs without the original gas tank? I think a few Barn Finds readers have owned an HMV Freeway, are you one of them?


  1. Doone

    Conveniently the upholstery is a serious match for those duct tape repairs. IMO worth 1/10th of the asking price.

    Like 4
    • Till J.

      Hi. Only 700 Bucks for such a strange bubblecar? Or is it more a microcar, I don`t know the differences. Well, some people like me lives in the middle of nowhere and don`t want to own such a car. But some people in the world lives in citys without any parkingspace and want to own a strange classic car. Well, I really thing 700 would be to less. Perhaps 7000 is to much, could be, I don`t know. Have a look to the increasing prices from european Bubblecars – by the way, some US-people wants unbelievable much money for such stuff. And 700 were made? Chris Rees says in his book Threewheelers A-Z that around 2000 H-M Free-Ways were build. If it`s true, I don`t know.

      Best regards
      Till J.

      Like 5
  2. Chris

    Its a early “Smart Car”

    Like 4
  3. Nolan Brandsma

    Ls swap

    Like 9
  4. Mark

    Under the last remaining street lights along a lone stretch of blvd outside an old abandoned industrial complex and thru the clouds of 4 cycle SAE 30 hanging in the air, I can still feel the neck snapping jolt from dropping the old Craftsman LT 1000 in 6th, popping the clutch, leaving the line with the front wheels up and putting these so called cars back on their trailers.

    Like 5
  5. Steve Clinton

    Speaking of ‘freeway’, the first semi that blows past this ‘jokemobile’ will blow it into the bushes.

    Like 4
  6. FrankD

    Needs nitrous with a flame paint job!

    Like 1
  7. Troy

    No I don’t need a Prius concept car

    Like 2
  8. FenderUnbender

    Since these were made in Minnesota, I wonder how it got as far as New Jersey. It would be very interesting if it was driven all of the way there.

    Like 5
  9. Howie Mueler

    For that amount of money you could buy a real car.

    Like 4
  10. Bob

    Ford had a 1900s, 4 story building near the Capital in St. Paul and a large production plant in MPS until about 10-15 years ago. Made Rangers,etc.

    Like 1
  11. ed sel

    V-e-r-r-y Interesting, but…Check out a vehicle now being mfg’d and sold, under the stock symbol (SOLO)…https://www.electrameccanica.com/ It’s electric, and a plant is being built in AZ. I am not touting anything here – but if you go to the above site, you might be struck (!) by the similarity of the vehicles.

    Like 2
  12. gaspumpchas

    The laws of physics (and common sense) Might indicate that a bigger heavier vehicle would crush this thing like a bug on a windshield. I had 3 friends that were killed in one car accidents with these 3 wheel cars. Not for this kid. Good luck and happy motoring.

    Like 1
  13. JMB#7

    Paul Elio’s dream. The price even aligns with his dream!

    Like 1
  14. tony t

    You know what I like about a gas can inside the vehicle?

    Like 1
  15. Ramon Guerra

    I have one a 1981 and I live it its in very good condition has the 16 hp in it I’m doing a new paint job now that is yellow original and take her to the car shows

    Like 1
  16. chrlsful

    yeah, go from the mako shark/ople front to focus and EVit.
    I hear the electramanica is poised to sell. To who? not sure.
    I think merica is more into a car sized one, major maker, etc
    Oh, wait – we gota few of those.

    Wish the co the very best of luck. Like the iPhone every one should have’n use one…

    Like 0
  17. David

    I really perked up at the reference to the 1970 Olds 98 and it’s trunk size. i owned one, a Luxury Sedan that had been my great grandfather’s Oldsmobile executive car. I can attest that you could fit at least ½ dozen people in the trunk of that thing, and that’s even with the spare tire installed.

    Like 0

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