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French Folly: 1956 Poirier Voiturette Monoto XW-5

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This French folly is a 1956 Poirier Voiturette Monoto XW-5 and it’s in Johns Island, South Carolina. It’s listed on eBay with a current bid of just over $2,000, but the reserve isn’t met. This type of Voiturette, or cycle-car, was popular in France after WWII when inexpensive transportation was needed and only a couple of thousand of these Poirier XW-5s were made. This one has been out of regular service for about a decade so it’ll need to be gone through before you can do that Route 66 trip that you’ve always dreamed about..

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A couple of these rare and unusual trikes have sold in the last year or two for up to $5,500 so they aren’t super expensive. And, of course, you would be 99.9% guaranteed to have thee only one when you drive up to the antique motorcycle show in this thing. The seller recently purchased this one for $3,301 from a dealer in Belgium, and supposedly that included free shipping, so that was a bargain! They say that they have purchased several bikes from the seller in Belgium and they have all been as described, which gives me hope in buying things overseas on eBay. This is a tandem two-seater, and that rear seat backrest looks a little precarious, to say the least!

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Isn’t this thing unique? Maybe it’s just me, but I think that it would be great to have a bike/trike like this, just to go to the store with or to run other neighborhood errands with it. This is a 4-speed and hopefully you’ll have enough legroom in the cockpit in order to work the controls. This particular example has been in storage for about a decade and has only been started a couple of times since being in regular use. Hopefully it won’t be the end of the world to get the mechanicals up to snuff again.

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The rear seat folds out of the way to gain access to the 125 cc motor which puts out only around 5 hp. These were also shaft drive and had drum brakes on all three wheels! Pretty advanced stuff for a 1950s French three-wheeler, or any three-wheeler from the 1950s. I’m not sure about the odd placement of the reflectors on the rear fenders/wings, one oval reflector above the left tail light and a round one below the right tail light. I’d want to redo those a bit, but overall this looks like a nice example. I’m sure that most of the Barn Finds readers could get this thing humming like new in no time. Have you ever seen one of these before? Is this one worth restoring back to looking like new, or would you just get it working perfectly and buzz around the neighborhood with it? With your leather helmet and goggles on, but of course!


  1. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Wow, I love this thing! I’ve been thinking about getting a Honda Ruckus or something to cruise around on, but this would be much more fun! Just think, with the back seat Josh and I could take it to grab lunch or run over to the shop. Hmm, I wonder what the reserve is set at…

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    • Scotty Staff

      Ha, excellent! They bought it for $3,301 so I can’t imagine that the reserve is a lot more than that.

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  2. Bobsmyuncle

    Super cool!

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  3. James HGF

    A Poirier Monoto XW-5 available in the US is somewhat surprising. A quick check of Leboncoin.fr shows a few lesser Poirier trikes currently offered – no Monotos today.

    A nice page of Poirier photos (click to enlarge thumbnails) from the Ydral club site with a ’54 Chevy pickup (in England) and various people confirming its size at a glance:


    These were sans permis (no license -part of their appeal) vehicles when new.

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      Great link thanks! You just have to love the leather cowl and cane holder!

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  4. Graham Line

    Fortunately the Poirier dealer on the corner will have all of the needed parts and consumables.

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  5. Alan Brase

    Luckily, you will probably get sick of this thing before it wears out. I’d think a sheet of gasket paper, tube of RTV, Set of points, few feet of fuel hose, will keep you going a couple years.
    Finding a club is key. Enthusiasts the world over take care of each other. It’s sorta the “fraternite” of the French, maybe?

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  6. Gavin

    i own one in australia

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