Ceiling Find: 1926 Sandford 3-Wheeler

If you had looked up at the ceiling in the old Imperial Palace in Las Vegas you might have seen this cycle-car hanging there and assumed it was a Morgan. In the early 1900’s cycle-cars were popular and there were over a hundred manufacturers building them. In Europe, taxes and registration fees were cheaper for cycle-cars than for automobiles. In the US, they were popular until Model T prices dropped below the price of the average cycle-car. Stewart Sandford sold Morgans in France. When he saw a demand for a 3-wheeler with more power than the Morgan 2 cylinder engine, he started his own company and built his own cycle cars with 4 cylinder engines. This Sandford listed on eBay likely has a Ruby 4 cylinder engine. Here’s a picture of a typical installation in a Sandford cycle-car.

The Sandford is very different from the Morgan cycle-car. It’s all steel with a more powerful enclosed engine. This cycle-car will likely end up in a private collection, but doesn’t it look like it would be fun to drive? Cycle-cars racing was very popular and these Sandfords were very competitive with top speeds of over 100 mph.

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Comments

  1. Wayne

    100mph in a 3 wheel cycle car? No thanks I’ll pass on that, thanks all the same.

    • Metoo

      It would be safer than trying to reach 100 mph in a cycle car with the one wheel in front.

      • Dick Johnson

        Yeaaahhh… ask Craig Breedlove.

  2. Dan

    This is so cool. What fun!

  3. Bob

    The Polaris Slingshot has a top speed of 130 mph. 3 wheeled vehicles with the two wheels in front are very stable!

    However, I’ve heard that on a bike you can miss a pothole, in a car, you can straddle a pothole, but on a 3 wheeler, one of them is going to hit it.

    That aside, I love this!

    • Dick Johnson

      We had a Harley Servicar at the PD which was in use from 1955 and well into the late 1970s. At a top cruise speed of 45mph, we could usually miss a pot hole or two, but not always.

      The Polaris SlingSnot is really stable when you sink a front wheel off the side of a narrow two lane road, and flip it several times. They lived to buy another. Then they put a ‘tuner’ muffler on it for good obnoxious measure. The front end of this ‘thing’ is as wide as the back end of a C7.

      I’ll take a Morgan 3 wheel or the Sandford. Better yet, the built-to-order reproduction Morgan. More fun than a TD. Well, almost.

      • Simon

        There is no reproduction Morgan, it is their new model.

  4. James HGF

    Attached an article about a 1927 Sanford with the 1098cc 35hp Ruby and 3 speed transmission. Great engine photos plus a short history in English claiming some race modified cars were nearing the 115 mph range:

    http://passion-3-roues.centerblog.net/346-1927-la-sandford

    Definitely prefer the 1927 featured in passion-3-roues to the overly restored ex-Imperial Palace car.

  5. Smitty

    I would just PUTT around in it, LOL I may do over 100, but it will be in Ford Dually.

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