Even Clowns Have Standards: 2011 Snyder ST600C

Often, the first response to a strange car is a query as to what it is.  With this car, if it can be called a car, the question is “why is it.”  What we have here is perhaps the most bizarre forms of transportation to ever be featured on Barn Finds.  This one makes the Yugo I just wrote about seem like a new S-Class Mercedes in regards to quality, and makes the neighbor kid’s BMX bike seem safer than a Volvo 240.  While there is very little information about these on the internet, the stickers on its rump say it is a Snyder ST600-C, and the little beastie is for sale in a tiny town just outside of Oak Ridge, Tennessee called Oliver Springs.  You can find it on Craigslist for the loan officer angering price of $6500.

The stickers on the back of the car give it an awesome, manly name, but there is not much information about this dinky monstrosity floating around.  If you want a better look at one of these, I did find a video on YouTube giving us a walk around by what looks like a car dealer trying to sell a similar one.  Once again, the question is why make such a vehicle?  I think the answer is in a loophole in federal law that exempts motorcycles from the myriad of safety and emissions laws that cars have to endure.  Under those laws, anything with less than four wheels is categorized as a motorcycle.  A few three wheeled cars have found success on these shores, such as the British manufactured Morgan and the Canadian made Can-Am Spyder, but they are in a different league than this one.

I am guessing that this trike was made in China, and likely exported by the same companies that make those little scooters you see being sold in gas station parking lots in the seediest parts of your town.  It looks like the manufacturer reverse engineered a Geo Metro, and then grafted on a three wheeler nose to cover up the 600 cubic centimeter prime mover hidden under its cyclops nose.  They say it has a motorcycle engine and an automotive type manual transmission.  We have no idea whether or not it is front or rear wheel drive, but my speculation is that the motor drives the donut in the front.  The performance must be exhilarating, as the owner states that it will do an honest 65 miles per hour, and get 70 miles per gallon doing it.  Maybe if a kid is driving it downhill…

The above two pictures show off the luxurious interior, complete with a wood grained plastic arm rest.  I have no idea what is happening to the horn button on the steering wheel.   Perhaps it was covered with stingray skin, but someone forgot to tan the hide.  From the looks of the cockpit, the company must have gotten help from those guys who made the seat and dash on my riding lawnmower.  Of course, my riding lawnmower is safer.  At least I’ll get thrown out of the way if I hit something, rather than be crushed inside a tinny plastic coffin made out of recycled razor blades and disposable water bottles.  We won’t even debate the merits and demerits of seatbelt use in a vehicle such as this.

Just in case your death isn’t traumatic enough, the manufacturer has kindly placed the gas tank and battery in an easily accessible compartment under the rear seat.  Granted, it doesn’t hold much in the way of gasoline in the first place.  I guess it is the thought that counts here.  If I were independently wealthy, I’d buy one and submit it to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for crash testing.  Close your eyes and let your thoughts go wild with that mental picture.

If it is Chinese, then I think this car was a tactical mistake if they want to be taken seriously in the American car market.  Stuff like this might make sense in Shanghai, but in the US it is totally inadequate for our transportation needs.  Taking advantage of the three wheeled loophole makes it easier to sell the car for much less than a traditional automobile.  However, a couple of grisly wrecks and TV news magazine hatchet jobs could set back their chances to break into the market for a generation.  The Japanese struggled for years before their vehicles were accepted and respected, and a lot of their problems stemmed from them not understanding the American marketplace.  It took a fuel crisis to get their products into widespread use, and only then did American buyers come to respect the cars for what they were.  It took further “Americanizing” their products for them to achieve parity in the eyes of consumers.

This is a strange, half hearted attempt that wouldn’t even make a good clown car.  I’d bet that none of us have ever seen one of these in person, and that is a good thing for both us and the manufacturer.  They need to try harder to make a car.  A lot harder.


Fast Finds


  1. Dave Wright

    Reminds me of the Bond that Jeremy Clarkson drove………rolled it over multiple times during the program………

    • Brakeservo

      It was a Reliant Robin that Clarkson libeled (the car was modified with added weights and a roll cage) as they aren’t THAT bad. But yes, this reminds me of a modern version of a circa “1953 Bond Minicar Mark C” and if you google that subject you will see examples that I imported a few years ago (mine were the gold and yellow cars that show up from such a search.) The 197cc Villiers 2-stroke motorcycle engine that powered the bond was mounted on the front wheel fork and would crank 180 degrees lock to lock so the cars will do a U-turn on the radius of their wheelbase. Quite a few were sold in the early post-war years in Britain as they met a need that no longer exists today. I drove one across Portland in rush hour traffic once – a terrifying experience for anyone with common sense. I loved it.

  2. Andy

    This seems a little on the harsh side. After all, the people who “exposed” the Reliant’s roll-happiness admitted they faked it; Piaggio Apes and their copycats are carrying people and freight over half the world; and those Cushman and Interceptor III trikes that cops use seen all right. On the other hand, $6500? Uh uh.

    • Arnold Walker

      Actually most custom shops for like Harley or ?trike offer tilt steer to improve the stability.Carter among others offered it as standard equipment .Because it would run as well as 2 wheeler thru the corners.I am more in aviation with flying motorcycles and drone and it help with high center loads from wings or rotors.

  3. Rod444

    You’re only wrong on one point Jeff. In the IHS offest frontal impact test this car would do fantastic… if it hit it’s twin. They would just glance off each other’s lovely comical pinched faces and continue merrily on their way.

    ps. I have seen one of these in person and the interior finish is indeed considerably cheaper looking than my ride on mower.

  4. Sam

    Maybe its a mutant/under developed Mercedes R350….leftover WWll heavy water from Oak Ridge.

  5. jw454

    From the advertisement: “It’s fun to drive and it get’s a lot of looks”.

    I look at a lot of accidents but, that doesn’t mean I want to be in one.

    I guess in a big city it may make sense.

  6. John T

    The latest effort to bring a 3-wheeled motor vehicle (technically a motorcycle in Massachusetts and many other states) is being aggressively attempted by an American company called Elio Motors. For more information and to see pictures go to ElioMotors.com . They are supposedly going to begin production and deliveries in 2018 if they don’t run out of money. We will have to wait and see.

    • LAB3

      Elio has been in “going into production in 3-6 months” mode for at least four years now. Love the concept of a brand new 80+ MPG vehicle hitting the market for $8k that has the potential to become the next “cult car” but the delivery date setbacks are past getting old.

      • Joe Anselmi

        I own a Snyder.It is one of the most safest motorcycles out there.The body is all metal.Unlike the genius that wrote this without even driving one.They are a rear engine two cylinder. They red line at 44 mph but are clocked for 70 mph.They can do it quite easily. The best best gas mileage I got was 38 mpg.That is in Pennsylvania with a lot of big hills.You can not image how many people vid8me driving mine going down the road.Plus I have won several car shows for a stock motorcycle. So don’t knock it unt8you try it.

        Like 2
    • DW

      The Elio is in the midst of imploding. See https://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/elio-motors-financial-woes/

  7. justin

    They are Chinese. They are mainly used as taxis. There is also a truck version. They are powered by a 34hp V-twin mounted in the back of the car and weigh about 1400lbs.

  8. Kenneth Neal-Rosario

    My friends went though a spell where they thought these were a great idea. They bought two. Chinese build quality, meaning heavy rust and thick Bondo from the factory. They were truly terrifying to ride in. They did swap a Ninja 250 engine in one that made it faster than a riding lawn mower, but still… They actually drove them on the freeway.

  9. SanityFactor

    Lets drop a LS in it….

  10. jdjonesdr

    Wood dash, wood shift knob, even a wood console. What’s not to like?

  11. Alvan


    I found this bit of info, makes me think of a Reliant Robin only zanier.

  12. Joe Haska

    Living in Phoenix Arizona, where golf carts are an accepted form of transportation, even on certain streets, the carts have plates and I assume insurance. I don’t play golf so this might just be my way to taking advantage of driving in the golf cart lanes. I know some golf carts cost way over 10K, and it shouldn’t be too hard to convince Motor Vehicle that, it is a golf cart. The only thing holding me back is, I have heard a rumor about a golf cart for sale, in one of the retirement communities, that was owned by a retired Wyoming Rancher ,and its has a turbo charger , and will do way over 60 mph. I think it would be way cooler to have the fastest, over the ugliest!

  13. dr fine

    I saw one of these for sale on the internet about the time this example was new. It had clearly fallen over at least once as the driver’s mirror was gone and the side scraped up. I’ve always been a sucker for little oddballs and thought I might pay up to a thousand dollars for it. The price was $7,800 from a small car lot.

  14. chad

    for 50 more cc you can get the Wildfire P/U or Hatch!
    All 3 coming to your neighborhood freelance dealers
    (if living in a lrg metro area)

  15. scottymac

    Laugh if you will! They scoffed at Malcolm Bricklin and his Subarus, and look who got the last laugh! Ha ha! This is your chance to get in on ground zero! Oops, that’s the wrong reference with NK in the headlines!

  16. john

    someone taken a chainsaw to a daewoo matiz

  17. Blyndgesser

    A little research wouldn’t hurt before posting.

    Like 1
  18. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Looks like the Snyder company is history:


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    • Rod444

      Thank you. I knew I’d seen it before advertised as a Wildsomething or other. Wildfire, it is.

      The car and driver article is worth a read. The mockery is excellent.

  19. Kingsize Wombat

    These are made by Fulu Motors in China.

    Apparently, they have a half-decent reputation over there.

  20. Duke Breslin

    Snyder Technologies is located in Steubinville, Ohio

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