Honda-Powered 1981 Tri-Magnum Kit Car

We recently featured another Tri-Magnum 3-wheeler here on Barn Finds. These unique rides are built from plans as a do-it-yourself project from the people at Robert Q. Riley. Their website says “Tri-Magnum is a high-performance three-wheel sports car…and today, it’s still one of our most popular designs.” This particular car is listed as a 1981 and can be found here on eBay with a current bid just over $5,000. Located in New Brockton, Alabama these cars are pretty neat. Let’s take a closer look.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much information in the ad. It does say the engine is a 1100GL Goldwing from a Honda motorcycle but other than that, there aren’t too many details. I bet if the engine motivates a big heavy Honda, it will motivate this Magnum pretty well. Apparently the Goldwing is the powerplant of choice for the plans. The R. Q. Riley website says “Built on a Honda Gold Wing, a GL1800 for example, power-to-weight ratio comes in at about 10 or 11 pounds per horsepower – or roughly equivalent to a 3,500 pound car with 350 hp engine.” That sounds fine to me!

The interior is certainly cozy. I don’t know exactly what the height and weight suggestions are, but I bet any driver six-foot or taller will be in trouble. If you’ve actually sat in one of these, let us know what it’s like. There are no pedals to be worked, so that probably helps with the legroom. The controls are located on a “…jet-fighter-style control stick that emerges from the floor between the occupants.” The control stick contains the original handlebar controls from the motorcycle along with clutch controls, so everything except steering is done with the control stick.

Here you can see the rear end. As Russell pointed out in his Barn Finds article from earlier this month, the Tri-Magnum 3-wheel idea was around long before the Polaris Slingshot or the Can-Am Spyder that are currently on the market. But as a do-it-yourself project, you have the satisfaction of building it from the ground up, which is neat. What is your opinion on kit cars?

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  1. Mike

    Not great looking at all as a convertible. Weird front bumper treatment.

    Like 2
  2. Johnny

    I like it. Gives me ideas of making a body for my Honda Shadow 600. Only have passenger seats on each side. haha.

  3. canadainmarkseh Member

    Well from what I can see the whole bike is under that cover minus the front wheel. With the passenger compartment out where the front wheel goes this would be one long rig, and would handle poorly in the corners. And it looks way heavier than the stock gold wing and there for would be under powered.

    Like 1
    • Carlos Bonifacio

      I built one decades ago. It actually understeers, and is quite safe. Mine only had a Kawasaki Z1R, 1100cc and it was enough to be scary. The rear wheel lit up in first, second and third particularly with a smaller rear (automotive wheel). Getting in and out was a mission but very comfy once inside.

      I very much doubt that I could get out of one today … also extremely hot in summer, but a cheap blast.

      Like 2
  4. Ike Onick

    These always make me think of a word that rhymes with “kit”

    Like 4
  5. Moparman Member

    I’m looking at the cockpit trying to figure out where my legs would go….OH! but I’m 6’4″…Never mind!! :-)

    Like 1
  6. DougB

    A while ago the RQR website was still available and I was always amazed/amused by the designs and ways they leveraged the VW platform. The Boonie Bug was one of the more unusual designs I remembered…clearly a guy/company having fun with their creative flexibility.

    Like 1
  7. SDJames

    Looks cool, but I think I would only drive it in parades and around the park…

  8. Rodney - GSM

    This sorta looks like someone had a Honda for lunch, then did not feel well and suddenly tossed this up.

    Like 2
  9. CanuckCarGuy

    Cool, but not Slingshot cool…

  10. H5mind

    The only fiberglass work I ever did was to patch the rust holes on my Fiat. The sanding took forever. Did the old Goldwings have reverse? My old Fiat did not, and everytime I parked I had to find an uphill spot so I could roll out or resort to pushing it. Hard to be cool when you’re doing that.

  11. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Sold for $5,100.

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