Old-School Three-Wheelin’ : 1981 HMV FreeWay

The 1970s brought into existence many home-brewed gas-savers, not least of which are the HMV FreeWays like this one. It’s up for sale here on craigslist near Dallas, Texas, and if you would like to see more about it, keep reading!

HMV (High-Mileage Vehicle) and its sole model offering were the brainchild of Dave Edmonson back in 1970.  By 1977, he had a prototype ready and entered it into an S.A.E. fuel efficiency competition, achieving 88.3 MPG in his completely ground-up, home-built design. Hand-build production began in Burnsville, Minnesota in 1979, after much-needed investment capital came in, but by 1981 – after producing a total of 700 units – HMV filed for bankruptcy. D & A Vehicles of  St. Cloud Minnesota acquired the rights to the FreeWay in 1983 and built between 15 and 17 copies of a two seater version, dubbed ‘The Minikin’,  with the seats side by side and a re-designed fiberglass body. The Minikin was not a success, so production ended only a few years later.

FreeWay were offered in three colors: red, yellow, or orange, that was dyed into the gelcoat of the fiberglass bodies, bodies that sat atop welded steel perimeter-frame cages and rode on independent suspension, with a main door on the left side and the rear hatch to access the engine and cargo space. Buyers had a choice of two different gas engines, an electric motor, or diesel engine, all of which were small (think ‘riding lawnmower’) engines mated to a Continuously-Variable Transmission and chain-drive final. Real-world fuel economy was between 60 and 80 MPG, from the 453cc or 354cc engines, respectively. They sold for around $3500 and only a few electric ones were ever ordered, but nobody went for the diesel, presumably because that option was a hefty $1000 extra.

From the description and few pictures, we see a non-running, seemingly complete,  project that has had some mechanical work and upgrades done but needs taken across the finish line by the next owner. Will this ancestor of the Can-Am Spyder and Elio be going to your place? Let us know in the comments!


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    And folks thought the Lotus Europa was a bit unsafe to drive on the street. This might make a good BBQ but can’t think of any other good use for it.

    Like 5
    • My Custom Cars

      I ended up purchasing this one (found it on CL as I live in Texas). Was just linked to this post. The car was actually in decent shape, just needed to be put back together mechanically and have the electrical redone. I had it back on the road in a few weeks of owning it. You can see the work I did here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3QGjwMd_EHw5xl7t1g1eueVLDgfO7kz1

      I have been driving it around town, and it’s actually SUPER fun. I can tell you I get more attention in this thing than any other car I’ve ever driven, and I’ve had a LOT of nice & weird vehicles over the years.

      Like 2
  2. Jack M.

    Pretty cool find Russel, who submitted it?

    Like 3
  3. Mike

    I can’t believe I seriously entertained the thought of getting one way back when. I like oddball stuff. I just didn’t know how to get one, so I moved onto a 914.

    Like 4
    • stu

      Thank god you moved on…What were you thinking…lol

      Like 0
  4. Robert W Davis

    I had a yellow one !

    Like 5
  5. nlpnt

    Nobody’s mentioned the Elio yet?

    Like 2
    • Bob-O

      I hauled the Creamsicle orange-colored Elio from the Detroit fab shop where it was constructed to Park City, UT for its unveiling in February 2014. Creamsicle was Elio prototype #3 or #4, IIRC. I also broke about every DOT rule to get it there in less than three days, too. What a trip that was!

      Like 2
  6. Big Loop

    You couldn’t pay me to “freeway” something that small nowadays, but that fuel economy would be sweet. At least on the Harley I am higher up and can be thrown from it.

    Like 1
  7. Howie Mueler

    Only 3 photos and posted a week ago. Just a pile of parts.

    Like 2
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      The Seller didn’t help matter much by mentioning the spares and refurbed items that come with the sale but never posting any pictures of them.

      Like 0
  8. Chas H

    A 2CV and a Messerschmidt have a one night stand.

    Like 0
  9. chrlsful

    I like the elio (founder’s last name) for size, price, EV nature, but it needed “these” (& other) vehicles to get their start. They have a smidge of our future – their best selling point EV. But not quite there asa world car. Da rich guy seems to B getting us there. The others a bit off esp w/the single wheel in front


    Like 0
  10. Chuck

    Hey Claudio, perhaps you’d like to take your comments somewhere else.

    Like 1
  11. Bryan Pappas

    It looks like a Corbin Sparrow.

    Like 1

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