Restomod Pod: 1981 HMV Free-Way

We have seen many restomods here at Barn Finds over the years, but I have never seen a 1981 HMV Free-Way restomod. This three-wheeled gem can be found here on eBay in St. Louis, MO and the current bid price is – are you sitting down? – $9,769 and the reserve hasn’t been met! Whoa.

Wow, this thing is nice. I’m not normally a restomod guy but I think that this car looks great. It’s mainly the bigger wheels that give it a more aggressive look, if a three-wheeled pod with a single-cylinder engine can ever be considered aggressive. We have seen a few HMV Free-Way trikes here on Barn Finds but this one sure stands out from the others.

For any of you who have seen a High-Mileage-Vehicles (HMV) Free-Way, you can probably tell that these wide wheels and tires would make for a more stable ride than the original version would have had. The Free-Way was made in Burnsville, MN for four years with production ending in 1982. Having two of the three wheels in front gives a three-wheeler a more stable ride, but it’s the view of the rear of this vehicle that makes me want to drive this one.

The seller says that this vehicle has been restored at no expense over a two-year time period and it sure looks great. They go on to say that the speedometer, odometer, and fuel gauge aren’t working so there’s still work to do. I have never seen a Free-Way go for anything close to this money so there must be a few fans out there.

They originally came with a 12 or 16-hp single-cylinder Tecumseh and they say that this one has an upgraded 27.6 cubic-inch Tecumseh engine, which should be a 16-hp. I’m not sure if when they say upgraded they mean upgraded from the base 12-hp engine? They also say that it has a new drive system. Please check out the great photos, there are a boatload of them. Have any of you seen an HMV Free-Way that looked anything like this one?


  1. Classic Steel

    Wowsa this a too much coin for a riding lawnmower powered toy.

    I guess i don’t get it and by all means bid if its your thing.

    When i am not in a muscle car on weekends i ride motorcycles with at least 1000 plus CC engines to get me quick to 80 plus mph on an interstate. I am just suggesting those in need of three wheels get the fast fast fun Polaris Slingshot in black which i like to call the bat mobile for a similar price 🎅😂

    It might not seem like much, but given its weight, the Slingshot is quite fast, but expect a 0-to-60 mph sprint of less than five seconds and a top speed of around 130 mph. The power heads to the wheels through a five-speed manual transmission.

    Oh well sorry back to the16 hp item..
    if one needs a performance unit for their senior grandparent who refuses a wheel chair then this is it 🤪😂😂😂😂

    Like 5
  2. Howard A Member

    With 3 wheelers, I’ve always worried about that single tire running in the “grease strip”. You run over things nobody else does, and I’ve seen a lot of junk in the middle of the road. I think these were on the right track, but horribly underpowered, besides, I don’t see something like this alleviating our traffic problems, maybe our fuel crisis, but instead of Kia’s all lined up, you’ll have a jillion of these. And how’s that one drive wheel in the snow? Sorry, looks like a swing and a miss to me.

    Like 5
    • JoeNYWF64

      Imagine what this(even with no drivetrain) would be worth, if it was for sale & if it still existed …
      Hard to believe no one or no museum had space for such a tiny mockup, much less the other 2 futurama 2 cars.
      I’d FIND space. Yet they HAD space for the sham Dale …

      Like 0
    • John

      You’re right about the grease strip, Howard. A friend of mine bought on of these to use for his ~40-mile commute, on I-81 through the Harrisburg, PA, area. Several times he spun the thing off the road after the rear tire broke grip. He said it was even more fun in the rain …

      His was bright yellow and he drove it for close to two years. It sat in the back corner of his garage for a long time after that. Of yeah, he also attached toy “space guns” to the fenders and had red lights in the barrels that he controlled from inside. That probably wouldn’t be a good idea today!

      Like 1
      • JoeNYWF64

        I don’t think the grease strips are an issue today – the grease back then was from, i believe, all the cars that had no pcv systems with a dumb breather exhaust pipe under the motor. lol

        Like 0
  3. Coventrycat

    No expense spared, but it’s for sale with non working gauges? No thanks.

    Like 5
  4. Gerard Frederick

    Tecumseh engine ? Is that really a 250cc ILO 2-stroke?

    Like 0
  5. Kenn

    Speedo doesn’t work? Guess that’s the reason for not stating a “low mileage survivor”.

    Like 0
  6. M vickery

    After seeing what they euphemistically call a front suspension on one of these, I wouldn’t want to drive one with any more horsepower. It appears from the photos that it’s the same as factory, and the suspension isn’t as sophisticated as your average home-built go kart.

    Like 1
  7. Braden Collins

    I wonder how terrifying it would be with an 80 hp motor in it…

    Like 1
  8. Will Owen

    27 ci works out to just under 450cc … and as the veteran of several thousand cross-country miles in an 848cc 30+hp four-wheeler wagon, I think even a Tecumseh flathead in this would be almost too much fun. Although, as Mr. Frederick pointed out, it looks like there’s some question about the accuracy of that description.

    I have seen several of these at Amazing Little Car shows and similar doin’s over the years, and thought they looked at least as roadworthy as those Morgan three-wheelers from the ’20s thru ’50s, and at least you’d be out of the rain.

    Like 1

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