Tiny Tri-Tire Truck: 1965 Daihatsu Trimobile

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If a new four-door pickup is just too big for your hauling needs, or you insist on having a two-stroke engine in your truck – your three-wheeled truck, we bring you this 1965 Daihatsu Trimobile! The seller has this interesting micro truck listed here on eBay in Williston, Florida, there is an unmet opening bid price of $3,500, and no reserve after that.

You already know that this is a Japanese vehicle, but Japanese manufacturers didn’t have a lock on cone-nosed three-wheeled vehicles. The Davis Divan has always reminded me of the Trimobile, or the other way around. Hidden headlights would have helped the appearance of the bug-eyed Daihatsu Midget – known as the Trimobile in the U.S. – but this was a work truck, not one built for style.

We know that Japanese city streets are crowded and Japanese microcars made for crowded Japanese city streets aren’t good for American freeways, yet that always comes up on a post showing a microcar, for some reason. This truck isn’t for driving to Omaha with a load of cargo from your factory in North Carolina, it’s for local deliveries in cities, or it was. I can’t imagine anyone using a truck this small anywhere in America other than for neighborhood errands. There’s actually a decent amount of cargo room in the back for normal everyday use. This one isn’t for contractors but it sure would be fun to head to the neighborhood hardware store to fill the back with bags of mulch and see the reaction of folks loading dirty, wet bags of mulch into the back of their new $90,000 Lexus SUV.

Daihatsu made a tiny three-wheeled truck called the Midget beginning in 1957 in their home market. They updated the design two years later and from 1959 through 1972, over 336,000 had been made. The Daihatsu Midget was reborn again as a much “fancier” four-wheeled vehicle in 1996, and they included options such as air-conditioning and 4WD, but they went away again after 2001. A version of the three-wheel Midget is still being made today in Thailand. The first examples were single-seat trucks, but this later MP5 version is larger in almost all dimensions, including interior space and two seats in front.

This would be really fun to own, and it has a three-speed manual transmission with reverse. This example, I believe, is what they referred to as an AP, or all-purpose “Safari Wagon”, with a canopy top on the back and covers over the rear wheels that could be used for seating. There was a metal-top panel truck version, the GP (general-purpose), which would be great for advertising a small business with a big logo painted on the sides. Left-hand-drive models were made for other markets, including the U.S.

The engine is Daihatsu’s 305-cc two-stroke air-cooled single-cylinder, which had 12 horsepower and 16 lb-ft of torque. The seller isn’t positive as to what year this Trimobile is and they don’t show any data plates or numbers at all, unfortunately. I’m just going by 1965 as that’s what they have listed. This one runs but has been sitting for a few years so it needs work on the brakes, but it comes with an extra engine and transmission. Have any of you heard of a Daihatsu Trimobile?

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  1. BA

    Where’s that spare Kawasaki triple 750 motor I have laying around? Imagine the surprise if the thing pulled the front tire off the ground going full mosquito fogger! Or the bed could hold a LS motor you say? How about a Rat & go full space shuttle !

    Like 6
  2. Kenneth Carney

    Just right for delivering Door Dash or
    any other small items that you care to
    deliver. Would also make a great EV
    too. Just swap out the 2 stroke motor for an electric unit, add some
    lithium ion batteries, install some
    charge controllers, and cap it off by
    adding a roof mounted solar panel and call it a day. You could also use
    an alternator to charge the batteries
    as you drive the truck, but I haven’t
    figured the amount of parasitic drag
    this would place on the electric motor
    and the battery pack. Either way, you’d be the talk of the town driving
    this neat little truck.

    Like 0
  3. HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

    Go ahead and laugh, if things continue the way they are going, and there’s every indication they will, we’ll all be driving these, only no ring-ding. I, for all practical purposes, stay as far away from 3 wheelers as possible. Aside from their inherent handling quirks, I still say, that single tire, where ever it is, is going to pick up all the crap 4 wheelers miss. When I had a motorcycle, I always stayed in the tire lanes, and you wouldn’t believe what I’ve seen in the “oil strip”, aside from oil. Everything from live bullets to a driveshaft.
    This is America, and you will NEVER see an American, that drives a new gee-gaw filled whatchamacallit, in one of these. They’d kill themselves first. Americans don’t take well to going backward. The 2 stroke, as discussed many times, had it’s day, and downright offensive and possibly illegal today. Here’s a perfect example of where electric conversion just won’t work. It’s designed as a work vehicle, and an ICE is the only way.
    I say this everytime, in 1965, we were driving Imperials( well, not us) but the Asians had this. Talk about culture shock.

    Like 5
  4. Wes JohnsonMember

    Street legal? Yes then asks where’s the title?? Any seat belts? Look like fun to go to local car show. Only 2 miles away.

    Like 1
  5. Gary

    It looks like it was made from a bumper car

    Like 2
  6. Davey Boy

    I came over a blind corner hill on the freeway on my bike and found a full Tommy gate in the “oil lane”. Coulda been my last ride if I didn’t ALWAYS ride left. For those who don’t know, a Tommy gate is an iron pickup truck tailgate that will automatically lower to the ground and pick up heavy stuff. How someone “lost” one in a two lane construction zone of I 15 is beyond me but I hope the highway hazard vehicle got to it before anything bad happened

    Like 2
  7. chrlsful

    like it all cept 2 stroke and 2 wheels in back (want 4 stroke and 2 wheels up frnt). Heck, keep it the same & give it 4…

    Love to hear the story for getting it state side (who, where, when, why, etc)

    Like 1
  8. Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

    Auction update: this one ended “because it is no longer available”, which usually means that the seller received an offer that they couldn’t refuse…

    Like 1

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