Triangle Of Death: 1971 Sperry Rand Tricub

Long time Barn Finds commenter and one of the resident truck experts, Howard A., recently commented that the 1970s were all about Powersports, and he was right. Almost anything and everything that any random company could think up hit the market and they sold them, at least for a while. This 1971 Sperry Rand Tricub is one of those crazy machines that could have only happened in the 1970s. It’s listed here on eBay in Genoa City, Wisconsin with only a day left on the auction and the bid price is just over $700 with no reserve.

And I thought I was awkward, ungainly, and out of scale, this Tricub may have even me beat. It almost looks like an Odd Rods card come to life, does anyone remember those cards from the late-1960s and early-1970s? I bet that they were fun to ride, to a point, but these “triangles of death” – a nickname for three-wheelers – could be iffy, safety-wise. Yes, thanks for asking, there was in fact a ski option for the front wheel.

You may recognize the parent company, Sperry Rand, as a big and/or famous computer maker of the era, but they were also the parent company of New Holland tractors at this time and their SPD (Special Products Division) made several ATVs as we might call them today, including the Tricub. They also made the Tricart, a similar but much beefier three-wheeler, and a very cool six-wheeler called the Wedge. In case you had any doubts, yes, I would love to own all three of those models.

The Tricub was brought to market beginning in 1971 and in one of the slickest pieces of wordsmithery maybe of all time, this is a line from an SPD Tricub brochure: “Whether you’re the man about town, the debonair sport or the swingin’ single, the Tricub will take you where you want to go, when you want to go.” Cheeky bit, that.

The gas tank retrofit is a bit of a buzzkill but maybe some semblance of the original setup could be fabricated – this ain’t it. The engine, I believe, would have originally been a Briggs & Stratton 5-hp single-cylinder four-stroke with a governed top speed of 25 mph. This one goes much faster than that as it has an 8-hp and also electric start. As always, I would want an all-original one but at this price, it would be a fun machine to own. Have any of you heard of this model?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Thanks for the mention, SG. While trucks are my thing, stuff like this runs a close 2nd. I know this looks primitive, and it is a cobbled version of one ( that gas tank would never have made production) but it was uncharted territory. People had their 1st taste of off roading with the Honda ATC ( 1970) and everybody wanted to jump on the bandwagon, although, I think the Tricart actually preceded the ATC and was much more stable, for a 3 wheeler. Like all these things, you had to start somewhere, and we made huge advances in ATV’s,( PS, heat-A/C, power ports) but for it’s time, this was the coolest thing a kid could have.

    Like 5
  2. On and On On and On Member

    Howard you’re right about that gas tank. Leave your “Cigs” and BIC lighter at home.

    Like 6
  3. 370zpp

    Nope. Never seen one of these before.

    Like 2
  4. Matthew Hafer

    We owned 2 of them on the farm. They were an absolute blast. They had the 5 horse Briggs on them and still went pretty quick. They’re extremely stable although I flipped mine when I went over a log going down a hill. The ass end came over top of me and I was still in the seat hole so no damage to me and surprising so the tri cub either.
    My brother, sister and I beat the crud out of them and my mother was still taking the grandkids rides on them 20 years later.
    I would love to own one again.

    Like 5
    • Howard A Member

      We called that “axx over tea kettle”,,here’s your chance to have old injuries ache once again,,

      Like 2
  5. Treebeardzz

    When they came out, the local fair had some contained in a circle of straw bales(you JUST KNOW some of us would have had a MUCH longer ride, otherwise) as a ride on the midway….no belts, no helmets. GREAT time to be a 10-year old.

    Like 4
  6. Matt c

    Just a little foot note, they roll on a hard turn or down hill. If you do buy it or to anyone that does please install a roll bar we have enough quadriplegics

    Like 1
  7. piston poney

    i have never seen or head of one before, but now i want one, like i need any more toys you can never have to meant toys

    Like 2
  8. Gunner

    That is my tri cub it sell on eBay but buyer didn’t buy, yes the gas tank was set up that way for gravity feed when I got it it was missing fuel pump and yes it is a hoot to drive

    Like 2
  9. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: someone somehow grabbed this super cool and rare machine for $736! Dang, that was a missed opportunity if there ever was one.

    Like 2
  10. Chris

    I’ve ridden one of these. Very fun to toss the rear around.

    Like 1
  11. Bill H

    I have a collection of several of these Sperry trikes and a Wedge 6×6. The were 3 basic trike models and some sub models…
    Minicub model 25, 5hp Briggs
    Tricub model 35, 5hp Briggs
    Tricub model 38, 8hp Briggs
    Tricub model 38E, 8hp Briggs elec start
    Tricart model 40, 8hp Briggs elec start
    Tricart model 50, 12hp JLO
    Tricart model 50R, 12hp JLO (I think only difference was high performance carb)

    On the feature unit here, along with the fuel tank, the battery has also been relocated.

    Like 2
  12. Steve Nicholas

    I’m looking for a tricart to buy.

    Steve

  13. Steve Nicholas

    Looking for a vintage tricart.

    Steve

  14. Gerry Rhoades

    I have a Dunecycle, similar looks but more refined. My brother got it for Christmas in 1972. 5hp Briggs, dual rear brakes, chrome frt fender, bucket seat with full vinyl cover. We would come down the hill on the road we lived on in the winter wide open and lock up one rear brake. It would spin around like a top for 100 feet or more. It was extremely stable, just don’t drop your foot off the peg or it would suck your leg under the rear wheel and pull you right off. So much fun! Graduated to 200X and 250R Hondas, a WHOLE lot of fun. I could wheelie them as far as I had room.

  15. Gerry Rhoades

    I almost forgot, I had a Tri sport also! Similar to this one but way more refined. 440 air cooled twin, front and rear suspension. that one ran like a raped ape. My buddy had one with a 14hp McCullough 2cycle, that thig was lighter than mine and it FLEW! It’s a wonder we didnt get hurt on those two.You could get them with turn signal, hi low headlights and brake lights and drive them on the road.

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