Try It On For Size? 1972 Trimuter


Despite looking so futuristic, the Trimuter has actually been around for a long time. Originally offered through Mechanix Illustrated in plan and kit form, the current website for the designer/builder claims that over 30,000 sets of plans have been sold. This one dates from 1972 and appears to have been well built. It’s located in Waterford, Michigan and is listed for sale here on eBay, where bidding is well under $1,000 but has not yet met the reserve. 


Robert Q. Riley is the designer of the Trimuter and several other component cars. You can read about him here if you are interested. The site states that a Mark II version of the Trimuter will soon be introduced with a more advanced frame and suspension and several engine options. This one, however, seems to be in really nice shape, apart from a belt issue and the distinct lack of windows (thankfully, they are flat, so that shouldn’t be too hard to fix. The car has never been titled for the street, so you would be the first owner/driver! How does someone get this far with a project and then not finish it?


Access is pretty good for the engine, but getting in and out of the cockpit will require a certain nimbleness. Again, this really looks like the car was constructed to a pretty high standard.


Closeups of the wiring also have me believing that car was taken during this kit’s construction.


While the inside looks a little dated for sure, it’s a nice clean design and I can see me commuting in this. Yes, I would really consider bidding on this trike if it weren’t so far away. Oh well.


The Briggs & Stratton 18 horsepower V-twin looks brand new. I think my plan would be to get windows in, check the brakes and suspension out and install a belt drive and drive the car for a while (here in North Carolina, this is considered a car, not a motorcycle, so I don’t have to get a special license). Then maybe re-engine it with a more powerful Briggs, Kawasaki or Kohler V-twin? Would you commute in the Trimuter?


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  1. Coventrycat

    There was one of these just down the street from me; unfinished, no engine, interior, or paint. It was for sale, $2500. I had no idea what it was until now, I can always depend on Barn Finds to find the obscure stuff!

  2. Johnny Gibson

    Does look well constructed. Quick trip down to the trimmers for a little padding and Bentley leather for dash/console. Up the HP, nice set of Auto Meter custom gauges bit of glass and you are away. I am a 3D modeler/designer for animation I think I just found my next project. Agree with Coventrycat BF does tend to find the obscure stuff.

  3. Rock On Member

    I think that I would be looking at Lexan instead of glass for the canopy. It would save a whole lot of weight. Also go down to Costco and buy the biggest bottle of RainX that you can find, I don’t see any windshield wipers on this car!!!

    • Scotty G

      Rock On, I’ve always wondered about a Rain-X but haven’t tried it. Does it really work? It must, it’s been around for decades.

      • kenzo

        Hey Scotty, I rain-x my wife’s Honda and my Jetta every couple of washes and the windows stay super clean and slick. Going down the highway the water lightly beads and streams to the side. Won’t use any thing else

      • Jeffro

        I’ve had great experience with Rain X

      • MikeH

        RainX definitely works. At low speeds, you don’t need wipers. I have old cars with old vacuum wipers that don’t work well even when they are working well. I use RainX on all of them.

      • Jack

        Works really well but destroys your wiper

  4. Jay E.

    One of these is driven almost daily by an up street neighbor. Even the same color. The only difference is he mounted a single headlight above the engine lid. His works well and he as constantly asked about it.

  5. Rick

    I had the plans for one of these and bought the rear suspension setup. Time and money disappeared before I could build it, and was discouraged by an acquaintance who said they were as tippy as a Reliant Robin. Still, this one is a very clean build. I would be very curious to see how fast the B&S actually moves this thing.

    • ken

      I would like to buy a set of these plans, if you would like to sell please get in touch.

  6. Scotty G

    Dang, that’s cool, Jamie! A bit Bond-Bug-like.

  7. Rock On Member

    Hi Scotty, I live in the greater Toronto area. We get rain, snow, sleet and hail. RainX definitely works. I put in on all of my windows and mirrors a couple of times a year. It’s pretty neat stuff. When you are on the highway you don’t even have to use your wipers!

  8. Alan (Michigan)

    Just by the look I expected to find a two-cylinder motorcycle drivetrain, T LEAST 450CC,

  9. Jeffro

    Suzuki GSXR motor would work wonders! Neat find.

  10. Johnny Gibson

    Possibilities are endless. Modified Orca 139 EVO at around 9-10k, surgery 2-3K to have your ears pinned back avoiding any unwanted lift should you do a shoddy job and the windows pop out at 110. Half decent funeral plan and head off into the sunset for a nice tour. Reliant Robin practically fell over standing still maybe some front mounted training wheels.

  11. John B

    I’d put some fine Corinthian leather in it.

  12. Ck

    Hey when you grab that giant bottle of rain X ,you might as well pick up a can of Lemon Pledge as well. Your goind to need it for the CDX plywood interior.

  13. Mark S Member

    I’d put an open wheel two wheels up front suspension in. To give stability and a look that is much like a prowler. You could easily fab in the front out of a side by side quad. I’d then put at least a 750cc bike engine in back with a couple of cooling fans and I’d build in some air Louvres.

  14. Rolf Poncho

    No V8 no thanks

  15. Paul

    Lost me when we got to the interior…….. Directly speaking of the dash, YIKES!!!

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