Wild Three-Wheeler: 1984 Trihawk 304

This is an unusual one even for me, a guy who loves unusual vehicles. It’s a three-wheeler and did I mention that a Citroen engine is powering the two front wheels? This 1984 Trihawk 304 can be found here on craigslist in Kailua Kona, Hawaii so you aren’t flying in and driving it home unless you live on the Big Island. The seller is asking $12,000. Thanks to both Pat L. and Andrew N. for sending in this same tip!

Most of us are freaked out about three-wheeled vehicles when they have the single wheel in the front, given the relatively unstable nature of those vehicles on corners. In the case of the Trihawk 304, two wheels are in the front with a single wheel in the rear, thus giving a much more stable ride, not to mention the two front wheels are also the drive wheels. 304 = 3 wheels and 4 cylinders, by the way.

The Trihawk 304 is a rare vehicle with fewer than 100 of them having been made over three years. The company was sold to Harley-Davidson after the founder developed health problems. Harley was going through its own unstable ride in the early-1980s and ended up shutting Hawk Industries down without digging into them as much as they had hoped to do when they bought the company. It’s a shame, they really are unique and they got around a lot of the requirements that new car designs had to have due to only having three wheels.

This one looks great to me despite having a few nicks and scratches here and there. The seller says that the front half was painted but the back half is original and the side pipes were replaced at some point. These are amazing handling vehicles, reportedly outhandling a Lamborghini Countach on the skidpad. There is a removable top but no side windows, at least with this one.

The engine is a Citroen 1.3L air-cooled four-cylinder and it would have had just under 70 horsepower. You have to check out the photos in the craigslist ad, this thing looks like it’s really in fantastic condition, the underside looks like new. Have any of you heard of the Trihawk 304?

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Comments

  1. Chester

    French engine, huh? How hard is that to get parts for? Are French engines like French women, wonderful but fussy and hard to live with?

    Like 4
    • Quidditas

      Not in my neck of the woods. Strong classic Citroen following with good support.

      Like 2
  2. Quidditas

    Yes. My kind of vehicle. Essentially a Citroen GS minus one wheel with a
    modified Renault 5 front suspension and rear trailing arm. A Parisian in the USA?

    The wheels are definitely off a Renault 5 and I often wandered how they got the gearing right seeing that the GS sported bigger rims. I wonder if the gear ratios were changed to accommodate the smaller wheels?

    Here in South Africa we had a one off trike based entirely on the Cit GS but it also included the famous hydro-pneumatic suspension modified for 3 wheels. Being lighter than the original donor, it went pretty well. Unlike the Tri-Hawk it had fully enclosed bodywork.

    By the time that it was put up for sale, it had been modified, rather badly, and featured a water-cooled Nissan 1400cc lump in front that spoilt not only the lines but also the proportions. I passed up on it because of asking price and the expense involved in bringing it back to original specification were beyond my comprehension.

    I might still take a rotten Alfasud and turn it into something similar to the Tri-Hawk in my dottage.

    Like 3
  3. DRV

    The weight distribution looks like it would pivot on the front wheels pronto, making it be magic for change of direction , bug also dangerous as hell.

  4. Tony Primo

    The seller also posted a pretty cool video that is worth watching.
    https://dailyturismo.com/half-car-half-bike-1984-trihawk-304/

    Like 2
  5. James HGF

    In late 1983 went to the Trihawk factory for an extended test drive of the factory demonstrator over a variety of SoCal roads. It was clearly a sports car with handling similar to a Lotus. At just under $15,000 it wasn’t expensive for an extremely well engineered limited production machine. Yet, near $15,000 price limited sales.

    Read the Road and Track, Car and Driver, and Motor Trend (when Harley Davidson entered the picture) road tests to understand just how incredibly good this little hard cornering, hard braking, near two seat Formula Ford for the street really is:

    http://yellowtrihawk.com/documents.html#sthash.eTRjIZMt.dpbs

    Like 3
  6. SubGothius

    Huh, I was aware of these but always thought they had a motorcycle powertrain mounted behind the seats — prolly something I just inferred from the Harley connection and conflated with other similar sport-trikes which had that configuration.

  7. Gerard Frederick

    WOW! What a gas! would llove to have it, alas I´m in Santiago.

  8. ChingaTrailer

    Very similar but twice the cylinder count of a Citroen 2CV Lomax, of which I imported about a dozen.

  9. Malcolm Boyes

    I prefer the look of the Lomax..but I like these. Three wheelers, with the two in front with front wheel drive are terrific vehicles. I had two Berkeley T 60’s and they handled on rails. This thing is great and I ‘d love to see more three wheelers..I cheer Morgan for bringing theirs back although the $$ puts it out the range of many of us..

  10. J R Jones

    Lou Richards conceived the TriHawk; race car engineer Bob McKee designed it. Harley “acquired” TriHawk for royalties and built none. Richards recovered from his critical health issue. I was at Harley Development when the inventory was brought to Milwaukee from San Jose. Production had been very unevolved. The power was similar to a VW but cornering was incredible, I could run the Milwaukee Mile flat-out (80+MPH) without lifting. The treat/hazard was the attention it demanded on the street. Scary in a tiny car.

    Like 2
    • Gary Nathan

      I knew Lou well, living only a couple of miles from his company, Formax, in Mokena, Illinois. I drove the first Trihawk, having built the frame for Lou. I eventually built a total of 90 frames in our Chicago plant. He brought in a few Renault cars that were illegal to import at the time, in order to scavenge some drive components. We also built the frames, cabinets and other components for the food service equipment that his company sold, including hamburger pressing machines, high speed slicers, etc.

  11. Howie Mueler

    Odometer broken.

    Like 1

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