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What is it?

Honestly, the most common question I get from folks is, “what the heck is it?” So, let’s deal with it right here.

The Trihawk, technically the “Trihawk 304” (3 wheels and 4 cylinders) is one of the most exciting vehicles you’re likely to see. But that doesn’t really answer the question.

It’s classified as a motorcycle in most states because it has fewer than 4 wheels. But with front wheel drive, side-by-side seating, seatbelts, a roll bar, heat, a rag-top and zip-in side curtains, the Trihawk drives every bit like the funnest sports car you’ve ever driven.

So, you be the judge as to what it is. The fact that you can’t put a simple label on it is where the fun begins!

While not the fastest from a dead start, the Trihawk is very hard to beat on a winding road. This thing handles as if it were on rails.

Who made it and how many were produced?

The Trihawk was the brain-child of Lou Richards with further design and development by a core group including Bob McKee, David Stollery, Dick Kleber and Bill Molzon.

Richards was an industrial designer. His company, Formax, made a great deal of money in the early days of America’s fast food boom by manufacturing hamburger patty forming machinery.

But Richards’ passion was performance vehicles and he saw a market for an open-air roadster in the style of the Lotus 7, MGTD and Triumph TR3. These were road machines, open to the elements, focused on function and performance.

The Trihawk was designed from the very beginning to be a performance roadster. Richards contacted race-car engineer, Bob McKee. McKee, who had worked on a few different front-wheel drive race car designs, liked the concept of a FWD three-wheel roadster and signed on to the project.

While the word is that the pair first looked at using a Subaru power plant, they ultimately settled on a 1299cc air-cooled flat-four design that was being produced at the time for the Citroen GSA.

Front suspension and rear trailing arm were from a Renault R5 (Le Car). The steering was from a Renault Alliance and Honda was the brand of choice for all dashboard instrumentation.

Word has it that Citroen was so taken with the design that they pitched in with substantial design and engineering work for the Trihawk.

The GSA engine puts out 67 horsepower which is, by virtually every standard, not much for a sports car. But the Trihawk weighs in at just 1,370 pounds soaking wet (full tank of gas) so those 67 horses are plenty to get the ‘Hawk off the line.

The first vehicles were manufactured in Mokena, Illinois in 1982 at Design Lab. After 10-12 prototype units, manufacturing and sales were moved to Dana Point, CA under the name of Hawk Vehicles, Inc.

Full production began in 1983 and ended in 1985 after company assets were purchased by Harley Davidson. As far as we know, 96 total vehicles were produced. While most remained in the US, we believe there may be 1 in France, one in Canada and 1 in Japan.

Due to a very low center of gravity and a very wide front track, the Trihawk is capable of upwards of 1G force during skidpad testing, matching or besting the contemporary Corvette and Countach.

I remember in the late ‘80s or early 90’s visiting Honolulu and seeing four or five Trihawks running around as “exotic rentals” on the island.

There were at least two movies that featured Trihawks. You can read about those on our ‘Hawks in the Movies page.

The vast majority of surviving Trihawks are in private hands today. The most active group of owners can be found in a YahooGroup called Trihawk-L and it may not surprise you that other 3-wheelers have become a part of the herd.

Lou Richard, in designing a 3-wheeler, created a prototype quite different than the Trihawk in the beginning. Starting with a Citroen 2CV, he created a 3-wheeled concept vehicle he called the “Escargo.”

Thought the Escargo was a one-off concept car, it was the foundation for the design work that would lead to the trihawk.

See the Trihawk Prototypes page for an interesting look prototype photos …

Where can I buy one?

Honestly, I wish I knew. My kids have told me emphatically that I am not allowed to sell our Trihawk so I guess you’re going to have to ask one of the other owners.

You can keep an eye on the Trihawk Marketplace which, from time to time, does post vehicles for sale. I believe one appeared on EBay Motors a couple of years ago.

Lou Richards

Bob McKee

David Stollery


Dick Kleber

Engineering Manager

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History of the Trihawk