While the majority of the world’s population it happy to choose between either two or four wheels – car or motorbike – some people consider each approach too restrictive, and would like to have a vehicle that somehow blends the best of both worlds. Vehicles like this, the TerraCraft, a convertible tilting three-wheeler which also stands out because of its unique steering system.
The TerraCraft concept is a real convertible, in the sense that it can convert from an open top to a fully enclosed vehicle via a canopy styled after those used on jet fighters (even the doors are retractible, allowing for full aerodynamics effectiveness when closed). The passenger and driver arrangement is the usual tandem layout found on a conventional motorcycle, while the unusual steering system allows the driver to manually change the tilt angle to further replicate a two-wheeled vehicle. This means the steering is independent from the tilting, allowing the driver to decide the angle by shifting its bodyweight, just like in a conventional two wheeled motorcycle. Safety on the other hand is more akin to a proper car – the designer and inventor James ‘Wes’ Abbott, a former NASA sub-contractor, has opted for a Nascar like, tubular frame to protect the occupants.
Under development in Houston, Texas, the TerraCraft is now on its way to becoming a reality, as its inventor and his team (many of them also ex-NASA employees) is hard at work on a proof of concept prototype that involves the back half of a GL1500 Honda Goldwing. They hope a functioning prototype of the TerraCraft will be ready for a public unveiling at the Texas Lone Star Rally, coming this November.