Monday, September 19, 2011

Corvair Trike

AEE Choppers "Corvair Trike"

By Dave Brackett and Jim Clark

     In early 1968, Tom McMullen and Jim Clark were looking for a new project. There were a few three wheelers around that used automotive motors, VW and Corvair were examples, but they decided to build a style never done before. They utilized  a Corvair engine with an automatic trans, but with a twist. The motor was pointed forward, not to the rear.
     Tom started on a framework using mostly round tubing, and utilized a Harley neck. The tubing fit around the much larger motor, terminating in the rear similar to a Harley trike.  After making some modest engine modifications and adding a small master cylinder to operate the corvair rear brakes, three seat frames were made, one in the center and two over the rear wheels.
     Now the hard part started. There was considerable custom machine work needed to reverse the rear end rotation, when the rear end was flipped over.  The rear suspension was converted to rigid. Tom farmed this work out to some machine shop who knew Corvairs, and he proceeded with other tasks.  Jim worked on routing oil lines and external modifications to allow the reverse of the transaxle.
     Body panels were formed and the bike was sent to Molly for paint. Upon return, seats were fabricated by Whitey Morgan and installed. Upsweep style exhaust pipes were used and modified to fit the Corvair. An AEE 20 inch over stock springer front end was installed with small spool front wheel and hub, to finish the package.
     By late 1968, all the pieces were complete and the three wheeler was finished. This trike was an immediate success, bringing AEE much attention. The AEE Corvair Trike was entered in the 1969 Oakland Roadster Show and won the Best In Show Sweepstakes Award. The trike continued to be featured in AEE advertising and featuring new products for many years.

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