Three Wheels Bad

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You probably haven’t heard of Paul Elio – probably because his car company hasn’t been the recipient of your tax dollars, nor the prostrate fawning-over of an adulatory press . . . unlike another car company headed by someone with name recognition on par with Coke and Jesus.

Paul’s car is simple and inexpensive – projected base price of $7,450. It is extremely fuel-efficient (80-plus MPG) and so makes economic and practical sense – two more reasons why you probably haven’t heard about it.

Which is probably why you’ll never get to drive it.

The Elio doesn’t meet the criteria which that other company’s cars do. They are expensive – base price $35,000 for the least pricey version of the lowest cost model. They aren’t efficient – you’ll have to plan trips around the comparatively short range and lengthy time to recharge.

But they don’t burn gas – and that is the thing when it comes to picking the taxpayer’s pocket and being the recipient of press adulation.

The jihad against internal combustion – no matter the economics (or the other reasons) is a gale force hurricane blowing directly in the face of Elio Motors, but it’s the wind in the sails of that other car company.

Elio will probably not make it.

The company apparently has cashflow problems – but the much more serious problem is a government problem. It is not the absence, via the government, of a direct line  to the taxpayer’s pockets – which keeps that other company’s doors open. It is the probably insurmountable obstacle of acquiring the government’s approval for use on public roads.

Because the Elio is a three-wheeler.

This was intended to be Elio’s way of end-running the government’s saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety mandates, which have made four-wheelers both expensive and inefficient. Keeping the size – and weight – down is the key to getting the mileage up and the cost down. This has become very hard to do with four-wheelers, because they must pass all those government crash tests, including side-impact/offset barrier and rollover tests.

Why this is the government’s business is a very good question almost never asked. It is presumed that the natural, rightful role of the government is to ensure that everything on four wheels can withstand “x” amount of damage if it is crashed into a barrier or hit from the side or rolls on its back – and that the person buying and driving it has no right to assume a potentially higher risk of damage in the event of  crash, in exchange for very high mileage and very low cost.

We are not allowed to buy four-wheeled cars like the old VW Beetle we used to be free to buy – nor (probably) the seemingly stillborn Elio three-wheeler.

This is very strange, if you are coming from the increasingly quaint premise that Americans are free people. Shouldn’t free people be free to buy a simple, low-cost car – whether three-wheeled or four? How does it harm anyone else (the old standard, in our once-free country, before an individual’s actions were stymied beforehand or punished after the fact) for me or you to drive a car such as the Elio?

And if it doesn’t, why aren’t we left free to choose?

Somehow, it has become the government’s business to decree – rather arbitrarily – how much saaaaaaaaaaaafety we must buy. If we buy a four wheeler, we must buy the capacity to withstand impacts to “x” degree, coming from various angles. Including upside down –  standards which the Elio three-wheeler probably has trouble with.

Two-wheelers, on the other hand, are exempted from all of it. Which of course is the main reason why they remain light, extremely efficient – and affordable.

The problem is you have to be willing to do without a roof – and be able to ride a motorcycle – to enjoy those benefits.

Elio’s intent was to offer those benefits with a roof – and without the buyer needing to learn how to ride. You drive the Elio, seated (warm and dry) inside – with a roof over your head. But that treads too close to being a car in the eyes of Uncle – and so the Elio isn’t exempted from the saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety folderol which the designers and manufacturers of two-wheelers don’t have to sweat and which buyers of them do not have to spend their money on. Why not spend a few bucks on professional gear here.

Why is that allowed?

The answer, of course, is that the government hasn’t gotten around to outlawing it yet. Motorcycles are a relic of once-free America, a place where people were free to choose the type of transport that worked best for them and their budget. The government has been chipping away at two-wheeled freedom via mandatory helmet laws – also justified on the basis of saaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety. But the bike itself can’t be made saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe in the way a car is without becoming a car.

Paul Elio tried to split the difference. But getting that past Uncle is no easy thing – and probably an impossible thing.

There are four-wheelers available in other countries that aren’t legal for sale in once-free America because they aren’t saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe enough for Uncle. These include the Mahindra Roxor 4×4 I wrote about recently (here) as well as many others, all of which we’re not allowed to drive.

Meanwhile, the expensive, impractical cars built by that other company more than meet all of Uncle’s standards – and far more important, they jibe with his agenda. So they get unlimited “help” (funded by you) as well as fawning press.

The deck is stacked, but we’re supposed to keep on playing – everyone pretending it’s an honest table.

 . . .

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    • Hi Jeremy,

      I don’t think WP allows that, unfortunately. Someday, I hope to have the beans to build (well, pay someone to build) a custom web site using some other system, which can do the things many of us – me included – would like. But that takes money I haven’t got right now.

      The crazy thing about online publishing is that a site can have an audience comparable in size to that of a print magazine or medium-sized city daily newspaper but not be able to afford a staff, as they can. It’s because online advertising pays nothing while print ads pay the bills and then some.

      EPautos survives almost entirely on reader support; the ads bring in cat food money, if I’m lucky.

      • Hi Eric,

        Thanks for responding and for keeping the site going. I’ve been laying low for awhile. Sometimes it gets too depressing and I am forced to consider that spending so much time thinking/writing about stuff that I cannot control might be some kind of a mental disorder. But, riding the bike and playing a lot of pool has worked its’ usual magic.

        I’ll be sending you something soon.

        Kind Regards,

        • Hi Jeremy!

          I understand that completely; I also have to sometimes just step away for awhile and do something – like cut wood – which lest me take my mind off all this for at least a little while.

          Being single again does have its advantages, though. I no longer have to summon energy to be “fun” for a woman. I can just stretch my carcass out on the sofa with a book and take a nap instead.

          • Eric,
            A time came when all of my time spent in bed was in sleep. Now that I have reinstalled my Icom IC-R70 in the perfect place to operate it while in bed, I spend a lot of time snoozing in between listening. I only dated a couple of times after I ran my wife off in the early 80’s.

              • Eric,
                The closest I come to being a sitcom plot is living in my van down by the river:-)
                I’ve never been a workaholic, having never been ambitious enough. My problem comes from being too ambitious for habitual goofing off.
                I’ve worked out every part regarding starting my own talk show aside from where I’d do it, and the van may wind up being that. All I’d need is a hotspot and a Google voice account.

              • Eric, is there such a thing as a good sit-com plot?!

                Seriously though, it seems you are learning that at our age it is better to not have a woman around. Welcome to Freedom again. Glad to have you on our rolls.

  1. Honesty and fair markets are in the eye of the beholder. Just like unicorns. And so it will probably be with the Elio. I’ll wager that it’s probably more functionally operable than the Elon, too.

    I’d rather have an Elio than an Elon, and it has nothing to do with aesthetic reasons. I base my decisions on function first, then style. Otherwise, I might accidentally end up with a Lamborghini.

    I’m not criticizing the wonderful Lamborghini; it just doesn’t seem useful when all the roads around me are falling apart, and the traffic lights and Stop signs are starting to get closer to home. With their 6″ of ground clearance, I would hate to accidentally find the nearest pothole.

    • Hi Travis,

      I dig the Elio concept – a return to simple, basic transportation. The debt-fueled “market” which exists has turned every new car into a piece of rolling excess. I don’t need or want climate control, LCD touchscreens, six air bags, DI (with a separate PFI circuit to mitigate carbon build-up caused by the DI), 17, 18, 19 inch “rims” and all the rest.

      I often miss my ’73 VW.

      • Why not just have a dock for an USB tablet computer? Docking the tablet, starting the app supplied by Elio for running the car and its system. The tablet can be safely secured with a lockable dock.

        Keep the audio and entertainment separate — I like tactile memory so that I can keep my eyes on the road so, no glass for audio system for me.

        • Hi Jaime,

          It’s a not-bad idea – but I’ll offer up one I think is even better: A simple, stand-alone throttle body (of the “self-learning” type available on the aftermarket) to run the fuel system of a 2-liter-ish SOHC/DOHC four cylinder engine making about 100 hp. No other computer controls. No ABS. No air bags. No traction control or stability control. A non-computerized four-speed (OD) transmission with a single 12V connection for a lock-up converter. Or a five speed manual.

          That’s it.

          Build a small car around that drivetrain.

          Curb weight around 1,800 lbs.

          It would get to 60 in 7 seconds or less and likely average 50 MPG.

          And I am certain it could be built and sold for a profit at around $10,000.

      • Well Elio’s attempt at a “Volkswagen” is doomed from the start do you think the hideous Hydra GM and Ford are slated to become would allow it?( I can just see the brass at GM and Ford high fiving and hugging when the quarterly reports come in) I wonder what will they call this new Giga car consortium? What it will truly be GM( government motors, co-owned and directed by Ford?) Let you in on a little secret Folks , its about the money!
        Do you think a sub ten-thousand dollar practical vehicle will be allowed when there is so much profit to be made on the 45-60K$ pickups and Suvs? The paradigm is shifting and it will only equal more unemployment and wage slavery.
        The world path now is scary, take my advice stay out of debt if you can in the coming decade.

  2. I’ve been motorcycling for almost 50 years, all on roads and a lot long distance. I put a deposit on an ELIO a number of years ago. I had planned to get an ELIO, quit riding 2-wheelers forever, and then just ride my ELIO for the rest of my life (I’m almost 70). Having been put off by ELIO every year for many years until each following year – I will be utterly amazed and quite delighted if they ever make me my ELIO. But I’ll just keep hoping, and for the time being I’ll continue motorcycling.

    • Hi Kitty,

      I’m hoping Elio makes it, too – and that goes for any company trying to break through the current blockade (by government) of simple, affordable transportation. I have four bikes, myself. But riding in the weather is no fun. The Elio – or something like it – would be great for those times (cold, wet) when a bike just isn’t the ticket.

      It would also make a fantastic commuter car, something like the ’74 VW I drove into DC and back with back in the ’90s – when I was young and poor and didn’t need a car payment.

      • eric, riding in the weather….brings a smile to my face. The reason being probably one you don’t often encounter.

        I drove 100 miles east on I 20 today and could almost have stayed up with traffic if I’d had a sail. 60 mph wind. I threatened for years to put a sail on my little Nissan pickup that would probably have been a real gas saver. But today an 8′ wide, 10′ sail on a one ton pickup would probably been enough to keep up with some traffic. It’s always the ability to tack that’s thrown me. A big gust and you could find yourself under a big rig most likely.

    • Jaleel White is probably grooving on it. I once almost debarked on building a tube frame for a Vega and planting a 427 BBC into the center of it with a transmission with at least one OD. I’d seen it done and the finished car was wicked….as in 200 mph. Probably the body work was the deciding factor. I can build things like frames but where and how to do the suspension and body work would have haunted me.

  3. During the Olympics, i saw a Toyota 3 wheeler in the commercials. Not much of a look at it nor a good description, but it was there. What’s up with that? Is this the future?

  4. I do not see much reference to the Red Pill in this type of discussion.
    Here is a small dose.

    America is no longer the “Land of the free and the home of the brave”.
    Get over it.
    We have been captured by the same financial people who have wrecked many earlier cultures.
    This was accomplished by debauching our money, controlling who gets it, and then installing a system of surveillance to detect rebels. All that matters to these people and their political sycophants is money and power. They live for the creation of debt and prosper on the usury.
    More Red Pill: All this chin music about safety, pollution, and MPG is just the Matrix fooling most of us into accepting the increase in price. Since our financial system is just a Ponzi Scheme, anything that fails to contribute (via ROI) to the continued existence of that pyramid must be destroyed. Remember, these people who live in plain sight of us, survive and prosper by the creation of DEBT. That is their vehicle and they have perfected it for centuries.
    There is no relief from this Gulag, formerly called America. How can we expect to dominate and defeat these people when we cannot even stand up to the gynocentricism and manginas that have been set loose on us ?
    No wonder they want to take our weapons…

    • Hi Jack,


      Debt is heroin. A temporary feeling of euphoria, followed by addiction, which is a kind of slavery.

      I have in my lifetime noticed a complete shift in most people’s attitude – away from frugality and toward debt-fueled frivolity. An obvious example comes to mind, dey sail fawn.

      I got a $50 Wal Mart “smart talk” phone. It operates perfectly as a phone; takes pics, sends and receives texts as well as a $400 phone. Yet people routinely buy the $400 (or more) phone. Most of these people are not rich. Proportionate to their income, spending $400-$800 on a phone is grossly excessive.

      But they do so regardless because it’s “cool”…

      Same with cars. Same with so many things.

      I don’t get it.

      • Groundskeeper Willie referred to the French as “Cheese eating surrender monkeys!”

        Likewise, US amerikans are “Overeating consumption monkeys”.

        US amerikans have been brainwashed into believing that mindless consumption/debt is freedom. “Freedom is slavery” has become the reality.

      • eric, a lot of that money is now being spent for a much brighter screen, longer battery life and a faster OS with more storage. It’s the bright screen I need. The sun in west Tx. is “bright” and even in the best shade you can find it’s hard to see.

        I get text messages mainly because of no connectivity and the test message will come in when you hit the right spot. Actually speaking on the phone where I mainly work isn’t possible in most places. I haven’t spent $200 for a booster and no more than I’m paid, probably won’t. They can just run my old sorry ass down if they want me to change up.

        • Talk about understating things…Eightsouthman said ” The sun in west Tx. is “bright”… The sun in west Texas is extremely intense, and the light colored soil magnifies the effect. Imagine having a large magnifying glass between you and the sun all day long. I had often wondered while I was living there if the sunlight closer to the equator was even more intense. South America has jungles while west Texas is semi-arid. Perhaps I will find out the answer to that question in person with-in the next year or two.
          I concur with eight about the newer phones having better light than the older ones. The cheaper phones are merely the outdated high quality phones from a few years ago. I needed a newer one because it takes clearer pictures than the older ones did. This is fairly important if you have to take pictures of text documents that must be clear enough to read by the recipient on a work-daily basis. I bought my unlocked phone outright, and this enables me to select and change service providers at will because I don’t need a contract. I also like the fact that my phone has 8 GB of ram and 56 GB of storage. Some newer phones including mine have larger screens than the older ones did, which is useful for people who have aging eyesight. Most people probably could get by with cheaper outdated phones, but not I presently.

          • I should have added that I use the 56 GB of storage to download podcasts that I can listen to later while I am driving and thus off-line. We do not have free wifi servers all along the highways like portions of the east and west coasts apparently have.

      • The real problem is that the debtors have come out on the right end of history in recent years. Inflation has made it possible for those with jobs to pay back their debts with cheaper and cheaper dollars. Debt-relief has let them lay their debts on the general public, just like The Donald did his, several times. (“We get the leaders we deserve” is not absolutely true, but not far from it. Not all “we(s)” are players in the game.)

        The we come to those who no longer can get those cheaper dollars from some employer. This “we” worked, literally built our own house, repaired our own cars, raised our own food. We do have the advantage of money-in-the-bank but are lending it to them at 1% and watching inflation take away our purchasing power. I don’t long for Jimmy Carter’s 18%, but would like a reasonable return on our money that they are lending out at 8-to-10%.

        As a “saver” I am screwed. I see “debtors” who are doing just fine. “The World Turned Upside Down”. It will inevitably right itself, but not likely before I am looking up at roots.

        • ARYLIOA,
          The same cycle has repeated several times throughout history, leading to the biblical directions to avoid being a borrower or a lender and to use gold and silver as money, all of which has usually gone without notice by those with “good” credit. The cycle starts out with the new debtor failing save up for what s/he wants and giving into impatience. This usually happens in higher education with student loans followed by car loans. It frequently winds up with a fresh graduate finding themselves in a poor job market, loading up their stack of credit cards until they are maxxed out.
          My father died with a second mortgage, and my step-mother with a third. For some reason I never got a credit card. Instead I’ve always paid less for almost everything because I never paid any interest on the purchase. I still have all the gold and silver I’ve ever bought with the exception of that I sold to put an engine in the last van, and to buy the current one, both of which were less expensive because I paid cash. As people and businesses run out of credit limit, everything will get cheap again, if you have the cash.

    • What used to worry me was this: as long as they don’t try to crush dissenting speech, try to squelch speakeasies like Eric’s little freehold here, try to shut down the long suffering majority, then I knew they saw themselves as winning.

      What gives me some hope is they are now desparately trying to shout down, criminalize, and crush us by brute force. They have dramatically ramped up the propaganda with obvious lies and distractions.

      They are desparately afraid of us and our weapons judging by the steady stream of false flag attacks and desparate pushes for gun control.

      They’re losing, and we’re all part of the real American resistance. Every time they imprison a kid for dope, a man for carrying his weapons, steal money for whatever excuse they care to make up, they swell our ranks. The more they tighten their illegitimate grip, the more good folks slip through their fingers.

      There is a civil war on, but I’m beginning to believe we’re starting to win. For now you can’t say you have to hunt down the gestapo to get rid of the nazis, but everybody knows it.

  5. Maybe Mr. Elio should backtrack and rethink a bit.Instead of his fully enclosed coupe design, (the presence of the “roof” seeming to be an issue for the gummit hooh hahs), perhaps build the cockpit slightly differently, providing an open top but with windscreen and sidelights. Even wind-up side lights would be fine. THEN, as an option, provide the option of an English roadster type soft top (bonnet) with sticks, lift-the-dot fasteners, and a clear back light, flexible, so the whole kit can rool up into a small poke. The other optioni would be a removeable hardtop, much like older Mercedes SL, Datsun Fair Lady, 1600 and 2000, MGB, TR 5, 6, 7,
    Have the removeable top available only as an after purchase option. Or even have someone form a sister company under different name and sell them. That way Uncle Stoopid can’t calim he’s dodging the rules by making the “roof” removeable. It does not HAVE one, dumies!!! (Oh, but my brother/friend/cohort over here does….. how convenient.

    Stoopud gummit. FASCISM is government control of private means of production. If gummit telling what Mr. Elion can/cannot sell or produce dos not qualify, what COULD?

  6. Nice to see that Paul Elio’s project is still on your radar, Eric. I’ve got my fingers crossed for the success of the Elio. Hell, I went “All in!” with a non-refundable $1,000 deposit a few years back. Foolhardy? Perhaps. I guess we will have to wait and see!

    • Hi GT,


      As others have suggested, I think Paul would be smart to make his “car” an open-topped thing… to which a targa roof could be easily added after-sale.

      That would let him get around the fatwas which have stymied the Elio so far.

      • Not a bad idea, Eric. Although, wouldn’t that movement away from the “autocycle” classification bring us back to the problem of helmets in most states? I’m already a seatbelt scofflaw (Well… not so much since finally getting a $107 ticket a good while back). Being threatened at gunpoint by a goon of the bacon scented variety, for minding my own business, just grinds my gears. A state edict to wear a helmet inside my personal mode of transportation would be salt in the wound.

        • My first car, an early 60s Le Mans got totalled by T-boning a late model one.
          I hit the brake at the same time that my car hit it. I insisted that my friend put on his seat belt, long before there were interlocks or shoulder belts. Both of our glasses flew off our faces and he found mine while I was checking on the other driver, who got the ticket. What could have been serious injury to both of us was nothing more than sore arms from the reflex. That is the only time that my habit of wearing seat belts has benefited me, and modern seat belts are much more of a deterrent than they used to be. I’m been thinking about disconnecting the airbags, which have always been more dangerous than the belts, regardless of whether they are fastened or not. How many racers eschew parachute harnesses?

          • I agree with you that it’s generally a good idea to wear a seatbelt. I disagree with the position that a Clover would take regarding seatbelts. I have heard some of the horror stories of people being killed by shrapnel caused by airbag deployments. Horrific stuff. Are there any other ways airbags can be detrimental that you are aware of? Glad to hear that you weren’t seriously injured in that accident, Bill.

              • Hi Bill,

                You know the answer to that question!

                But, for others who may not:

                A Clover isn’t content to wear his seat belt and leave it a that. He not only thinks you (and everyone else) ought to wear them, too – he fully endorses using force to compel other people to wear them and to punish them if they do not.

            • Hi GT,

              In both cases – seat belts and airbags – the issue isn’t the seat belts or the air bags, or the decision to use/buy them. It is the use force to compel others to use/buy them, contrary to their own inclinations… .

              • 100% with you, Eric. You’re addressing a pure voluntaryist, anarchocapitalist, whateverthefook you want to call me! 😉 I was asking Bill (or anyone else) if they know of any types of serious injuries (aside from shrapnel to the face – ouch!) that can be caused by airbags. Please excuse my ignorance, but be assured that I am on your side!

                • GT,
                  Airbags have always had a high likelihood of inflicting blunt trauma injuries because of their explosive deployment. The shrapnel is detached from the explosive component by way of poor design and/or construction.

                  • Ah, I see. Thanks for the explanation. I’ll need to look into it and see if disabling my airbags might be a wise action to take.

                    • It shouldn’t be a problem as long as you are always the only occupant of the vehicle to prevent you from being blamed for injuries to others by way of having disabled the bags. I would do so by shorting the input to the igniter, to prevent it from detonating. The only way that would become apparent to a snoop is if they attempted to destructively test the system.

                • Hi GT,

                  It was well known in the auto industry and by government regulators that fatal neck and brain trauma injuries, especially among children and small people, can be caused by air bag deployment.

                  I remember reading somewhere that government regulators barred the auto manufacturers from revealing to their customers the dangers posed by airbags. Unfortunately, I can’t find the source. What is striking is that the regulators knew of the dangers and did little or nothing to inform the pubic of this until after the mandate took effect.

                  This site answers your questions.



                  • Jeremy,
                    I have to doubt that the government would have to forcefully prevent the manufacturers from telling the consumer about the potentially deadly effects of a system that they wouldn’t have installed if the government hadn’t forced them to, until the government forced them to provide the warnings on the dashboard and visors, of late.
                    The government spends half of its time lying to us and the other half trying to manufacture its own plausible deniability to cover its butt.

    • I had $100 in the Elio project but got it back a couple of years back.

      Putting the door on the left side, not on right was a non-fatal error. But, the fatal error was designing and building their own engine. Elio could have missed the price point by $2000 and still would have sold plenty to create a cash flow. Then, Elio could have gotten better deals with the engine purchases or desing and build their own. Elio could have purchased EV systems from someone and just installed them in their auto-cycle.

      The key was to put Elio auto-cycle son the road and generate broad PR and the must have cash flow.

    • Perhaps the “Gubmint” will pretend to “protect” you by having the SEC go after Elio for Securities fraud, much in the same manner as they used a bogus case to administer the coup de grace to Tucker motors. Though, IMO, Tucker might have gone under or been bought out (the latter may have been what he had in mind all along), he was a great inventor but certainly not a manager of a manufacturing concern. However, at the same time, Henry Ford, in his dotage, had retaken the reins of Ford when his son, Edsel, became ill, but was running the automotive giant into the ground. It took Ford’s grandson, Henry Ford II, and the “Whiz Kids” he hired (including an upstart former Army Air Forces light colonel named Robert McNamara) to save Ford from going under.
      It comes down to the Government pretends to serve the interests of the “little guy”, but in reality is joined at the hip with large, multinational corporations (“crony capitalism”) and the Federal Reserve, itself a large, privately held corporation that operates with a Federal monopoly on our money supply and does the bidding of its holders, holding all in its thrall. Individual freedom is anathema to this amalgamation of TPTB; the very widespread system of communication that is the Internet, media, and ubiquitous use of what Eric terms “sail fawns”, while an effective means of propaganda, thought control and MONITORING thought and expression , carries with it the “deadly” (to them) potential that their “plot”, as it were, can be exposed and the masses mobilized to rise up and overthrow them. Small expressions of “rebellion”, like marketing an enclosed 3-wheeled motorcycle of LIMITED market potential, are to be quashed out, at the behest of do-gooders and those, with a smattering of “edu-ma-cation”, as they suppose they have, who fancy themselves more knowledgeable than we “great unwashed” that WORK for a living and by dint of their self-righteous superiority, are imbued with some natural and “righteous” authority to decide how we ought to live our lives!

      This gives me ever the more incentive to get that business that I’ve mentioned previously going, that of restoring and selling pre-1976 cars and light trucks, those not regulated by California’s “CARB” (California Air Resources Board, or, as I term them, the “Smog Nazis”), and providing parts and service referrals. My way of giving Governor “Moonbeam” (the Hon. Edmund G. Brown, Jr) and his ilk (like our current junior US Senator, Kamala Harris, whom replaced the equally nutty and irritating semi-human version of a Chihuahua, Barbara Boxer) the “Finger”!

      • It would have been better if the unconstitutional SEC had never been created by the domestic enemies in Congress, leaving such things to the market as the founders intended.

    • Me too, but when it was GMI.

      Provided I live long enough (my first statement indicates I am pretty much into being a geezer) I would buy one a soon as production models hit the streets.

      As far as the SEC, Elio is not a fraudster, as was the guy/gal who “created” the Dale. He is sincerely trying to get the car into production. But that is not as easy as most folks who haven’t grown up in the manufacturing environment may think. His production plan is sound, as is his marketing and service plan. Pep Boys would probably expand as demand for Elios expanded making Icahn even richer. That doesn’t mean the SEC won’t be the final kiss-of-death for the company.There are many ways of killing an enemy.

  7. From wikipedia: Velorex was a manufacturing cooperative in Solnice, Czechoslovakia. Notable products included a small three-wheeled car, produced from the 1950s until 1971, and the Type 562 sidecar.

  8. Why should any thing matter because it doesn’t have a roof? Horses never had roofs, even carriages rarely had roofs. Walkers and pushbike riders never had roofs on their vehicles. Yet horses were freely allowed, despite the many tens of thousands of people they killed each year, not to mention the horseshit found in plentiful quantities wherever they went? Then there was the problem of horse pee, and getting rid of them when they died. And feeding the horses sure cost a lot.

  9. I’m one of the people who put down a deposit on an Elio. In the back of my mind, I never expected it to come to fruition. So why do it? I tend to root for underdogs, and would like to see a previously unknown automaker enter the market and knock GM around a bit. (Dodge is a zombie brand name, and Ford didn’t take the auto industry bailout.)

    In my mind, Paul’s error was spending time and money trying to get uncle to create a special classification for “autocycles”, Paul’s word for an enclosed three wheeler. I tend to think he would have been better served telling customers it’s a motorcycle, and must be registered as such. The existence of a special classification is what opens the vehicle to regulations that do not apply to other “motorcycles” as defined by uncle.

    • Ford didn’t take the bailout eh? Ford got an $8B loan guarantee in 2009, the same way GM did, but there was no BO to illegally replace the CEO Rick Waggoner.

      • People who want to excuse general motors conflate the green car development money that Ford got from a pre crisis program as a “bailout’. As I recall practically all automakers got a payout from that corporate welfare program. It’s just that hardcore Chevy fans can’t come to grips with three decades of general motors mismanagement that forced their products to be cheapened to the point where people wouldn’t buy them any longer. They cannibalized their reputation which put them in a position where they needed a massive bailout and protection from creditors.

        • Ford was producing really out of touch product at the time, something all the Big 3 did for way too long. They didn’t have the money to produce what was to become an all new line across the board which they badly needed.

          Ford “had” to have that money to survive and I’m glad they got it. I’m glad all 3 got their loans cause the hit to the economy is horrendous digging deep into every facet of business, car companies not being the only ones hurt. It’s just like every time the patch in Tx. crashes even the lowest paid people lose their jobs which have nothing to do with oil in a direct way.

          GM’s problems mainly stemmed from horrible contracts they’d sign with the UAW for the most part. Rick Waggoner had made that his main course of trying to save GM and had done a lot of good. It was too little too late but he certainly didn’t deserve to be replaced.

          I was all for GM saving Chrysler way back there too. Same scenario as far as a hit to the economy except Chrysler’s fault was their vehicles and lack of quality.

          It was a bad time we all had to watch shit being produced in Detroit to try and compete with reliable and cheap Japanese vehicles. I hope it’s not lost on anyone that Japanese vehicles are no longer cheap.

          • Maybe Ford needed it, maybe they didn’t. It’s irrelevant. You’re making a GM fanboi argument. It was corporate welfare program from which as I recall, GM, and even foreign manufacturers were in.

            GM made compromised product for damn near 40 years across many of their lines because they were continually taking cost out of the products to pay for their poor financial and product decisions. You can play that off any which you want to justify it in a fanboi way but at the end of the day 3 plus decades of burning customer loyalty took its toll.

            It’s one thing to have dated or unstylish product, it’s quite another to cash out reputation.

            • Fanboi, hilarious. I was hoping my first car would be a 240 Z but due to circumstances it was a used Chevelle, a pretty decent car but not what I wanted.

              Of course I couldn’t figure a way to have what I really wanted, a 911 Porsche, just too expensive.

              I developed my dislike of Ford from driving them and having to work on them, esp. pickups.

              A friend had a Plymouth Valiant with a slant 6. It would run off and hide from the V8 Ford he had before and started and ran every time.

              Of course the Porsche was forgotten the instant I saw a Lamborghini Miura….and to paraphrase Jimmy Carter, I never quit lusting for one but I never knew a west Tx. cowboy who owned one. I would have bought an RX 7 in a heartbeat but it wasn’t a good hunting, fishing or wood hauling vehicle but they sure were fun to drive and held up well.

          • Hello 8,
            Have you heard of the broken window fallacy yet? The fact that it was written by a French guy was surprising to me the first time I had read it, because I did not and do not know of a more collectivist European country than France.
            You are glad that the state bailed out certain automobile factories. What the result would have been had the state NOT bailed it/them out remains unseen. They would have gone bankrupt just like every other non-crony failing businesses. A business of that size probably would not simply disappear. Somebody else would have bought it/them. The buyer would have been free to end previous unwise agreements with unions and bad contractors. What is not seen are the vehicles that we would have the option to buy today absent state intervention.

        • This is in line with the decline in the body politic that would allow the federal government to offer and provide the bailouts in clear and blatant violation of the Constitution, in full acquiescence from the people.

    • In Mexico people people don’t need to sacrifice a wheel to get around government regulation. They can just buy an actual real 4 wheeled car relatively inexpensively compared to the USA.

      A year or two ago I read an article pontificating the horrors of some 1990s Japanese car still being made and sold new in Mexico. Decrying the evil corporation who was selling Mexicans an ‘unsafe’ car. It was the same car offered in the USA, Japan and much of the world in the 1990s but for markets like Mexico they just kept building it because people kept buying it.

      The Elio is a product of government regulation every bit as much as the expensive four wheeled cars in the USA. It would fail in a free market because there would be better choices.

      • I met a guy in Mexico who owned a taxi fleet. He mainly had some boxy little Nissan with a name I can’t recall, not a name ever marketed in the US. He said they were dead reliable and got great fuel mileage. They were clean as a whistle too, inside and out. Nothing like a good product to make a guy want to showcase it….and to be truthful, Mexicans would never consider trashing the inside of one. They’re probably the most courteous people I’ve met anywhere.

  10. How does the Polaris Slingshot get away with it? Seems like more of a car than bike to me, and in fact probably worse than an Elio (in terms of saaafety) because it appears to be a 3 wheel roadster with no roof at all. Of course they ain’t cheap either. Very briefly considered one a few years ago for banging around town, until I saw the price tag. Ouch!

  11. I wonder what they’ll do when everyone is driving rusted out buckets held together by wire and duct tape because they can’t afford the new super-duper safe cars anymore (which by then will bear a not-accidental resemblance to an M-RAP with a battery).

    • Starting around 1987-88 the busybodies started efforts to forcibly scrap all cars made before 1980, sometimes 1982. These efforts continued until about 1996 when they finally stopped. My guess is that these efforts would be revived.

      • Insurance companies today are on a tear to do tht FOR gummit. Recently had my van hit whilst parked, did in the front end bodywork. Hood down to bumper, everything trashed. Fenders OK, engine OK. All damaged parts are bolt on. Their esimate to repair, $4200. Their payout because they DECIDED to total loss the ride was $6K and I kept the van. A few phone calls, I found EVERYTHING needed to put it back to at least as good as it was before the prang, for #300 unbolted and dropped into the back of the tiny pickup I bought to drive whilst the van is “on the blocks”. The radiator I spent $200 for a brand new heavy duty one… it wasn’t leaking, but had been pranged a bit. Why chance it? So, for $500 and MAYBE two days easy parts changing it will be back together. The donor vehicle ws even painted the same utility white some 80% of those vans are painted. So no resppray. Same paint code.

        They WANTED to total loss the rig. The state was pretty quick to cancep title and registration, too.. demainding i re-title, junk, rebuild, whatever. And have a “branded” title. so I went to licensing, they gave me the peperwork to apply for the new title (for a “small fee” of course.. but since I’d not spent anything on the repairs yet no tax was due. When the new title came in the post, I examined it…. the crazy gummit loafers failed to put a brand in the appropriate place!!! So I gota “”clean” title, no inspectioins, I put it together whenever I feel like it (its fuly drivable and legal as is) and state are no longer concerned, because I jumped through their flaming hoops. Gummit. gotta luv it.(NOTTTTT)

        • Exactly the reason I dropped the collision coverage on my extremely low-mileage 2001 F-150 a few years ago. I figured if I had enough of a collision to pop the air bag, it was going to be totaled. Instead, I had a “minor” accident (six months ago, with 43,050 miles on the truck, my fault, brain fade) with a dent in the rear fender and a bent bumper. Estimate $4500, depressingly over the current book, so it would have been toast and with an Alabama State Trooper title at best if I bought it from the insurance company.

          I replaced the bumper myself (4 bolts, 45 minutes, $360, probably the exact bumper the shop wanted $850 for). I used to do a lot of body work as a kid, so maybe that will be my next job, but it is a bit hard to get at because of the bed being in the way. I may just live with it.

          But it still has a regular title since they didn’t have the opportunity to total it, drives as well as it ever did, and I saved at least the amount of the price of the bumper in the last couple years in premiums. But that dent is depressing, and my ego was damaged, too.


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