Move over Del Boy - three wheelers are back (and cool)

Prestigious British car maker Morgan - and a handful of other small manufacturers - still make three-wheel cars but older models remain most popular

Classic cars are the stars of the Circuit des Remparts race in Angoulême in mid September, and joining them this year will be France’s three-wheeler fans the Amical Tricyclecariste de France. Samantha David meets their president

In Britain, the popular modern image of a three-wheel vehicle is Del Boy’s battered yellow Reliant from the long-running BBC comedy Only Fools and Horses.

But the vehicles boast a longer and much more impressive heritage than that offered by the hapless Trotter clan. And now, they also have a growing fan club in the 21st century.

Frédéric Viginier, president of Amical Tricyclecariste de France (ATF), explained that the joy of the three-wheel car starts with the noise it makes. “When you start the engine, it sounds like a Harley-Davidson, the noise vibrates right though you.

“And the smell of oil and petrol, the way they handle. You only have to drive a tricyclecar once to get hooked.”

He said that he especially enjoys going into tight corners fast enough to get one front wheel off the road. “It feels like nothing else.”

Cyclecars are all open-topped. Although a few do have soft tops, apparently ‘only softies’ use them.

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