2015 Polaris Slingshot / Three Wheeler Car-Motorcycle

Some call the Polaris Slingshot a Car-Motorcycle Tweener. The Slingshot with it's radical design looks somewhat like the Morgan with it's three wheels yet the two passenger vehicle it is not classified as a car and lacking in automobile crash safety standards.

2015 slingshot three wheeler

2015 Polaris Slingshot

For an example, as of this writing the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles has not licensed the Slingshot and has kept it off the state's roadways. Other states have classified the vehicle as a three wheel motorcycle and in those cases the 2015 Polaris Slingshot is a street-legal three-wheeler. States that classify the Slingshot as a motorcycle will likely enforce all rules and laws pertaining to motorcycle operation.

The Company and the Model

Polaris of course is a manufacturer of recreational vehicles and their Slingshot was designed with some characteristics of their ATV's. As a side note, Polaris is also the parent company of Indian Motorcycles and Victory Motorcycles.

polaris slingshot engine

2.4 L Engine

There are two different models of the Slingshot. The base model features titanium metallic aint, 17" alloy wheels upfront, and an 18" wheel in the rear.

The premium model called Slingshot SL features red pearl paint, larger 18in forged aluminum wheels upfront and a 20in wheel in the rear, and a blade windscreen for wind protection.

The vehicle is a head turner as you can plainly see in these photos. Slingshot™ is an entirely new on-road driving and riding experience. The open air cockpit of Slingshot™ hits you with a 360 degree rush of sight, sound, and smell. With side by side seating, both driver and passenger experience a front row shot of adrenaline

Power for the 1700 lb. vehicle comes from a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine. Power is sent to the rear wheel at 173 hp. The steering is power assisted and the vehicle has a five speed manual gearbox.

Specifications for the Polaris Slingshot, per the manufacturer are as follows...

  • ECO TEC 2.4 Liter DOHC Engine developed by General Motors
  • 5-Speed Manual Transmission
  • High-Strength Steel Spaceframe
  • 3-Point Seatbelts
  • LED Taillights and Projector – Beam Headlights
  • Double-Wishbone Front Suspension with Sway Bar
  • Electronic Power-Assisted Steering
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • ABS Disk Brakes
  • Tilt Steering
  • Adjustable, Waterproof Seats
  • Lockable Storage Bins and Glove Box
  • Slingshot front wheels are 17" and the rear wheel is 18".
  • Polaris Slingshot measures 149.6 inches in length, 77.6 inches in width, 51.9 inches in height and it has a 105-inch long wheelbase.

See additional articles on our Auto Museum Online site on the links below...

The Morgan Superdry

1917-1923 Smith / Briggs and Stratton Flyer Cycle Car

 1924 Hydrogen Powered Model T

2015 slingshot three wheeler

2015 Slingshot

One review of the Slingshot published on motorcycleusa.com is as follows:

It looks like something out of Michael Bay’s subconscious - projector-beam headlights as eyes, its futuristic bodywork angular and edgy, with wide-set wheels and low-profile rubber setting a muscular stance. A dorsal fin rises between two roll bars, the machine’s truncated tail showcasing a hefty coil-over shock and stout single-sided swingarm. In a sense Polaris’ three-wheeled 2015 Slingshot is a transformer, part car, part motorcycle, a sophisticated machine with an Electronic Stability Program (ESP), traction control and ABS, the sum of its parts aimed at a riding experience that raises heart rates and adrenalin levels.

The 2015 Slingshot has been in development for the last three years. Polaris was granted a patent for its three-wheeler on September 17, 2013, with Garth H. Bracy, Gurminder S. Bhandal and Greg Brew listed as inventors.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

1917-1923 Smith / Briggs and Stratton Flyer Cycle Car

The Smith / Briggs and Stratton Flyer Cycle Car originated with the Smith Motor Wheel. The car featured here is the 1920 model.

flyer cycle car

Flyer Cycle Car

Smith Motor Wheel and the American Cycle Car

The founder of Smith Precision Products Company located in Milwaukee, WI, Reuben Stanley Smith, filed seven patents between the years 1914 and 1917.

His patents were for a  device he called a Motor Wheel. The Smith Motor Wheel was a device attached to the side of a bicycle. The Motor Wheel consisted of an engine and a wheel. Reuben Stanley Smith is remembered as a fascinating inventor known as the inventor of record for various machines and equipment.

You could say this device made the bicycle powered, similar to what we call a moped, with the exception that a had the engine mounted on the bike frame. In many respects the cycle car is a cousin to to both the bicycle and the motorcycle. The Smith Motor Wheel used as power for a bicycle was manufactured from 1914 to 1917.

smith motor wheel

Smith Motor Wheel

During this period, automobiles were still a novelty, and prices were of such that only the wealthy could purchase one. The Cycle Car, while different and more primitive, still was a mode of transportation and much more affordable. Smith Precision Products built their Cycle Car based on the Smith Motor Wheel from 1917 to 1920.

It's estimated that the about 25,000 Smith Motor Wheels were produced from 1914 through 1919.

Briggs and Stratton Cycle Car

There were many cycle cars manufactured. Some put the total at around 125. One manufacturer that stands out in addition to the Smith / Briggs and Stratton is the Morgan Motor Company. Morgan produced the three wheel Morgan Aero and still produces cycle cars today.

Smith Precision Products built the Smith Flyer Cycle Car from 1917 to 1920 after purchasing the rights for the Wall Motor Wheel from Surrey, England. Wall had developed an attachment to bicycles in 1902. The Wall Motor Wheel was attached to the back of the bicycle which allowed for banking during turns. The Smith Motor Wheel was a device with several modifications to the Wall Motor Wheel. The Smith Cycle car was well accepted and eventually have it's rights purchased.

The Briggs and Stratton Company, who purchased the manufacturing rights for the Motor Wheel and the Smith Cycle Car, produced Flyer cycle cars from 1920 to 1923.  Just about all aspects of the Smith Cycle Car were seen on the Briggs and Stratton models. The Smith / Briggs and Stratton Flyer Cycle Car as featured in this article had a buckboard and two buckets seats. An interesting side note is that the Smith Motor Wheel was the basis for Briggs and Stratton developing their power lawn mowers.

smith motor wheel cycle car

As part of the car was a fifth wheel, shown above, placed at the rear. The fifth wheel was hooked up with a single cylinder air-cooled engine and delivered two horsepower. The Briggs and Stratton fuel tank carried one-half gallon of gasoline. The mileage was advertised as 40 to 50 miles. Speed was estimated at 15 MPH. The vehicle sold for $175. Briggs and Stratton marketed their Flyer Cycle Car to a young audience, similar to a motorcycle audience. Typical advertisements for this vehicle suggested..."Just imagine traveling 100 miles an hour at up to 25 MPH on just one gallon of gasoline".

You may enjoy the Auto Museum Online articles on the links below...

The Morgan Aero Eight

2013 Morgan 3 Wheeler Limited Edition Superdry

1924 Hydrogen Powered Model T Turbo Depot Hack


Today, the Smith and Briggs and Stratton Motor Wheels are collector items. The Flyer Cycle Cars were popular and some exist today, such as the one featured in this article.

An excellent website that offers a list of American cycle car manufacturers along with their various locations and production dates is ...http://www.american-automobiles.com/Cyclecar-Manufacturers.html

(Article aand photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

1931 Cadillac 452A V-16

There was time that automobiles were often judged by the number of cylinders their engines had. It could be argued that this is sometimes the case today, but in 1931 the Cadillac 452A and it's 16 cylinders said a lot. The car was an all-time great for Cadillac. Cadillac produced two of only three production, gasoline-fueled V16 engine models in automotive history.

cadillac v-16

1931 Cadillac V-16

Cadillac Unveils Their Expensive V-16

The Cadillac 452A V-16 was introduced at the New York Auto Show on January 4, 1930. This was a bit over two months after the great stock market crash. Timing could have been better but nobody could predict the future. The style of the car was a collaboration between Cadillac GM Lawrence Fisher and GM stylist Harley Earl. The body for all 1931 Cadillacs were longer and lower than previous models. Theses cars also had a longer hood. The 1931′s also had a chrome plated screen that covered the radiator and gave the car an expensive look. Cadillac used it's longest wheelbase and very elaborate bodies for the V-16's.

Cadillac led the way in developing the V-16 although both Peerless and Marmon were attempting to do the same. All three automakers were working on this project during the last years of the Roaring Twenties. The goal was to design a smooth running engine that would provide more than adequate power. Cadillac used the term "continuous flow" to describe their V-16. Continuous flow implied that the engine multiplies power and subdivides it into a continuous flow, always at full volume efficiency.

cadillac 452a

Cadillac's top of the line vehicle

The engine debuted in 1930. The V-16 Cadillac was highest priced Cadillac to date however this did not turn buyers away, even a year after the stock market crash of 1929. Interestingly enough, while Cadillac had orders for over 2,000 of these vehicles during the first six months the car was out, sales dropped in 1931. In fact, it would take another ten years for Cadillac to get decent sales numbers for it's V-16. During that period of time Cadillac was producing only about 50 of the V-16's per year.

The Cadillac V-16 was a success if you look at it's first year. After that the Great Depression was in the wings and sales were not good. Regardless, Cadillac's 452A V-16 did outperform the Packard's Twelve.

The V-16 was designed by an ex-Marmon engineer, Owen Nackler. Cadillac's first V-16 engine was a combination of two new Buick eight cylinder engines. The two engine blocks were put on a common frame with each block at a 45 degree angle to the other. Crankshaft and crankcase were of course common. The V-16 could put out 165 HP and achieve a speed of 90 MPH. It's said that the V-16 could get 8 miles per gallon.

A Status Automobile

A status automobile might be one with a custom coach build and with a high price tag. It was an automobile for the very wealthy and in some cases celebrities. Customers could have their V-16 Cadillac as they wished. Cadillac provided some 70 different styles for the customer to choose from. If the customer chose, he or she could take a finished chassis to an independent coach builder.

cadillac v-16

View of the dashboard

To help secure status, a buyer of the Cadillac 452A might pay $6,500 for the automobile. With this being said, the Cadillac V-16 remained the top of the line Cadillac from it's inception straight through to 1940.

1930-31 Cadillac 452A V-16 Specifications

As mentioned above, the engine was a combination of two Buick V-8's with a common crankshaft and crankcase. The engine was 452 cubic inches. Horsepower was rated at 165.

Transmission was a three speed manual.

The wheelbase for the 30-31 model was 148.0 inches. Vehicle length varied due to model. Vehicle eight averages about 6,000 lbs.

Please see these additional Auto Museum Online articles on the links below...

1951 Cadillac Series 75 Limousine

Red and White 1955 Cadillac Coupe

1937 Cadillac Series 75 Fleetwood Limousine

A 50's Classic / 1958 Cadillac Coupe De Ville

v-16 engine

V-16 engine

Collector Values for Cadillac's V-16

The restored Cadillac V-16 can be quite costly but has also returned good appreciation. All body styles designed for this automobile are rare for each model and thus are valuable.

Production numbers, as mentioned above, were low. Aside from 1930, on;y about four dozen Cadillac V-16's were built per year. As a result, the automobile is rare and fully restored models have sold for several hundred thousand dollars. 1930 and 1931 models have sold anywhere from $150,000 to $500,000 often times above the asking prices. The two highest selling models were the Sports Phaeton and the Fleetwood Roadster.

Reference material includes FLeetwood:  Individual Body Styles...Cadillac V-16 (sales brochure) and The Cadillac That Followed Me Home: Memoir of a V-16 Dream Realized by author Christopher W. Cummings.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)