Trike, Turbo Phantom | Sun, 08 Feb 2009 Posted by : Shannon Larratt
Jeff has a pair of great looking reverse trikes (I’ll post his Indycycle soon), and few vehicles I’ve posted here are as rare and special as his Phantom Vehicle Company Turbo Phantom. This is definitely a kit I’d never expected to see in the wild!
The Turbo Phantom was unveiled at the 1978 LA auto show, and then produced in the early 80s, although no more than three were made due to their high cost. The designers were Ron and Lee Will, Ron working at the time at GM as one of the designers of the Corvette (he tested the Phantom in the GM wind tunnel) — after working on the Phantom he joined the staff of Subaru where he was the main force behind the Subaru Outback. This very wide (around seven feet) trike was powered by a Honda Goldwing, had VW front suspension and MG steering, and had a 0-60 time of about 6 seconds, a top speed as high as 140 mph, and turned at 0.82g. The body was built using a urethane foam and fibreglass sandwhich (like the RQ Riley designs such as the Tri-Magnum) and had an integrated steel roll cage. When the canopy opened, the steering column and dashboard lifted along with it.
Anyway, as I said, at most three of these were made — more likely just two — and one of those was destroyed doing high speed testing on the salt flats. When Ron Will died a few years ago, his estate sold the molds for the body to a fiberglass shop, which produced two bodies. One ended up in Virginia (sold at the time for $3,000) and the shop kept the other one — Jeff picked up the Virginia one for $1,000.
He’s designed his own frame using Pontiac Fiero spindles, custom A-arms, coil-over shocks from a 2007 Suzuki GSXR 1000, a modified Porsche 911 steering rack, and a driveline from a 1989 1500cc Honda Goldwing with reverse. It’s not finished yet, but when he’s done with it, it’ll have heat and air conditioning, a rear back-up camera, a safety glass windshield with wiper, and other goodies. I’m dying to see where this amazing project goes. The last photo is of one of the prototypes, and the rest of the pictures are of Jeff’s Turbo Phantom body and chassis.