Enter La Libellule, or The Dragonfly. These early three-wheeled forecars were available from a number of manufacturers. It was essentially a motorcycle with two wheels at the front that support a wicker basket that you could plop an easily-influenced friend (or enemy) into. It’s like having a sidecar, but in front of you.
Not much is known about this company other than no records of it really exist prior to 1906, which is why this is listed as a “circa 1904” in the catalog. It’s had three owners since 1921 and has been in the same collection since about 1960. The restoration dates to the 1980s, when it first competed in the London-to-Brighton run. It should bring between $27,000-$33,000 today. Click here for more info and here for more from this amazing sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, U.K. | March 19, 2017
Photo – Bonhams
It’s weird how war can create the need for vehicles that previously did not exist. Take this, the Kettenkrad – or, technically, the SdKfz 2. “Kettenkrad” is basically German slang for “tracked motorcycle.” This vehicle – it’s not technically a tank, and not technically a motorcycle, nor technically a tricycle (it has the right layout but more wheels than most trucks) – was designed and manufactured by NSU in Germany.
Produced between 1939 and 1948, the Kettenkrad was designed to be used by the German airborne, as it could fit in the cargo compartment of a Junkers Ju 52 – but it couldn’t be dropped via parachute. It’s powered by the 1.5-liter, 36 horsepower straight-four from an Opel Olympia. Top speed was 44 mph – making it the fastest tracked vehicle of WWII.
This has known ownership history back to 2011 (yep) and it’s been completely restored. Kettenkrads are a staple of every WWII movie set in Europe. By the time wartime production stopped in 1944, 8,345 of these had been built. Production resumed after the war as these were popular on farms. About 550 more were built through 1948. This immaculate wartime example should bring between $75,000-$100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | March 8, 2017
This is (at least) the third commercial vehicle produced by a motorcycle manufacturer that we’ve featured. In the vein of the famous Vespa Ape and Lambretti Lambro, the Moto Guzzi Ercole is a scooter-based pickup truck (though this one seems larger). The Ercole was first introduced in 1946 by Moto Guzzi, Europe’s oldest continuously operating motorcycle manufacturer.
The Ercole would be made through 1980 and this one is powered by a hefty 500cc single-cylinder engine. This three-wheeler is really just a motorcycle up front (the inside of the “passenger compartment” is literally just a motorcycle) with a steel cage wrapped around it. The rear pickup bed is a dumper, which is nice. It will sell at no reserve. Click here for more info.