Eccentricity is to be valued, particularly if it is English, and particularly if it relates to cars. All of us at MR own something out of the ordinary, be it an old Mercedes coupe, a Lotus Elan, an original MX-5 or an MK Indy. Even a Daewoo Musso, courtesy of Gavin Braithwaite-Smith.
These ease the mind away from the mass of brand new production cars that we deal with on a daily basis – some interesting, too many, it has to be said, a bit boring. That inherent dullness in a modern vehicles is the reason why the classic car movement is so strong.
So it’s an utter delight to delve into Chris Rees’ Three Wheelers A-Z. It claims to be the definitive encyclopaedia of three wheelers built since 1940 and we wouldn’t begin to argue.
Forget the Del Boy links, if you can, for there is genuine ingenuity in the cars featured here. A three wheeler is where you start if you are a madcap designer with the germ of an idea but minimal budget. Three wheelers are small and cheap to build, and hey, they only have three wheels so the cost is immediately 25% less than a proper car.
This financial logic isn’t altogether sound, as you’ll have spotted, but it seemed enough to motivate the construction of the 1122 different models Chris Rees covers. They range from the Berkley three-wheeler built by a Biggleswade caravan maker, through a host of classic and modern Morgans to state-of-the-art technology from the likes of Toyota and BMW.
But the charm of Rees’s book is really in the myriad of little tales he spins, often of a couple of guys working out of a shed, with their own special vision. The results are fascinating, bizarre and, yes, invariably eccentric.
Three Wheelers A-Z by Chris Rees, Quiller Print, £25