1975 George Barris 'Sidewinder' Buick V8-Engined Motor Tricycle

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Lot 208
1975 George Barris 'Sidewinder' Buick V8-Engined Motor Tricycle

Sold for € 9,200 (US$ 10,366) inc. premium
1975 George Barris 'Sidewinder' Buick V8-Engined Motor Tricycle


  • From the same European collection as the astounding six-engined ‘Snakepit’ (see Lot XXX), we at Bonhams are also delighted to be able to offer this equally remarkable, and rather more compact, George Barris ‘Kustom Kar’ creation – ‘Sidewinder’.
    The ‘King of the Kustomisers’ conceived and created this staggering three-wheeler at his North Hollywood plant, and built it around the distinctly unlikely motor-tricycle power unit; nothing less than a circa 350-400-horsepower all-aluminium Buick 329 cubic inch fuel-injected V8 engine. This unit is equipped with an Iskenderian camshaft and Jahn racing pistons. To feed the hungry injection system 100-octane fuel is carried by a custom spill-proof MOON tank formed from spun aluminium.

    An automatic transmission system delivers drive via a double chain and sprocket to the three-inch, free floating rear axle. Transmission selection is by Ansen posi-shift. The tripod frame construction acts as the brace cradle for the engine which is mounted sideways; hence this incredible machine’s ‘Sidewinder’ title.
    Its unique ‘chopper’ forks were engineered and built by George Barton of Randy Enterprises, creators of special components employed in many of the custom-motorcycle world’s best-known outfits. The body is designed in a boomerang format, craftsman-fashioned from 20-gauge USS steel with dual lift high-speed spoiler blades. Both the magnesium rear wheels and their tyres were ‘borrowed’ by George Barris from a Douglas DC-6 airliner – which presumably felt no further need for them - while the front wheel is a 20-inch diameter laced-spoke motor-cycle design.

    Low-speed braking capability is provided by dual Hurst/AirHeart disc brakes while two Dietz braking parachutes are fitted to assist from high speed. For wheelie artists who like to ride the airwaves on the rear wheels only, the beefy twin Goodyear tyres and wheels are accompanied by spring tubing wheelie bars. Eight single tuned header manifolds are contoured to fit the side-mounted engine and extend to the rear of the body. The interior trim by Jack Weimer, is hand-crafted in Rhino-grain wet-look vinyl of Sun Ray Yellow sewn in a diamond shape outline with an Orange Glo-patterned perimeter. The glass-mirror like exterior finish was accomplished by Von Sol of North Hollywood, California on Golden Yellow metal flake and shades of Tangerine sprayed in various coats of revolutionary epoxy paint. Unique pin striping and Italian variegated gold leaf letters were applied by ‘Dino’.
    We understand from the vendor that this extraordinary ‘Sidewinder’ motor-trike was used occasionally by the great American movie actor, racing driver and automotive enthusiast Steve McQueen, and on at least one occasion is said to have been demonstrated by him on the main straightaway at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
    Like the ‘Snakepit’ the ‘Sidewinder’ has formed part of a private collection for the last ten years. The vehicle has not been run in this time.
    What more could we say to describe this quite remarkable beast. It is offered here at no reserve. We are confident it would fit your garage or motor house. Go on, ‘Sidewinder’ is extremely discrete and unobtrusive - you know a bid for it makes sense…

    Le ‘Roi des Kustomisers’ qui a conçu et créé ce sidérant tricycle dans son atelier de North Hollywood l'a construit autour d'un improbable moteur de moto : pas autre chose qu'un V8 Buick tout aluminium à injection de 350/400 ch pour une cylindrée de 5,4 litres. Ce groupe est équipé d'un arbre à cames signé Iskenderian et de pistons ‘racing’ Jahn. Pour alimenter cet ogre qu'est le système d'injection, le carburant à 100 d'octane est transporté dans un réservoir spécial cloisonné MOON en aluminium repoussé.
    Sa fourche unique type chopper a été calculé et construite par George Barton de Randy Enterprises, créateurs de composants spéciaux choisis par de nombreux constructeurs d'attelages customisés parmi les plus célèbres du monde. La carrosserie a été conçue en forme de boomerang, construite à la main en tôle d'acier de 0, 8 mm avec deux ailerons relevables à haute vitesse. Les roues en magnésium comme leurs pneus ont été ‘empruntés’ à un avion Douglas DC-6 - qui n'en avait certainement plus besoin - tandis que la roue avant est un type moto de 20 pouces de diamètre.
    Nous avons appris du vendeur que cet extraordinaire tricycle ‘Sidewinder’ a été utilisé occasionnellement par le grand acteur américain amateur d'automobiles et de moto Steve McQueen qui, au moins une fois, en a fait la démonstration sur la ligne droite de l'Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
    Comme le ‘Snakepit’, le ‘Sidewinder’ a fait partie d'une collection privée pendant dix ans sans avoir jamais été mis en route.

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