How the Campagna Motors T-Rex Works

By: Patrick E. George

Three-Wheeled Vehicles

The T-Rex is a tadpole-shaped three-wheeler.
The T-Rex is a tadpole-shaped three-wheeler.

Before we go into the how and why of the T-Rex, we should learn a little bit about three-wheel vehicles and the unique dynamics they offer.

Three-wheeled vehicles have been around for a long time. In fact, the first modern car, the Benz Patent Motor Wagen, had only three wheels. Three-wheelers are usually smaller vehicles that are relatively inexpensive to buy and gas-thrifty at the same time. Some of the first three-wheel cars came after World War II, when the people of postwar Europe needed transportation without encumbering the cost of a car. Motorcycles were cheaper to license, and three-wheeled cars (also called trikes) fit the motorcycle definition. Many of these early models were powered by motorcycle engines, just like the T-Rex is today.


These triangle-shaped vehicles can be described as either deltas -- one wheel in front and two in the back -- or tadpoles -- two up front and one in the back. The T-Rex is a tadpole-shaped vehicle. These are more stable and aerodynamic than delta-shaped vehicles.

Three-wheel cars, regardless of the configuration, have several advantages over bikes and typical four-wheel cars. First, because they typically weigh very little, three-wheeled cars can house smaller engines for better fuel economy and lower overall fuel costs than typical passenger cars. Second, they sit upright on their own, so they offer more balance than motorcycles do. And lastly, they provide more driver protection than a motorcycle does. On the downside, they aren't quite as agile as motorcycles, and in some configurations (delta design), they aren't as stable as cars.

On the next page, we'll look at the T-Rex's chassis, and see how this three-wheeled, motorcycle go-kart hybrid is born.