Scale model cockpit FPV

cool scale cockpit video

Funny Zoo Snap

man enjoys elephant My wife noticed this in the family archives.

RC Nitro motorcycle racing

rc motorcycle Motorcycle racing in Lilliput.

Manned RC Multicopter

manned multicopter
Here’s an RC multicopter big enough to ride on!

Make: Talk 004

make: Talk 004
I had a fun time talking to Mark Frauenfelder in episode 4 of his new podcast, Make: Talk!

One Man Basement Band

one man band
I feel like I could be getting more mileage out of my right foot.


liberty vintage motorcycles An Etsy portrait. Thanks, Danny.

Tequila Sleeve

tequila the champs
Champs sleeve

Wolf-Stelzer Book Lamp

Book Lamp
My friend Tess just made the cover of ReadyMade with her cool lamp design.

Tree Stump Bug

Can this be for real? The design is so awesomely Thunderbirds. Via

The Nothing Box

nothing box


Thunderbirds are go
Are Go!

Command Center

command center
Sweet assemblage spaceship’s bridge.

Four Drano’s

Watch the sink slowly, all but disappear from the design .

Toothpaste Aerosol

toothpaste aerosol
Aerosol toothpaste

Suburba Car DIY 3-Wheeler

trike car design

It was about 15 years ago that I purchased Vol. 3 of the Popular Mechanics Do-it-yourself Encyclopedia at an estate sale. Inside that red, hardbound collection of reprinted PM feature projects, I found an article that would ignite a long-standing, sometimes dormant but never extinct desire to build my own car. Specifically, my own 3-wheeled micro car.

The book contained a 1965 article detailing how to build the “Suburba”, a 3-wheeled, motorcycle engine powered mini-car platform for which you would design your own body. PM originally ran the article as a “design a body” contest, and the hardbound edition also included the top body designs – submitted by PM readers. The winning trio of designs, submitted by Norman K. Niemi was great.

The R.Q. Riley Factor

Eventually I would stumble upon the work of R.Q. Riley, who has been designing and selling DIY plans for “vehicles of the future” since the 1970′s. Riley’s thoughtful chassis designs, which often utilize major components from existing auto platforms, captured my imagination and I never again really considered building the PM chassis. But Norman Niemi’s body styling was so cool, I would love to emulate his coachwork for use atop a Riley platform.

The recent buzz over the upcoming release of Riley’s new X-R3 deisel-electric hybrid DIY trike brought my Build Your Own Car demons back to the surface, so I dug out the original article that started it all for me (check out page 2, I’m pretty sure that’s Al Franken in the passenger’s seat).

One of my co-workers is acting very committed to starting an XR-3 build as soon as the plans become available so, with any luck, I may get to actually help one or 2 come to fruition.

trike car design

trike car design

trike car design

trike car design

trike car design

trike car design

trike car design

Build A Car out of Foam

4 Responses to “Suburba Car DIY 3-Wheeler”

  1. NightNoise Says:

    It’s Al Franken taking a ride with…. Mr. Bean!

  2. Arak Leatham Says:

    I’m the owner of the domain http://www.Detalidon.Com .
    I think I remember seeing your project sometime in the past.
    Very nice.
    It would be nice to see it added to the history pages at 3Wheelers.com

  3. Fred Says:

    The Popular Mechanics Do-it-yourself Encyclopedia sets are the Mother of Do It Your Self My grand father had s set of them start date around the 40s to the early 60s I loved them spent many of days on end reading and dreaming of the day I had the money to do all the projects. Well life dose not always work out like we plan on right. Any way I am so happy to find this post it is like a blast from my past. Grand Father has been dead for many years now and I did not get the books or even where they are to this day. If it is by chance they are in your hands let it be known they hold lots of my love in them.
    God Bless and Thaks for the post here
    Fred L Stenner

  4. David McAfee Says:

    The books may have been the “The Boy Mechanic” series. There are four volumes. They recently were republished, Do a search on Amazon, they are surprisingly cheap for the amount of fun reading. Got the set to get involved with my grandson in doing some of the stuff.
    One surprise is that apparently there was a lot less concern about the boy’s lives when it was published (how to build a glider is one example.

    A great read!