And Now For Something Entirely Different: The 1976 Cat III

Illustration for article titled And Now For Something Entirely Different: The 1976 Cat III

While walking the grounds of the 2008 Meadow Brook Concours D'Elegance, you'd have been excused if you mistook this next vehicle as nothing more than a shadow, or perhaps a garbage bag that had gotten away. What we have here is the creation of Swiss tinkerer Rudy Kurth, a machine dubbed the Cat III. Hand-built in 1976, this sidecar-equipped radical motorcycle is a three-wheeled serpent of chaos, a call to arms for the insane and suicidal, a 500-cc tribute to the madness of speed.


Tipping the scales at only 287 lbs, the Cat III is as much worn as it is ridden. The design is centered around a structural extruded aluminum spine also serving as a four-gallon fuel tank. Off the extrusion is mounted a 500-cc, three-cylinder Honda-based motor with individual spark coils for each plug, hand-formed expansion chambers, and a custom-built transmission. Wait, a three-cylinder 500 Honda motor? In 1976? That didn't exist. That's correct: Rudy took two three fifties, chopped one in half, welded it onto the other block, shortened the stroke with a custom made crankshaft and milled out a new head for the whole thing. Did we mention Rudy is our hero?

Steering is done by way of the "handle bars" mounted directly above the exhaust manifold and controlling both the front wheel and the side wheel — which turns in proportion to the tracking effect (wow). Those tires? Oh, those were originally designed for the Tyrell P34 six-wheeled Formula One car. Though this thing is practically the angel of death incarnate, here's the really crazy part of this story: When Rudy needed to test out his design, his wife performed ballast duties in the side car — now if that's not love, we don't know what is.


Rob Emslie

Sidecar Racers was one of my favorite movies as a kid. []

This is wicked.