In the H.G. Wells literary classic, The War of the Worlds, Earth is invaded by three-legged Martians hell-bent on humankind’s destruction. Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Polaris Slingshot has three wheels, and its styling makes it look like it came from another planet. Let’s see if the price will soon have it invading a new owner’s driveway.
When it comes to homebuilt homage cars, it’s a toss-up between the Shelby Cobra and Porsche Speedster as to which is the most popular. Both far outnumber the real deals they are trying to emulate. One such car was yesterday’s 1957 Porsche Speedster from Classic Motor Carriages. That was less an homage and more a “ho-boy,” with wide fender flares and surprising turbo Corvair motor. At $35,500, it was less of a surprise that the Frankensteinian Speedster dropped in a crushing 88 percent No Dice loss. That felt almost preordained.
Have you ever seen the movie Starship Troopers? What am I saying? Of course you have. The more pertinent question is: While watching Starship Troopers did you ever get an inkling to design and build a three-wheel vehicle with styling that’s freakily reminiscent of the bugs in the Paul Verhoeven sci-fi classic? Again, of course, you have.
Not many people have the wherewithal to act on this idea. And with vehicles like this 2015 Polaris Slingshot already on the market, you may very well consider your concept to be redundant.
The Slingshot may not have actually been designed to look like a giant mutant bug but that doesn’t address the fact that yes, it most certainly does look like one. The spare, bare-minimum design also lets the two-seater keep its weight down and make the most of the 173 horsepower its 2.4-liter GM-sourced Ecotec four-cylinder engine offers. Those ponies get routed to the single rear wheel by way of the standard Aisin AR5 five-speed manual. With just a little over 1,650 pounds to push around, that setup can make the Slingshot go like stink. The wide-open cabin and presumptive lack of noise and vibration isolation can make it feel even quicker.
This Slingshot comes from the first year of production, and it has covered a mere 11,200 miles since leaving its Alabama birthplace. It sports a red-over-black color scheme and both the mini windscreen and the Bimini top for at least a nod toward civility. You’ll probably still want to wear a helmet while piloting the Slingshot, at the very least to keep the bugs out of your teeth.
Other updates on this Slingshot include new wheels and the plus-one 20-inch rear wheel. An aftermarket Injen cold air intake feeds the Ecotec four, while inside both the steering wheel and shift knob have been upgraded.
It’s unlikely that any Slingshot would need more expressive styling but that hasn’t stopped someone from adding LED “angel eye” headlights and under-body lighting to this one. Altogether, the seller claims over $6,000 in updates and upgrades.
The ad touts these as all the “right upgrades to turn heads.” It also notes that the Slingshot has been maintained by Polaris, ensuring that it “runs and looks amazing.” That makes it less likely to turn heads by way of being broken down on the side of the road.
The Slingshot isn’t for everybody. First off, the three-wheel layout takes a good bit of getting used to when driving. While there is both traction control and stability control built in, the back end will slide out if you so much as fart while powering through a corner. The interior is mostly made up of exterior, and it is in fact fully drainable if you accidentally hit a puddle or pee in your pants out of terror. Finally, that three-wheel layout means you will hit every pothole in your path since there’s no simply straddling them. Your kidneys will probably not be on speaking terms with you after any fairly long journey.
But hey, just look at this thing. That styling will get you noticed even if every other car on the street is on fire. What might such attention cost? In the case of this Slingshot, that’s $17,500. That’s not far off the 20 grand it cost when new, but that doesn’t take into account the extras and the gewgaws.
What’s your take on this Slingshot and that $17,500 price? Does that make this fun car/bike a good deal? Or, is that too much for something that seems to be missing a wheel?
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