The Tyrannosaurus Rex was once the most fearsome creature on the planet, but that didn't stop it from going extinct. Today, Nice Price or Crack Pipe has its Canadian resurrection, and ‘Busa power makes it just as formidable.
Sometimes things that have been thought to have gone extinct show up unexpectedly, proving their obituaries premature. Yesterday's 1979 Regal demonstrated that not only was it not extinct, but it was highly adaptable, evolving to meet its changing environs, and doing so with alacrity as well. That skill, along with its being a beater-with-a-heart-of-NOS, proved Nice Price worthy as its $2,000 price tag won the hearts and minds of 71% of you.
You could almost hear the Boss singing Born in the U.S.A. while you were contemplating that strip-ready Buick. For today's car you might have to replace that all-American anthem with O Canada, or maybe something by Alanis Morissette. Like that singer with a penchant for theatre knob bobbing, this 2009 Campagna T-Rex hails from Canada and is equally jarring to the senses. Our neighbors to the North – home of free healthcare and the violent sport of ice hockey that makes them all thankful for the free healthcare – are otherwise not known for building blindingly fast vehicles that don't run on tank treads and skis.
That's not to say the T-Rex is conventional. On the contrary, Campagna saw fit to mount but three wheels on it. That's not that strange, after all your formative years were probably spent terrorizing the neighborhood on a Big Wheel, which shared the tripodal configuration. Unlike that tot's trike, the T-Rex plants two treads in front and one in the rear- just like a Cessna 170! Those front wheels do the steering and the lone fat soldier in back lays down the power.
And that power is available in copious amounts so it can lay it like linoleum. That's because this T-Rex carries a 197-bhp Suzuki Hayabusa 1300 under its scant fiberglass bodywork. That's fed through a 6-speed sequential gearbox - with a mechanical strap-on for reverse - and then via chain to the swing-arm mounted rear wheel. The aforementioned fiberglass covers your shins and feet, and maybe the bottom of your ass, but nothing much more. That, and a lack of frivolous add-ons like power steering or a windshield, bring the weight down to just north of a half-ton.
So it's sort of a Reese's Pieces you got your motorcycle in my car! vehicle- a mish-mash of the two form factors. That being said, it doesn't drive like either. In fact, it doesn't drive like anything you've ever piloted unless you count the Tea Cup ride at Disney World. It doesn't lean into turns like a motorcycle, nor does it push at the limit like a bike. What it does exhibit is snap oversteer that'll have that single wheel leading you more often than you'd like if you're not careful. The handling characteristics were so alien that the trike scared the crap out of the Inside Line testers when they were putting it through its paces.
But you want to know another car with handling characteristics that needed to be mastered, and that was condemned for that demand? That's right, the Chevy Corvair. That rear-engined Chevy was different too, so different that a guy named Ralph Nader said it was unsafe at any speed. At any speed! And because of that, Nader and his safety goons drove (not literally, of course) the Corvair from our nation's dealer lots. He said Americans couldn't master the art of anticipating a back-end hang, and couldn't compensate by turning into the slide and keeping the power down. Now I don't know about you, but I don't think there's anything that we Americans can't do, from inventing pizza with cheese in the effing crust to not letting some freaky Canadian three-wheeler get the best of us. We're just that exceptional, Sarah Palin told me so.
The Edmunds testers managed to get their T-Rex to sixty in a hair over four seconds, but Campagna says it should be quicker than that. Maybe it was the butt-puckering fear that kept them from being all that they could be with the T-Rex? They did manage a sub-13 quarter, making this Canadian a worthy competitor to yesterday's all-American Regal. And speaking of competition, there's really not much else out there, is there? You could wait around for that Aptera electric three wheeler if you're some kind of hemp-smoking geodesic dome dweller that loves the Earth or something. But it you've got a fever that only some three-wheel ass-whipping will cure, the T-Rex is pretty much all that's in the medicine cabinet. And you don't even need a car license to drive one! As it is a trike, the T-Rex requires only a bike license to pilot. Not only that but it doesn't have to meet any auto safety or emission standards either, meaning it thumbs its nose at all those four-wheeled conformists on the road.
And all that - rolled into a Venn diagram of a vehicle - could be yours for just $38,000 CAD. With the exchange rate being what it is these days - thanks Wall Street! - that's also about $38K American. That, and a trip to amazingly clean Toronto, could make you the happy owner of this chimeric beast. The trip home alone would probably more than double the 200 miles it supposedly already has on its clock.
But is that a deal? It does have only three hooves with which to apply that nearly 200 horses. And it is neither fish nor fowl, but a strange and wonderful amalgam of each like some sort of beautiful denizen of Dr. Moreau's vacation retreat. And where else are you going to find so unique a driving experience, one that must be mastered, and that may then hence be pointed to as an achievement?
So, $38,000 for a T-Rex? Is that a price that make you want to raptor arms around it? Or, for that much bank, would you let it go extinct?
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