I choose to believe that inside every junkyard or scrapyard there lives at least one Junkyard Chimera, a wonderful, mythical beast improbably crafted from parts of other cars, and now forgotten, abandoned, a confusing corpse that suggests a fascinating, if usually unknowable story. I believe I found such a Chimera at a junkyard in Winston-Salem, NC.
This Chimera is especially fascinating. It’s a three-wheeled beast, with what appears to be all-custom bodywork on what I think is a custom chassis. This isn’t just some strange Volkswagen-based kit car here, this is the product of one dreamer’s strange vision and determination.
The car has a dramatically pointed prow, almost beak-like, and that torpedo-like front joins to its exact shape-opposite, a cabin made with all the aerodynamics of a tollbooth.
The flat, vertical windshield seems to be made like a camper window, and the rectangular doors appear built for simplicity out of screen-door bits. Big, flared fenders over meaty, wide tires form the rear.
Like many of these, it has some VW parts, in this case a pair of clear ‘57-’63 front indicators, joined by a set of amber-lensed ‘66-’69 indicators. There’s also some fun fake exhaust stacks on the hood, and four weird little coin-slot things.
I bet that iron-shaped hole was cut after the builder realized this thing needed more air to not overheat all the time.
The engine appears to be a ‘70s-era Nissan A engine, a development of the old BMC A-series engine, and probably making about 70 horsepower or so. The sole front wheel is in front of the engine, and the engine is driving the rear wheels.
What’s that front wheel/steering mechanism from? A Cushman Truckster or something?
The inside is interesting, with a Chevy steering wheel on a Denso steering column that was on everything GM back in the day. What I like best, though, are the Colonial-style drawer pulls used as grab handles on either side.
Also notable is the Band-aid-colored box on the steering column, which has a window-facing vent. Probably some sort of defroster/defogger?
Who made this thing? Why? Don’t get me wrong, I love it, I’d just love to know the story behind it. This seems like something someone would have built because they genuinely believed they knew A Better Way to make cars, and this was the result.
The windshield shows that this thing passed inspection and was legal to drive on roads at least in 1987, and very likely a good many years before that.
Does anyone in central North Carolina recognize this thing? I’d love to know its story!