Cars come in all weird shapes, sizes and designs. A particular favorite, especially post-World War II, was the three-wheeler, mostly in a microcar form.
But three-wheeled vehicles, which remain popular today, have a long history which dates back to the dawn of motoring. In fact, the vehicle that many describe as the first production vehicle made was a three-wheeler. Back then, in the 1880s, it must have seemed the most obvious design, with the front wheel effectively becoming the steering point and replacing the horse that would have accompanied a horse-drawn carriage.
Three-wheeled vehicles continued to be built and were again popular in the 1920s but most certainly the 1930s.
Following World War II, many Germany companies that had manufactured aircraft during the war now started to make cars, with tiny three-wheelers the most popular. And it's not difficult to see why. Small, low running costs and certainly looks played a part in their popularity.
But it didn't stop there either. Three-wheeled vehicles, although not mainstream, certainly were a niche market, with some even becoming popular in TV shows such as 'Only Fools and Horses' and 'Mr. Bean'.
But would you be able to identify a three-wheeler model just from an image?
Let's test your knowledge of these niche market vehicles!
Many auto historians believe the Benz Patent-Motorwagen to be the very first production automobile. It was produced in 1885 and built until 1893. During that time, 25 were made.
Mini cars have a certain charm, and perhaps the most famous of them all is the Isetta. Interestingly, this was not a BMW design, but built under license. BMW built the Isetta between 1955 to 1962. Not all, but some were three-wheelers.
The Reliant Robin is famous for appearing in the TV series "Mr. Bean" and becoming a space shuttle in a "Top Gear" episode. It was also very popular in the United Kingdom and produced for periods between 1973 and 2002. Most were powered by 750 or 850 cc engines. The Robin was also built under license in Greece.
Produced in the 1930s by the Morgan Motor Company, the F4 used a Ford engine, originally used in the Model Y. This model was produced right up until 1952.
This three-wheeled truck was manufactured between 1949 and 1955. It had two wheels at the rear and a steerable single front wheel.
Certainly an interesting-looking three-wheeler, the Davis D2 Divan was manufactured between 1947 and 1949. Only 13 were ever built.
Two generations of the Daihatsu Midget have been produced from 1957 to 2002. Only the first generation, made from 1957 to 1972, were three-wheeled vehicles. It was used as an auto rickshaw, but truck and panel van versions were marketed as well.
Built between 1970 and 1974 in the United Kingdom, the Bond Bug has a distinctive wedge shape with the canopy lifting up and forward to let the driver in. It was powered by a 700 cc motor coupled to a 4-speed manual gearbox.
A modern three-wheeler, the Pembleton Supersports is a 3-wheel cycler car that weighs less than 300 kg thanks to its stressed aluminum skin. Over 500 kits have been sold of this vehicle.
The T2000 was a three-wheeler truck produced by Mazda between 1957 and 1974.
Messerschmitt was an aircraft manufacturer in Germany during World War II. After the war, they turned their hand to making cars with their first model, the KR175 produced from 1953 to 1955. This vehicle was actually a longer model of an invalid carriage made by Fritz Frend. 15,000 were built over a three-year period.
The Peel P50, the smallest production car ever built was made for a period from 1962 to 1965 and again from 2010 to present. It is light enough for the driver to move around, hence it has no reverse gear. The P50 is capable of 45 km/h. An electric model is also available.
Based on the two-seat Isetta microcar, the 600 microcar was bigger and could seat four occupants. It was the first four-person car produced in Germany after the war but was not much of a success in terms of sales. The 600 was powered by a 600cc engine.
With power from an inline 6-cylinder BMW engine, the Campagna T-Rex produces a healthy 160 brake horsepower. This three-wheeler has been in production since 1988.
Certainly very futuristic-looking, the Aptera 2e has never entered production. Electric driven, the 2e was claimed to reach 0-60 mph in under 10 seconds and have a top speed of 85 mph. I guess we will never know if those figures were true.
A battery-driven vehicle, the Corbin Sparrow certainly has a unique shape. It has a range of up to 40 miles and a top speed of 70 mph. The Sparrow has appeared in a number of Hollywood movies including "Looper" and "Austin Powers: Goldmember."
A three-wheel scooter, the Piaggio MP3 was first introduced in 2006. A range of models powered by 125 cc right up to 600 cc engines are available. A plug-in hybrid was also introduced in 2009.
A concept car by Volkswagen, the GX3 was first shown at the LA Motor Show in 2006. Sadly, the GX3, powered by a 1.6-liter straight six engine, remains a concept ... for now.
Built between 1948 and 1967, the Scammell Scarab is a 3-wheel vehicle used by the British military as well as rail transport services.
A 2-door coupe, the Daihatsu Bee was produced in Japan for a two-year period from 1951 to 1952. It was immediately recognizable for its long hood and was powered by a 540 cc gasoline engine.
Before they built the Bug, Bond produced the 875 for a period from 1965 to 1970. Available as a 2-door saloon or van, the 875 was powered by 875 cc engine capable of 34 brake horsepower. The 875 could reach an impressive 80 mph.
Messerschmitt were an aircraft manufacturer in Germany during World War II. After the war, they started to produce cars with the KR175 their first model. It was followed by the KR200, which was manufactured from 1956 to 1964.
Produced between 1953 and 1973, the Regal was Reliant's precursor to the Robin. Due to its lightweight nature, it could be driven with a motorcycle license.
A human electric hybrid vehicle, the Twike was first seen in 1986. It has an electric motor and sets of pedals, allowing the driver and passenger to contribute toward the range of the electric engine.
Launched in the United States in 2006, the Zap Xebra was available as a sedan and pickup! It was produced between 2006 and 2009. In 2013, all 2008 models were recalled and owners refunded due to a safety issue with braking.
Produced between 1999 and 2009, the Carver uses an automatic balancing system to keep the vehicle upright. It is powered by a 660cc turbo-charged engine which produced 60 brake horsepower.
Manufactured by Harley Davidson, the Servi-Car, a 3-wheel trike was produced by the company from 1932 to 1972.
A 3-wheel truck, the K360 was produced by Mazda between 1959 and 1969. Over 280,000 were made.
First introduced in 1987, the CityEl is still built today. This three-wheel electric car has a range of around 56 miles and is powered by a 4.5 kW electric motor. It originated in Denmark but is now made in Germany.
Another German micro car, the Heinkel Kabine was built in Germany between 1956 and 1958 before it was built under licence by Trojan cars in the United Kingdom from 1960 till 1966. Later models, which weighed only 243 kilograms, were powered by a 200 cc motor.
Only 45 Peel Tridents were produced between 1965 and 1966. With its bubble canopy, the Trident certainly had a cute factor. Time magazine, however, ranked the Trident as one of its 50 worst cars ever made.
A 3-wheeled pickup truck, the Reliant Ant was in production for a 20-year period between 1967 and 1987.
A project between the University of Bath, BMW and others, CLEVER is a tilting 3-wheeler. CLEVER stands for compact low emission vehicle for urban transport. It runs on natural gas.
Produced between 1921 and 1925, the Scott Sociable was certainly a unique looking 3-wheeler.It was powered by a 578 cc engine and around 200 were made.
Sir Clive Sinclair was a leading designer in micro-personal computers. He then decided to launch a car - the C5. Launched in 1985, this battery-driven 3-wheeler was an utter failure. Only 5,000 of the 14,000 made were produced with many citing its poor speed, low range and lack of waterproofing as a turn-off.
It's sad that only three prototypes of the Dymaxion were ever produced. Just look at it, it is a thing of beauty. Only one original survives today.
Germans certainly loved micro cars, and after World War II, many were produced including the Moptetta from Brütsch. Only 14 were ever made.
Powered by a rear-mounted 350 cc engine, the AC Petite was by AC cars (yes, they supplied the bodywork for the AC Cobra) between 1952 and 1957.
The Clipper meant to be a competitor to the Bond Minicar in the 1950s. This 3-wheel microcar was powered by a 346 cc engine that produced 8 brake horsepower. Amazingly, it could seat three adults but it never went into production because of many troubles including driveshaft problems as well as overheating worries.
Built in Austria between 1952 and 1954, the Libelle was a 3-wheeled micro car powered by a 200 cc engine.