Time spent with the Campagna Motors T-Rex and the Morgan 3 Wheeler demonstrated to us that although roadster trikes may cost as much (or more) as four-wheeled sports cars, and although they may turn by a traditional steering wheel and go and stop via carlike pedals, they are resolutely not cars. They are raucous and a little squirrelly, Spartan in the extreme and impractical to a fault. This is not about transportation; it’s about driving. And that, to the growing base of three-wheeler enthusiasts, is the whole point.
The front-engine, rear-wheel drive hellion you see here, from US-based snowmobile and ATV-maker Polaris, is the newest addition to this unusual category of road-legal sporting machines. No relation to 2004 Dodge or 1988 Plymouth concept cars of the same name, Polaris’ two-seat Slingshot makes use of a 2.4-litre in-line four-cylinder car engine from General Motors. It produces a more-than-sufficient 173 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque, driving the single 20in rear wheel through a five-speed manual transmission and carbon fibre-reinforced drive belt.
At present, Polaris is mum on Slingshot performance figures, but with a curb weight of just 1,700lbs, it is safe to assume the roadster is very quick indeed. Anti-lock brakes, along with stability- and traction-control systems, are mercifully standard.
In the US, the base Slingshot starts at $19,999; an SL model, which includes a cut-down windscreen and nicer wheels, commands $23,999.
We feel compelled to note here that Mazda’s ever-joyful MX-5 Miata, which comes complete with windscreen wipers, a folding roof and an actual trunk, starts at very similar $23,970. No helmet required.