This was my first trike that I built. It had a stainless frame and used an iron small block Chevy engine stroked to 383 CID and put out 450 horse power. It would literally run out from under you if not braced for it. I named it after the greek god of war Mars' horses, Deimos and Phobos, which pulled his chariot into battle.

   In the begining, your trike will look something like this as you start putting things together. It will slowly start to change and take shape. I chose to use a 350 four bolt main block and a 700R-4 transmission for my trike. The Chevy small block has tons of aftermarket parts and the 700R-4 is the easiest to install overdrive transmission and does not require a computer to operate.

   Here you begin to see the frame taking shape. The lower tube is 2" sch 40 304 stainless, and the upper is 1-1/2" sch 10 316L stainless. To bend the stainless pipe, you will need to weld a cap (piece of small plate) and pack it with play sand then weld on the other cap. Place it in a bender used to bend conduit (electrical shop) with the weld seem in the pipe to the inside of the bend radius. All pipe has a weld seem unless it DOM pipe or tubing. Do NOT use a bender at a muffler shop, it will not handle the wall thickness of pipe, it will leave marks on your pipe, and it can and will bust the bender. The sand keeps the pipe walls from collapsing (picture bending a cardboard tube from a roll of paper towles) as the pipe is bending around the radius die, and the weld seem will not stretch evenly with the pipe if it is not on the inside of the radius.

   I also want to point out the shape of the frame around the engine. You have to understand that I used the lower frame rails to carry the coolant to the radiator in the back. Every metal will expand when heated and stainless steel has the issue of work hardening (think of bending a coat hanger back and forth untill it breaks) at welds and bends. I designed this area around the frame so that it would grow and not put the weld seems in a position to work harden. if you study the pictures of the frame in later pictures, you will notice how the design works to prevent work hardening.

   Here is an over head shot of how the frame hugs the engine. There are SEVERAL mistakes I made at this point that I did not realize until later in the build. One, there is no intake and carb in place (figured that I could work around it later, which I did) and I did not allow enough room between the tubes for it. But the shape I was after looks good.

   This is a Ford 9" with factory disc brakes and limited slip differential with 3.50:1 gears and 5 on 5" bolt pattern from a 1976 Mercury Estate Wagon. It was narrowed to 44" with the yoke in the center. I later had to remove the pre load springs from the clutches due to it being designed for a 4500 pound car and I could not steer the trike. Removing the springs allowed the rear to lock up under acceleration because the spider gears where pushing on the clutches (due to the torque), and open when turning into a driveway. I could make a u-turn in the middle of the road and not have the front wheel leave the pavement after the springs where removed! It would pivot around one tire, but leave two solid black strips when the carb opened up.

   Some of you will notice in the last three pictures that the U-joint is yoke to yoke. This was later changed to a 4-1/2" long drive shaft. The reason was that it was almost impossible to align the U-joint with the pivot point of the suspension. This will work on a hard tail frame, but I wanted a suspension to save my spleen. Also, the axle side of the drive shaft had the Ford U-joint and the transmission side a Chevy U-joint. Saves from trying to find a custom U-joint was also another reason.

   This was the start of my rolling chassis, not much to look at with the dirt bike front end and tires and rims from the old Chevy truck out back. But it's a start.

   Things start changing quickly once you get it on wheels. You can see that I drastically changed the make up of the frame with the "X" member over the transmission and the rear axle is now located in position with ladder bars and two pan hard bars (rusty tubes) in the shape of a "V" connected to the upper axle housing and to the center of the pivot points on the ladder bars heim joints. Note: A triangle is the strongest structure, one side must break in order for the structure to deform. Thats why crane booms are able to lift extream loads.

   Yea that's me at work, but notice how the boom and structure behind the crane are made. Notice all the triangles.

Upper pan hard mount on top of axle housing

   Lower pan hard bars connected at the pivot point of ladder bars. I simply welded the pan hard mount to the center of the bolt that attaches the ladder bars to the frame.

   This is what the axle looked like in the frame. The pan hard bars where replaced later with aluminum. (With this set up, I could move the axle left or right in the frame by tightening one pan hard bar while loosening the other. Each end of the pan hard bars had left and right hand threads), square the axle to the frame ( by adjusting the heim joints on the ladder bars), and rotate the axle in the frame (by adjusting the heim joints on the axle side of the ladder bars). Most all of these parts where purchased from Jeg's. The ladder bars,pan hard bars and the shock mounts on the axle. They are made by Competition Engineering

Now that the frame is basicly complete, lets start filling it up with parts.

   I used my frame to carry the coolant to the radiator at the rear of the trike (another reason I used stainless pipe) and here you can see that I had to modify the aluminum water pump to get the inlet where i needed it. It was a threaded aluminum conduit coulpling that was cut in half and the hose neck was cut off the pump and the two welded together at my local machine shop. Newer electric water pumps now have this problem solved with a threaded inlet to the pump.

   This is my thermostat outlet hose going into the frame behind the gussets at the fork neck. It is a 90 degree sch 5 long radius elbow that was trimed to fit.

   Here is the outlet from the thermostat side of the frame. Its the same on the other side of the frame going to the water pump. On the lower frame rail just behind the water nipple where the frame turns up, there is a plug welded to the inside of the frame to make sure the water flows into the radiator.

   The radiator was built by Ron Davis Racing. It has two 1" rows and is a twin pass, meaning the inlet and outlet are on the same side of the radiator. The fan was a 2500 CFM unit from Perma Cool. The fill cap was placed wrong by me when I ordered the radiator and should have looked up or been placed at the thermostat housing and an air bleed placed at the radiator instead. This caused me alot of problems trying to fill the trike with coolant and remove the trapped air. I had to jack one side of the trike up to fill it every time. I later installed a an over flow can behind the fuel tank that helped to fix this problem. Also you can see the transmission cooler under the fan.

   In this pic, you can see the issue I had with installing the carburetor as I talked about earlier with the frame rails. I had to make a 3" spacer that put the carb above the frame rails and pick an intake that was low enough to slide under them. It still worked out good, but was a design headache in the end. It did make the engine look taller which was also a plus in the end.

   You have to love that paint job. It was the only colors I had available in the shop to keep it from rusting the block because I had it dipped. This was a mistake because I did not put any grease in the threaded holes. When I started the engine build, I ruined many, many thread taps to clean the holes back up.

   I have to mention this too. When I got this trike running, I always wore a mini bowl type helmet. When I put on a full face helmet, it felt like someone thumping my brain with a hammer every time the engine would get to a certain RPM. That RPM was at cruising speed. The bike was not loud and had a good sound to it. I figured it was because the exhaust was below my ears and the pressure wave from them met together at my head. That's something for you to think about with the exhaust like this one, but I'm telling you I could not ride it for two miles without taking the full face helmet off.

   Because I have very few pictures left of my first trike, I'm going to just put the rest in here for you to see. I had several hundred pics of almost every part of the trike. A friend of mine got me an Auto Cad program and it crashed my computer. I lost all my pics and the pics you are looking at, are from my email that I recovered. I wish I had it all back and the Auto Cad should have been placed on a stand alone computer with out Internet access. Lesson learned


   This was my fastest pass at that 1/8 mile strip. I made 26 passes that day back to back and never shut the engine off. I'd pick up my time slip, shove it in my jacket pocket and hit the lanes again. The trike would spin the full length of the track if I did not let out of it and hit it again when the wheels stopped spinning, and It would pull like a freight train after that. This was at a bike meet they where having at the track that day. Staying on the track, kept people from asking alot of questions. And it also tested my cooling system, which never ran hot. But the 125 octane gas did'nt hurt much either. I love the smell of that stuff!!!!