LINCOLN, Maine — Ever imagine what a Volkswagen Beetle would look like if it were mated to a motorcycle?
Keith Wilbur of Fairfield doesn’t have to. Wilbur and his mechanic, Roland Landry, attached the rear half of an orange 1974 Beetle to the front half of a three-wheel motorcycle, or trike. Wilbur, who stopped in Lincoln on Saturday after a fuel pump blew on the trike, said he has owned it for about seven years.
He said he rides about 3,500 miles a year on the trike and loves how people respond to it.
A cultural icon, the Volkswagen Beetle “is something everybody recognizes but they don’t usually see anything cut up like that,” Wilbur said Tuesday. “When they see a front wheel on that, it just blows their minds.”
“I’ve had people [driving by], turn around and come back,” Wilbur added. “In the hour that I sat there waiting for that tow truck [in Lincoln], I had about 25 people stop for photographs. That’s typical. It happens everywhere I go.”
Wilbur’s automotive concoction is rare but not unheard of. Apparently, many auto enthusiasts like to take the Beetle in unique directions. A search of Google on Tuesday with the keywords “ trike, volkswagen beetle” and “ motorcycle volkswagen beetle” revealed many pictures and videos of these homemade hybrids.
Wilbur said he and Landry assembled his vehicle out of a fiberglass trike assembly kit sold by a California company that specializes in trike manufacture and a Beetle he found at a junkyard in Vassalboro. He estimated that it cost him about $10,000 to assemble.
The hardest part of building the trike?
“Probably trying to figure out how to put it together because it is all homemade. Roland is a welder, and he did the welding and the painting, and I did the leather work, and I made the windshield,” Wilbur said.
“There are a lot of homemade rigs out there, and what kills you is your insurance companies. They don’t like to pay for anything that is home built or custom made, so you pay a lot more,” he added.
His own finishing touches include a toy Beetle as a “hood ornament” — it is actually mounted above the front wheel — and a Maine license plate for antique vehicles that says it all: RECYCLE.