I DON’T go for a ride; I go for a show-off,” says Dude, the highly skilled creator of this traffic-stopping trike.
“Everywhere I go, people want a photo and to talk about it.” The reason isn’t hard to see. Dude’s three-wheeled monster with moody black paintwork, acres of polished chrome and an unmistakable Aussie V8 sitting in the rider’s lap is hardly a machine for those wanting to blend into the crowd.
It attracts attention for all the right reasons: making obscene amounts of noise and looking effortlessly tough. Add to that it was the first licensed V8 trike in WA and it’s unsurprising Dude reckons his creation is up there with the best in the country. Taking Best Bike honours at this year’s Toy Run in Perth shows the universal appreciation of Dude’s ‘Pilbara Brumbie.’
Not the first inventor to find inspiration while asleep (drink induced or otherwise), Dude was told in a dream it was his mission to build a V8 trike.
“I didn’t even have a plan at first,” he says, “and it took lots of mucking around and five years to get it right.”
A long time, but that’s to be expected as the machine has been built from scratch, straight out of Dude’s creative and original mind.
A plant operator based in the mining town of Newman, WA, the frame construction was carried out by 56-year-old Dude and his friends in the fab shop at his work. He picked up an early ’70s Holden 4500 cc, 253 V8 bare block in exchange for a crate of beer, brought it back to life and mated it to a four-speed reverse manual transmission from a VW Beetle. Mounting these to his custom, flat-black iron chassis, the bones of the project were now in place.
“I didn’t spend too much at first,” Dude explains, “and lots of people said finishing the trike would never happen. I always had the thought that I’d be able to get it licensed though.” This would be a long way off however, as all the work involved was trial and error: nothing at the time had ever been put together like this in Australia, meaning Dude and his friends had nothing to refer to.
“I had to make the rims myself,” he says. “I machined the front disc brakes from stainless steel and even had to have the handlebars bent up from stainless steel tubing. I’ve used four progressive shocks on the back and two Koni shocks on the front using my own designs.”
The 10-inch-wide rims at the rear shod in 265 BF Goodrich rubber ensure unbeatable road presence, not to mention plenty of contact with the asphalt to lay down the power from the Holden V8. This ensures the trike is plenty of fun through the corners.
“It rides better than the latest Harley,” claims Dude. “I sit only 14 inches off the ground and it rides like a train on tracks. I feel very safe on it, and it is certainly the coolest ride in Perth!”
As a true enthusiast, Dude has an impressive collection of 16 bikes to go with his monstrous trike. His collection of and passion for Indian bikes has been the inspiration behind using a 1942 seat from a USA manufacturer on the trike, while a Harley provided the speedo. As for the lucky horseshoe strapped to the huge front-mounted fan, it could be a nod to the Pilbara Brumbies found roaming wild around Newman.
“I named it after the Brumbies because the trike is a bit of a wild horse,” Dude explains.
Wild horses need taming for safety’s sake, so one of Dude’s biggest investments has been the pair of six-pot P&M brake calipers up front. “I had to sell my son’s speedway sidecar to get the $3000 for the front calipers,” Dude says. But what price a decent set of anchors when the V8 is using all its muscle on this mighty three-wheeler?
Attention to detail like this has ensured Dude got his wish of getting his creation fully licensed for road use. “The licensing department had to change their records to find a section for my trike,” Dude happily explains. This means Perth residents get the full V8 trike treatment on the local roads, with the surreal sight of Dude cruising past on his black-metal and polished chrome beast; that Holden engine blaring out its familiar burble to wide-mouthed onlookers.
Such a unique creation is the result of plenty of hard work, so Dude makes a point of thanking Gavin Seymour, Cliff Nash, Shane at Southside Panel and Paint, Newman Tyres and Batteries, Kennedy Brakes, Rockingham Exhaust, and John Green Fibreglass. He also offers his trike up for use in movies, advertising or anything similar. There’s certainly little else out there that could offer such eye-catching presence, nor the aggressive blast from a good ol’ Aussie V8.
words by Iain Curry; pics by Brian White