My thanks go to Jeff Hammers in the USA for these photos of his Isetta Custom. Jeff writes:
... In 1985 a friend gave me a set of Trimagnum plans. Another friend (Dave Gaboury) decided to build one and I gave him the plans saying "when you get tired of it, let me talk you out of it".
He bought the Honda Nighthawk in a wrecking yard in Tacoma (six months old with 3000 miles).....it went over backwards and only
damaged the tank, seat, handlebars, etc. The front fork...believe it or not...was good, and went to another 3-wheeler project!
I spotted an Opel front end and showed it to Dave...the Trimagnum calls for VW but as it turned out it was just the 1st of the deviations from the plan. The Opel (a model 1900 though I think the GT, the Kadette and any of them are about the same) has rack and pinion
steering, disc brakes and is a unitized member that bolts up to the car at the corners....pretty good!
Built in Port Townsend, Washington in 85-87, the Isetta body came along about half way through. It was also in a wrecking yard and was literally be used as a chicken coop. $125 later and after chasing the chickens out, the "Ricetta" was born. We often hear Japanize bikes referred to
a "rice burners" by biker types around here. Discribed in a local newpaper as "looking like a cross between a motorcycle and a Europeon Smart Car".
I give all of the credit to Dave for the design and the construction. His son Brian did the bondo sculpturing and paint. My contributions are: the original plans, the Opel front end, the use of the VW parts tp cpver the
bike.....I bent the 63 bug deck lid over the back and inspired the design, the seat, steering wheel, wheels, etc. It includes parts from what we had around at the time. 63 Cjhev. Impala, 63 VW, Ford trucks, Datsun, BMW, and others.
It sat under a tarp in Daves garage for many years. I tried several times to get it from him or to encourage him to drive it...he had maybe 30 miles on it. In 2001 I
brought him a piece of Lexan and he made a windshield. He licenced it and gave his grandkid a ride and parked it again. Last year I had a vintage motorhome that he liked and he offered a trade. The motorhome was a very nice 68 Oasis, 22 foot class A. One of a kind, I is featured in "Mobile Mansions" a bood by Douglas Keister.
The first time that I drove it, I tood it about 2 miles and
concluded that it was a toy and not practicle transportation. The clutch was sticking and I felt the local Honda shop (people that I know) could get that going for me so I made an appointment to take it in. The day of the appointment, I drove it to the shop. By the time I got there, the clutch was working fine. I have had no other problems with it.
I drove it around, just for fun several times,
gave friends rides, and stored it away for the winter. This spring, I started driving it an making small improvements. As I got used to it, I started drining it more and more. Soon, I was venturing out on the highway and before long it became my daily driver.
Sorry I don't have pics of the frame and running gear to send you at this time. The body is hinged in the front to access the
motorcycle. If I can I'll send more pics later.
I am currently advertising it for sale on Craigslist. I'm not anxious to sell but can use the money if it sells to help me with other things