Contact Me

Message Boards


A-Z Listing




Reliant Archives


Owner's Gallery

Projects Gallery

Vintage Gallery

Humour Gallery

Webmaster's Gallery

Gallery Archives

Vintage Gallery

These are your ancestors' 3-Wheelers.

Gallery V025

My thanks go to Rik Borgman in the Netherlands for these photos of his father's 3-wheeler. Rik writes:

The Borgman-bubblecar

My grandfather made this car himself in 1951. He built the car for his own use, and not for commercial purposes. The car was made in Zaltbommel (The Netherlands) in the living room, because he didn't have a proper garage. Because of this, the car had to be so small (80 cm in height) he could put the car on one side to get it through the garden-gate (and the house door of course). He used the car 4 or 5 years himself, it even survived a holiday trip to Luxembourg. He sold the car on for fl 1100, which was a huge sum of money that time. Since then nobody heard from it again.

Technical details,

The chassis was made of 4 mm iron tubes and the outside of the car was made of 3 mm thick plywood. The man who welded the chassis did make, some years later, the big iron cross on the Dom tower in Utrecht!


The original engine was a 125 cc Jap engine, but this engine was to weak and was replaced by a 150 cc JLO engine with forced air cooling. The bonnet was self made of steel, as well as the big B (Borgman) on the bonnet. The starting of the engine was done hand by a cable through the dashboard, because there was no starter engine or battery.


There where 3 ordinary foot pedals with Bowdencables, who connected the pedals with the carburettor, the brakes and the clutch.

There was no windscreen wiper engine and the windscreen wiper had to be operated by hand.

The steering wheel was not round, but half-moon like, because the height of the car should be under the 80 cm.

The gearlever was placed on the dashboard and the car had 3 speeds. There was no reverse gear, so when you would like to reverse, you had to put an iron tube trough a hole in the floor, between the stones in the street, and then reverse the car by moving the tube forward an backwards.

Wheel suspension,

The tyres which where used were 4 x 8 inch tyres. The whole car was equipped with Girling shock absorbers. The engine was mounted at the front wheel suspension, like the Bond. So the engine turned as well as the frontwheel.

Fuel tank,

The fuel tank was behind the dashboard and was places a little to low, so there was a little manual operated pump made so the tank could be put a little but under pressure. This did the job.


The maximum speed was around the 70 km/h and the distance Utrecht- Groningen took around the 3,5 hours. The weight of the car was around the 130 kg.

The Seats,

In the back there were 2 small seats made for the children, and the seats where mounted on valve springs, to increase the riding comfort!!!

The trip to Luxembourg was done without any problems, so the car was quite reliable as well. Unfortunately we don't know what happened to the car, but by now it is almost certain it does not exist anymore.

Rik Borgman (grandson of the builder of the car) The Netherlands