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Unique Sidecars Showcase

Link - article by Simon Rose and Avi Abrams

Splendid Sidecars: Streamlined Passenger Capsules

Fun fact: bikers either love or hate sidecars. There is no in between. That is, until you see the extravagant collection of sidecars that we've prepared for you today.

We find it easily to believe that a tastefully made sidecar can complement any unique and interesting bike (besides, you can always take this sidecar off, if you wish). Throughout automotive history and today, there exists an incredible variety of styles and shapes of sidecars - thanks to inspired enthusiasts and collectors worldwide.

(top image: BSA (Birmingham Small Arms) motorcycle with a sidecar, 1922, via NMSI Museums)

Here is a beautiful vintage sidecar built by Art Deco Motorcycling from Hungary (more info and images here):

(image credit: Art Deco Motorcycling)

Another Art Deco-inspired sidecar was made by Harley Davidson and attached to a 1942 Model U (created by Italian workshop Abnormal Cycles):

(image via)

The 1929 BMW model R11 also sported interestingly shaped Royal sidecar:

(image credit: Bruce Preston, via)

Certainly a historic oddity, and a puzzling appearance on a battlefield:

(need more info on this one!)

Sidecars were also used as ambulances during World War One:

(images via)

Shown on the right are the modern versions of ambulance sidecars, some used by UNICEF to transport women in labour:

Here’s a Triumph motorcycle with sidecar from 1920 (made from wicker, country-style):

(left image credit: Classic Motorbikes)

The German Army would have used motorcycles like this on their campaigns in World War Two: this is Zundapp KS750 Sidecar Military Sidehack with Machine Gun:

(image via)

We wrote about military scooter conversion with a mounted cannon on top - see here.

How about this military style combination, complete with an impressive looking weapon? Seen at New York Scooters Club gathering:

(image credit: Jonathan)

Very nice combination: 1954 BMW R68 with Steib sidecar -

(image via)

Some great vintage examples with unmistakeable shapes: This Norton motorcycle with Watsonian sidecar from 1957 (left) and the 1956 Ariel Square 4 with a Garrard sidecar (right):

(images via 1, 2)

An interesting antique French trike (seen at the annual Griffith Park Sidecar Rally; credit goes to Doug Bingham of Side Strider Sidecars in California):

(image credit: Kevin Mahoney)

Ah, the only way for the trendy young couple to travel back in the 50’s, without helmets, of course. Can’t ruin that lady’s hair, can we? -

(image credit: Watsonian Squire)

This sidecar looks like it might accommodate three or more people:

(image via)

Good for the whole family: this Watsonian sidecar also seems to be very spacious inside -

(image credit: Watsonian Squire)

If your motorcycle or your car broke down, the UK’s Automobile Association will be promptly on their way with an entire collection of handy tools to get you safely on your way again. This is BSA M-20 Automobile Association patrol bike from 1951:

(images credit: Chris, 2)

Here’s a vintage police model, complete with a loud hailer - no doubt, a powerful Propaganda Machine:

(image via)

All-Chrome Sidekicks

Airstream Chrome sidecar, made by Jesse James & West Coast Choppers of Long Beach, California (see more beautiful detail at this page):

(image credit: The World of Motorcycles)

This bike and sidecar combination also nicely gleams in the sunshine:

(image via)

Scooters with Sidecars: sidecars aren’t just for motorcycles, of course. Here are really beautiful Vespa sidecars (they do look like candy):

(images via)

Concluding the vintage (and mainly Art Deco) section of our showcase, here is a 3D concept made by Stuart Swartz. We find it quite fetching:

(image via)

Streamlined Sidecars Built for Racing

Motorsport sidecars are a topic in itself. There were many fascinating streamlined shapes, built specifically for racing, and one day we will feature them on DRB. Here is the one that looks more like a rocket on wheels than a motorcycle and sidecar combination:

(image via)

Does not look very comfortable, but this is not the point in sidecar racing (this is the 1968 RGM 'kneeler' vintage sidecar racing outfit):

(images via)

Sidecar "Road Rockets"

(original unknown)

You've probably already seen the Airplane Sidecar, made by the Hungarian biker Henrik Toth (the sidecar is based on Messerschmitt ME109); it was featured in our Biscotti as well, but here is another look:

(images via 1, 2)

Hartmut Bubenzer's Nalpalm Sidecar (more image here):

(images via)

Sidecar Obsession: Very Much in Vogue Today

The Snaefell sidecar, by Francois Knorreck: it tool him ten years to make this engineering marvel from parts of a Volkswagen GTI and an Audio 80, with taillights from a Citroen Xantia. Snaefell is named after the Iceland volcano -

(images credit: Francois Knorreck)

This looks like a comfortable ride: putting the "car" in "sidecar"? - based on Citroen 2CV car, even with a steering wheel inside:

(images via)

On the same note, spotted in England, here a sidecar based on a famous three-wheeler car model:

(image via)

Some of the cool modern sidecar designs:

(left image above via)

The right image above, and the ones below, are of the Zeus sidecar (more info):

(images via)

This one is nicely shaped:

(image credit: Robert Elzey)

Very impressive, but I doubt if those really are rocket launchers:

(images via)

Anything goes. Anything you can attach to a bike!

Jason Dyer of Resto-Tec out of the UK built this great Lambretta scooter / VW Mini Van combo back in 2007 (featured in July 2007 issue of "Scootering" magazine). Apparently, some other variations of this mini VW van have wheels and can travel on their own (right image below):

(images via)

Yes, this really is used as a hearse for a motorcycle funeral business in the UK:

(top left image credit: Real Classic, other images via)

Coffins seem to be popular:

(images via)

Piano on a sidecar? Why not! After all "those Russians" already put a drummer with his drum kit on a sidecar in this infamous video and drove with the whole band on a highway; the piano, then, would seem like a more solid and stable object... and sure enough, there is a sidecar with a piano on the Isle of Man:

(images via)

Other weird (and sometimes quite silly) sidecars of various origin:

Drinks, BBQ and leisure boats - all included!

This thing is characterized by some as “the sickest, baddest thing in the world"; although I’m pretty sure the BBQ wouldn’t be operating while the machine’s in motion (the bike is not really street-legal nin this configuration). It also costs as much as a Bentley (more info at Grub Street):

(image via)

The "Red Bull" R120 BMW Motorcycle with an energy drink can-like sidecar: it comes complete with a cooler, of course! (more info)

(images via)

Here is a "BSA A10" bike with a boat-like sidecar: certainly waterproof -

(image credit: Michel67)

Another boat sidecar is this one, complete with an outboard motor! -

(image credit: Kevin Mahoney)

A couple other sidecars partnered with boats:

(images via)

Another boat design sidecar, this time from China:

(image credit: Peoplesridersclub.com)

A gigantic motorcycle from Germany made with salvaged parts from a tank and other Soviet era military vehicles. A rare sight indeed:

(image via)

Not really a sidecar, perhaps, but a three-wheeled rickshaw, this is the A.M.C. version (see a lot more on this page). We gotta write a lot more about these fascinating retro rickshaw vehicles! -

(image via)

Baby on Board!

Safety? Try this one in the 1950s England, when you could put a baby carriage on your Triumph sidecar and not worry about it a single bit:

(images via)

Other cargo ideas:

And to conclude our sidecar showcase, here is an idea - put a motor on your sidecar, turn it essentially into a bike, and drive it away! -

(image via)

Send us more examples of unique and visually interesting sidecars, we will include it in the next part of this series!

(photo manipulation image via)


Avi Abrams is the creator, writer, and owner of Dark Roasted Blend;
Simon Rose is the author of science fiction and fantasy novels for children, including The Alchemist's Portrait, The Sorcerer's Letterbox, The Clone Conspiracy, The Emerald Curse, The Heretic's Tomb and The Doomsday Mask.



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Blogger nate said...

Here's some video of a unique Russian sidecar in action...


Anonymous Enrico Zini said...

This sidecar: actually looks like an Orchid Island traditional boat, which makes me wonder if it isn't actually from Taiwan.

Blogger Allen Knutson said...

How could you leave out the picture of the lion in the sidecar, driving on the wall???


I'm pretty sure I saw that on DRB first.

Blogger Squire Neil said...

This sidecar is actually based on a Stoye II from East Germany

Blogger Phoebe Dancing Cat said...

Some truly odd machines...

Nothing's as svelte, though as the beautiful Vespa. Even with a sidecar, graceful as a cat. ^~~^


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Henrik Toth's side car isn't based in a messerschmit because it has american markings and a fake rotary engine on it. The closest looking WW2 plane would be a P-47 Juggernaut but it's a bit of a stretch. 109's had sleek inline engines and were never bare metal.

Blogger Unknown said...

Another unique bike and sidecar was seen in an episode of CHiPS. The sidecar slid up and down on a track so the bike could lean into turns. A couple of bank robbers used it as an agile getaway vehicle.


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