Welcome to my webpage.
I was born in the early 1960s and am six feet two tall, and used to be strong and
relatively fit. I was very seriously injured in a no-fault motorcycle accident when I was thirty nine. I made a miraculous recovery but was left
partially disabled; I can only work part time and will never be able to ride a motorcycle again. I don't mind the former, but motorcycles, or riding them, was an important part of my life; for my
work, to get me to and from work and for pleasure. I probably covered ten thousand miles a year on bikes, two and a half times the average bike mileage.
I've always been practically minded, as a kid taking things to bits to find out how they worked, or fixing broken stuff, but I am now very restricted in what I can do because I can't move the arm at all. I can move my left
fingers and hand at the wrist if my forearm is supported so I can't change gear in a car. This has sentenced me to automatics and I need a
remote control gizmo for whichever of indicators/wipers/horn/headlight flash that are controlled from the left stalk on the steering column.
LET'S GET THE FIRST THING STRAIGHT, affordable cars are by no stretch of the imagination an aspirational commodity. They're designed by computers to give maximum room
inside, minimum drag, maximum fuel economy at minimum build cost.
This results in minimum differentiation between manufacturers' models in an Industrial Evolution that tends to cloning. The manufacturers now have to spend millions of pounds convincing us
that their front wheel drive box is better than the rest because sexy women will smile at a man who drives a car whose "personality" reflects his own.
Motorcycle manufacturers, on the other hand, do not demand their customers choose from the bland menu. There is a genuine choice between truly different machines within each category of motorcycle. This goes beyond styling to
engine configuration and size. Each motorcycle does genuinely have its own personality; when I rode home on my Triumph Trident, Sandy could identify my approach when I was a couple of streets away. No other bike (or car) sounded like it.
Not being able to change gear restricts me to automatics. If there is anything less inspiring than the aforementioned cloned front wheel
drive box, it is the same item with a standard automatic gearbox with its laggy take up and failure to change down as you slow down for a bend. In There have been improvements in automatics since my accident, but manufaturers' publicity does not tell you what the car actually does.
This is because they are trying to sell you an idea or lifestyle statement rather than confess that there is barely a fag paper betrween rival cars in each class."The Minger ADD 1900i is the car for those who value a commitment to style and enjoy their coffee dark and slow roasted."
The only way to guage the quality of an automatic is to compare its fuel economy and performance figures with the manual version. Not all manufacturers' websites even tell you what their cars' fuel consumption is so this is not as easy as it sounds. Or you could test drive one, but I'd only test drive a car I was very
likely to buy because the salesman will never leave you alone.
if you build a car yourself it wouldn't be a clone, and you can modify it in any way you need. I considered a Caterham but the gearchange would have ruled it out. Using a suitable motorcycle engine to power the Caterham would have solved the problem, but sorting out the engine mounts, reverse gear and modifying the drive train would have been beyond my ability.
I had always liked the idea of a three wheeler with the single wheel at the back, the configuration allows the builder to use a motorbike engine and gearbox; they go round bends well, and,
quite frankly, if you need to have more than two wheels, a fourth is unnecessary and a waste of a tyre.
This website is an attempt to tell the story of how I built a car in a my garage with the help of my son. I hope you enjoy
it and return to see anything I have added.
The GRINNALL SCORPION is a reverse trike based on a BMW K series motorcycle. The engine, gearbox and final drive of the BMW becomes the back end of a nifty
high performance vehicle. It weighs slightly more than the original bike, so provides similar performance to a large capacity touring motorcycle.
The "tadpole" configuration with the two wheels at the front gives it excellent stability, and having a steering wheel means that you don't need both arms to control it. The gear change is
the sequential motorbike one, so somebody with very limited left hand mobility can use it. This is just what I needed.
Grinnall construct the majority of the examples they sell, but support those who wish to save the construction fee or who want the enjoyment of building it themselves.
This website documents the construction. The pictures should link either to enlargements or new web pages.