This contraption was envisioned by aircraft engineer Jim Bede and produced by the Owosso Motor Car Company in Michigan between 1985 and 1990. Inspired by fighter jets and Bede’s very own BD-5 small aircraft, the Pulse Autocycle rides on two wheels, provides room for two under a small roof, and looks like an airplane cockpit with tiny wings to the sides. Each wing hides a small eight-inch wheel that helps the car maintain balance.
Whatever you decide to call this thing, it will turn heads everywhere you drive it. And people will genuinely expect it to hit at least 100 mph (161 kph) and take off the ground. It won’t do that, unfortunately, but the Autocycle is so odd that it’s actually cool.
If you haven’t seen one yet, it’s because the Pulse Autocycle is a rare bird. Although production stretched over five years, the Michigan-based company built only around 350 of them. Yes, even though it was crafted in the 1980s, the concept didn’t really catch on.
The Autocycle doesn’t have a solid following either, but examples pop up on the used car market from time to time. And they’re not exactly cheap either. This red-painted example surfaced in Galion, Ohio, and it looks surprisingly good for its age. But that’s mostly because it has been restored and fitted with a few upgrades too.
The engine, for instance, is much newer than the vehicle, having been installed in 2004. It’s a 582cc (35.5-cubic-inch) unit from a Honda Silver Wing scooter, which should deliver around 50 horsepower if it’s still factory stock. Many Autocycles are usually fitted with bigger Honda Goldwing engines rated at 94 horses, but 50 horsepower is nothing to sneeze at given the low curb weight of the vehicle.
The seller adds that the interior is all-new and the photos reveal a pair of pristine-looking seats with red and white upholstery, a yoke-style steering wheel, and even a CD player. Everything works as it should, except for the reverse motor, which needs to be fixed.
The Pulse Autocycle reminds me of the Messerschmitt KR, a series of microcars built over two generations from 1953 to 1964. The German three-wheeler was also inspired by aircraft, having been manufactured in a time when Messerschmitt wasn’t allowed to build airplanes. But the KR175 and KR200 didn’t have wings, so we could say that the Autocycle is a slightly more exotic design.
If you’re into unconventional vehicles and like the attention you will get from riding into a cockpit on wheels, this 1986 car-bike thing is being auctioned off by eBay seller “investments2001.” The Autocycle has already attracted 53 bids and pricing is at a cool $9,600 with five days to go.