Trike Gallery


Big Yella

Well it took me 20 months, a bit of determination, a lot of planning and some dirt and grease on the hands, but it's finished. Phil Parry is my name. I live on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia and I'm a Technical Illustrator (with a Design Drafting background) and this is the story of how I came to build my custom Trike 'Big Yella'.

It was April 2004 when I discovered a restored 1965 Beetle sitting under an Apricot tree in my fathers' backyard that he was minding for an old friend and covered in bird poo and Apricot juice. My daughter had recently gained her drivers license and (at the time) was keen on Veedubs. The deed was done, we bought the Beetle and I drove it back home to the Gold Coast some 1780 kms (1106 miles). Sadly on arrival at home the old 1200cc donk was starting to complain about the long journey, however, enroute I had already decided to upgrade to a 1600cc engine for that extra power. Old engine out....new engine in and that was the beginning of Big Yella.

Slurping on a cup of coffee, I looked at the old retired 1200cc engine now sitting on my garage floor and admired the simplicity, the efficiency, the engineering genius of a German engine that has barely changed in design since it was first developed in the early 1930's and I thought to myself I'd love to put the that engine to some use. From out of the ether, the thought of building a VW Trike came to mind. No 'Big Deal' you might think and that's fair enough.....except the only Trike I had ever seen was on a documentary with Scottish comedian Billy Connolly, and that was a converted Harley-Davidson and I hadn't given it much thought. So having experienced divine intervention, I strolled into the kitchen and proudly announced to my dear wife and son of my plan to construct a VW Trike. They looked at each other in disbelief for a moment and my gorgeous wife of 28 years said, "Oooookay then....you get the Trike and I get the new kitchen" "Yep!...that didn't go too bad then" I thought to myself and the wheels of imagination began to whirr in my head.

Now, I must say, that I have always believed in doing a task, whatever it is, to perfection and that anyone....and I mean anyone, can do anything and I mean anything, as long as they use some common sense, a little planning and a fair bit of determination. So the first step was sourcing what information was available on the web pertaining to Trike and motorcycle design and then deciding what was bull dust and what was fact. Having now developed and reasonably sound idea of what was required I began the layout and design stage. Here in Australia the regulations determining the construction of any private vehicle are very stringent, in fact I think that if a vehicle can pass compliance regulations in OZ, it would pass in any country.

With the basic plans now drawn up, I fortunately had the presence of mind to contact the state authority (Dep't of Transport) and inform them of my intention, not that that caused any dramas, they simply gave me the names of 3 local compliance engineers. I make this point because many home builders, for whatever lame reason, often decide to invest months building their pride and joy, then when they've completed their pride and joy, they then contact the local authority to have it approved for road use. That's as smart as leaping from a plane at altitude and checking that you've strapped your parachute on with the wind blasting through your nostrils...dah!

With the basic plans now drawn up, I fortunately had the presence of mind to contact the state authority (Dep't of Transport) and inform them of my intention, not that that caused any dramas, they simply gave me the names of 3 local compliance engineers. I make this point because many home builders, for whatever lame reason, often decide to invest months building their pride and joy, then when they've completed their pride and joy, they then contact the local authority to have it approved for road use. That's as smart as leaping from a plane at altitude and checking that you've strapped your parachute on with the wind blasting through your nostrils...dah!

Enough of the sermon for today. I hope you enjoy the photos of Big Yella and maybe get inspired to build your own machine one day. Oh just a couple of things. Yes... my wife did get her brand new kitchen, from the floor up, which I did myself and took 5 weeks of building time away from my Trike, and as for the original old 1200cc engine that started it all, well it never got used. You see, I ended up with a 1600 engine also and the 1200 was sold to a sheep shearer who was restoring an old 'Splitty' a couple of thousand miles away in a little one horse town in the dry Australian outback. And as for my daughters VW that started it all. She fell out of love with the manual gear change and purchased a Jap automatic and sold the little Beetle. Strangely enough, I was the one who bought the Beetle from her.....ain't life strange!

See more of Big Yella at my website http://www.bigyella.com:80/

Phil Parry


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