New take on legendary Velorex three-wheeler unveiled at Brno car show

Photo: CTK

It’s been sixty years since the legendary Czech three-wheeler, Velorex, first took to the road. Ridiculed by some and admired by others, the curious vehicle gained many fans around the world. Now, the legend is back – on Wednesday, a luxurious remake of the vehicle was unveiled at a car show in Brno.

Photo: CTK
A tent on wheels, a fleeing trench coat or a bat – these are some of the more affectionate names given to Velorex, Czechoslovakia’s answer to the post-war shortage of cars. Velorex, or “the king of wheels”, was a two-seat three wheeler, consisting of plastic sheets stretched over the steel tube cage, powered by a Jawa motorcycle engine. It was originally intended as a vehicle for the disabled, but soon gained enormous popularity. Although its production ceased in the early 1970s, Velorex fans’ associations exist to this day both in the Czech Republic and abroad.

Pavel Brída, the head of a small motorbike-producing firm in Opava, is a big Velorex fan and the owner of a 1950s model. A couple of years ago, his love for the legendary vehicle made him come up with a new, updated version of the three-wheeler which was unveiled at the Motosalon car show in Brno.

Mojmír Stránský, Pavel Brída (right), photo: CTK
“The basic features they have in common include a motorcycle engine with chain transmission; that’s really the fundamental feature of the three-wheeler; also, the slanted rear body, the door shape, and of course spoked wheels. So the new model has many features that evoke the old Velorex.”

Mr Brída says he wanted the new Velorex to be “more powerful, stronger and safer”. The streamlined, revamped new model – called Velor-x-trike due to copyright issues – is powered by a 1300 cc Honda engine; it’s longer and heavier, with a whole new body. And it’s also much faster – it can go up to 200 km/h.

“We paid special attention to safety. We considered the ideal weight, length and width of the three-wheeler carefully, and incorporated a number of EU-approved elements, such as seats, four-point seat belts and so on.”

Photo: CTK
Pavel Brída launched the new Velor-x-trike in Brno together with the designer of the original Velorex, 86-year-old Mojmír Stránský, who told reporters that he appreciated the new take on his original three-wheeler.

But unlike the old tent on wheels, the new model is more of a luxurious toy, tailor-made for individual clients. Mr Brída says his company will only produce some five or six vehicles a year at a price around 500,000 crowns.