Friday Forum Foraging: Behold The Autocycle!

Troy Siahaan
by Troy Siahaan

This is too weird not to feature.

Have you heard of the Autocycle? If the answer is no, don't be ashamed. It's certainly an oddity, and in this case, only 326 examples were made. What we're looking at exactly is a 1986 Owosso Pulse Autocycle made by the Owosso Motor Car Company of Owosso, Michigan between 1985 and 1990. It's kind of like an enclosed streamliner you'd see making land-speed record attempts, with one wheel in front, another in back, and an outrigger with two more wheels jutting out from either side. But think of the outrigger more like training wheels on a bicycle – only one of those wheels is touching the ground at any time.

This particular one is powered by a 498cc Kawasaki parallel-Twin, and after looking at these pictures, everything about it reminds me of the kind of thing I would picture in a 1980s comic book car. The black and yellow livery sets the vibe right off the bat, then the period-correct steering wheel and gauges finish it off. It's cool, it's unique, and it could possibly be yours if you're the highest bidder on Bring a Trailer.

As usual, the original listing is copied below. But to see more pictures and/or place a bid, you have to go to Bring a Trailer and do it all there.

1986 Owosso Pulse Autocycle

This 1986 Owosso Pulse Autocycle is #216 of approximately 326 examples produced by the Owosso Motor Car Company of Owosso, Michigan, between 1985 and 1990 and is configured with four wheels—two primary and two outrigger—no more than three of which are in contact with the ground at any time. It has been fitted with a Kawasaki liquid-cooled 498cc DOHC parallel twin paired with a sequential six-speed manual gearbox and has been refinished in yellow with black accents. Features include tandem seating, a sliding entry canopy, a CD/stereo system, and disc brakes. The vehicle was acquired by the selling dealer in October 2023, and subsequent work included fitting LED lights and replacing the battery and fuel filter. This Pulse is now offered by the selling dealer in Florida with a clean Alabama title.

The Pulse was designed by aircraft designer Jim Bede and was built by the Owosso Motor Car Company. It was preceded by the Scranton, Iowa-produced Litestar, and according to the Litestar and Pulse registry, approximately 36 Litestar and 326 Pulse vehicles were built between 1985 and 1990. The Owosso-built fiberglass body of this example is fitted over a steel tube frame and was refinished in yellow with black accents under prior ownership. LED lights have been fitted on the wings and at the rear of the vehicle.

The vehicle travels on 13″ primary wheels and is stabilized in turns and at rest by 8″ wheels mounted on fiberglass-skirted outriggers connected to the main assembly via adjustable tie rods.

The cockpit features tandem black and yellow vinyl seats with color-coordinated side panels and black carpeting. Additional equipment includes lap belts, a rear parcel shelf, a Pioneer CD/stereo head unit, and Pioneer speakers.

The two-spoke steering wheel fronts an 11k-rpm tachometer, a Kawasaki 140-mph speedometer, and secondary gauges for voltage, engine temperature, and fuel level. The digital odometer shows 3k miles. Total mileage is unknown due to the replacement engine and gauges. Approximately 10 miles have been added by the selling dealer.

The liquid-cooled 498cc DOHC parallel twin was sourced from a Kawasaki and installed in 2022. The fuel filter and battery were replaced in preparation for the sale.

Power is transferred to the rear wheel through a six-speed transmission and a drive chain.

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Troy Siahaan
Troy Siahaan

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