Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Trifid prototype to be resurrected

You know I like strange old cars not too many people care about. The thing is that meeting up with the owners can be downright disappointing - a car is standing next to the dustbin in a drizzle with jammed brakes and the chap who just bought it for the registration has no time. Luckily this is compensated for by the other half: the true enthusiast. 

Phil Wells happened to be one and when I came over to his place last May I was warmly welcomed. We chatted all afternoon about the many Mini derivatives he'd had, his wife cooked a nice diner and Phil arranged a B&B close by. Better still was the fact that he had not one but two of the cars that I came for: the Brookwell Trifid - an unlikely three-wheeled creature he'd been responsible for in the late eighties. They were both in superb condition, too, and he took me for a drive in one. That was quite an experience, with Phil pushing his Trifid to its limits (he'd been using one for years as a daily driver over the country roads in his native Norfolk). We screamed along the roads and drifted over unpaved paths.

And so the Trifid will make a nice chapter in my next book. When I came home Phil sent me a message that he'd been sparkled to start rebuilding the prototype Trifid - the only one with a steel body. He wrote: "I pulled the front subframe out of storage to rebuild our own ‘barn find’ Trifid… Last on the road over 12 years ago it seems..." That's the spirit. It may be a footnote in motoring history, but there are people caring about them. Thanks again Phil!

Phil in the earliest day of the Brookwell Trifid - with the prototype
Picture courtesy Phil Wells
The prototype's body as it is waiting to be restored in the Wells' barn now
Picture Jeroen Booij

Subframe with Mini engine will be reconditioned soon to rewrite Trifid history
Picture courtesy Phil Wells