Spotted: Unknown Greek ‘Triporteur’, Motorcycle-Based Truck

This unusual creation was spotted in Milos, Greece and as a non-specialist in the world of historic three-wheeled Greek motorcycle trucks obliterated by universal door and window paint I turned for help to one of the most comprehensive sites on the Internet for classic European bikes – Sheldon’s EMU.

Having issued a call to their readership, I quickly found out this particular version has been modified and transformed over the years making it nigh on impossible to identify at a glance. Nonetheless it’s probable this vehicle sits somewhere between a Pitsos and a Naxos and likely sports a laterally mounted air-cooled Sachs 50cc engine beneath the driver’s seat as many machines of this type did – though as any experts in the audience will note, this model has a set of unusual leading-link Earles type forks as well as the more traditional multi-leaf ‘cart sprung’ load carrying rear axle.

Just as they were in Italy, triporteurs were an important form of cost effective, rugged and repairable post war transport for Greek small businesses and individuals who could load them with field produce, timber, cement, fish or anything else that’d fit in the back. They were cheap to produce, easy to repair in the countless one-man garages and practical to use. As is obvious, the load sits behind the driver, making the practised art of borderline calamitous overloading very easy to achieve. Just like this moving Sicilian vegetable I filmed last year from the car:

Though predating the Second World War by some time, triporteurs were proven useful during wartime (Benelli and Moto Guzzi both produced Moto Carri for the Italian Military – the Wehrmacht preferred sidecar outfits) and this knowledge was put to good use during peacetime. Piaggio is the best known survivor and their Ape line (pronounced Ah-Pay) continues in common everyday use all around the Southern Med and further afield.

A common sight in Sicily. Painted red dashes signify ‘commercial vehicle’

In Greece, dozens of small firms came and went between the ’60s and the ’80s and unfortunately as Sheldon’s resident expert recounts many of the smaller manufacturers have gone unrecorded, which is quite sad.  The blue trike makes for an interesting survivor nonetheless.

You can visit Sheldon’s EMU for a wealth of classic European bike interest at http://cybermotorcycle.com/

Many thanks to Russell and Labros for their kind assistance with this one.

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