The Vanderhall Venice is a return to the bare-bones open top touring of yesteryear, made even more exhilarating by a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder churning out 180 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque through the front wheels.
In a three-wheeler, that’s quite a bit of power. It’s enough to rip to 60 mph from a standstill in 4.5 seconds. Disk brakes, stability control, and wide tires all help give the driver some peace of mind in what’s otherwise a very connected driving experience.
The Vanderhalls are built in Provo, Utah and retail for $29,950—you can also read a more detailed First Drive here.
After spending a super quick joyride with it around our El Segundo office, here are five things we love about this throwback to the good-old days of motoring.
1. Turbo Blowoff Valves Noises
Very little separates the driver from the Chevrolet sourced Ecotec powerplant, meaning the driver reaps all of the benefits of hearing the hissing of the intake and the pops of the turbo waste gate.
Any brisk acceleration runs are rewarded with the glorious whooshing of the intake and a satisfying psst of the blowoff valve—something we’ll always get behind.
2. Wood Steering Wheel
Nothing sets the tone for a vintage-style motoring like a thin wood steering wheel. As we took some laps around our office park, we couldn’t help but wish we were wearing old-school leather goggles to complete the look.
The steering wheel may look old, but it’s hooked up to an electric-assist rack-and-pinion system that makes driving on the open road or navigating a parking lot a breeze.
3. Exposed Wheels
Number three was originally going to be “open-top driving” but what’s really special about driving a three-wheeler is seeing the exposed front wheels while in motion.
It sets the gentleman-racer mood and provides excitement that a Mazda MX-5 simply can’t match.
Modern cars generally tip the scales at over 3,000 pounds and generally anything weighing less is considered to be a lightweight.
The Venice is a mere 1,550 pounds, so it doesn’t take much power to attain heart-quickening speeds made even more exciting by the exposed cabin.
5. Storage Behind the Seats
This one’s for the haters. Anyone who tells a Venice driver, “That doesn’t have a trunk so it’s not practical,” can simply be shown the storage compartments behind the seats.
There’s enough room down there for groceries or small duffle bags for a weekend getaway. Just don’t try to pack a set of golf clubs.