What if Motorcycle Companies Made Cars?
A little thought experiment using the design language of some of the biggest motorcycle companies
By: Christopher Smith
The folks over at Jennings are back at the rendering station with a new series of curious creations. This time the subject is motorcycle manufacturers building cars, and though several manufacturers (Honda and BMW immediately come to mind) already have offerings in both genres, these renders focus on brands that deal exclusively with two-wheeled fun. That is, for the most part anyway—a couple manufacturers featured here do actually have some history with autos, but as you’ll see that was some time ago.
ONE OF THESE THINGS: What If Vespa Built Motorcycles?
You can hit the Jennings link above to read about the inspiration behind these designs. There’s certainly some creative liberty at play in these creations that we suspect some might find, interesting. Jump into the slide show to see what we mean.
Exhaust pipes exiting towards the middle? Check. Swooping nose? Check. We aren’t entirely sold on the front fenders, and those headlights are mighty big. But there’s a real track-day vibe in effect with this rendering, and it works well enough for us to want an afternoon tearing up asphalt with this machine.
Forget for a moment that this is a color combination Harley would never, ever choose for a car. Anyone who’s been to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally knows black is boss, but beyond that this hot rod theme isn’t too bad. The front fenders are spot on, the windshield is laughably accurate, and it even rides on an old-school transverse leaf spring up front. We bet it even shakes itself silly while idling.
For the record, Triumph cars and Triumph motorcycles were different entities back in the day, though they did have the same point of origin with founder Siegfried Bettmann in Coventry. We already know what Triumph cars looked like, but considering the brand’s English heritage, choosing an American musclecar theme for this bike-based car feels completely wrong. Not that this Camaro-esque two-seater is unattractive, but it just doesn’t look like a Triumph to us.
Of all the renderings on this list, the Aprilia is arguably the coolest of the bunch (It's definitely my fave - JM). We’re not really sure why an off-road theme was chosen, considering the Aprilia line is all about insane on-road performance. That’s okay, because the exposed frame on the Dorsoduro 900 translates well to a gritty two-seater that looks like it could turn laps at Silverstone, then jump off sand dunes near Dubai.
It should be noted that the Jennings team doesn’t make even the smallest mention of Lamborghini as a source of inspiration for this supercar-themed Kawasaki, even though it looks like a rather unflattering caricature of a roofless Sesto Elemento. We get the supercar-superbike connection, but yeah, it’s not what we’d call a looker.
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Did you know that Vespa actually made a car? Sort-of at least; it was a microcar built by a French company in the late 1950s, but design input came from Piaggio – the same company that made Vespa scooters. So like the Triumph, we actually already know what a Vespa car looks like, and it’s not this. There’s no denying some cute factor to the scooter-inspired rear on this rendering, but what’s up with the Volkswagen Beetle front end?
Images: Jennings' Harley-Davidson