Curbside Capsule: The Wildfire WF650-C – Ugliest Vehicle Ever?

This strange sight caught my eye as I was driving through town the other day… What could they be?

As I got closer, I noticed that these are three-wheelers. A little searching online when I got home revealed that I had spotted a brace of Wildfire WF650-Cs, probably on the way to new customers (or, more likely on the way back to the dealer).

Turns out these vehicles “have issues” – over 200 built between April, 2008 and January, 2009 recently got recalled because there was no warning label telling owners to maintain their brake system, which has only one brake fluid reservoir (single circuit?), and no warning lamps to indicate brake failure. To make matters worse, Wildfire Motors has ten cases under review with the Ohio Attorney General and 30 with the Better Business Bureau.

The Wildfire attempts to provide a car-like experience for what is basically a tarted up enclosed motorcycle (which it is registered as). While a top speed of 65mph is listed, the recommended “cruising speed” is 45mph – interstate travel is probably best achieved as you see in the photos.

The big draw to these odd vehicles is the fuel economy: you can get up to 60mpg from its 26hp, 650cc water cooled gas engine, which is mated to a four-speed manual transmission. The Wildfire is reasonably lightweight, weighing around 1763lb (800Kg, or 1.1 VW Beetles).

A truck version (WF650-T) is available (and in fact, the “-C” appears to have been removed from the Wildfire site for now) – this is a little more appealing to me personally, although I have no idea what I’d do with it here on the farm (other than carry a few hay bales out to the animals, maybe?).

We’ll quit picking on these two for now. Creating an exciting-looking three-wheeler is a challenge (I know first hand, as that was the topic of my Senior Industrial Design project at Ga. Tech). However, I’m of a mind to say that whoever designed the WF650-C pretty much just phoned it in…

So… ugliest car ever? Discuss!