Introducing the autocycle

Stephen Adams

Photo by Vic Cantu

In 2015, Harley-Davidson enthusiast Stephen Adams purchased the local motorcycle dealership and renamed the place Sierra Steel Harley-Davidson. That shop has done steady business, selling and renting bikes as well as organizing rides. Last year, Adams was approached by Vanderhall Motor Works, a relative newbie on the scene (the company was founded in 2010) whose three-wheeled “autocycles” are an automobile-motorcycle hybrid, with two wheels in front and one in back. He was so impressed he decided to open up a Vanderhall dealership next door to his Harley shop. Check out Vanderhall of Chico online at or visit in person at 590 E. Fifth St.

What do people like best about your Vanderhalls?

Most enjoy the classic 1930s roadster look, the exhilarating, open-air ride, the heated seats, and the many options. But don’t judge them by the description—you have to ride it.

How many models are there?

We have two. The biggest production one is the two-seater Venice. It has a four-cylinder, turbo engine, six-speed automatic transmission and 18-inch wheels. It also has a Bluetooth-enabled sound system. The other model is the silver, single-seat Speedster, of which only 250 were made.

What sparked your interest in these machines?

I read about them last year, and the founder and chairman, Steve Hall, invited me to tour their plant and take a ride in Provo, Utah. I saw a unique opportunity. When I was growing up, I saw small, exotic sports cars made by the British and Italians. The Vanderhalls have all that image but with modern manufacturing, fuel-injection and turbo engines. I’m a local business that wants to populate the West Coast with Vanderhalls.

How much are they?

The Venice is $29,950, and we just have one Speedster left, for $26,950. They are totally unexpected, completely out-of-the-ordinary, and ridiculously fun. Plus, you’ll use it way more than a boat.

Where can people take them for repairs?

They are very reliable and easy to work on since they have a four-cylinder GM turbo motor. We’re a full-service repair dealer, or in an emergency you can take them to any GM dealer. One customer lost his in the Camp Fire, and we replaced it since he had insurance.

Any new models in the works?

Yes, later this year we’ll have the Edison, which will be all-electric. The other upcoming one is the Carmel, which will be 7 inches wider, a little faster and has suicide doors. It will be out by the end of June, and is getting lots of publicity.