Expensive, hugely impractical and lots of fun. But we'd rather have an Ariel Atom.
30 November 2006

What is it?

The oddly named Campagna T-rex is part bike, part car and wholly insane. It uses the engine and gearbox from a Kawasaki motorbike, and the six-speed sequential gearbox channels the 1.4-litre engine’s 187bhp through – get this – a single rear wheel. Oh, and the whole thing weighs well under half a tonne, or about half the weight of a Lotus Elise.

At least that rear wheel is a decent size, though, for while the front wheels are clothed in a pair of relatively diminutive 205/45 ZR16 tyres, the rear gets rather more chunky 285/40 ZR17 rubber. This gives the T-rex at least a fighting chance of getting its power down on a damp road surface.

What's it like?

Like nothing else you’re ever likely to experience. There are none of your conventional niceties such as a windscreen or even doors, but the overall impression is nevertheless that of being in a car.

The power delivery isn’t exactly car-like, however. The motorbike engine revs hyperactively all the way to 11,000rpm, with the bulk of the power not arriving until well north of 7000rpm.

If you haven’t gathered already, this is a seriously fast machine. And it’s not for the faint-hearted, either. Although the manic engine begs you to drive this car hard, doing so requires prudence.

Push the T-rex too hard on the exit of a damp bend, and the combination of the short wheelbase and a surfeit of power over traction means you’ll have to be quick and accurate with the opposite lock to avoid a spin.

Beware coming down through the sequential ’box, too: if you fail to match the revs to the engine speed, you’ll lock the rear wheel and could quickly find yourself pointing towards a nearby hedge instead of heading towards the apex of the corner.

Treat the T-rex with respect, however, and you’ll find that it corners fast and flat, and that you can blat between the corners with the verve of a superbike.

Should I buy one?

If you like motoring experiences raw, fast and ever-so-slightly scary, then yes. The T-rex is a genuinely thrilling machine, but it’s not without its flaws.

The little air deflector does an excellent job of keeping the wind out of your face, but it hampers forward visibility. Also, despite the fact that the car is clearly aimed at the track day market, I couldn’t fit in with a helmet on without banging it on the rollover bar.

T-rex is also expensive and, despite the fact that it feels pleasingly raw-yet-durable in its construction, £32,500 is just too much for a superbike on three wheels. And that’s a shame, because the T-rex offers a challenging, satisfying and entirely unique driving experience.

Matt Rigby

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