Wednesday, January 7, 2009

AEE Trick Trike Art

Here's the tale of my first publish artworks.


Three's a crowd? Both of these trikes were three seaters. Trikes were popular at the time. The Big Twin and Three Wheeler were successful show bikes. I was a big fan of both and a few other bikes AEE had built.

Tom Mc Mullen of AEE and Street Chopper Magazine had built some cool show winning trikes like the Corvair powered Three Wheeler and the Big Twin so, I guess they thought to take another wack at it with the Trick Trike.

In the early seventies I bought every Street Chopper I could get my mitts on but, over the years I lost or tossed some. From the ones I still have, it appears that they first announced the Trick Trike project in the December 1971 (now lost), issue along with a contest for readers to sketch how it should look. The contest winner would get a free 1 year subscription.

Since magazines come out a month ahead, it leads me to believe I drew up my first concept around the time of my 16th birthday in late November or early December 71.

Here's the preliminary sketch for the art I submitted. Like many roughs, I like it better than the finished art.

The Feb.72 issue had an article on the trike build (no readers sketches), and the basic shape of the trike was now clearly shown as wedge shaped.

In those days magazines production could sometimes run as much as 5-6 months behind publication and I checked the newsstand every month to see if my drawing made it in.

I was pretty jazzed when my first drawing finally showed up in the June 72 issue.


Here's how the art was presented in the June 72 issue. The other two somewhat more professional looking pieces were submitted by a reader named Bob Wise.


How about those tires... What was I thinking?

By the time my first concept was published it was no secret that the trike was wedge shaped, they were showing details of components, and they were still asking for submissions so, I figured why not give it another shot.

Sketches for the second submission. The one in the lower right is the one I chose to develop and send. Notice the crossed out drawing at the top. It puzzles me cause it looks just like the finished trike.

Again, I wondered for several months what the outcome would be. Then, without any notice, I found I had won the contest after seeing the Feb.73 issue.

Feb. 73 cover. Square and long was in. At least that's what they were pushing.


The magazine layout featuring my art. I won but, was disappointed how the real trike turned out.


This was news to me!


If you ask me, my design had more style. The wild paint with stars and planets are a prelude to my later interest in space and astronomy.


Motorized doorstop? The trike was an interesting build but a visual flop. The only view that sort of works is from the rear.

No one ever contacted me but, the magazines started showing up every month and continued well after the first year ended. I guess my name ended up on some kind of comp list as they kept on coming until Feb. 1980! By that time the magazine had long become pretty sucky anyway. For the most part I only kept the cooler 1970-72 issues.


Different angle but, the same design as the one I sent.


Mystery sketch. I can't remember if this was done before or after the magazine came out? I'm sure it was after and I was trying to see if it would look better with flames?

I may have scored but, on AEE's third strike at building a trike, I think they struck out.

3 comments:

B said...

I worked at AEE and observed all three trikes.
Strictly speaking the only one that really worked well was the Corvair Trike. It was a real runner. Big Twin was actually a 5 wheeler and ran well but had some real issues with trying to stop. It was strictly a show bike as opposed to the Corvair Trike which was more of a street bike. the Trick Trike fell in between. Ran pretty good but was fairly impractical so more like a show bike. It was pretty tight quarters in it. Tom was a real small guy so it looks like it fits well but it didn't...I sat in it when it was just a frame and it was tight. Handlebars actually flipped up to get you in and out.
No idea what happened to Trick Trike. Big Twin went on show circuit (sold by AEE) and disappeared. Corvair Trike showed up on Ebay a few years back and guy in LA got it and said he was going to restore it. Nothing since.

Chris K said...

Thanks for the information. I always wonder what happens to olds show bikes, and cars. A lot of them survive (in some form), and eventually do show up.

AEE Choppers said...

Big Twin has been found and is being restored....plenty of info on my AEE Chopper blog.