First off, forget everything you think you know about three-wheeled vehicles requiring a motorcycle license to operate. Because the Vanderhall Venice is in a completely different galaxy than the Harley Trike or Can-Am Spyder. And this galaxy is way, way cooler.
The brainchild of Utah-based former exotic car dealer Steve Hall, the Venice ($29,950) is a hand-built, low-riding dream styled after the Lous 7 and sporting the same wheelbase as a Porche 911. The 180-horsepower engine zips you from 0 to 60 in less than five seconds and tops out at 140 miles per hour.
But these words and numbers hardly do justice to the experience of actually driving it, an opportunity we were blessed with last week. All we had to do was motorcycle up to Tarrytown and keep our helmets on as we slipped into the Venice for a test-drive up and around scenic Bear Mountain. (Technically this thing is classified as a motorcycle, which means that, at least in New York, helmets and a moto license are required.)
Once seated, the first thing I noticed was how insanely close to the ground we were. No joke, you can reach down and graze the road with your knuckles if you like. The next thing you realize is that you can see basically all around you, which is especially pleasant when the scenery is good, be it tree-lined roads, mountain passes or shorelines. I basically didn’t even use the mirrors for at least half of our two-hour test drive, opting instead to swivel my head around when changing lanes.
Speaking of which, I’d be seriously remiss not to mention the handling on this puppy, something I can only describe as “race car like.” Combined with the helmet, it was easy to forget that I was not, in fact, competing in the 1947 Indy 500. Navigating twisty two-lane roads was a blast, and when the path narrowed to one, I couldn’t help pulling over and letting other vehicles get far ahead so that I could really put the pedal to the metal.
Because when you are that low to the ground and that exposed, the feeling of gunning it far beyond the speed limit is nothing short of exhilarating. You can feel the wind swirling all around as you accelerate, and much like the engine itself, I couldn’t resist the urge to unleash a guttural roar of pleasure as our terrestrial rocket ship flew over the pavement.
In short, the Venice is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Don’t believe me? Just check out the little 360 Fly video we made below…