This bespoke ride is half car, half motorcycle, all fun

Vanderhall’s Venice GT is a worthwhile option for those who want to make a statement around town.

The Vanderhall Motor Works Venice GT can be driven in California without a motorcycle endorsement. However, driver and passenger are required to wear a DOT-labeled helmet.
Adam Waheed

Half car, half motorcycle—three-wheelers like Vanderhall Motor Works’ Venice GT ($33,950) are a growing segment in the powersport world. Defined as both a reverse trike and autocycle, this vehicle category blends features of the two- and four-wheeled world for an experience like nothing else on the road.

The Venice GT is powered by a General Motors-sourced 1,485cc inline-four. This LFV generation powertrain is used in Chevrolet’s 2016 and newer Malibu automobile and features direct injection, turbocharging, and variable valve timing with a claimed 194 hp and 203 pound-feet torque. The transverse-mounted engine is positioned in front of the vehicle and puts power to the 18-inch front wheels via a torque converter-equipped six-speed automatic transmission.

Swing a leg over the fixed composite plastic bodywork and step inside the cockpit and it’s hard not to be impressed with the Venice’s bespoke interior. From the beautiful wood-grain steering wheel to the finely stitched leather seats, aircraft-style gauges, and toggle switches, the Vanderhall screams premium. Bright LED lighting helps you stand out and headlights offer a deep spread of light when driving after dark.

An automobile-style three-point harness secures driver and passenger and the Venice offers generous legroom for this 6-foot-tall driver. A tilt and telescopic adjustable steering wheel and forward/back seat let you tweak ergos. Instead of a mechanical key, the Venice GT uses a keyless-style fob. Press the starter button, notch the center-mounted shifter into “D,” and it’s time to ride, er, drive.

With the GT’s larger-diameter 3-inch slash-cut pipes, the Venice has a mean growl even at idle. Mash the gas pedal and it jumps off the line in a muted way—initially. It takes a few moments for the turbo to spool but when it does, hang on. The whirl of the turbo and waste gate pop-off, paired with the Venice GT’s low-slung, open-air cockpit make for an exhilarating experience, even without a handlebar.

A broad spread of torque is available for just over 2,000 revs. A degree torque steer pulls the vehicle to either side during wide-open acceleration in lower gears. Stay loose on the wheel and it straightens out as the transmission upshifts though its six-speed gearbox. When manual shifts are desired, there is a left-hand side-mounted chrome bump shifter. However, its performance is slow, unlike a manual, or DCT-enabled motorcycle.

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