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'The Laguna:' The most fun I've had on three wheels

  • Vanderhall Motor Works gave "Secret Lives of the Super Rich" a chance to take a spin in its three-wheeled autocycle.
  • It's made to order and boasts 200 horsepower on a compact but comfy frame.
  • Named "The Laguna," the autocycle costs up to $85,000.

I recently asked a super-rich car collector what his favorite car to drive is right now. I expected him to say his La Ferrari, or his Porsche 918 or Bugatti. Instead, he said: "It's a three-wheeler I bought for under $30,000."

The reason, he said, is that it was simply the most fun to drive. "It's like being a kid again."

Now, I know what he means.

Vanderhall Laguna
Vanderhall Motor Works
Vanderhall Laguna

The folks at Vanderhall Motor Works gave "Secret Lives of the Super Rich" a chance to take a spin in its three-wheeled rocket called "The Laguna." It's Vanderhall's made-to-order "autocycle" that boasts 200 horsepower on a compact but comfy frame. And it costs up to $85,000.

That may sound crazy expensive for three wheels. But they take three months to build and they're all hand-crafted at the company's factory in Utah. They feature hand-laid carbon fiber, custom paint and all kinds of cool retro details, like the flaring side exhaust pipes and 1970s-style roll bars.

Vanderhall Laguna interior
Vanderhall Motor Works
Vanderhall Laguna interior

The result: all the zip and acceleration of a motorcycle, with the stability of a car.

I took a Laguna around the twisting roads of Palisades Park, New Jersey. Not only was it a blast to drive (especially whipping around tight curves), but it also turned more heads than a far more expensive sportscar. I even got pulled over by a cop — not because of speeding, but because the officer wanted to get a closer look.

Vanderhall Laguna
Vanderhall Motor Works
Vanderhall Laguna

"Because of the unique design, people don't know what it is," said Steve Hall, Vanderhall's CEO.

Aside from the U.S., they have sold Lagunas in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. Hall said Vanderhall owners take particular delight in getting more attention than Lambos or Bugattis.

Granted, it's not the same experience at all to drive — it's more go-cart than race car. But on a crisp fall day, roaring down country roads in an open-air three wheeler — feeling the wind and the sun without worrying about wiping out on a patch of gravel — is a whole other kind of driving experience.

Maybe three wheels are better than four.

Robert Frank driving a Vanderhall Laguna
CNBC
Robert Frank driving a Vanderhall Laguna

Watch "Secret Lives of the Super Rich" on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CNBC.

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