This 1981 HMV Freeway for Sale Is a Three-Wheeled Relic of the Oil Crisis

This 700 lb early-‘80s tricycle oddity is largely based on a snowmobile and is purported to get 60 mpg out of a single-cylinder 16hp engine.

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This 1981 HMV Freeway for Sale Is a Three-Wheeled Relic of the Oil Crisis © This 1981 HMV Freeway for Sale Is a Three-Wheeled Relic of the Oil Crisis

The world of cars never ceases to amaze, shock, and regale me. There’s always something new to learn, especially when you’re part of the right Facebook groups. When I first witnessed this 1981 HMV Freeway, I couldn’t believe it was real. But it is, and this one is for sale for $4,500.

High Mileage Vehicles, Inc., known as HMV, was founded by Dave Edmonson in Burnsville, Minnesota. The story of this defunct automaker from the ‘80s follows largely the same tropes of the era: fuel crisis, harebrained ideas, and brave attempts at innovation that didn’t quite catch a seat on the zeitgeist train. Edmonson started researching hyper-efficient cars while he was studying at the University of Minnesota.

Josh Ellis

According to an interview with Home Town Source, Edmonson began “building a prototype in 1974 and finished it in 1976.” He says, “that’s when I tried to start getting the business going.” A company called Vexilar offered him an injection of startup cash, and the rest is history. Edmonson built 700 Freeways and employed 22 people before it folded in the early ‘80s. The legacy that remains is a dedicated legion of Freeway owners and enthusiasts that periodically gather in Burnsville, Minnesota, to celebrate the three-wheeled oddity.

There’s a Facebook group for enthusiasts of the Freeway. In the group, heartwarming affection for the car floods from members who claim to own two, some even three. It’s one of the last things I expected to find during the course of my research, but there is a steady, beating heart of HMV Freeway enthusiasts. 

In all fairness, the thing looks like a cartoon car more than real transportation, and it’s sure to be rough and loud with that single-cylinder Tecumseh engine. But if you want to own something truly unique, quirky, and be part of a seemingly warm community, maybe consider this HMV Freeway.

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