Mark Moriarity’s “Public Nuisance” Trike
Story and photos by Chadly Johnson
Mark Moriarity has owned and restored several Ed Roth vehicles to exact specifications over the years. Inspired by Roth's styling Mark also built his own unique creation in the form of the infamous Futurian show rod. After the exhausting battle to finish the Futurian, Mark set his sights on building something fun, and on a smaller scale. While roaming through a swap meet he came across a Harley Davidson service car frame, and a light bulb went on. Mark had always been in fond of the Candy Wagon and Mailbox trikes and realized the frame could be the perfect foundation for a new build.
The first step for the project was to figure out a drive train. A good friend was looking to build a Crowsley drag car around the same time, so Mark went in with him on the purchase of a 51 coupe. Mark's friend kept the body while he got the engine, transmission, and rear end. The service car would have ran a flat head twin engine, so the Crowsley components fit perfectly in the frame after the torque tube was shortened. With the drive train mocked up in the frame Mark ironically took delivery of Ed Roth's Candy Wagon trike from a good friend who turned to Mark to get it running properly. As Mark worked on the Candy Wagon he was also able to reference some of its design features, such as the front springer and forks. He figured out that a Harely springer fork was used and extended utilizing 40 Ford rear wishbones. Mark adapted the idea and the angle of the neck into his build.
With a basic idea of how the frame and suspension would be shaped Mark began working on scratch building a body. Mark said he began throwing on plaster to shape a body and it was horrible, he absolutely hated what he saw, so he pushed the project aside for nearly a year. Mark would look at the ugly body nearly every day until he finally had a clear vision of what he wanted to do. To begin building the new body he first smashed apart the old one and tossed it. Next he formed up a new shape, this time creating a buck out of foam instead of plaster. While working on the buck John Schleicher stopped by. John had just finished building a clone of the Alexander Brothers “Adonis” show car. The Adonis has an A-symmetrical scoop and he suggested that Mark use a similar styling feature on the rear grille opening of the trike's body...the idea worked out nicely. Fiberglass was then hand laid over the foam buck to create the unique body. Once fully refined, Mark shot the body in Candy Tangerine paint over a gold metal flake base. Panel pinstriping was applied by Mike Iverson, and a silver metal flake seat made from Zodiac Naughyde was stitched up by Bob Holland. All the plating duties were carried out at Bo Décor with all pre-plate prep work handled by Mark.
A 21” spool wheel was mounted up front running an Avon Speedmaster tire. Out back the rubber hits the road in the form of Firestone 8.20 x 15 Indy tires wrapped around authentic American Torque Thrust rims purchased from a gentleman who bought them new in 1967. The engine was treated to rare Braje valve & side covers as well as a twin carb intake. The engine upgrades were available due to the use of these engines by sprint cars racers who took advantage of the one piece head & case design for high engine rpms w/o the fear of blowing a head gasket. Mark crafted a unique set of scoops for the dual carbs along with the foot rests, handle bars, pedals, and shifter. Vitals while cruising are monitored by direct mount Moon oil pressure and water temperature gauges.
Speaking of cruising, the trike does plenty of that around Mark’s neighborhood. The snappy Crowsley mill and 5:13 gears make it a handful that keeps Mark smiling, and the neighbors shaking their heads. It’s a bumpy ride do to the solid mounted rear end, but worth every moment. Keep an eye open for this one-off trike if you ever pass through Mark’s neck of the woods, you’ll never see another on like it.
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106 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247