3-wheeled Freeway, little-known Biagini among showstoppers at Greenwich Cars & Community
In a race to the bottom, David Geisinger and Ed Owen’s 1982 H-M Vehicles Freeway was among the cars that rose to the top at the 2022 Greenwich Concours d’Lemons. The Massachusetts friends won a “Rust Belt American” class award after entering their three-wheeled microcar in the show, which celebrates “the oddball, mundane, and truly awful of the automotive world.”
“This is the finest car built in Minnesota,” Lemons “Head Gasket” Alan Galbraith says of the Freeway. “Which says a lot.”
The car is perfectly suited for the low-brow Concours d’Lemons, the antithesis of Sunday’s Greenwich Concours d’Elegance. The little car wears Martini Racing livery, even though its single-cylinder gasoline engine generates a measly 16 horsepower.
“It supposedly gets 100 mpg at 55 mph,” Geisinger says, “but you’d probably die before you found out for sure.”
Geisinger and Owen bought the Freeway at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale Auction less than six months ago. “Ed and I love unique cars, and he already has an Isetta in Gulf livery, so somehow it made sense to give this one Martini livery.”
“We’re going to rent a track and race ’em,” Owen says. “It’s going to be epic. I think the Isetta is going to win, but who knows.”
In addition to adding the Martini livery, the Freeway also received an upgraded driver’s seat, and Geisinger and Owen added mesh covering over the center-mounted headlight and the side air vents. “We figured with a rally car you’ve got to protect it from rocks,” Geisinger says. Additional upgrades may be in the works: “We need to add a parachute and a nitrous bottle in back. You can’t have one without the other.” Pointing to a small porthole in the side window, he adds, “The A/C is pretty limited.”
Joking aside, the Freeway was the brainchild of David Edmonson, who hoped the economy car would change the way we commute. Edmonson’s auto company, H-M (High-Mileage) Vehicles, built approximately 700 Freeways from 1979–82 in Burnsville, Minnesota. The three-wheeler’s single-cylinder engine is backed by a snowmobile-style continuously variable transmission and chain drive, and the car features a tubular steel chassis with red fiberglass body. The Freeway’s gas tank holds three gallons of fuel.
“The car sold for about $3800 (when new). Unbelievably, we paid a lot more for it than that,” Geisinger says. “We saw it at Barrett and fell in love with it.”
At first glance, you’d think that Geisinger, who stands almost 6-foot-4, and Owen, who’s 6-2, would be too tall to drive the car, but they’re both able to contort their bodies enough to squeeze inside. Regardless, neither drove the car to Connecticut; they trailered it here. “The only thing ‘Freeway’ about this thing,” Geisinger says, “is its name.” Then, looking over at the nearby Pagani booth, he adds, “I think it’s fitting that it’s behind the Pagani … slightly behind.”
Many of the cars at the Concours d’Lemons could be considered “less than,” but the winner of Worst in Show may be one of the nicest Ford Pintos in existence. Bill Doyle, the car’s owner, says his 1977 wagon was completely restored two years ago, which caused Galbraith to ask—publicly—the question that many were already wondering: Why?
“I’m crazy, I guess,” Doyle says. “It makes me smile. Hopefully it makes you smile, too.”
Doyle, who drove the car to Greenwich from his summer home in Newport, Rhode Island, says there are 22,000 miles on the odometer—“which means there’s really 122,000, but to me it’s only 2000 because it was literally a new car when it was finished two years ago.”
Greenwich’s Cars & Community Day also included Radwood, a toast to the 1980s and ’90s automotive lifestyle. In a field that included Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches, and other well-known cars of the era, winner of the Raddest in Show award went to Mike Callaghan’s 1993 Biagini Passo, built by Italy automaker ACM.
Callaghan, who lives in Wallingford, Connecticut, purchased the 1.8-liter, four-cylinder convertible from Switzerland after seeing only a couple of photos of it online. “I definitely rolled the dice,” he says, but he wasn’t disappointed. The car, one of approximately 70 built from 1990–93, is in excellent condition and draws attention wherever it goes. “It’s been fun,” Callaghan says. “I’m really happy with it.”
So were Saturday’s showgoers.