The Campagna T-Rex motorcycle is a three-wheeled motor vehicle made by the Quebec-based automotive company, Campagna Motors. Designed to handle and perform like a sports car, the T-Rex isn’t for amateurs – as its hefty price tag attests. If, on the other hand, you’re serious about having as fun as it’s possible to have on three wheels, you’re going to love it. To find out more about the T-Rex and the company behind it, keep reading.
1. You don’t need a motorcycle license to ride one
If you want to experience what it’s like to drive a Campagna T-Rex but don’t want to go to the trouble of getting a motorcycle license, you’re in luck. While the T-Rex used to be registered as a motorcycle, it’s now broadly considered to be a three-wheel vehicle, with the result that most states don’t require you to hold a motorcycle license to ride one. Across most states, a regular car driver’s license is sufficient to slip behind the wheel of a T-Rex. The only states where you’ll need to hold a motorcycle endorsement or license are Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and Wisconsin.
2. It was developed by a Formula Ford racer
Campagna was founded by Daniel Campagna, a former Formula Ford racer in Quebec who competed in 1976, 1977, and 1979. After deciding he’d have more fun designing vehicles than racing them, he joined the technical team for Formula 1 racer Gilles Villeneuve. While working on the team, he masterminded several motoring innovations. By the time he handcrafted his first T-Rex prototype in the mid-eighties, he’d decided the time was ripe to branch out on his own. After founding Campagna Motors in 1988, he and his production team spent several years perfecting the T-Rex prototype, releasing the final version in the early 1990s.
3. It was originally only available in Quebec
If you lived in the US, Europe, Asia, or even most of Canada during the early days of the T-Rex’s production, you were out of luck if you wanted to get your hands on one. For the first few years of its life, the T-Rex was available exclusively in Quebec. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that it began to be available commercially in the rest of Canada and in the US. Today, around 45% of sales come from the US, while Quebec accounts for around 40% of sales. The bulk of the rest of the sales come from the Middle East, which now constitutes the biggest export market for the company.
4. It’s powered by a Kawasaki engine
These days, the T-Rex runs on an in-line 4 cylinder 1441cc engine from Kawasaki. As Wiki notes, over the years, it’s utilized several different engine types, including Suzuki GSX-R1100 engines, Kawasaki ZX-11, Kawasaki ZX-12R, BMW K1600.
5. A special edition was released in 2015
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the T-Rex, Campagna Motors launched a very special, very exclusive limited anniversary edition of the machine in 2015. In total, only 20 units of the model were released worldwide, with each model bearing a unique number between 01 and 20. Constructed around an all-red chassis, the special edition featured a distinctive two-tone design on the bodywork, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, black trims, and a powerful 160-hp 6-cylinder inline BMW engine. Speaking at the time of its release, André Morissette, president of Campagna Motors, said “After 20 years, the T-REX is still the three-wheel vehicle of reference, thanks to our innovative approach, unparalleled styling, and the exciting, unmatched level of performance they provide. This special edition T-REX is a prime example of what I mean.”
6. There’s an electric version
If you dream of owning a Campagna T-Rex but have concerns about the environmental impact, you’ll be pleased to know Campagna now produces an electric version of their classic machine. Unlike some electrical vehicles that have sacrificed performance for worthiness, the electric T-Rex is as powerful as ever, boasting top speeds of 180 km/h and acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.2 seconds. In the city, you can expect to travel 185 miles on a single charge. Over mixed terrain, a single charge will take you around 140 miles.
7. It almost went extinct
As rideapart.com writes, the T-Rex came close to extinction in 2019 when Campagna Motors failed to secure the necessary funding to pay its creditors. In January, the bank secured its position and took ownership of the company’s assets. In a statement via Facebook, Campagna president André Morissette wrote, “Today marks the end of Campagna Motors as we know it. It will have been a pleasure and an honor to work with you, to serve you, and to spend the last 15 years of my life in this amazing adventure. It ends here.” As it turned out, it didn’t. By March, Campagna had secured new investors and had restarted production.
8. It’s not the only vehicle Campagna makes
Although the T-Rex is arguable Campagna’s most famous machine, it’s not the only vehicle it makes. In addition to the T-Rex, the company also produces the open-top roadster, the V13R. As Trike World explains, while the T-Rex is built to perform and handle like a true sports car, the V13R’s more hot-rodded nature makes it perfect for cruising.
9. It’s expensive
If you dream of owning a Campagna T-Rex, you’d better have some significant savings in your bank account. Whatever else these machines are, cheap they aren’t. The suggested retail price for a 2021 T-Rex is $65,999. Fortunately, the price of a used model is slightly less, although given that only a limited number of the machines are built each year, sourcing one can be a challenge.
10. Getting into one is no joke
The T-Rex might be a joy to ride, but getting into one is no laughing matter. According to motorcycle.com, the seating positions are so low, Campagna executives joke about being able to file your nails just by reaching out of the cockpit and dragging them on the ground. As there are no doors, getting into the cockpit involves a series of pivots, slides, leans, and one or two prayers. By all accounts, removing the steering wheel beforehand makes the process a little easier to handle.