The Villages - May 2017 - 56
Behind the Wheel
Give Villagers a Thrill
story By rica LeWis | photos By roB WiLKersoN
ids call it a "bat mobile."
When they see it on the street, they eagerly
scan the vehicle for the superhero behind the
wheel. But kids aren't the only ones getting excited about
the three-wheeled machines. The Courtwrights and the
Hinkles say they are just plain fun to drive.
So what exactly are these hybrid motorcycles? Some
states classify them as auto-cycles; others simply call them
motorcycles. With side-by-side bucket seats, a traditional
steering wheel and a single fat tire in the rear, they offer
a rare riding experience. Polaris Industries, the company
that manufactures them, calls them Slingshots. At the
helm, a rider can really connect to the outdoors, the same
way you would on a motorcycle, or even a golf car. And
while the Slingshot is made without doors or windows, a
small cockpit, floor pedals and a center console give the
vehicle a "race car" feel.
At 74 years old, Village of Buttonwood resident
Jim Courtwright wanted a new toy that is safer than
a motorcycle but just as thrilling. His wife, Christine,
objected. But after further discussion, he convinced her.
"Now I can't get my turn to drive it," Jim joked.
"I like speed," Christine said.
In the 1970s, she raced cars as a member of the
Powderpuffs, a group of female competitors who
participated in racing events. She and Jim also are former
"I believe the Slingshots are a little less dangerous,"