Pulse Autocycle - When Car, Motorcycle and Aircraft came together.
The Pulse Autocycle (earlier called Litestar) was the brainchild of Jim Bede, an American aircraft designer who specialised in kit planes. His aim had been to provide a small, easy to build aircraft for the general aviation market, which at the time (1960s) was priced out of the range of the average buyer. He wanted to provide a far cheaper alternative to something like a Cessna by eliminating labour costs. An ingenious proposition that was constantly hampered by his string of false starts and failed ventures. He eventually saw some success with the BD 4 in 1968 but soon found himself in financial trouble again.
It was in one such dry spell that Bede came up with the idea for the Pulse Autocycle. The contraption featured a heavily aircraft influenced design and given that it straddled the line between an automobile and a motorcycle, was aptly termed an ‘autocycle’.
Bede had sold his design to the Owosso Motor Car Company who manufactured the Pulse Autocycle between 1984 and 1990. A total of 347 units were built with the first 21 being sold under the Litestar name. The body resembled the fuselage of a jet aircraft with the two passengers sitting in tandem under a canopy. It was a two wheeler but also came with two outriggers, one on each side. These outriggers provided balance at rest or while turning, but were usually off the ground at all other times.