Three-Wheel Thursday: Mymsa Rana 3R

Mymsa Rana 3R 175cc Mymsa (Motores y Motos, S.A.) was a Spanish firm that existed from 1953–63. Regular Hooniverse readers know they made some very interesting motorcycles during that time, but they also built three-wheel light cargo vehicles under the Rana 3R model name. In the wake of World War II (and, in the case of Mymsa’s home market, the brutal and debilitating Spanish Civil War just prior), these súper bàsic designs existed because they were what buyers could afford and resource-strapped manufacturers could manage to produce. 8283994934_01331104a2_z Falling somewhere in size between similarly conceived and better known light utility trikes from Piaggio in Italy and Tempo in Germany, the Rana is about as simple and basic as a conveyance can be: a single layer of mostly flat sheet metal propelled by an air-cooled, two-stroke single. Simplicity in design and construction trumped considerations of traction and handling. The engine is mounted above the front wheel, which is driven by chain, and presumably turns with the wheel to steer. A few Ranas were built as the “Turismo” passenger version with side windows and seating for four. mymsa-3r It’s easy for us to discount minimalist vehicles such as the Rana as crude, ridiculously underpowered and flimsy. But in postwar Europe, the need for efficient transport was critical, and radically simple solutions such as the Rana 3R played a vital role in getting battered economies going again. Often, the only alternative would have been a cargo bicycle or worse yet, hiking commercial goods on foot, in which case the 3R’s 500 lb. capacity and 30-35 MPH top speed would have been a godsend.

Mymsa also built a smaller, snub-nosed 125cc version, for people who thought the 175's hauling power was overkill.
Mymsa also built a smaller, snub-nosed 125cc version, for people who thought the 175’s hauling power and rangy wheelbase were overkill.
Once economic conditions improved beyond the crisis stage, more substantial cargo vehicles were a more attractive option. The Rana 3R was much less maneuverable than a moped or scooter, yet not large or speedy enough for hauling a meaningful amount of cargo, so by 1960 they had disappeared. The few that remain are an interesting historical footnote that helps calibrate our perception of “want” versus “need.” Images courtesy Mrscharroo on Flickr

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