Motorvation Sidecar History

What was to be Motorvation Engineering (Sidecars) Began in 1971.

Ed Millray began working on the first Royale Sidecar prototype in 1971 at his home in Colton, California. The first few sidecars were made of plywood. One was a two person sidecar and the other a single person sidecar. Pictured below is the two person Royale Sidecar made of plywood.

Ed Millray first Royale Sidecar made of plywood 1971

Ed Mollray building first two seat Royale Sidecar from plywood 1971 California

Picture #1. is the beginning of the plywood Royale Sidecar.

#2-3. Single seat Royal Sidecar made of plywood.

#4-5  Two seat Royale Sidecar used gate hinges, a Harley-Davidson Sprint fender & taillight and Plexiglass windows.

Ed Millray first Royale Single seat Sidecar made from plywood

Work then began on making a plug and a fiberglass mold to build production sidecar bodies. Below is Ed Millray and his two children working on making the sidecar plug.

Ed Millray building fit Rayale Sidecar plug 1971

After the plywood form was made it was covered with mahogany skins, then covered with plaster and sanded smooth and covered with coats of fiberglass resin and sanded. As in picture # 11.

Ed Millray in front of Rayale sidecar plug 1971 California


First fiberglass Ed Millray Royale Sidecar body out of new mold

Picture # 13- 14- 15-16. First fiberglass mold made from plug.

First fiberglass Royale Sidecar out of new mold Ed Millray

Below top cut off sidecar body. Picture # 19-20.

 Top cut off first royale Sidecar Ed Millray

first finishes royale sidecar hand rubbed lacquer paint

Picture # 24-25 mock up of first Royale Sidecar fiberglass body.

Mock up of first Royale Sidecar body testing frame & suspension

Picture # 26-27, testing new sidecar frame & suspension of Royale Sidecar.

Royale sidecar body used as plug to make mold

Picture # 29-30-31-32, Ed used 3rd sidecar body . Reinforced it and used it as a plug to to make first production mold. # 33, lower right corner, is first body from production mold assembled.

first royale sidecar body mounted

Picture 34-35-36-37, first production model with sliding glass windows, swing arm and suspension.

first royale sidecar assembled

Picture # 39 sidecar body being assembled. Ed & Joy Millray Sidecars, business cards.

Ed & Joy Millray Sidecar Company first fiberglass body

restored first production royale sidecar on display at 1978 Griffith Park Rally

This is the # 1. production Royale Sidecar. It was found in a junk yard in Newhall, California and restored. It is pictured on display at the 1978 Griffith Park Sidecar rally.

first royale sidecar frame by ed millray

Picture # 48-49. First Royale Sidecar frame with clamps and universal mounting system on a Honda 750 .

royale sidecar motorcycle mounts ed millray

wheelchair unit royal sidecar ed millray

Picture # 51-52-54, one of a kind. A wheelchair unit of a Royale Sidecar.

gullwing door production unit of a royale sidecar

A Gullwing door version of the Royale Sidecar made by Ed Millray.

Sport sidecar design begining

Picture # 61-62-63, The beginning of the Sport design model.

sport sidecar model ed millray

Coupe Royale Sidecar ad millray sidecars


Coupe Royale Sidecar ad Nov-1974                          Royale Coupe Sidecar, weight 185 lbs.

August 1973 ad for Millray Royale Sidecar

August 1973 ad for the Royale Sidecar.

Sport Royale Sidecar ad January 1975

Sport Royale Sidecar ad from January 1975. The last sidecar model Millray Sidecars Inc came out with. Had 27" of hip room, weight 160 lbs, frame made from .120 wall seamless tubing.

Millray Sidecar two seater concept drawing

Two seater Royale Sidecar concept drawing by Ed Millray .

Chopper sidecar concept drawing by Ed Millray sidecars

Chopper sidecar concept drawing. They never built this sidecar that I know of.

                              Ed Millray R.I.P. 2013.


Ed & Joy Millray sold their sidecar company around 1976 to Tom Peterson and I believe this is where the company got the name of Motorvation Engineering. Tom Peterson purchased the Spyder T-1 Sidecar mold from the Simon Sidecar company, owned by Jerry Simon as he designed and built the Spyder Sidecar.

Jerry Simon Spyder Sidecar first unit built

The very first Simon Spyder Sidecar made. Still owned by Jerry Simon when he died Sept-7-2021

First Simon Spyder Sidecar made fender and Lucas taillight

Cool fender design. Used the same Lucas taillight that the SOA Eagle Sidecar used.

First simon Spyder Sidecar made with internal frame mounts

The Jerry Simon Spyder Sidecar had the internal frame from the beginning as can be see by looking at the mounts in the above picture.


In August 1979 Jim Sontag purchased the Motorvation Engineering Sidecar company from Tom Peterson. Jim lived in Los Angles California and was in the music business. Managed bands and promoted live music in his club he owned with a partner. The music business was slowing down and in 1979 Jim Sontag paid approximately $50,000 for the Motorvation Engineering sidecar company and moved it to Reseda, California. Jim had always been interested in Hot Rods and motorcycles so building sidecars fit in with his interests.

Durring the recession of the early 1980's Sidecar sales were very slow and Motorvation Engineering filed for bankruptcy protection. Jim then moved his sidecar company to a smaller shop in Montrose, California.

In 1980 Motorvation Engineering introduced the Roadster Royale convertible version of the sidecar. And in 1981 the Formula II Sidecar model was introduced. It would be the largest double wide sidecar they would produce. Pictured below.

Motorvation Engineering Formula II Sidecar

Motorvation Engineering Formula II with flip nose option

 The Formula II had the flip nose option to make it easier to get in and out of. The seat would fold down or could be remove if a person wanted to lay down and sleep in the sidecar for camping.

 In 1993 Jim Sontag moved Motorvation Engineering to Sibley, Iowa into a very large building that was formally a Car Dealership and later a strip mall. Many states were offing economic incentives to move to their small towns that were in economic bad times. This worked out well as Jim and his wife Mary grew up in nearby Minnesota and they wanted to be close to their relatives after having moved to California in the 1960's.

Motorvation Engineering Factory Sibley Iowa 2020

The Motorvation Engineering Sidecar factory at 941 4th Avenue Sibley, Iowa in 2020 after closing.

 Later on Motorvation Engineering would introduce motorcycle cargo trailers and offer motorcycle trailer hitches for many motorcycles.

Motorvation Engineering Grand National 13 c/f motorcycle trailer

Motorvation Engineering, Grand National 14 c/f motorcycle cargo trailer designed to match Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Motorvation Engineering Grand National 20 c/f motorcycle trailer

The larger Grand National 20 c/f motorcycle cargo trailer.

Motorvation Engineering Goldwing with trailer

The WingLiner cargo trailer to match the Goldwing 1500.

Back Pack style motorcycle trailer Motorvation Engineering

One of their early models. A Back Pack style motorcycle trailer from the late 1990's.


 Motorvation Engineering would build 3 sidecar models at the Sibley Iowa factory.

The Roadster Royale Double Wide Sidecar.

The Roadster Royale shared the same frame and suspension as the Formula II. The Roadster was a little shorter than the Formula and had a safety glass  windshield built in, instead of a bolt on Lexan windshield as on the Formula II. Both the Roadster Royale and the Formula II sidecar bodies were made from hand laid, marine quality fiberglass for durability and safety. The Roadster Royale offered fender and wheel options like the Spyder sidecar did. Many options were available like, electric lean motor, sidecar wheel brake and convertible top.

Roadster Royale Sidecar Motorvation Engineering

Roadster Royale Sidecars with tonneau cover and convertible top option.

Roadster Royale Sidecar with convertible top Motorvation Engineering


Roadster Royale sidecar

The Formula II Double Wide sidecar.

The Formula II sidecar is a two passenger sidecar. It was the first sidecar to have an independent sidecar brake and a lean control motor so the suspension can be easily adjusted so it will not pull left or right going down the road. Sidecar had a well built external square tube ladder frame platform with a trailing swing arm and adjustable torsion bar suspension. Trunk had almost 5 cubic feet of storage behind the seat and could be ordered with a  chrome luggage rack to carry even more stuff. The optional front hatch/lid  "Flip Nose" option made the Formula II the easiest sidecar to get into and out of that Motorvation made.

Formula II Sidecar Motorvation Engineering

Formula II Sidecar with convertible top Motorvation Engineering

Formula II Sidecar with convertible top option.

Formula II Sidecar with chrome luggage rack option Motorvation Engineering

Formula II with chrome luggage rack option. It would fold down.

Formula II Sidecar with lean control motor option Motorvation Engineering

Formula II Sidecar with a lean control motor option. It raises and lowers the suspension to make handling much better. This option was only available on the Roadster Royal and the Formula II Sidecar models.


Spyder single person sidecar for smaller motorcycles.

The Spyder Sidecar was constructed with a fiberglass and steel plate laminate monocoque chassis. There was no external frame giving the sidecar a very clean look. The base weight of the Spyder was 190 pounds making the best Motorvation sidecar model for motorcycles as small as 500cc. The over all body length was 75" with 52" of leg room. The overall width of the Spyder was 35" including the fender and wheel. The cockpit opening was approximately 25" by 20". All the Spyder Sidecars came with a fully finished, upholstered interior and a contoured seat. The rear locking trunk had approximately 3.5 cu. ft of storage and could be fitted with the optional fuel tank.

The Spyder suspension was a trailing swing arm with a Progressive Suspension Magnumatic adjustable air/spring shock.

     Wheel and fender options were many. The standard on the Spyder T-1 were a chrome wire spoke wheel with a bolt on the body fender. The Spyder H-D comes with a Harley-Davidson style fender. Custom wheel options included factory Harley-Davidson mags and after market wheels. Fender options for the Spyder include a FLH, FX, Bob Tail and Duck Tail Harley-Davidson style fenders with five different tail light choices too. BMW owners could order the Stibe style fender option. 

   Other options were a small Brooklands Windshield or full size wrap around windshield, wheel brake and luggage rack.

Spyder sidecar on BMW Motorvation Engineering

Spyder Sidecar with full size windshield option mounted on a BMW.

Spyder sidecar with Brooklands windshield Indian Cheif

Spyder Sidecar with Brooklands windshield option.

Brooklands windshield folding sidecar

Spyder sidecar seat motorvation Engineering

Spyder Sidecar seat.



Spyder sidecar trunk open


 Good size Spyder Sidecar trunk.

Spyder Sidecar on Harley Davidson Springer

Spyder on a Harley-Davidson Springer, WOW!

Spyder Sidecar on Harley Davidson forty eight

Spyder Sidecar brown for TV show


Sidecar Options you could order with a new sidecar.

Lean control motor on Formula II and Roadster only.

Convertible top on Formula II and Roadster only.

Tonneau cover, independent disc brake system.

Chrome bumper wrap around front on Formula II only.

Chrome rear bumper with lights, Formula II and Roadster only.

Fold down chrome luggage rack, Formula II only.

Seat belts.

Chrome folding foot step.

Color match paint & two tone with pin strips.

Pin strips on gel coat bodies.

Sidecar cover.

Steering damper.

Brooklinds windscreen for Spyder only. Wrap around wind dresser style windscreen Spyder only.

4 or 10 gallon fuel system, Formula II or Roadster only.

Chrome mounts.

Mounting Subframe.

Dolly wheels for easy sidecar installation or removal.

Crating charge for shipping.

Factory installation and alignment.

Roadster sidecar with gas fuel system motorvation engineering

Roadster Sidecar with the fuel tank option.

Motorvation Engineering had their own paint department to color match a sidecar to the customers motorcycle. Motorvation made  many of the sidecar and trailer parts at their factory using a complete machine shop, welding shop and upholstery department and made the shipping crates too. They outsourced the fiberglass body manufacturing, chrome plating of mounts, etc.
Jim Sontag operated the sidecar company in Iowa till he died in a Train collision on a very snowy day on his way home from the factory. Jim Sontag R.I.P Janurday-11-1997. 
His wife Mary Sontag took over running Motorvation Engineering after the passing of Jim Sontag. Mary was working in a nursing home as an activities director at the time. Later on she had help from her son Chris in running the factory.
Motorvation Engineering filed for Bankruptcy for a second time in 2020 and it was a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy this time so the sidecar company was liquidated and is out of business, unfortunately!
Mary Sontag died March-11-2021 while staying with her daughter in California.

   Motorvation Engineering (Sidecars) Company 1971 to 2020.

A Big Thank You to Gary Green who supplied alot of the information and pictures for this article. He worked for Motorvation Engineering for over 30 years.
Below are the drawings for the sidecar mounts Motorvation Engineering used. They are a different style and size than other American made sidecar companies use. Meaning the lower slip tube mounts are 1-1/4" O.D., smaller than the 1-1/2" tubes other sidecar companies use and all 4 mounts use a clevis end as a connection to the motorcycle eye nut.
U-clamp motorcycle frame mount for sidecar Motorvation Engineering
Motorvation Engineering motorcycle frame U-clamp mount. They used this mount in many sizes.
 Motorvation Engineering U-clamp mount parts
 Motorvation Engineering motorcycle frame U-clamp in the many sizes
Motorvation Engineering had many different sizes of motorcycle frame U-clamp.
 Motorvation Engineering upper strut tube sizes
Drawing shows all the different sizes of upper strut tubes with clevis ends.
 Motorvation Engineering lower slip tube mounts
Drawing shows upper strut tube and lower slip tube mount sizes and angle of threaded insert to attach clevis to.
 Motorvation Engineering lower slip tube mount with clevis
Motorvation Engineering lower slip tube mounting clamp with clevis tube and clevis bolt. This pinch tube slides into the lower sidecar frame in the front and back of the frame. But they will have different angle and configurations for various motorcycle models.
 Motorvation Engineering Spyder sidecar mounts
Spyder Sidecar set of 4 mounts. The 2 lower tube mounts are inserted into the frame. The 2 upper struts connect to the frame with clevis mounts. You can see the 4 U-clamp motorcycle mounts attached onto the ends of the sidecar mounts. This Spyder had its own separate brake system. The silver bar in the middle is a brake pedal. It is connected to the master cylinder right next to the rear strut.
 Motorvation Engineering spyder sidecar mounts and U-clamps
Spyder with Brooklands windshield, tonneau cover, independent brake system and mounts. Sitting in a field waiting for a new owner to take it home and bring it back to life on the road.
Motorvation Engineering was able to do alot with their distinctive U-clamp motorcycle frame mounts. Here are some examples of their mounts on different motorcycle models.
Harley Davidson 4 speed shovelhead motorvation sidecar mounts eye nuts
Harley-Davidson 4 speed Shovelhead with 2 U-Clamp mounts on the front. The rear upper mount is an eye nut in the fender strut that goes thru the frame. The lower rear is an eye nut mounted in the passenger peg mounting block.
FXR Evo harley davidson sidecar mounts motorvation engineering
Harley-Davidson Evo FXR 4 sidecar mounts.
sidecar frame bar sidecar mount harley davidson motorvation Engineering
Here is a simple way to make a sidecar mount with a square tube 1-1/8" with a .120 wall. Weld a 3/4"-16 tpi threaded insert into the end of tube and attach it to motorcycle frame with u-bolts. Pictured above is a Harley-Davidson Shovelhead upper front mount bolted to both down tubes.
Indian Chief Motorvation Engineering upper front sidecar mount with eye nut
Above picture shows an Indian Chief with Motorvation Engineering upper front sidecar mount with eye nut using the square tube style mount.
 Motorvation engineering motorcycle sidecar mount square tube with eye nur
Simple sidecar mount to make. It will not move or rotate around the motorcycle frame as a U-clamp mount can if not properly installed.
Honda Goldwing 1200 motorvation engineering sidecar mounts
Honda Goldwing 1200 Motorvation Engineering sidecar mounts.
Honda Shadow sidecar mounts front upper
Honda Shadow upper front sidecar mount.
Honda Shadow sidecar mounts lowers
Honda Shadow 2 lower sidecar mounts.
Honda Shadow sidecar mount upper rear eye nut
Honda Shadow sidecar mount upper rear eye nut.
triumph rocket sidecar mounts subframe
Many motorcycles need a subframe to mount a sidecar on. Here is a Triumph Rocket with a Motorvation Engineering subframe for 3 of the sidecar mounts. The upper rear mount is a U-clamp. Below picture is the Rocket attached to a Spyder Sidecar.
Triumph Rocket sidecar mounts
yamaha royal star sidecar mounts
Yamaha Royal Star sidecar mounts.
Honda Goldwing 1500 sidecar mounts by motorvation engineering
Honda Goldwing 1500 sidecar mounts by Motorvation Engineering.
Harley-Davidson FLST Softail sidecar mount upper front
Harley-Davidson FLST Softail sidecar mount upper front.
Harley-Davidson FLST Softail sidecar mount lower front
Harley-Davidson FLST Softail sidecar mount lower front. The square bar with u-bolt is used here.
Harley-Davidson FLST Softail sidecar mount upper front
Harley-Davidson FLST Softail sidecar upper rear mount is an eye nut bolted thru the fender strut.
Harley-Davidson FLST Softail sidecar mount lower rear
Harley-Davidson FLST Softail sidecar lower rear is an eye nut mounted in the foot peg mounting block.
Harley-Davidson sidecar attached to Roadking with Motorvation Engineering mounts
Harley-Davidson sidecar attached to Roadking with Motorvation Engineering U-clamp mounts is very clever.
avidson sidecar upper front mount Roadking with Motorvation Engineering mounts
Upper front mount attaching Harley-Davidson Sidecar to Roadking with Motorvation Engineering U-clamp mount.
Harley-Davidson sidecar lower front mount Roadking with Motorvation Engineering mounts
Lower front mount attaching Harley sidecar to Roadking with Motorvation Engineering U-clamp mount.
Rear sidecar mount harley-davidson sidecar attached to Roadking with Motorvation Engineering mounts
This is the rear sidecar mount. Harley-Davidson Sidecars just uses one rear mount. Motorvation Engineering made a bracket that attaches to the passenger floorboard bracket and installed an eye nut mount in the bracket. A very clean and clever way to attach the mount.