Maurice Peyton brought his 2016 Polaris Slingshot to the Woodward Dream Cruise Aug. 20. The Royal Oak resident customized his vehicle, including programming his cellphone to control the air suspension.

Maurice Peyton brought his 2016 Polaris Slingshot to the Woodward Dream Cruise Aug. 20. The Royal Oak resident customized his vehicle, including programming his cellphone to control the air suspension.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes

Behind the Wheel: Customized Polaris Slingshot attracts lots of attention

By: Maria Allard | Metro | Published September 8, 2022

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes


METRO DETROIT — Whenever Royal Oak resident Maurice Peyton takes his Polaris Slingshot open-air roadster out for a drive, people notice.

“It looks like a spaceship,” is what onlookers often say about the vehicle on three wheels — two in the front and one in the back.

Or they’ll ask the following: “What is that thing?” or “How fast does it go?”

Peyton owns a 2016 model, and on Aug. 20, he drove the autocycle alongside thousands of muscle car, hot rod and classic car owners during the annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

“It feels like being in a convertible car,” Peyton said. “It has the comfort of a car and the open air of a motorcycle.”

Owning the set of three wheels is like driving in a parade because people are always waving. The Slingshot has a tilt-adjustable steering wheel and two bucket seats. The vehicle does not have doors or side windows and gets wet in the rain. Peyton’s vehicle has a sunroof, which really comes in handy.

“When the sun beats on your head, it’s rough, so the top helps a lot,” said Peyton, who is originally from Lexington, Kentucky.

When Peyton purchased the Slingshot, nobody else he knew had one. Now that the model has become more popular, Peyton put his own spin on the vehicle by customizing it.

He swapped out the seats and installed new ones that were more comfortable. He also changed out the 18-inch tires in front and the 20-inch tire in back, and put in 22-inch tires in all three spots. Peyton even added LED lights to the wheels.

“I moved the license plate off to the side, and I added the fender, spoiler and the air dams. I even changed the steering wheel and the stereo,” Peyton said. “There’s nothing left that’s stock other than the seatbelts. I’m a guy that’s always tinkering.”

One feature the “diehard Lakers fan” added is the black mamba snake detail in honor of basketball star Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January 2020 at the age of 41. The mamba snake is displayed in two spots: on the front hood and on the rear.

Peyton programmed his cellphone to control the air suspension. It helps when riding over potholes or going up a driveway, said the retired U.S. Army veteran who now works at the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command in Warren.

At the Clawson Lions Club’s Down on Main Street charity car show Aug. 13, spectators could not get enough of the Slingshot. Peyton, sitting away from the three-wheeler, controlled the air suspension from this phone without anyone seeing him. For the Slingshot owner, “It was a blast.”

Peyton always puts safety first when out on the road.

“There are a lot of blind spots,” Peyton said. “You have to be a little more cautious.”

Peyton is a regular at all the local car shows and classic car cruises, including “all three Gratiot cruises.” He also likes to be a spectator at such events while checking out other cars, trucks and motorcycles. Someone often by his side is his wife, Larissa Peyton.

“She prefers to be a passenger,” Peyton said of taking out the Slingshot. Plus, she owns a Jeep and participated in Woodward Dream Cruise events the evening of Aug. 19.

Peyton also uses his ride to give back. He has become a regular participant in the Savannah Strong Memorial & Awareness Ride, held every summer in Indianapolis. Each driver, many of them Slingshot owners, pays a donation fee to join in the motorcade, led by a police escort.

“They do this charity ride for awareness,” Peyton said. “It’s a pretty awesome event.”

The annual event honors Indianapolis teen Savannah Bettis, who died in 2015 as a result of a car crash brought on by carbon monoxide poisoning. Money raised from the charity drive helps to support Savannah’s Law in Indiana, which allows Indiana fire departments to offer free vehicle emissions tests to drivers in the state.

Peyton also joined a Slingshot Facebook group in which the members get together to go riding. One destination: Belle Isle in Detroit.

Do you own a vehicle with an interesting story? Email Staff Writer Maria Allard at for a chance to be in a future edition of Behind the Wheel.