Wednesday, April 25, 2012


James F. Fales, Everett G. Sheets, Gregg J. Mervich & John F. Dinan.  Manufacturing:  A Basic Text.  Second Edition.  Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 1986.
This three-wheeler was designed by F. Buckminster Fuller to  travel at 120 mph and get 40 miles per gallon.  As a young engineer, he convinced Nannie Biddle (a famous aviatrix and contemporary of Amelia Earhart) to finance his experiment.  With the help of 27 skilled workers, they built a prototype that had an 85-hp V-8, front wheel drive, but steered by the single rear wheel (so it could be turned around on the spot).  Driver and passenger seats had rear-view periscopes.  The car was 19 feet long, planned to seat four but had room for eleven.  Made primarily of aluminum, it weighted only 2300 pounds. Fuller had a gas driving the prototype around New York City, creating traffic jams from all of the attention it garnered.  According to the manufacturing text referenced above (and contrary to what Wikipedia reports) it call came to an end when one of the test drivers was taking an interested buyer back to the airport, and rose to the challenge of a politician who came along side and suggested a race.  The two cars reached speeds of 70 mph before the politician lost control and crashed into the Dymaxion, killing himself and seriously injuring the passenger.  The politician's role was initially hushed up, and the press labelled the Dymaxion a killer car.  That ended the car's brief career.

No comments: