Inventions of Buckminster Fuller, part 1:  the Dymaxion Car

This is just one of the many strange inventions that Fuller imagined would improve society. Dymaxion, which is an abbreviation of dynamic maximum tension, was the name he attached to many of his inventions.
image Some of the features that made this vehicle weird:
It only had 3 wheels, 2 in front attached to a ford rear axle and 1 wheel in the back
It was front wheel drive powered by a rear mounted engine
It was able to get 30 miles per gallon with a V8 engine due to its advanced aerodynamic design
It could seat 11 people

The prototype was shown at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair, where it crashed and killed the driver. After the crash, investors lost confidence in the design and abandoned the project. Of the 3 prototypes, only 1 is still around. It is kept at the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada.
     Posted By: fyshstyxx - Fri May 15, 2009
     Category: Inventions | Odd Names | 1930s | Cars

A couple of afterthoughts:
I like to present only the facts in my posts, so I'll be putting my opinion in the comments.
If Bucky could make a 30 MPG van in 1933, why are modern car companies complaining so much now about having to average 35 MPGs?
Also, I know I've posted a lot about cars over the last week and a half, but I'll try to switch gears over the next few weeks.
Posted by Matt in Florida on 05/15/09 at 10:40 AM
One fatality right off the bat, and people get all flakey!
Posted by kingmonkey in Athens, Ontario on 05/15/09 at 11:30 AM
Matt, I thought that was probably the reason the engine was at the back, though the lack of the hood does mean the driver has a very clear view, and (unfortunately) no crumple zone.

Michael's surely right that the rear-wheel steering was a major floor. Though it would have been remarkably nimble for its size (Wikipedia says it could do a u-turn in a single car length), RWS is supposedly inherently unstable (the back-end has a tendency to 'flutter').

That said, Fuller claimed the car was also capable of 120 MPH, which combined with the 30 MPG might make it still unmatched by any car it's size, even today.

The guy knew his stuff! :wow:
Posted by Dumbfounded on 05/15/09 at 11:59 AM
MW, "clean air" and "lower emissions" are different things. A clean air act wouldn't necessarily be designed with lower overall emissions in mind, just less of one or more particular emissions like, er, particulate ones f'rinstance.

European and Asian cars beat most US models into the ground on fuel efficiency; with the EU phasing in a mandatory limit of 95 g/km of CO2 on all cars by 2020 (for comparison, 50 MPG running on gasoline is equal to about 135 g/km).

I think part of this is due to different fuel standards. Most gas on sale in Europe (don't know about Asia) is 95 RON or above, while US "regular" is about 90 RON. What is a purring, super-miler in Europe is (without retuning) a knocking, rattling lemon in the US.
Posted by Dumbfounded on 05/15/09 at 12:14 PM
the gov't enacts "clean air" and "lower emissions" rules...'nuff said...
Posted by vegas_girl in Vegas Baby!! on 05/15/09 at 05:28 PM
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