Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion car makes a rare public outing at Salon Prive London
Buckminster Fuller (1895 - 1983) was an American engineer, author, architect, designer, inventor, and futurist whose prolific and widely admired work gave us the geodesic dome, and whose life is probably the best documented in history thanks to his Dymaxion Chronofile in which he recorded everything he did and thought, every 15 minutes from 1920 to 1983.
In it, he gave us the term ""Spaceship Earth" and he became one of the earliest credible proponents of renewable energy sources such as solar- and wind-derived electricity.
One of his most interesting projects was the Dymaxion car which we have previously chronicled in detail.
The replica Dymaxion car had a rare public outing at the exclusive boutique-style Salon Prive event this week.
The three day event closes in London today, so if you're in the vicinity and quick, you'll also get to see such remarkable current supercars as the Maserati Gran Turismo MC Stradale, Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante, Eagle E-Type Speedster Lightweight, Hennessy Venom GT, GTA Spano, Jensen Interceptor R, Arash AF-10 and the Rolls-Royce 102EX.
Please keep comments to less than 150 words. No abusive material or spam will be published.
It seems aerodynamicists have no place in modern auto design studios now, all new cars come out looking terribly angular and oblique, like they\'ve been designed by frustrated art students, not engineers. Some of the most aerodymic vehicles ever designed were drawn up in the 1930s, and almost no modern cars emulate them...
A recent example of one of the few modern truly aerodynamic cars would be the Aptera, but in mainstream auto design... take the \'kammback\' on the Prius, such a pathetic attempt.
Sir Alex Moulton, who produces the most wonderful bicycles and designed the original MiniCooper suspension was well aware of Bill's work as he told me that when he was a child he and a bunch of friends would get in and out of a Caribbean in order to feel it rise and level out. Must have been inspiring as a young man.
When I commented to Bill that I loved the Mog he said "no, no, no! Very dangerous... three wheeled vehicles are inherently dangerous, they are motorcycles!"
That was proven at the Progressive Automotive X-Prize competition when the Aptera spun a 180 in a braking test. Scary as hell if you think about it.
From a historic perspective it is wonderful that Architect Norman Foster created this reconstruction and he must have had fun driving it, but he had better be careful.
Bucky and Noguchi were close friends since college and both were ingenious people.
Interestingly, in his retirement Allison built a wind tunnel and perfected the wind engine and took it to the Betz limit of 59% efficiency. So what are we doing plunking those 3bladed very low efficiency flying fans all over the place? Apparently the human race also has a large capacity for ignorance and the lemming instinct as well. We relish throwing available energy away.
Bill also perfected his suspensions in his retirement... The Japanese Professor that has been covered here in the Giz has drawn very similar conclusions about 8 wheels. But so did the Rail Road industry that has long known that bogied 8's have the lowest rolling resistance.
Just looking at it - I think the front wheels could have been much more widely spread - even to the external shell of the vehicle - or almost.
That being said, a teardrop is not the only way to achieve low-drag aerodynamics. We ARE still learning ways to make vehicles aerodynamics without compromising the features that customers demand in their cars. Here\'s an example. Take a guess at which Chrysler car currently sold has the lowest coefficient of drag. The Viper? Ha, not even close. It\'s the Caravan/Town and Country. That blocky new design is quite low because of all the wind tunnel work they did. Small counter-intuitive tweaks make a big difference collectively.