Norman Foster's back-to-front car  

Posted by Big Gav in , ,

The Guardian reports that architect Norman Foster has built a replica of Bucky Fuller's Dymaxion car - Norman Foster's back-to-front car.

Richard Buckminster Fuller had a lot of nerve. In the 1930s, the great US inventor secured the first $1,000 he needed to build a giant futuristic car, called the Dymaxion. The socialite who gave him the cash was told: "If I want to use it all to buy ice cream cones, that will be that – and there will be no questions asked."
The nearly completed Dymaxion No 1 outside the Bridgeport factory in July 1933 The nearly completed Dymaxion No 1 outside the Bridgeport factory in July 1933.

Fuller, born in 1895, is best known for his geodesic domes, but his ultimate hope was that the three-wheeled Dymaxion – which looked like a VW camper van crossed with a pinball flipper – would fly, allowing Americans to leave the highway vertically and touch down at lightweight aluminium homes, scattered wherever they fancied by a fleet of Zeppelins.

The Dymaxion was meant to be phase one of a social revolution, fuelled by the latest technology, but only three were ever built. No 1 caught fire and No 3 was turned into scrap; only No 2 survived. It now sits in the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada – or it did until 18 months ago, when the architect Norman Foster decided he wanted to fulfil a dream, and build Dymaxion No 4. So he borrowed No 2 for inspiration.

"The Dymaxion had the same engine and transmission as the Ford Sedan of the time," says Foster, who worked with Fuller, his design hero, from 1971 until his death 12 years later. "However, at three times the volume, with half the fuel consumption and a 50% increase in top speed, it not only did more with less, but anticipated the 'people mover' of several decades later."

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