Monday, August 01, 2005

Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion car

3d model of the Dymaxion car

From the article: It is 20 feet long but weighs less than 1,000 pounds... That is amazing when you consider that the Mini Cooper weighs 2,500 pounds and, at 8 feet long, is one of the smallest cars on the road. The 30 to 50 MPG rating is also interesting for a vehicle that big. A modern engine in a hybrid configuration could double that, or more.

As hard to believe as it is, the car really did exist:There was also a Dymaxion house, made of aluminum, and you can find an excellent site dedicated to it here. Short movies of it are available here. It weighed only 3,000 pounds.

While the car did exist, we don't know much about its safety or other aspects of practicality. It wasn't exactly extensively tested, and Fuller is rightly associated with promoting clever seeming ideas that didn't work in practice, such as his geodescic domes (which inevitably leak).
Clever guy, but better at making ideas than judging between them. Arguably the market is good at such judgements, and said a definitive "no", though cars have never bee Very market. Still, there were a significant number of car manufacturers back then.
I remember seeing the Dymaxion car as a youth (don't remember if it was in Chicago, or what) but it and Buckminster Fuller's work has been a lifelong influence. The man was an unequivocal genius.
I too am a big fan of Buckminster Fuller -- ever since I read his book Grunch of Giants. I have a secton on my blog devoted to him and some great audio links to listen to if anyone is interested.
Go to
and scroll down to July 17th.
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