Previously, Fuller had designed and built prototypes of what he hoped would be a safer, aerodynamic Dymaxion Car ("Dymaxion" is contracted from DYnamic MAXimum tensION). To this end he experimented with a radical new approach. He worked with professional colleagues over a period of three years, beginning in 1932. Based on a design idea Fuller had derived from that of aircraft, the three prototype cars were all quite different from anything on the market. For one thing, each of these vehicles had three, not four, wheels - with two (the drive wheels) in front, and the third, rear wheel being the one that was steered. The engine was located in the rear. Both the chassis and the body were original designs. The aerodynamic, somewhat tear-shaped body (which in one of the prototypes was about 18 feet long), was large enough to seat 11 people. It somehow resembled a melding of a light aircraft (albeit without wings) and a Volkswagen van of 1950s vintage. The car was essentially a mini-bus in each of its three trial incarnations, and its concept long predated the Volkswagen Transporter mini-bus that was conceived by Ben Pon in 1947 and first built in 1950.
Despite its length, and due to its three-wheel design, the Dymaxion Car turned on a small radius and parked in a tight space quite easily. The prototypes were efficient in fuel consumption for their day. Fuller poured a great deal of his own money (inherited from his mother) into the project, in... [continues]
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