Wagon Wednesday: From the Days of Future's Past: The Dymaxion Car

Dymaxion replica showing that the rear steering really does work

One of the more brilliant minds of the twentieth century, Buckminster Fuller, decided to tackle the idea of the perfect family car. As was typical of his creations, it was an unusual approach to the problem with three wheels and a turning radius that was less than the cars length.

[Image: ClassicAndPerformanceCar.com]

File:Dymaxion car photo.jpg
The clown car of the future

In 1933 Buckminster Fuller used what he described as some pocket money to create the car of the future.

dymaxion Car interior

The design of the Dymaxion looked liked Flash Gordon’s family hauler in 1933.  One of the features that was decades ahead of it’s time were the use of seat belts. Another was the use of a rear mounted engine which helped weight distribution. Once again Fuller would use the geodesic design in one of this creations, this would allow the entire structure to be built quickly and easily. Unfortunately one of it’s primary features would also lead to it’s downfall. The Dymaxion utilized rear wheel steering which was counter intuitive for the driver. During the 1933 Chicago’s World Fair the Dymaxion rolled and killed it’s driver. The driver was wearing his seatbelt but the cloth roof didn’t provide any sort of protection.


The Dymaxion paved the way for the people movers of the following decades. His choice of shape would look prescient with vehicles like the Toyota Previa. Had he just put the steering up front things may have been different in vehicle development.

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