Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dymaxion Car - Buckminster Fuller

Once again I'm getting a little off the topic of Isettas or even microcars, but recently I picked up a book that is so awesome, I feel compelled to do a post about it. I've admired Buckminster Fuller for a long time. Several years ago while in Japan, I was fortunate enough to see the Buckminster Fuller exhibition "Your Private Sky - R. Buckminster Fuller - Art Design Science" The sole surviving incomplete Dymaxion car was not in this show, but there was a nice model of the Dymaxion as well as many historical documents, photographs, and films. Recently a new book has come out titled "Dymaxion Car Buckminster Fuller". It is published by Architecture Ivory Press. There were originally three Dymaxion cars built. The first one was completed in 1933. Of the three cars built, there is only one incomplete survivor owned by the National Auto Museum in Reno, NV. In 2008 the British architect Norman Foster decided to recreate the Dymaxion. Foster enlisted vintage race car specialist Crosthwaite & Gardiner to build the car. Working with the Dymaxion Chronofile at Stanford University and the National Auto Museum in Reno, Crosthwaite & Gardiner set out to recreate as accurate as possible recreation of the Dymaxion #3. The Dymaxion Car book is kind of divided in half. The first half of the book is dedicated to the original three Dymaxions. Lots of great historical documents, drawings and photographs. The second half of the book is dedicated to documenting the recreation of a forth Dymaxion car commissioned by Norman Foster and built by Crosthwaite & Gardiner. If you're a fan of Buckminster Fuller or have an affinity for automotive history, design, engineering or fabrication, this is a must have book.

Rear view of car #1 with framing in progress, July 9,1933.

The framed up "hull" of car #1, 1933

Completed Dymaxion car #1, 1933

Interior of Dymaxion car #1

Dymaxion car #3 photographed at the Chicago World Fair in the summer of 1934.

Patent application drawing. Patent #2,101,057 was granted on December 7, 1937.

Detail of the steering gear housing for car #3, dated December 13, 1933.

Drawing of the never built triple engine Dymaxion D-45, 1942

Crosthwaite & Gardiner building the frame for Dymaxion #4.

The chassis, engine and running gear in the process of being dry assembled.

Steven Aspden of Peter Freebody & Co at work on the ash frame.

Fitting the aluminum body panels to the frame.

The final body panels were made by Roach Manufacturing - a company with expertise in forming complex aluminum body panels.

The completed rolling chassis waiting for the delivery of the body.

The bodywork being fitted to the chassis.

Click on the photo to view a video of Norman Foster driving the Dymaxion he commissioned Crosthwaite & Gardener to build.

Here are a few more links about Dymaxion #4 that you might want to check out:

My personal opinion is that this is a really great thing for Bucky's legacy that Norman Foster has done. Once again people will be able to experience first hand the imagination and ingenuity of Buckminster Fuller. There is no doubt that Buckminster Fuller will continue to inspire future generations of forward thinking visionaries working towards more sustainable and harmonious ways of harnessing the resources of planet earth. Definitely a man way ahead of his time. One last thought, how about a Revell 1/18 scale die-cast of the Dymaxion. I would think that virtually every museum shop and design store would want to carry it, and a portion of the sales could benefit the Buckminster Fuller Institute. A Dymaxion die-cast sure would look cool sitting next to my Revell Isetta w/ Camper.

1 comment:

  1. Great article! I dropped my wiper motor today and now it wont work. I took the cover off and the little cylindrical thing-a-majig that turns around has developed a sticky spot. Is there any way to free it from the sticky spot and get it to work again or is my otherwise perfect motor toast?