Tuckerfan's Museum of Automotive Oddities

Plus a few other things. One of the things I did while I was without net service was dig up all the ancient magazines I’ve got and scanned some of the articles about strange automotive things that I’ve never been able to find much more about.

First up, is the car Hiram Maxim (yes, that Hiram Maxim) built, which is unique in that features a flip top box and sadly, no machine guns. :frowning:

Next is the Perkin Paris which had fenders that turned into a bridge. Why anybody would want such a thing is beyond me.

Many people think that the Amphicar was the first car/boat combination, which is incorrect. The concept had been around since 1907, if not before.

Lots of people hate SUVs because they’re big, ugly, and use too much gas. Well, just be glad that Ford’s concept (in 1911) of what a car in 1961 would look like never came to pass. :eek:

Preston Tucker wasn’t the only fellow in 1948 trying to capitalize on the post-war demand for cars, only Henry J. Kaiser managed to have any success. The other folks, did manage to build a car or two. However, I can’t see anyone falling in love with this car, this one, or this one.

Back in the early days of automobiles, people were looking at all kinds of different engines and possibilities for alternative fuel. This engine supposedly got better fuel economy running on acetylene than gas engines of the era, and (at least at that time) acetylene was cheaper than gas. I’m tempted to try and find the patents for that engine and see if it could be made to work.

Look! It’s a VW Beetle on steroids! :eek: Actually, the car predates by a year or so. As does this lookalike and this one. Interestingly enough, the last two are both German cars, while the first one is American.

And did you know that before he built computers, Steve Jobs was into cars? Well, who else would call their car an Apple?

I don’t know when the trend started, but shortly after the VW Beetle showed up after WW II, people began ripping them apart and replacing the body with a fiberglas one. One of the niftiest looking ones, I think, was the Ascort from the folks down under, who for reasons known only to themselves, tried to give us the Zeta as well. (IIRC, it had a washing machine motor.)

Lest you think I’ve only got automotive things, I point you to this rather unusual motorcycle tire. It’s a solid tire that had the center carved out and replaced with balls, to help the rider improve his cornering. Can’t imagine it’d be fun to ride on anything but a dirt track.

The next time your eco-friendly cow-irker goes on and how about how cutting edge their hybrid is show them the Briggs and Stratton hybrid car which was built in the 1980s. (I wish I could find the article on the hybrid truck which dates from the teens or 20s.)

Here’s an engine which supposedly ran off it’s own CO[sub]2[/sub]. How it could possibly work, I’ve no idea. (According to the article the exhaust from the primary cylinders would be sent to larger secondary cylinders where it would be consumed.)

An interesting variant on the rotary engine is this crankless engine. It had fewer moving parts, so I wonder why it never caught on.

Now, this engine sounds like a diesel engine, but had some undefined difference that the neither the article nor the crappy photo makes clear.

Given the latest fashions for drivers at the turn of the 1900s it’s a wonder the automobile ever caught on at all.

We’ve all heard the tale of the 100 MPG, but that’s nothing compared to this engine which supposedly got 300 MPG.

While this guy appears to be romantically involved with his gas pedal, it actually is a pretty good idea. When you pulled your foot off the gas pedal the brakes like would flash. Someone else came up the idea at about the same time (and I wish I could find the article) where the harder you pressed on the brakes, the brighter your tail lights would get.

We’ve all had to struggle with flat tires in the past, well the folks who built the Gladiator car had an idea to help with that. They put an air pump in the wheel hub. All you had to do was hook the tire iron up to and pump till your arms fell off.

Back before he was building cars, Preston Tucker learned everything he knew from famed Indy race car designer Harry A. Miller. One of Miller’s cars was called the Golden Submarine. It was supposed to be the ultimate high performance and safety. The car above it, is an Auburn speedster which was built a number of years later and looks very similar, IMHO.

The government is requiring all cars to have tire pressure monitoring systems, and many companies are looking at something other than pneumatic tires. Perhaps they should try this idea.

One of the dumbest ideas I’ve seen is this one for a brake pedal that was wired up to the driver’s eye brows. You blink, and it slams on the brakes. Does anyone see a problem here? Can you imagine what would happen if the driver had a sneezing fit?

I don’t have anything for this one other than it’s a blow up clutch, and I’m sure we all think of the same thing when we read “blow up.” :wink:

How many of you have invented an alternative fuel over breakfast? Well, this young girl did and we’ve never heard any more about it.

Everybody laughed when we saw Wayne driving an AMC Pacer in *Wayne’s World, however, did you know that AMC actually considered trying to make the Pacer hip? Yeah, it doesn’t work for me either, and I like Pacers.

Well, it’s upside down, but this is an article about a license plate that would snitch on you if you broke the speed limit. Glad that idea didn’t catch on.

If showing your irritating cow-irker the hybrid from the 80s doesn’t shut them up, then show them this British built car from the 1950s which got 100 MPG, of course it only seats one.

That’s all for now, I’ve got to toddle off to bed, but I’ll be back with a steam powered air plane, motorcycle, and camper, not to mention a truck which used its mud flaps as brakes, a motorcycle modeled after a tractor and tons of other things.

Sure it did! It looks like a Hummer :smiley:

Welcome back Tuckerfan. Many here missed you while you were gone.


That looks like a double expansion engine.

The standard Otto cycle would take place in two of the cylinders, then, instead of just going into the exhaust manifold, the exhaust would be shunted to the two remaining cylinders to recover additional exhaust pressure.

No burning of carbon dioxide, though.

The Ford Nucleon. Just guess what it’s powered by. Go ahead, take a wild guess. And this from the company that would later build the Pinto.

On the other hand, it was supposed to get 5000 miles per fuelup…with current gas prices, I might decide to risk it. (Hell, I’d probably do it anyway, just to say I had.)

Cool links, Tuckerfan!

And didn’t the article say that the second stange was burning carbon monoxide, CO, not carbon dioxide, CO[sub]2[/sub]? That sounds logical, given inefficient combusion in the first stage.

And if the Ford Nucleon was nuclear-powered, what’s the Ford Fusion powered by? :slight_smile:


:eek: Alright, what the devil is that thing? A concept design? A photoshop pic? Barbie’s APC?

Lady Penelope’s jalopy.

Or the Pink Panther’s wheels.

Therewas a custom limo used in the intro to the Pink Panther TV cartoons, in the 70’s. Anybody got a link?

I hate to say it, but I like that Pacer-thing.

Chevy had the El Camino.
Ford had the Ranchero
Chrysler had the Turismo.
Even Subaru had the Brat.

I was wondering why AMC didn’t have its own car/pickup

It’s FAB1 - Lady Penelope’s car (this version was actually built by Ford for the recent (crappy) live action Thunderbirds movie).

In the August issue of Hemmings Classic Car Magazine, there’s an article about the Gremlins AMC never built. One of them was a Brat-like pickup.

What can you tell me about the Leslie Special and the Hannibal 8? I know that they were built for the Jack Lemmon/Tony Curtis movie The Great Race, but beyond that I know nothing. Were they modified from existing antique cars? Was either of them capable of actually being driven?

Answers the question, “What Would Liberace Drive?”

All the cars in that movie were built by custom shops for the film and have very little in common with antique cars. From what I understand, the cars were drivable, but not exactly safe to operate.

You’re right, Sunspace, shame on me for not rereading the article after I scanned it. Still, it’s the only IC engine I’ve ever seen like that, while compound engines are fairly common amongst steamers.

Nic2004, thanks.

Let’s see what else I’ve got here.

I’m guessing that this photo was taken during WW I, but I’ve never heard of gas rationing going on.

There was a thread, some time back, that I can’t find, about Michelin’s work on making airless tires, which I really regret, because these designs pre-date Michelin’s tire by a good number of years.

Of course, they really can’t compare to the US Army’s square wheel idea. I can see how it’d work in mud, it’s pavement that I can’t picture them driving on.

Everyone thinks that DeLorean built the first stainless steel car. That’s not true at all, Ford built a couple in 1935. They also built a couple of Lincoln’s in the Sixties that were stainless steel.

Johnny L. A. apparently hasn’t poked his head in this thread, yet, but he’ll enjoy this. No, it’s not a woodie BMW Isetta, in fact it predates the Isetta, IIRC, sure does look like one, though.

In the 1930’s, one enterprising fellow built himself a steam powered motor home. Got lousy gas mileage, but then again, gas was cheap back then, so nobody really cared.

Here’s a homebuilt steam motorcycle that originally started out as a Harley Davidson. It ran on propane and the builder claimed it was cheaper to operate than a gas powered bike. About the only problem I can see with it, is that it lacks a condenser, so you have to top up the water periodically.

This steam motorcycle dates from the 1930s and the guy who owned it lived in the same small town as my father. When I first saw the pic, I sent it to my dad and asked him if he happened to know the guy, but he’d never heard of him.

As far as I know, this is the only steam powered airplane ever built. I’ve got a book from the 1920s which has plans on how to build a model plane that runs on steam, but I’ve never seen another steam plane capable of carrying people. One of the nifty things about it, is that on landing, the pilot could reverse the engine and slow the plane down rapidly. Apparently, they made one demonstration flight with the plane and then yanked the engine out.

I think that this is the first record of what were later to be called “knee action” shocks. Certainly, the description in the article sounds similar to knee action shocks.

In the 1960s, one of the steel companies built a prototype taxi, which was supposed to be the ultimate in luxury. They showed it to the Big Three, but apparently not Checker (who was the cab maker at the time), or AMC (which built cars that looked similar).

I’m not sure why anyone thought that using mud flaps for an emergency brake in semis was a good idea, but they did. This is another idea I’m glad didn’t catch on.

This has to be the ultimate dirt bike. Instead of a rear tire, it’s got a caterpillar tread system.

Here’s a hydraulic transmission set up, which pre-dates that of Tucker’s. No clue if this is where Tucker got his idea or not.

Instead of gears, this tranny used an oscillating weight. Can’t imagine that the car got very good gas mileage.

I don’t know about the engine, but this tranny’s a hemi!

If you’ve ever been four wheeling and gotten stuck, then you probably wish you had this set up for your vehicle. At the push of a button, studs would protrude from the inner part of the wheel and, in theory, give you better traction. I can’t tell from the illustration exactly how this would work. (The drawing seems to show a full-time and not an on demand system.)

Another variant on the “puncture resistant” tire is this one which divided the tire into chambers so that if one part of the tire was punctured the tire would stay inflated. This is apparently the only production use of the idea, and it’s for a bicycle.

Instead of a donut spare, how about a wooden disk? I can’t imagine it’d be a safe ride at highway speeds.

About a decade or so after Tucker tried to get his hydraulic transmission working Triumph gave it a shot. Nary a clue as to what happened to it.

Back in the 1930s or so, the US gov’t spent several thousand dollars on a car which was supposed to be able float and fly as well as drive on the road. No one ever found out if it worked or not, as when the inventor started it up for the first time it burst into flames. The inventor was pulled from the flaming wreck by news photographers.

A few years ago, on the TV show Invent This! they featured a monocycle, and I had to laugh, because the idea’s been around for decades. In fact, someone even designed a tank version between the World Wars. :eek:

Here’s two engines which were supposed to be better than the Otto cycle engne. Neither of them caught on, as far as I can tell.

Many of us have a dream car, which has never been built. One man built his and all I can say is, “Why?

If you think a Mini Cooper’s too big, then this car’s for you. It could probably fit inside a Mini Cooper.

We’ve all seen the wild concept cars that Detroit came up with during the 1950s, and with the Cold War raging, the Soviets were not allow the capitalist American pig dogs to out do them, so they came up with the Zis. Not exactly a pretty car, but it looks like it could go through a brick wall and not even slow down.

That’s about all I have (somewhere I’ve got other nifty articles, but I can’t find them in all the kipple), except for one item, which caused me nearly to crap myself when I saw it. I’d literally had this article for years, never read it, and never even paid any attention to it, until recently. As I was flipping through my collection, I noticed that it was about a hydraulic drive car, and I said, “Meh, Tucker had the same idea.” Then I noticed who wrote the article and the date which it was published. It was written by Charles T. Pearson, who’s the author of the official Tucker biography and it was published in 1946, and it’s about an engineer who had built a prototype hydraulic drive car for Ford. Pearson would have been working (at least part time) for Tucker when the article was written and strangely enough, the figures he cites in the article are identical to those claimed by Tucker for his system. Even more puzzling, there’s no mention by Pearson of this article, or Ford’s work, in his bio of Tucker. It has me wondering.

Actually, it looks more like this EV! :eek:

Oo the War Wheel! Call the Blackhawks :cool:

Fixed the “around” link