As Architect and Bucky Fuller disciple Norman Foster was building his Dymaxion car, he described the ride to Jonathan Glancy in the Guardian:
"Driving the Dymaxion is a revelation," says this lifelong sci-fi fan and Fuller's perfect disciple. "At slow speeds, it can turn on itself, almost like a spinning top. Moving faster, it is extraordinarily well-cushioned and feels more like a boat than a car."
"The Dymaxion had the same engine and transmission as the Ford Sedan of the time," says Foster, who worked with Fuller, his design hero, from 1971 until his death 12 years later. "However, at three times the volume, with half the fuel consumption and a 50% increase in top speed, it not only did more with less, but anticipated the 'people mover' of several decades later."
Now the Lane Motor Museum has built a replicar and it has been reviewed by Jaymi Lincoln Kitman of Car Talk, who has nothing good to say at all about it, and did not listen to mother who might have said then you say nothing at all. He is blunt: "let’s not beat around the bush. You’ve pushed shopping carts with broken casters that handle better." He is devastating:
Whatever good the Dymaxion’s aerodynamic design – courtesy of the Japanese sculptor Isamu Noguchi --does for stability (and it is surprisingly unaffected today by crosswinds and buffeting from passing semis) its absurd chassis, with heavy engine at its stern and hallucinogenicly-geared third-wheel steering, takes away. The original car, which boasted an ability to turn 360-degrees in its own length, also sported an insanely excessive 21(!) turns lock to lock. In an understandable engineering fix, the Lane replica only requires six turns. And, thanks to sensible angle limiters for the third wheel, the car will no longer rotate in the length of its own wheelbase, eliminating a neat selling point while ditching the obvious hazard of a fully sideways rear wheel.
Now when you watch this Metropolis Magazine video of Norman Foster driving his, going around in those circles is one of the cutest things. He is not complaining about the steering, or the visibility. Kitman sure is:
Unexpectedly, forward visibility is not a strong suit and to the windowless rear, it’s predictably awful, with a roof-mounted mirror – visible only when taking your eyes off the road and craning one’s neck – providing a snapshot of just some of what’s going on – 25 feet behind you. Spotters are strongly recommended for reversing. In any event, keeping your eyes pointed directly ahead while driving is essential for drivers who prefer not to die. Texting or map-reading for even a moment is the Dymaxion equivalent of taking a loaded six-gun to your temple.
Well you shouldn't be texting anyway. I really wonder if it is the same car as Sir Norman is driving.
The Wall Street Journal took it for a spin as well. They are not impressed with the driving experience either. "Bad, very bad."