Norman Foster Rebuilds Buckminister Fuller's 1933 Fuel Efficient Vehicle
A few weeks ago, we mentioned that British architect Norman Foster was painstakingly reproducing the Dymaxion Car, a famous 1933 vehicle designed by design icon Buckminister Fuller. According to a recent story in the Guardian, the car is now complete and on show at Ivorypress Gallery in Madrid, which has published a book chronicling its history, Dymaxion Car: Buckminster Fuller.
When it was originally produced the Dymaxion Car was part of a larger line of Dymaxion products, each of which Fuller designed to improve the well-being of their users. Due to its light frame and aerodynamic shape, Dymaxion Car got 35 miles per gallon, which was twice as fuel-efficient as other cars on the road (and not too shabby by today's standards). Only three versions of the car were made, and two are no longer with us—one crashed and then later burned, the other was scrapped. But #2 (above) is housed in an auto museum and was part of the Buckminster Fuller show at the Whitney that opened in 2008. Foster had to borrow car #2 and the plans for the others to reproduce the vehicle, which he built with a car restoration company.
Foster's not advocating that manufacturers should bring back the Dymaxion—he was a friend and protege of Fuller, and wanted to pay homage to his mentor by bringing the car to a new audience. But Foster's blast-from-the-past does present a timely reminder of the future of fuel-efficient autos. As new efficiency and emissions standards have been stipulated by the government, many of Fuller's principles, like using more lightweight materials, are definitely already being employed by car designers.
For a briefing on Bucky, read our GOOD Guide to Fuller, which will give you plenty of background on the designer and his geodesic genius.