One of the great things about automotive history is the sheer amount of creativity displayed by designers over the years. Perhaps an expected and interesting innovation that has appeared is the use of three wheels rather than four. Even though this design may never be mainstream, it has nonetheless led to many noteworthy vehicles. Here’s a look at five of them:
Built by former Mensa president Buckminster Fuller, this amazing auto could seat 11 passengers, turn in its own radius and get 30 miles per gallon. This makes it a phenomenal invention by 21st-century standards. By those of its time it was extraordinary.
Released in 1962, this auto took the term “personal transportation” to its ultimate expression, reducing size, weight and power to the bare minimums needed to get a single individual from Point A to Point B. In February of this year a surviving model fetched $120,000.00 at auction, a testament to its lasting appeal.
Unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, this electric-powered vehicle is essentially a three-wheeled cycle with a canopy surrounding the operator for climate control and safety purposes. It may one day be available for city dwellers in need of a quick, handy way to dash off to the market without having to worry about finding a full-sized parking spot.
Mercedes-Benz F-300 Life-Jet
Unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1997, this clever little ride has Active Tilt Control (ATC), which automatically adjusts the vehicle’s angle for best performance. Its 1.6-liter engine can push it from 0-60 in less than eight seconds, not bad for such a small power plant.
This is actually the 2011 version of a concept that Volkswagen has been refining for many years. This latest version is estimated to get 261 mpg and is available in Europe for a scant $150,000, and more than 200 people have already signed up to buy one.
While the XL1 is a four wheeled vehicle, the rear wheels are so narrow that it will most likely exhibit handling characteristics similar to that of a three-wheeled car.
- Buckminster Fuller