View Full Version : Slightly OT; Tuckerfan's Museum of Automotive Oddities

10-24-2005, 07:03 PM
Plus a few other things. I was without net service a little while ago, so to keep myself occupied, I scanned some of the articles about strange automotive things that I've never been able to find much more about. (You don't think I'd actually spend my time cleaning house do you?)

First up, is the car (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/04maxim.jpg) Hiram Maxim (yes, that Hiram Maxim) built, which is unique in that features a flip top box and sadly, no machine guns. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//frown.gif

Next is the Perkin Paris (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/07pekinparismotoricontal.jpg) which had fenders that turned into a bridge. Why anybody would want such a thing is beyond me.

Many people think that the Amphicar (http://www.amphicar.com/) was the first car/boat combination, which is incorrect. The concept (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/07ravaillierampcar.jpg) 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 (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/11fordad.jpg) never came to pass. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif

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 (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/1948airway.jpg), this one (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/48wimille.jpg), or this one. (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/tasco01.jpg)

Back in the early days of automobiles, people were looking at all kinds of different engines and possibilities for alternative fuel. This engine (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/acetylenecarb.jpg) 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! (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/airomobile.jpg) http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif Actually, the car predates the Beetle by a year or so. As does this lookalike (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/34standard.jpg) and this one. (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/36steyr.jpg) 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 (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/apple.jpg)?

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 (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/ascort.jpg) from the folks down under, who for reasons known only to themselves, tried to give us the Zeta (http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c228/tuckerfan/Auto%20Stuff/zeta.jpg) 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 (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/balltire.jpg). 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 (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/briggshybrid01.jpg) 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 (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/coengine.jpg) which supposedly ran off it's own CO. 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 (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/cranklessengine.jpg). It had fewer moving parts, so I wonder why it never caught on.

Now, this engine (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/dieselclone.jpg) 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 (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/drivinggear.jpg) 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 (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/elmerengine.jpg) which supposedly got 300 MPG.

While this guy (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/gaspedal.jpg) 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 (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/gladiatortirepump.jpg). 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 (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/gsub.jpg). 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 (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/holeytire.jpg).

One of the dumbest ideas I've seen is this one (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/ibrake4idiots.jpg) 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 (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/inflatableclutch.jpg) other than it's a blow up clutch, and I'm sure we all think of the same thing when we read "blow up." http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif

How many of you have invented an alternative fuel over breakfast? Well, this young girl did (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/irol.jpg) 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 (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/pacerpickup01.jpg)? Yeah, it doesn't work for me either, and I like Pacers.

Well, it's upside down (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/ratplate.jpg), 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 (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/runtmobile.jpg) from the 1950s which got 100 MPG, of course it only seats one.

Let's see what else I've got here.

I'm guessing that this photo (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/sign.JPG) was taken during WW I, but I've never heard of gas rationing going on.

I saw a piece, some time back, that I can't find, about Michelin's work on making airless tires, which I really regret, because these (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/springwheel01.jpg) designs (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/springwheel02.jpg) pre-date (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/springwheel03.jpg) Michelin's tire by a good number of years.

Of course, they really can't compare to the US Army's square wheel (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/squarewheel.jpg) 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 (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/ssford1935.jpg). They also built a couple of Lincoln's in the Sixties that were stainless steel.

No, it's not a woodie BMW Isetta, (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/stationette50.jpg) in fact it predates the Isetta, IIRC, sure does look like one, though.

In the 1930's, one enterprising fellow built himself a steam (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/steamcamper01.jpg) powered (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/steamcamper02.jpg) motor home (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/steamcamper03.jpg). Got lousy gas mileage, but then again, gas was cheap back then, so nobody really cared.

Here's (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/steamcycle01.jpg) a homebuilt (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/steamcycle02.jpg) steam (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/steamcycle03.jpg) motorcycle (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/steamcycle04.jpg) 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 (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/steamcycle05.jpg) 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. (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/steamplane.jpg) 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 (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/suspension.jpg) is the first record of what were later to be called "knee action" shocks. Certainly, the description in the article sounds similar to them.

In the 1960s, one of the steel companies built a prototype (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/taxi01.jpg) taxi (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/taxi02.jpg), 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 (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/tirebrake.jpg), but they did. This is another idea I'm glad didn't catch on.

This has to be the ultimate dirt bike (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/tractorbike.jpg). Instead of a rear tire, it's got a caterpillar tread system.

Here's (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/tranny01.jpg) 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 (http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c228/tuckerfan/Auto%20Stuff/tranny02.jpg) 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! (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/tranny03.jpg)

If you've ever been four wheeling and gotten stuck, then you probably wish you had this set up (http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c228/tuckerfan/Auto%20Stuff/tire04.jpg) 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 (http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c228/tuckerfan/Auto%20Stuff/tire.jpg) which divided the tire into chambers so that if one part of the tire was punctured the tire would stay inflated. This (http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c228/tuckerfan/Auto%20Stuff/tire02.jpg) 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 (http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c228/tuckerfan/Auto%20Stuff/tire03.jpg)? 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. (http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c228/tuckerfan/Auto%20Stuff/tranny04.jpg) 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 (http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c228/tuckerfan/Auto%20Stuff/triphib02.jpg) 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. (http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c228/tuckerfan/Auto%20Stuff/triphib.jpg) 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 (http://www.americanroadshop.com/The_Monocycle/the_monocycle.html), and I had to laugh, because the idea's been around (http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c228/tuckerfan/Auto%20Stuff/unicar01.jpg) for decades (http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c228/tuckerfan/Auto%20Stuff/unicar02.jpg). In fact, someone even designed a tank version (http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c228/tuckerfan/Auto%20Stuff/unitank.jpg) between the World Wars. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif

Here's two engines (http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c228/tuckerfan/Auto%20Stuff/twoengines.jpg) 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 (http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c228/tuckerfan/Auto%20Stuff/wtfcar01.jpg) and all I can say is, "Why?"

If you think a Mini Cooper's too big, then this (http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c228/tuckerfan/Auto%20Stuff/wtfcar201.jpg) car's (http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c228/tuckerfan/Auto%20Stuff/wtfcar202.jpg) 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. (http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c228/tuckerfan/Auto%20Stuff/zis.jpg) 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 (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/russell01.jpg) article (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/russell02.jpg) for (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/russell03.jpg) years (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/russell04.jpg), 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.

10-24-2005, 07:14 PM
"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. "

Oh? They were just off by a few years... http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif


10-24-2005, 08:41 PM
"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."
Well actually that one did make it,Chicago Dries and Crumple used those clutches in several mechanical press brakes,the whole trick was having a 3/4" id tire stem so the air could inflate the clutch quickly.

10-24-2005, 09:29 PM
I want one of these


10-24-2005, 11:42 PM
Found the bit about the Michelin airless tire, it's called a "tweel." (http://www.michelinmedia.com/naias_2005/html/tech_tweel_gallery.htm)

3 Phase Lightbulb
10-25-2005, 12:00 AM
I wish I had a picture of the first car I drove. I made it myself with wood, nails, and screws. The front end consisted of a 2x4 with one wheel screwed on each end and a hole in the middle that let the 2x4 pivot. I had rope attached to the 2x4 for steering. I remember I built it with parts I found in the garbage on the way home from grade school. The wheels came off a small baby stroller (4" wheels I think).


10-25-2005, 12:42 AM

Some interesting articles there!

The Zeta car was indeed built by a washing machine manufacturer, Harold Lightburn, but had a Villiers engine similar to those used in several minicars of the late 40s/early 50s. See:
My brother is at present restoring a three wheeler two seater Scootacar with a similar power plant which he bought second hand in England in the early fifties.

The emergency disk wheel looks like a later version of the Stepney wheel. In the days of beaded edge tyres and non-detachable wheels, these were an English accessory spare wheel which clamped onto the spokes of a wheel with a flat tire to get the motorist home without having to repair the flat on the road.

On the subject of puncture-proof bike tires, in the Australian War Museum shortly after WW2 there was a German bike from late WW1 which had steel tires and a paper saddle. Apparently rubber and leather were getting scarce at the time, and were needed for the war effort. The bike wheels had two rims, one inside the other, with numerous springs about the size of valve springs between them to give some cushion effect. It must have been an interesting ride on a cobblestone road surface. Last time I was at the museum several years ago, the bike was no longer on display, and much of the WW1 stuff had been replaced by WW2 items.


Ron LaDow
10-25-2005, 10:11 AM
Re: the hydraulic drive and article (and maybe you know this already).
Tucker was involved in several projects with Miller, perhaps as early as the Ford effort at Indy ('35). Obviously Miller had backing from Ford at various times.
So I wouldn't be surprised if some of his (Tucker's) efforts had some Ford backing at one time or another.
Whether they were actual "Ford" efforts is open to interpretation.
Ron LaDow

10-25-2005, 06:52 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Ron LaDow:
Re: the hydraulic drive and article (and maybe you know this already).
Tucker was involved in several projects with Miller, perhaps as early as the Ford effort at Indy ('35). Obviously Miller had backing from Ford at various times.
So I wouldn't be surprised if some of his (Tucker's) efforts had some Ford backing at one time or another.
Whether they were actual "Ford" efforts is open to interpretation.
Ron LaDow</font>Tucker's partnership with Ford ended well before he started working on his car. Tucker and Harry Miller lost one too many races for Henry as I recall, and he killed Ford's entire racing program.

Oh, and I just found out what's probably the first (http://www.madle.org/exnrcella.htm) fuel cell car prototype. (http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/scienceservice/059001.htm) It dates from 1959 (and like fusion power, has been "just around the corner" for ages).

john hobdeclipe
10-27-2005, 09:31 PM
So fascinating, all the innovations that fell by the wayside over the years and were forgotten...except by a few.

So many have tried to get rid of crankshafts and connecting rods, but there is a sort of survival of the fittest going on in the technical world, also.

I'm reading "the Lives of a Bengal Lancer" by Francis Yeats-Brown. The authur had been serving in India since 1905 until his return to England in 1914. He states,

"Lord's, all the fashions and frivolities of 1914! When I had first left England, bicycling had only recently gone out of fashion. Now had arrived the era of motors which often ran for hundreds of miles without breakdown; and aeroplanes which looped the loop."
Geez, I wish I had a car like that!

Your Old Dog
10-28-2005, 06:01 AM
And then there's the 58 Vet.

I still get a firm-on when I see one.

10-28-2005, 04:30 PM
'59 or '63 T Top..... Don't get any better... Gave GM my endorsement this morning - '05 Suburban.


10-28-2005, 04:30 PM
'59 or '63 T Top..... Don't get any better... Gave GM my endorsement this morning - '05 Suburban.


10-28-2005, 08:24 PM
Tucker, I'm looking for info on a car sold by Sears & Roebuck, I believe in the mid 1920's. It came shipped in a crate that could be used as a garage. From the one pic I've seen it seems to be smaller than the Bantam.

The stainless ford is a 1936 model. It was a promotion for the steel company.

The golden submarine was driven in races by Barney Oldfield.

I do like the Pacer Pickup. Did it also have the passenger side door longer than the driver's side?


10-28-2005, 11:21 PM
PolskiFran, I've seen pics of one of the Sears cars, but I don't have any. According to the book I have (The New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Automobiles by David Burgess Wise), they were built from 1908-1912, and weren't very popular (they lost $80,000 on the cars, big, big money back then). In the early 50s, they sold Henry J's rebadged as "Allstate" (I've also seen mention of the original car being called an "Allstate" don't know if that's true or not.

I image that the Pacer pick up did have one door wider than the other, since it was a production model Pacer that the company carved up to make the pick up.

08-13-2007, 02:35 AM
A bump because I've discovered this page (http://thrillingwonder.blogspot.com/2007/02/aerodynamic-marvels.html), with some rather odd looking cars. Including one that
"First, let’s look under the hood (presuming it has one, somewhere). While the
Fascination’s standard engine is an aluminum, fuel-injected four-cylinder, a new type of energy source is touted as the vehicle’s soon-to-come power drive: the Nobel Gas Plasma Engine.
"This engine is a closed two-cycle reciprocating engine that has no intake, uses no air, emitting no exhaust at all! The fuel is self-contained and hermetically sealed in the cylinders which are initially charged at the time of manufacturing, carrying their own power supply that will last approximately 60 to 75 thousand miles with no fall of efficiency."A rather nifty steam powered bicycle. (http://patentpending.blogs.com/patent_pending_blog/2007/03/copeland_steam_.html)I know that a bicycle with a large front wheel is called a "pennyfarthing," but I've no idea what you call one with a large rear wheel.
In 1884, Arizona engineer Lucius Day Copeland combined a highwheeled bicycle driven by levers, with a small steam engine, with the result being a steam powered motorcycle.And thanks to the wonders of the intarwebs, you can see the steam powered plane in action! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPEv_M7p4fA)

Here's the clip (http://youtube.com/watch?v=bxlj6fgQ-ZU) of Ford's plastic car with Ford hitting it. According to the narrator, the plastic is made from hemp, which conflicts with my memory, but who knows?

Here's a whole bunch of pages that Wile E. Coyote would love. Back in the 1960s, there was a company called Turbonique (http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2006/04/the_real_acme.html). To say that they had an "interesting" product line is putting it mildly. JATO jets for your car (http://static.flickr.com/45/119673134_0898423e2b_o.jpg) interesting. Rocket powered rear end, interesting. (http://www.almar.easynet.be/turbonique.htm) Rocket powered go karts that would do 160 MPH interesting! (http://www.vaiden.net/rocket_gokart.html) :eek:

In poking around on the web, I've managed to find part of their catalog on the web. (http://turbonique.tripod.com/) They've long since gone under, but you can buy copies of their technical manual on-line. (http://www.the-rocketman.com/turbonique.html) According to that site, it has everything you need to know to build your own rocket powered car. :cool: It does, however, appear to be lacking information on how to obtain fuel for them. thankfully, this site appears to have the necessary instructions on how to make it. (http://www.roguesci.org/megalomania/explo/NPN.html)

Wonder if you could get a tax credit for owning an "alternative fueled vehicle" if you used this stuff? ;)

This page (http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2007/04/worlds-strangest-vehicles.html) and this one (http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2007/07/worlds-strangest-vehicles-part-2.html) both are chok-a-blok with oddball stuff. There's also links to what looks like a version of the Batsub from the 1960s show after The Joker pimped it!

I know that many people think that those RVs made from semi's are ugly, but there's much worse out there. Both of them are built by the same guy, not surprisingly. The first one (http://www.databrothers.net/pages/traderconnection/database/wdblist320/wdblist321.cgi?cars+specs.cfg+specials+01020002) is a product of the unholy marriage of between a 1960s Chrysler and a 1980s Mercedes station wagon. The other one (http://www.databrothers.net/pages/traderconnection/database/wdblist320/wdblist321.cgi?cars+specs.cfg+specials+01020003) is a GMC van that's been stretched to 50 ft! It also has a sauna trailer.

There's also the hideous Leata Cabalero (http://news.windingroad.com/body-stylesmarket-segment/coupes/liberaces-city-car-the-leata-cabalero-on-ebay/)
“The vehicle you are looking at is, without a doubt, the finest and most beautiful automobile to ever be manufactured in Post Falls, Idaho.”High praise, that.

Surely one of the ugliest cars ever built was the Aurora. (http://www.rexfeatures.com/features/516925/)
The unique Aurora, a 19 feet long monster that was built by an eccentric New York priest as the ultimate safety vehicle, is now turning heads again.

Father Alfred Juliano bankrupted himself creating the prototype, which remained the only one ever built because the contraption was so full of faults no one wanted one.

It was supposed to be the safest car ever built and included features that are now common, but at the time were unheard of.

It had seatbelts, a roll cage, side-impact bars, a collapsible steering column, foam-filled bumpers
and a padded instrument panel.

Its windscreen was curved away from the driver so the possibility of impact with it was reduced.
Some more info (http://driving.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,12389-1536514,00.html) on the Aurora.
The fibreglass body is so heavy it takes four people to lift the bonnet
Chassis based on 1954 Buick Roadmaster. Buyers offered choice of engines
The built-in hydraulic jacks ease wheel changing
Driver and three passengers sat on individual captain’s chairs
In 1957 the cost was estimated at $15,000. A Cadillac then cost $4,891

There's also the Mohs Safarikar (http://www.hemmings.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/articles.obg/id/47)?

It's got naugahyde upholstery on the exterior!

I'd be remiss if I didn't submit this (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/72custom.jpg) for consideration as an ugly car.

And how could I forget about the Davis (http://www.suarezweb.com/davis/dfotos.htm)? He was another fellow who tried to do the same thing as Preston Tucker and got hounded out of the industry by the courts.

Oh, and I'd completely forgot about a company that produced almost nothing but ugly cars, especially this model. (http://www.sunbeltcars.com/kaiser_darrin.htm)

And there's Elvis's Stutz! (http://sharoncarrell_1.tripod.com/stutz/white01.jpg) (The real horror is that back in the 1920s, Stutzs were beautiful cars, and someone decided to "revive" the brand by producing that thing.)

And really, the less (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/sirvival01.jpg) said about (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/sirvival02.jpg) Sir (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/sirvival03.jpg) Vival (http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/sirvival04.jpg), the better, IMHO.

08-13-2007, 03:46 AM
Peel made a very pretty fibreglass body for mini components in the mid 60's.
I almost bought one about 1968.
The 3 wheeler shown(the Trident),had no reverse gear.Instead,it provided a handle on the rear of the body,to lift it up and walk it backwards.I kid you not!:D.
And how about the VW "Schwimmwagen" for an amphibian.Apparently they leaked like a sieve,so weren't overly popular with the troops:)

Doc Nickel
08-13-2007, 05:44 AM
The guys over at the HAMB have been trying to ID this monster:





I'll give a whole box of E-cookies to whoever can tell us what the heck it is. Or was. Or was supposed to be.

We have no data on it whatsoever, apart from what can be seen in the photos themselves. The axle housing in the center almost certainly does not belong to it- the car itself is a three-wheeler, and clearly whatever drivetrain it once had, was mounted amidships.


08-13-2007, 06:11 AM
Got me, Doc. I've passed it on to the folks who know more about cars than me, to see if they have any ideas. Has anyone asked about it at http://forums.hemmings.com/ ?

A.K. Boomer
08-13-2007, 10:10 AM
Dont know but nice touch with the brick chimney hiding in the engine compartment, made me do a double take anyways.

A.K. Boomer
08-13-2007, 10:16 AM
I want one of these


Im with you on that one Hoffman, that baby looks like a Mig with wheels!

Great stuff Tucker, that 4 cyl. engine that uses the internal lobe drive is actually pretty cool and would run, takes up more space than needed but not in a radial plane setting, very interesting...

08-13-2007, 05:11 PM

Two were to be auctioned off at Reno's HAN, dealer couldn't pedal them.

Playlike: 12 standard blue collar shop workers are barely making ends meet, when the successful shop owner drives up in one of these to park in his private, shade roofed parking spot.


08-13-2007, 06:11 PM
sears sold the Crossley. A friend of mine owned a station wagon model. I understand that they make refrigerators now and stand alone refigeration modules for semi trailers and railroad cars.

08-14-2007, 04:53 AM
sears sold the Crossley. A friend of mine owned a station wagon model. I understand that they make refrigerators now and stand alone refigeration modules for semi trailers and railroad cars.
Actually, Crosley started out making fridges, radios, and other consumer electronics.

Just found out about this today. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/technology/technology.html?in_article_id=470818&in_page_id=1965) It's a car that has tires made from potatoes, of all things.
The tyres are made of potatoes and the brake pads from ground cashew shells.

The body was created from hemp and rapeseed oil, and it runs on fuel made from fermented wheat and sugar beet.

Yet despite the greenest of credentials, this mean machine is capable of a highly-impressive 150mph.

The one-seater racing car - called Eco One - has been built by experts from Warwick University to dispel the perception that 'green' motoring means dull little electric runarounds or filling your fuel tank with chip fat.

Doc, everyone I've checked with seems to think that your mystery machine is a one-off homebuilt car.

Doc Nickel
08-14-2007, 07:43 AM
That's starting to be the consensus.

If the guys at the HAMB and the Straight Dope can't figure it out, that means it's pretty friggin' obscure. :D

The best speculation is that it was a promotional vehicle, akin to the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile. IE, something that a store, company or business made or had made to promote said business. Possibly even something for a circus or amusement park.

Barring further information, that's probably the closest we might get. A more detailed look at the frame might at least indicate whether it's a production piece (stamped or formed framerails and rivets) or a one-off (angle-iron and stick welds) but the guy that took the photos was only in the area on a service call of some sort, and is unlikely to get the chance for a closer look.

I'd also be interested to know what sort of brackets might still exist for a motor or drivetrain. I suspect it was simply a large motorcycle engine, simply because of the single rear wheel, but hey, some nuthatch might have turned a small 4-banger car engine sideways and used a chain drive as well...

The cockpit looks too "finished" for a one-off or one-use car like a parade float or movie prop, though it's possible the whole cab part was lifted off something else.

It has a cool look though. I'd love to see it sorta-hot-rodded.


08-14-2007, 11:08 PM
Doc,I have a customer who has in his collection an old Italian built three wheeled delivery vehicle that looks very similar,it was post WWII IIRC and imported here for a few years,but never caught on.It had some odd flat four two-cycle engine.

08-15-2007, 06:17 AM
Any idea of where they were taken, Doc? Someone at the Dope might be able to swing by and take more photos/ask the owner of the car.

Just had a thought: Perhaps the rear end really does go that thing. They might have done what Bucky Fuller did with his Dymaxion, put a standard car rear end in the front, and do the steering with the back tire. That front end sort of reminds me of old van rear ends, and I'm wondering if they didn't whack the rear end off of something, turn it around and use it as the front for this thing.

Doc Nickel
08-15-2007, 07:23 AM
The original thread is here (http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=200438). The HAMB, if you're not familiar, is an excellent hotrodders' board, specializing in pre-'64 rods, "kustoms" and loriders.

The originator of the thread lists his location as Muskogee, Oklahoma.

One of the last posts (as of this writing) suggests the fenders are '41 Chevy, which, if true, strongly suggests it's one-off custom-built nature.

The axle looks very much like an early '70s GM B-Body 10-bolt, and you can (barely) see a single rear tire under the rear cowling, so no, I doubt it goes to it.

Weird- If you can get a make or model, or better yet a photo, that'd be much appreciated. These pix have been posted to a dozen boards so far, and no one has any solid answers.


08-18-2007, 03:52 AM
Doc,I have a customer who has in his collection an old Italian built three wheeled delivery vehicle that looks very similar,it was post WWII IIRC and imported here for a few years,but never caught on.It had some odd flat four two-cycle engine.
In googling around, the only thing I can come with that's Italian is the Ape, which was made by the same folks that built the Vespa, and while there is some resemblance, they're clearly not Doc's Enigmamobile.