Considered to be one of the most iconic designs from architect and designer Buckminster Fuller, the Dymaxion #1 is one of three cars that were designed by the late designer in the 1930s. Although the zeppelin-esque design of the car is well-loved and has been etched-in to nearly every industrial design history book or class curriculum, it is far from being what most would consider being even remotely safe.

When the Dymaxion #1 was presented and driven at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, it made headlines and scared off potential investors after it killed the test driver and injured two passengers in a brutal crash. Unsurprisingly, the public lost interest in the car before it even went into production and it became known as a literal death machine.

In December of 2014, Jeff Lane, an automobile collector and owner of the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, was able to get his hands on a Dymaxion Replica n after spending eight years researching and re-creating the car to a drivable state.


In an article published over the weekend in the Wall Street Journal by Rumble Seat columnist Dan Neil, Lane and Neil take the Dymaxion out of a spin in what was likely one of the most nerve-wracking, wobbly test drives either have taken.

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“At no point in my test drive on the glass-smooth Natchez Trace outside of Nashville did I exceed 40 mph,” writes Neil.

“And several times I was seized with terror when the 20-foot vehicle developed uneasy, oscillating swivels, with the tail wanting to wobble like a shopping cart’s bad wheel. You drive with fingertips, breathless, very gently, because if you don’t…OOPS, WHAM! Over you go.”

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“It was an experimental time,” adds Lane.

“And the automobile business was a sexy business to be in, like Silicon Valley.”

Read the review in-full over at the Wall Street Journal.