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It’s not clear if the Horsey Horseless was ever actually built or if it is a chimera of auto history, but it reminds us just what a radical, hard-to-conceptualize thing a horseless carriage was. Klann, who had visited a slaughterhouse’s “disassembly line” — conferred to Americans the notion of automobility as something akin to natural law, a right endowed by our Creator.
A century later, the consequences of putting every living soul on gas-powered wheels are piling up, from the air over our cities to the sand under our soldiers’ boots.
By 1920, the automotive was no longer a primitive experiment.
Companies such as Rolls-Royce, Cadillac, Hispano-Suiza and Voisin were making potent and luxurious automobiles, the technical achievements of the age.
And then there was this, the Flyer, which is no more than a motorized park bench on bicycle wheels. It was actually a five wheeler, with the dinky 2-hp Briggs and Stratton engine driving a traction wheel on the back, like a boat’s outboard motor.
The Flyer represents something we’ll see several times on this list: The drive to make the absolute cheapest, most minimal automobile possible. Buckminster Fuller was one of the century’s great nutjobs, a walking unorthodoxy who originally conceived of the Dymaxion as a flying automobile, or drivable plane, with jet engines and inflatable wings.
This is not a case of the advantage of hindsight; this was obviously a crazy idea, even in 1913.
The Bi-Autogo does enjoy the historical distinction of being the first V8-powered vehicle ever built in Detroit, so you could argue it is the beginning of an even greater folly.
A Hotshot actually won the “index of performance” — an honor for the best speed for its displacement — at the 1950 Six Hours of Sebring, puttering around at an average of 52 mph.Like its Marvel Comics-worthy name, the car was a bit of a monster, measuring over 20 ft. Reeves is remembered today as the inventor of the muffler, which is far from ignominy. motorcycle with training wheels, a V8 engine and enough copper tubing to provide every hillbilly in the Ozarks with a still, the Scripps-Booth Bi-Autogo was the daft experiment of James Scripps-Booth, an heir of the Scripps publishing fortune and a self-taught — or untaught — auto engineer.The Bi-Autogo was essentially a two-wheeled vehicle, carrying its considerable heft on 37-in. At slow speeds, the driver could lower small wheels on outriggers to stabilize the vehicle so it wouldn’t plop over.The third car had a stabilizer fin on top, which did nothing to cure the Dymaxion’s acute instability in crosswinds.A fatal accident involving the car — cause unknown — doomed its public acceptance.