Buckminster car returns to roots in Carbondale - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Buckminster car returns to roots in Carbondale

The Dymaxion replica parked next to Fuller's former home in Carbondale on  October 14th, 2016 (Source: Thad Heckman) The Dymaxion replica parked next to Fuller's former home in Carbondale on October 14th, 2016 (Source: Thad Heckman)
Dymaxion replica being showcased in 2016 SIU Homecoming Parade (Source: Thad Heckman) Dymaxion replica being showcased in 2016 SIU Homecoming Parade (Source: Thad Heckman)
One of the original three Dymaxions (public domain photo) One of the original three Dymaxions (public domain photo)
CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) -

A forgotten piece of a local architect’s legacy made a resurgence in Carbondale over the weekend.

Automotive engineers at a Museum in Nashville spent eight years constructing a replica of a failed car design by Carbondale architect Buckminster Fuller, and returned it to Carbondale over the weekend.

"The Bucky Dome"

Fuller is widely regarded as the father of the ‘Geodesic Dome’, also possibly coining the phrase ‘Space Ship Earth’; which is a term used to describe the geodesic sphere at the center of Walt Disney’s "Epcot" theme park.

Fuller designed, and actually lived in a home in Carbondale which still exists today, and is based on the Geodesic Dome.

The car’s visit was in part to raise funds for said “Bucky Dome”, which is being restored by local activists.

The Dymaxion

Fuller designed three “Dymaxion” cars in 1933 and 1934, all three of which were conceptual designs meant to showcase certain features that could be tweaked for mass production.

“The Dymaxion’s kind of the forgotten part of Fuller’s history.” Said Jeff Lane of the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville TN. “Even today, you drive it and people don’t know what it is, want to stop and take a picture, and of course when you tell them it’s a Dymaxion they don’t know what that means.”

The term “Dymaxion” is short for “Dynamic Maximum Tension”, three terms used to summarize what made the car unique.

The original car was meant to employ front wheel drive, and rear steering, similar to that of aircraft in that time period, and Fuller’s goal was to eventually create a machine which could be both flown, and driven on the road.

The car also has three separate chassis, for a smoother ride.

The crash of 1933

“The first car actually was taken to the world’s fair in Chicago, and on the way to the fair, the car crashed, the driver was killed and that didn’t help the future of the car because before, he had a lot of interest, but once someone was killed, that interest kind of died down.” Lane explained.

While some blame that crash in 1933 on the car’s design, there are some conflicting reports.

It was a multi vehicle collision in which another driver is reported to have struck the Dymaxion, which may have actually caused the crash.

After the crash, Fuller completed two more models, sold them, and moved onto other ventures.

One car was destroyed, another is assumed to have been dismantled for scrap sometime in the 1950s, and the last one was recently restored and is on display at a museum in Reno, Nevada.

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