This BBC story from David K. Gibson about a man who's rebuilding Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion concept car is charming on many levels. Here's a description of the Dymaxion:
When the first zeppelin-shaped vehicle debuted in 1933, it broke every automotive design convention save the use of round wheels. Nearly 20 feet (6.1 metres) long, it could transport 11 people and return 30mpg thanks to wind-tunnel-tested aerodynamics and lightweight aluminium-skin construction. Its engine was rear-mounted but powered the front wheels, and it was steered with a single back wheel, a less-than-intuitive arrangement that may have contributed to a fatal crash that occurred during its demonstration at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair.
The Dymaxion version that a Nashville car museum director is rebuilding is based on the original design, which means it has "one door, no moving windows and a single headlight." I'm not interested in cars, but I am absolutely entranced by car failures. The Edsel story fascinates me, from the abandoned list of names for the Edsel that poet Marianne Moore created to the sad story of the car's namesake, who was "occasionally humiliated in public" by his father. And if you're looking for a square-ish but totally decent movie about a failed car, I encourage you to seek out a copy of Tucker: The Man and His Dream, which stars Jeff Bridges as an enthusiastic young car-maker whose optimism and good cheer does absolutely nothing to stave off assaults from the big Detroit automakers. It's such an American movie that I think it ought to be screened in public every 4th of July.