Dymaxion Phoenix


Before Toyota, before Honda, and long, long before General Motors, R. Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller made the most fuel-efficient car on the road.  Eighty years later, the car designed by the maverick American engineer, designer, author, two-time Harvard dropout, and all-around rogue genius has been reborn.  For a man always ahead of his time, it seems fitting that the Dymaxion still looks futuristic 27 years after Fuller died.   

In the 1930s Fuller envisioned a “Dymaxion World” complete with designs for futuristic cars, boats, and maybe even a hovercraft.  He brought the Dymaxion Car 1, 2, and 3 into this world only to have them taste the tops of success (driving H.G. Wells around Manhattan) before they crashed and burned (or were left rotting in a Kansas City junkyard). 

But the last of the series, Dymaxion car #4, has found a much more accommodating home in the form of Madrid’s Ivorypress Arts + Books Gallery, as part of the “Bucky Fuller & Spaceship Earth” show which runs through Oct. 30.  The ode to Bucky is largely thanks to the labor of love effort by Fuller’s mentee and friend, Norman Foster, the British architect behind the Beijing airport.  Funded by Foster, the East Sussex based workshop of Crosthwaite & Gardiner, merged the designs of Dymaxion cars #2 and #3 to create the latest installment. 

Ivorypress has published “Dymaxion Car: Buckminster Fuller,” a book about all four of the Dymaxion models and the complex, compelling, and colorful minds behind them.  A clip of a Dymaxion in action is featured in the documentary, 2012: Time for Change, in theaters now.