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OK, so it’s not strictly a motorhome, but it’s easy to see the possibilities offered by the Dymaxion concept car that dates from 1933.

Designed by engineer and inventor Buckminster Fuller, the Dymaxion was a mass transportation vehicle that could transport up to 11 people at speeds up to 120mph, yet had a fuel consumption of just 30mpg.

With a body inspired by Fuller’s other notable invention, the geodesic dome, the Dymaxion could be quickly disassembled and folded for storage. The three-wheeled design put a single wheel at the rear for both power and steering and while this did make the vehicle peculiar to handle (like a boat with a rudder, according to some accounts), it also resulted in an extremely tight turning circle — as this video shows:

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The Dymaxion obviously prefigures the ‘people-movers’ that are so popular today and the designers of the original VW Transporter may have drawn some inspiration from Fuller’s aerodynamic design. Sadly, the reason so few people have heard of the Dymaxion is that only three were ever built. Funding problems and a fatal accident at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair involving a prototype meant that models never went into production.

Only one Dymaxion still survives, in a Nevada automobile museum, but architect Norman Foster has recently commissioned a fourth model that’s now on show at the Bucky Fuller & Spaceship Earth exhibition, at the Ivorypress Art+Books gallery in Madrid.

The exhibition only runs until 31st October though, and there’s no word yet on whether it will tour to other countries.

[via The Guardian]