It’s difficult, from a 2016 perspective, to imagine a world where automotive conventions weren’t so firmly established. Even today’s many niches, like MPVs and crossovers, are mild varations on the norm. But, back in Edwardian times, the pioneers of automotive engineering weren’t set in their ways. Having recently abandonded the horse-drawn carriage, the world of car design was their oyster.
And that’s how rhomboid cars came to be – a format the looks entirely alien to us now. In fact, it wasn’t a format that many would have seen in their heyday; only a handful of models were developed with their wheels in a diamond formation.
These lozenge-shaped rhomboid cars had conventions of their own. Each was driven by its single rear wheel, with steering taken care of by the lone wheel at the front. Outboard side wheels did their best to prevent the cars toppling over. Thereafter, each rhomboid goes its own way. A spherical body? Why not?
It wasn’t only the Edwardians who experimented with the format. As late as 1960, Italian styling house Pininfarina created the X, also known as the PfX. No manufacturer took this finned wonder into production, partly at least because it wasn’t terribly stable. How different the streets of the 1960s may have looked…
This may have been a dead-end of automotive design, but it’s a fascinating one.