What? You thought that the VW Bus
was a strange design? Or how about the Tucker
? Well, step this way, my friends, and check out this old relic
: the Dymaxion car
It's an invention from the sick, twisted, and wholly original mind of R. Buckminster Fuller, circa 1933. It was a long aluminum cigar, balanced on three wheels (two in the front that powered the car, one in the back for steering). It seated 11, and could get up to 120 miles per hour unloaded. It got 30 miles to the gallon. Its maximum turning radius was under 20 feet (your average car today had a turning radius of 36 feet).
And those are the parts you would recognize. It was 20 feet long. There were huge empty spaces next to the wheels; those were for jump jets, whenever the technology would be ready. Certain versions had seperate engines for each wheel. It had very few windows; the back benches were stuck at the end of a long metal tube with no outside light.
And it failed, for various reasons. The Dymaxion car was not very safe; the massive length of the car meant that it was utterly impossible to maneuver in a crosswind. It was somewhat unstable at high speeds. The car wasn't great in crashes, either. The light weight was an extreme liability in auto-to-auto collisions. During initial testing, the car was involved in a fatal wreck (but it's said that the blame should be laid on the other car) and the idea was abandoned by investors very early.
Many of these problems may have been solved quickly had the investors hung in there, as Bucky later refined the design to a more stable 5-seater, but production of the car was a dead issue.