THE QUEST TO PUT A 1967 SELF-BALANCING 'CAR' BACK ON ITS FEET

WIRED | 9/10/2017 | Alex Davies
Click For Photo: https://media.wired.com/photos/59b02acfef3e666b649b78b4/191:100/pass/1967-Gyro-HP.jpg

At the far end of the field, hundreds of yards past the 1930s Duesenbergs, the prewar Rolls-Royces, and the grand touring Ferraris, curious showgoers at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance gather around a particularly unusual kind of car. They listen to the quiet hum and puzzle over the thing, bright red, about 15 feet long, and hardly wider than a motorcycle.

The Gyro-X stands out even in this field of one-of-a-kind cars, not for its beauty or elegance but because it stands on two wheels, balanced by the whirling, beachball-sized gyroscope tucked under its hood. It's not the first time it has managed the feat, but it's been awhile. After 50 years of neglect and abuse, the Gyro-X has been reborn, thanks to years of hard work, a small fortune, and some tech borrowed from the luxury yacht industry.

Gyro-X - Product - Car - Designer - Alex

The Gyro-X was born in 1967, the product of famed car designer Alex Tremulis and gyroscope specialist Tom Summers. Tremulis was the creative force behind the ill-fated Tucker 48, the funky Subaru Brat, and a series of Ford concept cars that encapsulate what Americans in the 1950s expected of the future. Among them was the Gyronaut X-1, a gyro-balanced motorcycle that set a land speed record of 245.667 mph in 1966 (and is undergoing its own nostalgia-fueled renovation).

But if you’ve been outside at any time in the past half century, you know the gyro gang didn’t quite deliver. Tremulis and Summers built a prototype of the car, but their effort went bankrupt in 1970, before they could master the tricky engineering and prove their claims.

“You can say that’s why it didn’t work back then. It doesn’t work great now.”

That sole Gyro-X spent the next few decades bouncing from one owner to the next, at some point losing its gyroscope. In 2009, a collector...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
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