Illustration for article titled The engineering behind this drivable, two-wheeled car is fascinating.

This is a drivable two-wheeled car built by Alfred ‘Pete’ Schlatter in 1977. It was inspired by the “Foomobile”, a fictional two-wheeled car from a comic series called “Smokey Stover”, which ran from 1935 to 1975.

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Illustration for article titled The engineering behind this drivable, two-wheeled car is fascinating.

The wheels of the real two-wheeled car are driven by independent hydraulic motors, powered by a small engine. It doesn’t use a gyroscope of any sort to balance, and it doesn’t have any fancy computerized balancing systems either. The way it does stay up is actually pretty clever. Schlatter said that he had his eureka moment when he noticed how radial tires depress slightly under load. He figured he could hide some internal wheels within the contact patch of the tire to prevent the car from falling over without making the tires look any different. This little diagram shows exactly how the system works, and it’s pretty darn cool if you ask me.

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Illustration for article titled The engineering behind this drivable, two-wheeled car is fascinating.

This brilliant solution stumped many people in the media, even after Schlatter let them drive the car around a bit! He later said he would create plans so you could build one yourself, although I haven’t figured out where you would find those plans today if they exist.

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Illustration for article titled The engineering behind this drivable, two-wheeled car is fascinating.

The top speed of this little novelty car may have only been 5 mph, but it’s still a cool bit of engineering, and I imagine it’s probably a hoot to drive around in.

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