10 Outrageous Automobile Inventions That Didn’t Make It

Not every car invention can be the next seat belt, headlight or glove compartment, but these automotive inventions from the past are particularly off the wall.


10) Aeromarine (1956)

It’s a car! It’s a boat! It’s a plane! The Aeromarine  was supposed to be all three — granted, the car portion had a top speed of only 50 miles per hour — but it never saw the light of day… Or did it?


9) Auto Speaker (1931)

Think neighborhood-shaking car stereos nowadays are annoying? Imagine if those fast and furious drivers had a loudspeaker  directed at pedestrians. Somehow I don’t think it’s primary function would be to, as this article suggests, “hail your friends.”


8) Courtesy Light (1938)

If ever there was a sign of the times, it would be this courtesy light  mounted on the back of a car that flashed “Thank You” to cars behind you. Nowadays, no doubt it would be modified to say something a little less polite.


7) Knob Guard (1949)

Vehicles in the US weren’t required to have seat belts until the 1960s, so until then, people made due with gadgets like this ball gag to protect children from getting knob-shaped indents in their foreheads. Ah, the good ol’ days.


6) Hit-and-Run Disks (1931)

This one’s actually not a bad idea: little disks with the driver’s license plate and name written on them that are emitted from the bumper when it hits something (or someone), in order to catch hit-and-run drivers. Of course, it would rely on people updating their disks when they sell the car and/or refilling their disk supply after they’ve plow through a few pedestrians.


5) Rocket Brakes (1946)

Rocket-propelled brakes, because cars aren’t flammable enough.


4) Driver Prodder (1948)

This device consisted of a headband containing electrodes  that somehow measured alertness and triggered a buzzer when they sensed the driver was becoming sleepy…which may or may not send the car careening off a cliff.


3) Aerocar (1955)

With this propeller-driven car, there’d be no such thing as a fender bender; rear-end the Aerocar and it would be a fender obliterator.


2) Illuminated Tires (1961)

Goodyear experimented briefly with tires that lit up  in a variety of colors via light bulbs mounted inside the wheel rim. Breakable glass inside inflatable tires? What could go wrong?


1) Fabric Car (1924)

I can’t imagine why a car with a body made from a “leather-like fabric” didn’t stick around. Sure, it provides as much protection as a wet cardboard box, but at least it’s quiet…

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