Friday, August 2, 2013

Ford Gyro

My wife and I have been on a multi-episode-per-night marathon of Madmen for the last week or two. This is not the proper forum for my critique of the show but I will say the early 60's fashion, furniture and cars can really get stuck with you. Given the perspective intrenched perspective of 60's super futuristic styling and groundbreaking advertizing I got a real kick out of this posting on GYRONAUT X-1 

The Gyron, had been a pet project of Alex Tremrulis' from the early 1950's.  The thought was to advance streamlining by reducing the frontal area as much as possible.  To Tremulis this meant that perhaps four wheels was two too many.  His thought was to incorporate a gyroscope within the sleek bodywork to maintain stability when stopped.  Additionally, the car would sense a turn and bank into the curve automatically much like a motorcycle rider turning a corner.  The first Gyron prototype was built by famed futurinst Syd Mead and Bill Dayton. It had seating for four and a sleek bubble-top.  As the two designers were completing the clay, in walked Elwood Engle with an entourage, looked over the body shape and proceeded to break off one of Syd Mead's beautiful "skag" fins that emphasized the look of a floating effect for the two wheeler.  This wouldn't be the last of the controversy surrounding the Gyron.  When the final show car was to be debuted, it's shape had reverted to one of Elwood Engle's school portfolio plans.  For the show, instead of a Gyroscope as originally planned, the car had sprouted a pair of ridiculous "training wheels" to keep it upright.  With the original designers rather outraged at what had become of a novel approach to automobile design, neither Mead nor Tremulis would last much longer at Ford.  Syd Mead looked for the first opportunity to leave, while Alex Tremulis commited political suicide by suggesting that if the man who decided "No gyroscopes!" were to leave Ford, then they could buy two gyroscopes to advance the art.  Mead went on to design some of the most intriguing images of what the future may hold, and Tremulis was first placed into the truck division before being let go.
 truck division before being let go.

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