6 Silly Vehicles That Are No Longer in Production Source:

Sure, everyone’s familiar with planes, trains, cars, motorcycles, and boats. But that’s only because they’ve generally proven themselves to be safe and reliable forms of human transportation. Throughout the 20th century there were scores of people coming up with bizarre and unique contraptions for getting from point A to point B, and, to fully appreciate the imaginative engineering feats that led us to all our modern means of conveyance, it sometimes pays to have a look back at a few of the less successful vehicle types that have since been pulled from production lines.

6. The Hover Scooter

Perfect for the bayou-dwelling bohemian, the hover scooter combined all the advantages of riding a scooter with the ability to easily transition between land and water. It functioned by riding on a cushion of air in much the same way modern hovercrafts work today—allowing it to easily glide over pretty much any flat surface, but also limiting it to a height of only about five or six inches off the ground. Unfortunately, in addition to being quite bulky and extremely noisy, the hover scooter had a huge unprotected ducted fan mounted at the front. This meant that, in the event of a collision with a pedestrian, the hover scooter would pretty much transform into the equivalent of a human meat grinder. Source:

5. The Land Yacht

Also known as the sail wagon or sand yacht, this clean energy vehicle typically has three or four wheels and is powered by wind through the use of a sail. It operates on almost the exact same principles as a sail boat, except it’s usually piloted from a sitting or lying position and steered through the use of pedals or hand levers. Although records indicate that land yachts could have been cruising around Asia as early as 500 A.D., it wasn’t until the early 1600s that they were introduced to Europe. Today, land yachts are sometimes still used for competitive racing and recreational purposes. Source:

4. The Zeppelin

Perhaps the most famous (or infamous) extinct method of transportation, the Zeppelin was a type of rigid airship developed in the early 1900s and named after airship pioneer Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin. Initially, the success of the Zeppelin design was so great that it spawned DELAG—the world’s first airline in revenue service. After only four years in business, DELAG had carried over 10,000 paying passengers on over 1,500 flights. Germany also repurposed Zeppelins as military machines during World War I, when they were used extensively as airborne scouts and bombers that killed 500 people in raids on Britain. After Germany’s defeat in 1918, the country was temporarily forbidden to build Zeppelins and the airship business slowed down until 1926 when the restriction was lifted. With business returning to its former glory, larger airships like the LZ-129 Hindenburg took to the skies and operated regular transatlantic flights from Germany to North America and Brazil. But, alas, it was not meant to be. After political and economic issues hampered the industry, the fiery Hindenburg disaster of 1937 was the final nail in the coffin for the high-flying Zeppelin. Source:

3. The Dynasphere

Inspired by a sketch made by Leonardo da Vinci, the Dynasphere was a monowheel vehicle designed and patented in the 1930s by John Archibald Purves. Two separate prototypes were made—one was a smaller electrical model, and the other used a gasoline motor. Even though the gas-powered version was 10 feet tall and built out of iron latticework that weighed close to 1,000 pounds, it could still hit speeds of about 30 miles per hour, despite its bulk.

After an initial demonstration, Purves celebrated the Dynasphere saying it “reduced locomotion to the simplest possible form, with consequent economy of power” and that it was “the high-speed vehicle of the future.” However, perhaps due to the fact that the things were damned near impossible to steer, the Dynasphere never quite gained traction as an appropriate form of transportation. Source:

2. The Hiller VZ-1 Pawnee

Here in the reportedly futuristic 21st century, we’re still waiting on all the cool jetpacks and flying cars that science was supposed to have bestowed on us over a decade ago. Which is why credit must be given to Charles H. Zimmerman for at least trying to give us our own personal aircrafts way back in the 1950s with the Hiller VZ-1 Pawnee. Also known as the “flying platform,” the Pawnee was a rotor aircraft designed to lift a platform using contra-rotating ducted fans. In order to control the craft in flight, the pilot needed to shift his or her body weight to change direction. Zimmerman theorized that a person’s natural balancing reflexes should suffice in controlling such a small flying machine and coined the term “kinesthetic control,” which would also be used to ride a bicycle or balance on a surfboard. In total, six prototypes were built, the fastest of which could reach a top speed of 26 kilometers per hour. And even though it was originally built by the U.S. Army, the flying platform was rejected as a combat vehicle due to its small size, slow speed, and extremely low altitude range—since it could barely hover five feet above the ground. Source:

1. The Jet Pack

Ever since movies like James Bond and The Rocketeer planted the idea in our head, we’ve all been waiting for the chance to strap on a backpack that will let us blast off and soar freely with the clouds and birds. But the jetpack actually happens to be a real piece of equipment—it’s just not very viable as a means of transportation. The device is propelled by jets of escaping gases or liquids that allow a single user to propel him or herself into the air and fly around a little. Despite decades of advancement in the technology, the challenges of Earth’s gravity combined with an awkward human body that’s not adapted to flying naturally means that the jet pack will have to be left forever lingering on the fringes of personal transportation. Source:

Wes Walcott

Wes Walcott

Wes is a devourer of media. He ravenously consumes podcasts, books, and TV shows with seemingly no regard for review scores or subject matter. If encountered in the wild, Wes is said to respond positively to verbal cues relating to X-Men or the SNES. The subject can be easily captured and tamed using Transformers or Gundam models.