Video: Davis 3 Wheeler car (1948)

"This little chariot can really run you around in circles." I'd certainly like a Davis 3-Wheeler. And a 1950s voice like the narrator too. (Thanks, Jeff Cross!)


    1. Magnesium is still commonly used today in lightweight alloy wheels/rims on performance cars. They’re lighter than aluminum and thus reduce the unsprung weight of the car.

    2. >>I can’t believe they ever tried to pass off magnesium wheels as a realistic idea.

      Modern alloy wheels are magnesium or aluminium alloys…

      Magnesium is actually really hard to set on fire, despite what you might of found in science classes…

  1. Does anyone know where the first segment was shot? It kind of looks like Pasadena but then…hence why I’m asking…

  2. This reminds me of The Morgan 3-Wheeler featured in ‘The Party’ – one of Peter Sellers’ funniest movies.

    1. I seem to remember there was some talk recently of Morgan building another run of three wheelers, just like the old ones.

    2. I got a ride in a Morgan 3-wheeler from Ken Purdy, who was a collector and automotive writer; it would have to have been 1964 and I was probably six at the time.

      What I remember most was the exhaust running the length of the passenger side which, despite its heat-shield, burned the sh!t out of my leg.

  3. *sigh* Why can’t cars be more exciting like those. Car manufacturers are too conservative with their designs.

    1. I hear you, MadRat, and so do thousands of creatively frustrated car designers. Unfortunately, it costs a ridiculous amount of money to develop a car that meets all of the modern safety regulations. The big auto manufacturers want to make sure that they make a profit, so they are adverse to taking risks and going after tiny niche markets. With billions of dollars on the line, the logic is that it is better to not appear offensive, than have customers hate your products.

      This leaves the quirky vehicle market open to smaller manufacturers, with the obvious trade off of higher prices for these oddball vehicles. A lot of them end up being utter crap, but occasionally you end up with a real gem like the Ariel Atom.

      If I got a 3 wheeled vehicle, it would be the
      SUB G1
      . It looks like lots of fun. The $80,000 price tag is just a tad out of my current budget though.

    2. *sigh* Why can’t cars be more exciting like those. Car manufacturers are too conservative with their designs.

      I predict that electric drivelines will enable cars to be built with more interesting body styles, though the electric, electronic and software components will be exactly the same.

  4. The Davis three wheeler’s aerodynamic design and light frame allowed it to actually to get 35-50mpg. And it’s top speed isn’t bad either considering it had only a 60 horsepower engine (Popular Mechanics Jan. 1948).

  5. a blatant ripoff of Buckminster Fuller’s 1928 three-wheeled Dymaxion car, right down to the aerodynamic styling. Surprised it hasn’t been mentioned in the comments…

    1. I really don’t think so. The layout of the Dymaxion car meant that there was MUCH more space inside than similarly sized cars. And the steerable REAR wheel of the dymaxion car lead to a vehicle that had a profoundly dangerous propensity to oversteer at speed. Of course the hydraulic jacks remind me of nothing so much as the Mach 5.

  6. I like the hideous mutated one that looks like a cross between a P31 Lightning and a gulper eel. . .

    That hunk of junk is goddamned ugly. . .and yet, and yet. . .

  7. What got me was the wording used in the segue to the third car: “Somewhat less spectacular…” If I had been the manufacturer, I’d be thinking something like, “Thanks a lot, guys…”

  8. Sure, pure magnesium shavings are pretty flammable, but a magnesium alloy (usually alloyed with aluminium/aloominum) is less so. Also, it conducts heat so well that it’s difficult to set fire to a substantial chunk of the metal.
    The Volkswagen Beetle had a magnesium crankcase right from the start, I believe.

  9. There was a bit of scandal regarding the financing of the Davis, it was an ugly show at the end. The car itself was a lot of maybes bolted together, at least too many for the time. 3-wheelers with one in front certainly have to be driven a little differently around corners than 4-wheel cars. I have a Bond Bug, the orange wedge from the early 70s, and it’s got a lower cg than most 3-wheelers, but you still have to be careful. The two front wheels on Isettas and ‘Schmitts have their own quirks.

  10. I know there have been a few youtube video pointers posted already, but this one of the current “cars of the future” shows quite a few cars resembling the 3 shown in the boing boing posting…..just saying……

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