In the late 1950s and early 1960s, it seemed like a future filled with flying cars
was inevitable. Automotive designers and engineers weren’t afraid to push the boundaries of design, as evidenced by the gas turbine-powered Chrysler Turbine Car
and the nuclear reactor-powered Ford Nucleon
(which, thankfully, never progressed beyond a scale model).
Another forward-thinking design, also from the Ford Motor Company, was the Ford Gyron, which used a pair of wheels mounted along the car’s centerline, stabilized by a gyroscope. Unlike the Nucleon, the Gyron actually progressed as far as a full-size model, which relied on outrigger wheels instead of a gyroscope for stability.
Prior to the full-size model being built, Ford’s Advance Studio crafted a few scale models of the Gyron, one of which ended up on the desk of Joe Ortos, designer of the Ford Mustang. Recently offered for sale by Wright Auctions
, Hemmings Daily
tells us the design study sold for an impressive $40,000, compared to a pre-auction estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.
Though the Gyron never saw production, it did foresee a future where aerodynamics were as important as aesthetics. The full-size version also predicted such modern advances as automated route guidance, car phones and infrared sensing, all the stuff of science fiction back in 1961.
The full-size Gyron was destroyed by a fire in 1962, and the only other scale model of the car (which belonged to designer Alex Tremulis) disappeared some years back. As the only known surviving link to a once-iconic design, we’d call the Gyron design study well-bought, even at four times the pre-auction estimate.