Feature

Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Car blueprints to cross the auction block

  • Frank Scherschel - Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

     (Frank Scherschel - Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

  • Wright

     (Wright)

It was the car of the future…80 years ago.

And now you can build your own, for the right price.

Recently discovered blueprints to a revolutionary vehicle created by visionary engineer Buckminster Fuller are hitting the auction block this week in Chicago.

The so-called Dymaxion Car featured a lightweight chassis, teardrop aerodynamic body and three wheel layout. The single rear wheel of the blimp-like vehicle was used to steer the 11-passenger vehicle, which could deliver fuel economy of up to 30 mpg, impressive for the day. A rear-mounted Ford V8 could propel it to a top speed of 90 mph.

More photos: Bucky Fuller forever - LIFE salutes an American visionary

Just three cars were produced by Fuller, one suffering a very public crash at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair that sealed the visionary project’s fate. Only one of the original cars survives today, although several replicas have been built over the years, though none with the benefit of the original plans.

The leather bound binder containing 18 documents was unearthed in a Dudley, Mass., home where Fuller once lived. After researching the find, the anonymous owner of the home learned a documentary was being made about the car and donated the collection to the film’s director, giving him permission to sell them to help finance the production.

The auction takes place on June 6th at the Wright auction house, where the blueprints are expected to fetch up to $30,000.