The whole idea of multiple axles at each end was to reduce the harsh ride due to poor unpaved roads with deep potholes and large rocks along the path. The New Deal and improved roads (paved) is what made this idea unnecessary; which is the reason why it never caught on. Commercial trucks, buses and military vehicles, which often have to travel on unpaved roads, still use this same principle even today.
Exactly. Given the poor roads at the time it was no doubt a significant improvement over other cars of its day. However when the consume balanced that degree of improvement against the high price, they chose more mundane products. Worth remembering that in Reeves' day, owning a car even in the less costly form was not something many people could manage.
The Lincoln Highway was completed in 1913 but paving in it's entirety wasn’t completely until 1935. In 1915, to promote the Exposition in San Francisco and encourage transcontinental by car, Motor Magazine did a promotion that anyone who drove a car from a location East of the Mississippi River to CA would get a medallion (made by Tiffany). My grandfather, along with 3 other guys, managed to secure a 1915 Cadillac touring car and drove it from Chicago to CA. While the first part of the trip was on paved roads, the majority was dirt (West of the Mississippi).
I was trying to attach a couple of pictures from my grandfather's trip but I'm technically challenged. The point I want to make is the Lincoln Hwy was quite rough in 1915. They had to repair quite a few tires along the way.
I think it was ELF that did four small diameter front wheels in a race car. This was late 60's, early 70's I think. Tire tech wasn't what we have today, and that was how they tried to get grip and low overall height for higher speeds on the track.
Mosport 1976Mosport 1976osport 1976I have several pictures of the 6-wheel ELF driven by Depailler in 1976 at Mosport. Would like to post the photos if there is a way to do so? OK figured it out. Here they are.
Would imagine that there are many chain/ drive systems involved as that was such a common technology of the time. Was anyone else thinking that the 6 wheeler was an early version of the Military Duce-and-a-half?
There are several Korean (and probably Japanese and Chinese) trucks with four steerable wheels on front. Again, these are for weight distribution. The four front wheel trucks I remember from my one year tour in Korea in 2005 (USAF) were cab-over models and 30-40' long. they use a lot of single unit trucks and few tractor-trailers for long haul. Long being relative -- you could go from the northernmost to the southernmost ends of South Korea in about 6-7 hours, and at least tow of those were due to traffic in and around Seoul. Without that 4-5 would have been easy on the freeway. They don't have a lot of overnight, multi-day hauls like we do in the US. No need to haul a trailer so far then transfer to another truck and driver then transfer freight from the trailer to smaller trucks for point delivery.
Seems tire wear would reduce due to less friction per tire so you would probably break even on tires unless you ran through a box of roofing nails. I can see where it would ride smoother and glide over potholes. Innovative thinking on Reeves part to apply rail technology to the auto. It only looks weird because we are used to 4 tires.
The eight-wheel design would reappear in WWII, without the complexity of the rear axle steering, in the army's armored cars, where the multi axle, rubber tire configuration combined the high speed travel on roads of a truck with much of the off-road capability of a tracked vehicle.
Reeves was ahead of his time in automobile technology the extra wheels were a good idea for non paved roads, but no one could afford them, I think if he would have made both rear axels drive wheels he could have sold the car or concept to the military and made a financial success of it.