10 Crazy Car Inventions That Failed

Car inventions like these were thought up when cars were first invented

Inventors are always trying to push boundaries and create the next big thing in car inventions. Sometimes they get it right and push technology towards new heights, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes their car inventions fall flat, and that’s what this article covers. Two thumbs up for innovation but you have to laugh…

There are plenty of ideas that get scrapped on the way to coming up with a ground-breaking invention. Some of these ideas are more peculiar than you could ever imagine. 

Strap yourselves in; some of these ideas might give you whiplash. 

Car inventions: The fifth wheel

Firstly, the fifth wheel. In all honesty, this inventor may have been ahead of his time. Back in 1951 automotive engineers tried to solve the problem of parallel parking, and came up with the idea of adding a fifth wheel to the back of the car.

The wheel descends and retracts, and allows you to swing the rear of the car out into the road to make exiting a tight space easier. This video will show you what we mean:

It’s unclear why this invention never caught on, since many people who saw the video seem to think it’s a great idea. We sure could use it in those tight city parking spots!

Got a car but need a boat?

Ever been in a position where you really wanted a boat but also really needed a car and struggled to choose just one? Well this car invention is just for you. Introducing the Amphicar 770.

Seems unbelievable, right? Well this bad boy can go around 112km per hour on land and 11km per hour in water. The 770 represents 7 miles (11km) on water, 70 miles (112km) on land. The US coast guard even recognised them as boats!

Amphicars were mass produced at one point and you can still purchase vintage models today.

And if you’re interested in the Amphicar because you’re too lazy to drive around that lake, then this next one will be right up your alley, too.

Car inventions involving toilets

Many car brands in the late 1940s added toilets to their cars. Yes, you read that right. Somehow, some way, someone thought this was a great idea and so did everyone they had to convince to produce cars with a toilet inside. 

Apparently Cadillac made this work to some extent, but in other cars it’s reported that there were all sorts of horrifying results – including splashing and leaking. Car toilets are (luckily, we think) not an invention that took off, but some new cars do come with toilets. In India, the Mahindra Bolero comes with its own portable toilet.

By the way, if YOUR grubby car seats need a bit of an overhaul, read our ‘how to clean car seats’ guide for simple tips.

The exhaust hamburger frier 

Iranian designers came up with a prototype that will cook a burger using the heat from your exhaust. The Exhaust Burger is a metal hamburger caddy that fits onto your tailpipe. They claim that the “cooking compartment” is totally separate from the main pipe, so carcinogenic fumes never reach the actual patty.

The Exhaust Burger was never put into production. Seems like most people just didn’t want to take the chance of having carbon monoxide get into their meat patties. Funny that.

But that’s the great thing about inventors, they inspire new car inventions, and help to adapt and improve ideas, like some of these new car technologies that you should be using.

car inventions

The BMW flamethrower 

We kid you not, in 1998 a South African inventor designed a flamethrower, dubbed The Blaster, to defend himself against carjackings. While the idea of this car invention seems pretty James Bond inspired, the legality of this device seems questionable.

This video showing it is just bonkers.

We can’t think of many other reasons you’d want flamethrowers attached to the side of your car, or at least any convenient or helpful ones. So it’s probably best to leave this one off your next gift wishlist. Check our Christmas gift ideas for car lovers guide to get some gadgets that you might want to put on it, though!

Car inventions for flying

It isn’t hard to believe that many inventors have attempted to create the holy grail of car inventions – the flying car. No doubt (if it were to be at all safe, and affordable maybe) it would be a raging success. As a wise man once said “tried by many, tested by few”, this is surely the case with flying cars. Just have a look at some of these inventions.

The benefits really are endless. From dodging traffic to being the coolest kid on the block, we can definitely see the appeal. But, we recommend leaving this car invention to the pros for now. 

car inventions

Car inventions built for dogs

In the 1930s, people were trying to solve the conundrum of driving their furry friends around in their newly acquired automotive machines.

Cars drove much slower in those days and had wooden panels on the side called running boards. One inventor had the idea of having the dog stand on the running board in a sack tied to the side of the vehicle.

Yup, simply pop your doggo into this ‘comfortable’ dog sack and let them feel the wind in their face as they go for the most terrifying ride of their lives.

The below illustration appeared in a 1935 edition of Popular Mechanics. Needless to say, the dog sack never took off, and dogs to this day still put their furry paws together in thanks that it didn’t.

car inventions

PS: Thinking of going on a road trip that involves your fur friend being safely IN the car? Read our guide to travelling with pets and some destination ideas for the ultimate Australian road trip.

Before cars … there were horses

Today, cars are an everyday sight. But back when they were invented, these loud, large and fast moving (compared to a horse, at least) metal contraptions were really scary. Carriages were the main mode of transport in those days, and horses were startled by the cars they now had to share the road with.

The US Patent Office said that the car invention illustrated below would ease the transition from horses to cars. Simply put, it’s a large, wooden horse head attached to the front of the car.

It also doubled as a fuel tank. We’re not sure if this made automobiles any less scary, but it sure is interesting thinking about our history and how the advent of cars shook up the world.

car inventions

Seatbelt design has come a long way

Early cars were a lot less safe than they are now. Many inventions revolved around the seatbelt and getting people to actually use it.

The automatic seatbelt was one such attempt. When you opened your car door, the seatbelt would move along the top of the door frame creating a space for you to climb in then automatically strap in upon closing the door. 

car inventions

There were quite a few problems with this idea. For instance, if you were too short, you’d find yourself being more or less strangled by your own belt. The idea was quickly scrapped, and luckily airbags became more common in cars shortly thereafter.

PS: Talking about safety, check out these safe driving tips to protect you and your family.

Car inventions have always looked at solving problems. And while they haven’t always hit the mark, we praise inventors for their inspiring ideas. Or at the very least, the great entertainment we get by looking back on those that failed. 

While we’re on the topic of safety, have you considered comprehensive car insurance to cover yourself while on and off the road? Whether it’s to safeguard your finances against an accident, theft, fire, or weather damage, car insurance is vital. Click below to find out about our simple online, affordable and easy-to-use insurance.

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