Science and Technology 

The Dymaxion Car: its Context

Norman Foster 

The vast silver Zeppelin overhead Chicago was a truly awesome sight, stopping the citizens of the Windy City in their tracks and halting traffic. With a length of 236 meters and a diameter of 30, it was the equivalent of a typical American city block defying the forces of gravity. The date was 26 October 1933 and for two hours, between 11am and 1pm, the Zeppelin circled low over Chicago and Lake Michigan. Following German practice of the time, it would have cruised at an altitude of 200 meters above the ground, descending even lower during storms. The five Maybach engines (12 cylinder and 7.0L capacity), each capable of developing 550 hp, would normally cruise at 113 kilometers per hour to give a range of nearly 10,000 kilometers. But on this occasion they would have been throttled back to show off to maximum advantage the stunning streamlined shape of LZ-127, otherwise known as Graf Zeppelin...[+]

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