1913: The Schilovski Gyrocar

This car isn't moving. It has two only wheels. You can enter and exit easily without it falling over. It's the Schilovski Gyrocar--an incredible car design that was never mass-produced.

Count Peter P. Schilovski of Russia was fascinated with gyroscopes. He designed one that he believed would keep a car upright. He took his idea to the Wolseley Tool and Motorcar Company in the UK, where engineers there built it with a 188 cubic inch, 4-cylinder engine and transmission brakes.

It worked. In the spring of 1914, Schilovski and the British engineers took it out on public roads. People jumped on and off without disturbing the balance of the car at all. It seemed to have a bright future.

But something else happened in 1914. Schilovski returned to Russia to help in the war effort. The Wolseley engineers likewise turned their attention toward the war. They buried the gyroscopic car underground, excavating it in 1938.

They partially restored the car and placed it in a museum. Then, in 1948, they inexplicably broke it up for scrap metal.

The Gyrocar wasn't Schilovski's only use of the gyroscope. In the early 1920s, he also designed a gyroscopically-balanced monorail. His project laid 7 miles of track for this purpose before it was shut down.

(Images via Douglas Self)

-via Retronaut

Newest 4
Newest 4 Comments

The drawing makes it look like the gyroscope has a vertical rotation axis, so it shouldn't have any trouble turning. If the turn had a slight bank to it, the turn might feel awkward with the car remaining vertical, but it wouldn't be a problem until the banking was strong enough to cause the side of the car to bottom out. A more likely problem would be going up or down a steep incline, as even though there seems to be a pivot to allow some incline, some people's driveways might exceed that.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"1913: The Schilovski Gyrocar"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More