Even though I'd been reading science fiction since the early 60s at the time I first heard about composites/hybrids, I tended to avoid the hardware-oriented stuff. So if it was mentioned anywhere before the mid-80s, it had passed me by. Interesting to hear from someone who was there at the beginning.
The UARS satelite was designed and build in the 80's. At what was then GE Aerospace, there was a lot of research going on. The spacecraft plant actually made their own composites from raw materials. So, to some extent to call it science fiction is not really far off. It was pretty close.
naperlou, when I answered I was thinking of mil/erospace apps back in the mid-80s, which is when I first heard of the concept of a hybrid that combined plastic and metal in some way. I remember my first response being "Huh? How is that possible?" It sounded like science fiction at the time.
Ann, this is just a guess, but I expect you are correct. When I worked on spacecraft, the carbon fiber tubes were attached to metal components at the junctions. The UARS satelite (the one that just fell to earth recently) was like that.
Actually, this looks a lot like a Lotus 7. If you are not familiar witht that car, it was (is?) a kit car. They are lots of fun to drive and to build. They certianly an acquired taste, thogh.
As for the safety aspect, the Lotus 7 was open with minimal doors. This is much like pre-war (WWII) cars. That is one of the reasons it was a kit car. To pass safety tests that are now required would require much more structure.
@Ann- ....not just carbon fiber, but specifically it said "hybrid carbon-fiber tubular-steel" which I don't clearly understand but would like to.Do you know-? To me, Carbon-Fiber meant polymers while Tubular-Steel meant metal extrusions.A quick Google check did not yield much clarity; I found only one reference from the Oil & Gas Journal (Petroleum Engineering) using the same term applied to drilling apparatus, but no real explanation as what the material actually is.I'd like to know more.
When I first met Gordon I had offered to do an art show of his designs and I asked him if it was OK to call it Automotive Architecture and he responded , "Yes, exactly!" and went on to tell me about being a young designer with Duesenberg and was out in San Francisco and saw a book in a window and he was fascinated by it and went in, looked at it and mentioned that it was absolutely inspiring. He commented that he designed the 20 Grand after that and he even wrote to the architect complimenting him and received a reply. He confided in me that he thought that the architect was a marvelous writer but he went to see one of his buildings in France and thought that it was terrible.
I immediately told him that the book was "Vers un Architecture"
I told him that some people might disagree since he was considered to be one of the 3 greatest architects of the 20thC.
But we had a great show and a great time.
Several years ago I was invited by his Daughter and Grandson down to the ACD museum for the unveiling of the Gordon Buehrig Gallery and got to see the the letter that Frank Lloyd wright had sent with accolades to E.L.Cord. Batting 2 0ut of 3 gives him a .666 batting aveage.
Gordon went on to talk about the 20 grand which now resides in the Nethercutt museum in California. Gordon mentioned to me that he used to love to go back into the paint shop and mix colors. He said that the 20G was the first car to have a darkened aluminum/silver paint job so I have strong suspicions that they have not correctly restored that vehicle.
Gordon was a joy to know, has a wonderful Daughter and Grandson in NY.
Architect I raise my glass to both this and your preceeding comment. I, personally, find use of Retro Design regressive, especially this one. I have attached links to yester years Cords and Auburns in support of this my point. Both car makers contributed to the Pure AND Tecnnical advancement of Automotive Design and Engineering advances.
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