In 1958, inspired by the rise of the 1950's nuclear age, Ford Motor Company built this mock-up model for an automobile powered by a small nuclear reactor, called the Ford Nucleon. Thankfully, no real working models of this nuclear reactor powered car were actually assembled and only this clay model exists of the worst alternative fuel powered car design ever proposed.
Among some of the serious problems for nuclear powered automobiles would be small drawbacks such as dangerous reactor meltdowns, fuel leaks during accidents, which might render a street unsafe for 50 years while the worst of the radiation half-life passes by, or a serious problem with spent nuclear fuel disposal. Further, potential terrorists would have had a steady supply of dangerous materials to build dirty bombs from as well.
Of all the bad automobile technology designs, the Ford Nucleon probably ranks at the top of the list. For many reasons, it was probably the most dangerous automobile design ever proposed. This design actually makes the 1963 Chrysler jet turbine engined cars which engines spun around at 50,000rpm and produced terrible heat look quite tame by comparison of all the late 50's to early 60's bad automobile design experiments. R.I.P. Ford Nucleon.
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