l’Automodule, this is how this ball on wheels called, was designed back in 1969 by the French engineer Jean Pontier. The designer called it a ‘car from 2000’, arguing that there is too much boring grayness in the world and beautiful things must be done.
Like any normal car, there are four wheels, but they are located in an unusual way. The front wheel is steering, the rear support wheel, two side wheels are leading.
There is a place for two inside, and it is quite roomy. All panels are transparent, there are definitely no problems with the view from the inside.
The engine is located under the vehicles. It is a two-stroke, two-cylinder, 248cc carburetor engine. It starts with an electric starter. The transmission of the ball car is hydraulic. The oil goes through the hoses to the hydraulic motors of the side wheels. A similar scheme is used in some tractors and excavators. The maximum speed is about 45 km/h.
But the most curious thing is the suspension. It is also hydraulic, with adjustable ground clearance. The range is almost 250 mm, and while stationary, you can even sit down effectively on the rear wheel.
The ball car is not the only car made by Jean Pierre Pontier in his life, but it is definitely the most shocking one. The wow effect was the main goal pursued by the designer, and he succeeded, the car was a participant in advertising campaigns, even filmed in a fashionable women’s magazine.
The car has survived to this day in full working order, but it has long been forgotten, so each appearance in public is no less surprising than in the 1970s.