Occasionally concept cars pioneer fantastic new technology later implemented into production cars. It’s probably better the Ford Nucleon didn’t catch on.
Envisioned in 1958 at the pinnacle of the atomic age, the Nucleon concept was to be powered, as the name denotes, by a steam engine fed by an on-board nuclear reactor. While Ford engineers estimated a functioning nucleon would be able to travel 5,000 miles on just one core of uranium, the rather ambitious concept suffered from two major flaws. One, a nuclear reactor compact enough to fit in a car simply didn’t exist at the time. Two, as hinted at with the cab forward design, shielding passengers from the reactor in a standard size car was near impossible. Naturally, the Nucleon never made it past a 3/8-scale model and no nuclear reactor was ever fitted to a test mule. Despite this, the sheer lunacy of designing a car propelled by a potential nuclear disaster encapsulates the atomic ages optimism and naivety, garnering the Nucleon a spot in history as one of the automotive worlds maddest moments.
Ford Nucleon Concept Car: carstyling.ru/en/car/1958_ford_nucleon/