Pay Tribute to Leonardo Da Vinci With This Self Propelled Car Model

Not only were the first trials for a car being sketched almost 500 years ago, but Leonardo Da Vinci was in fact thinking human kind would one day find a way to build a self-propelled vehicle. So, long before Henry Ford’s Mode T would be born, the iconic inventor drew out his plans for the world’s first similar vehicle.
The Da Vinci Auto Coach 5 photos
Photo: Hammacher Schlemmer
The Da Vinci Auto CoachThe Da Vinci Auto CoachThe Da Vinci Auto CoachThe Da Vinci Auto Coach
Sure, it wasn’t barely designed as a car, since it didn’t even have a seat. In fact, the peculiar machine was designed as a special attraction for Renaissance festivals, meant to instill wonder and awe in attendees. It still remained one of the many sketches Da Vinci only put on paper.

However, according to How Stuff Works, in 2004 Paolo Galluzzi, director of the Institute and Museum of the History of Science in Florence, Italy, oversaw a project to finally build a working model of Leonardo’s invention.

Even though it was initially believed two leaf springs somehow powered the vehicle, closer inspection eventually revealed the power came from bigger, coiled springs located in tambours, cylindrical drum-like casings, inside the car’s frame. Galluzzi and his team of engineers spent four months building the car that ended being 5 ft 6 in (1.68 meters) long and 4 ft 11 in wide (1.49 meters). Once a brake is released, it can travel for about 130 feet (40 meters).

Another proof Da Vinci was well ahead of his time

It once again proved the famous Renaissance genius was centuries ahead with yet another incredible invention.

The Da Vinci Auto Coach is an homage to Leonardo’s sketches from 1478. Similar to the initial creation, the auto coach has coils attached to the rear wheels that are wound by pulling the car backwards. Releasing it transfers the energy to clock-like spur gear that drive the scaled-auto forward for several feet.

Currently on sale at Hammacher Schlemmer, the model is made of 1/8’’ - thick, laser-cut stainless steel and brass bearings that generate smooth, elegant movement of the gears, axles and wheels. According to the retailer, the swirling, brushed finish was created by hand in a pattern unique to each vehicle.

It is delivered in a custom-made wood box with a polished granite base and laser-etched nameplate, and will cost you $800.

Sure, you could always get a nice McLaren P1 scale model instead with that money, but where’s the history in that?

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