The Alluringly Mad Cars of Steven M. Johnson

Allison Arieff of The New York Times’s By Design blog has a great post about inventor/author/cartoonist/former urban planner Steven M. Johnson, creator of many a car straight out of the Acme playbook.

Arieff writes:

In discussing his often fantastical, sometimes silly, sometimes visionary concepts, he has said, “If I could use two words to describe what it is that I enjoy it is that I love to be sneakily outrageous…[It may be that] I have decided an idea has no practical worth and would never be likely to be adopted seriously (like most of my ideas), but I like it anyway.”


A latent inventor, Johnson discovered his “ability” only at age 36 in 1974, when he was the editorial cartoonist for The Sierra Club Bulletin and the editor, Roger Olmsted, asked him to invent whimsical recreational vehicles. Olmsted asked for 16; Johnson gave him 109. “I had never invented anything before,” he told me in an e-mail recently, “because no one had ever asked me to invent anything!”

Do click through for more wacky inventions, like the Automobile Snack Conveyor Belt, the Self-Shortening Sedan or Johnson’s Automobile Abandonment Zones, built along superhighways with permanent traffic jams.

Source: The New York Times → By Design