Although the Mythbusters final season is over, it lives on as the show that tested absolutely ridiculous premises and followed through with an actual budget and an entertainment value that was second to none. One of the more notably insane things they’ve ever tried, at least in my eyes, is installing square wheels on a full-size pickup truck and recording the mayhem as they try to even out the colossal vibrations.
The idea for this myth was simple - square wheels, when put on a car, would be rough at first, but would potentially smooth out to the point where it would be tolerable. The question was, how fast would the Mythbusters have to drive in order for that relative smoothness to occur?
I’ll be the first one to say that what Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman did in this episode looks incredibly dangerous, not only because they’re subjecting untested components to extreme forces and abuse, but that the mechanical components of the car could violently fracture and shatter, blowing holes in whatever thin metal membrane they’re sitting on.
Having said that, engineering your own reinforced wheel and tire combination in a frankly stupid shape is one of the best uses of child-like curiosity that I can imagine. It’s the automotive equivalent of actually being a dinosaur when you grow up.
I adore the fact that they got a full-size Ford F-series pickup that had both the torque to push the no-curvature wheels and the frame that would allow the back end to shimmy and dance in the most hilariously sketchy way imaginable. They also took the truck up a steep dirt incline to see if the square rims acted as a paddle to dig in a bit deeper than regular tires would. Spoiler alert - it doesn’t.
I’d love to see someone attempt to drive a car with triangular wheels. Now that’s something that’ll put an axle spline through its paces - or the floorboard.