▶ Watch introduction to Works That Work
Connect with us RSS Questions? Email us directly!

The Fifth Wheel — USA

by Peter Biľak

The long, sleekly winged cars of the 1950s had one major drawback: it was hard to find sufficiently long parking spaces on streets that only allowed parallel parking. A Californian lumberjack named Brooks Walker came up with an invention that he hoped would catch the interest of car makers in Detroit: a fifth wheel. The driver would pull the front wheels to the curb, and lower the fifth wheel from its storage position inside the rear of the car. Set perpendicular to the vehicle’s length, it would lift the back wheels off the street, allowing the car to swing neatly into the parking space. Though the system seemed ingenious, the contraption took up almost the entire trunk, even in a car as large as a Cadillac, and the only car ever to use the system was the 1954 Packard Cavalier that Walker used to demo his invention.

Connect with us RSS Questions? Email us directly!