Ford Nucleon

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The Ford Nucleon concept car.

The Ford Nucleon was a scale model concept car developed by Ford in 1958 as a design on how a nuclear-powered car might look. The design did not include an internal-combustion engine; rather, the vehicle was to be powered by a small nuclear reactor in the rear of the vehicle, based on the assumption that this would one day be possible by reducing sizes. The car was to use a steam engine powered by uranium fission similar to those found in nuclear submarines.[1]

The mock-up of the car can be viewed at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

The Nucleon is the inspiration for nuclear cars in the Fallout video game franchise. For example, in-game billboards describe the fictional Chryslus Atomic V8 as having an "Atomic V8" engine. The game's depiction is more satirical, however, as the cars explode into an implausible mushroom cloud and release radiation when shot.[3][4]


  1. ^ Bellows, Alan (27 Aug 2006). "The Atomic Automobile". Damn Interesting. Retrieved 8 Jan 2011. 
  2. ^ "The Henry Ford, America's Greatest History Attraction". Retrieved 20 Mar 2012. 
  3. ^ Kapell, Matthew Wilhelm; Elliott, Andrew B.R. Playing with the Past: Digital Games and the Simulation of History. ISBN 9781623567286. 
  4. ^ "Fallout 3 vehicles" (Media Wiki). The Vault, the Fallout Wiki. Retrieved 7 Mar 2011.