Hoffmann (automobile)

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1951 Hoffmann
1951 Hoffmann
Manufacturer Hoffmann
Production September 1951
Model years 1951
Body and chassis
Class Indeterminate
Body style 2-door
Layout Engine mounted on rear wheel which steers
Engine Air-cooled 200 cc (12 cu in) ILO single-cylinder 2-stroke 4.8 kW (6.5 hp)
Transmission 3-speed manual

The 1951 Hoffmann is a three-wheeled car created by Michael Hoffmann, a shop foreman from Munich.[1] It is considered by some[2] to be the worst car ever made, owing to its pervasively bizarre design decisions that make the vehicle uncomfortable and cumbersome to operate.

Only one Hoffmann was ever made; it is currently part of the collection at the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.


The car is notable for its plethora of unconventional and often user-hostile design elements.[3] These include:

  • Windows that are raised or lowered with a strap that the user pulls, and held in place with eyelets and pegs
  • Suicide doors and a driving position that make ingress and egress extremely difficult
  • A starter awkwardly placed by the driver's right hip
  • A fuel filler tube which goes from the roof, directly through the cabin of the car
  • Front wheels that are farther apart than the length of the wheelbase
  • A linear rather than H-shaped shift pattern with a neutral between each gear
  • The rear wheel is placed immediately behind the driver, with a large portion of the car behind it
  • Rear-wheel steering
  • The combination of the previous two features mean that the car has an extremely high tendency to slew.
  • An engine located on the same pivot as the rear wheel steering mechanism, so that the engine moves with the wheel when the car is steered
  • Rearview mirrors positioned so that they are perfectly blocked by the A-pillar
  • Two-stroke engine, which requires engine oil to be continuously mixed into the fuel supply
  • Single-cylinder engine, which causes greater vibration than multi-cylinder engines
  • Rear-mounted engine that is dependent on air cooling, but the lack of a fan causes overheating when idling


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