Weird Ride Wednesday: the Warbuckle Wonder Bolt (w/ Video)

Wonder Bolt Future Car from the 1940s

Allegedly built by “Pops” Warbuckle and Margo Hempnoodle (really), Popular Mechanics called the Wonder Bolt ride “the air streamed car of 1960”. This was in 1948, though, and even then the makers of Popular Mechanics’ “The Cars of Tomorrow” video called it a “monster”. If the local legends are to be believed, however, the thing was fast, and Warbuckle supposedly topped 100 MPH on public roads in an informal “time trial”.

I can’t find a whole lot more about the Wonder Bolt. This particular streamliner seems to have been built in the same spirit as Bucky Fuller’s Dymaxion. Albeit, without the terrifying handling implications of a three-wheeled design that incorporates rear-wheel steering! Still, what I have found- over at Custom Rodder– seems fun. You can check it out, below, and post any links you may have about Pops’ streamliner in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Pops Warbuckle and his assistant, the formerly lovely and talented Margo Hempnoodle, just prior to their departure for speed week at Bonneville, where they will attempt to set a new land speed record with Pops’ custom-built streamliner, the Waukegan Wonder Bolt. Powered by the valve-in-head straight-8 out of Pops’ Roadmaster, the Wonder-Bolt has topped 110 mph on regular pump gas in time-trials on Belvidere Road one night when Barney and Hank were having coffee at the cafe across from the courthouse.” — Waukegan Weekly Gazette, August 2, 1947.


Popular Mechanics | The Cars of Tomorrow (1948)

Source | Images: Custom Rodder and Popular Mechanics, via Paleofuture and Reddit.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.