This car was commissioned by Tom Monahan, the founder and CEO of Domino’s, who is often quoted saying that he wanted a vehicle that could go 75 miles an hour and get 75 miles to the gallon. That’s probably not the safest option for a 16 year old delivering pizza, but it set a benchmark for the rest of the world.
I get my quirky taste in vehicles from my dad.
This is a Tritan Aero 2 or A2 for short. It is the legacy of an earlier vehicle designed and built by James Amick called the Windmobile, which was built for land sailing. Land sailing is exactly what you’d think. Picture an actual sailboat, but with wheels. It encompassed anything that involved a vehicle being propelled by wind without a motor. In the 70s, these gentlemen created a three-wheel vehicle like this one, but with a huge wing in the back, maybe 2-3 times the size. They theorized that they could get five times the speed of the wind that was hitting the side of the wing to propel it. It actually went close to 51 miles an hour, which was a record at that time in 1974.
Amick used a lot of the same technology to make this, but just added some motorization. It has a small 440 CC rotary motor with only 30 horsepower, which is also very quirky and unique. In theory, it can get at least 75 miles to the gallon while commuting and transporting another person. This was almost 40 years ago, so it was way ahead of its time and very forward thinking. Critically, it was panned, of course, at the time of its release. Yet there are plenty of people, including myself, who look back at this vehicle and see its critical place in history.
I get my quirky taste in vehicles from my dad. Growing up, my father had a Studebaker Avanti that I obsessed over. For his 70th birthday, I bought him a Citroen D Special. We both love that car for a number of reasons, but we’re both fascinated by hydropneumatic suspension. The A2 actually has hydro gas shocks in the back that were developed in England with similar technology. The hydropneumatic system was way ahead of its time. That’s what attracts me to most cars, the forward-thinking ideas that push motoring into the future.
I've actually been contacted about converting this car to electric or battery operated. While that is tempting, I’m not going to do it. I’m a believer in keeping things original. Especially because this is the first they ever made, I think it’s important to keep it stock. It’s a piece of history. If I had two of them, I'd probably do one, either solar, electric or a combination of the two. The makers of this car were some truly extraordinary people. They were not only incredible engineers, but they really were trying to save the planet.