Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Brooks Walker Fifth Wheel

 You think about the advancements today with self parking cars and it makes you wonder what took so long. Truth is, the idea of making parking cars easier has been around since at least the 1950s. 

A few years back we spotted this 1953 Packard at an area car show with a similar invention by a gentleman named Brooks Walker of San Francisco, Ca. It may very well have been created by the same gentleman that crated the Cadillac in the video above.

We did a Google search and were able to turn up some patent designs from Mr. Walker that date back to 1928. There are a few other similar patents out there, however Mr. Walker's seems to be the most thought out and engineered example. This patent from 1932 seems to be the most similar to the one in the video, but the application seems nearly identical to that on the Packard we saw. We also found this Life magazine article showing off Walker's invention.

Now the big question. How does it work? The spare tire is mounted to s separate frame that connects to the drive shaft that can be lowered from inside the car electronically or hydraulically. This lowers the spare tire to the ground lifting the drive wheels of the car off the ground. This allows the spare wheel the drive the car in to a parking spot.

Simple as that. It's a very cool idea in theory even if it may not be the most practical. Since there's little info on Brooks Walker's Fifth Wheel, we hope this will help to serve as a memory to his idea.