Windmobile [wind-moh-beel]

-noun
1. an ultralight, highly aerodynamic (that is, having low drag coefficent) experimental wind-propelled vehicle invented in 1969 by James L. Amick in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA

origin: 1969, son Douglas J. Amick requests a design for an ice boat (vehicle that sails over frozen lakes on runners) from his father, James L. Amick, an aeronautical engineer and inventor. The elder Amick applies accumulated aeronautical know-how, including use of rigid airfoil sails and the horizontal spoiler (which he invented in the 1950's) and produces the Sailing Vehicle, Patent 3804428, and the Wind-propelled car, United States Patent 4117900. Douglas builds it, the runners are switched for wheels, and the rest made history . . .

Interesting fact: the original wind-powered Windmobile could, in theory, attain speeds five times the speed of a steady crosswind, given enough smooth rolling surface . . .

 


This page is dedicated to the inventions of
James L. Amick, P.E., who designed the original
wind-powered (and later electric-powered, wind-assisted) vehicle shown here. May his work inspire creativity in engineering and new ways to harness
wind and other renewable energy.

Except where otherwise noted, all images Copyright 2002-2013 James L. Amick Estate -- All Rights Reserved

For information regarding these images please contact Ron Amick, 10061 Riverside Dr #743, Toluca Lake CA 91602-2560
-- Copying, reproducing, publishing by permission only. --

Follow related energy innovations here.


 

Windmobile at Tecumseh Products Co. airport, Tecumseh, Michigan, spring 1973. Note the two concentric steering wheels -- only one of which steers . . .. Piloted by Douglas J. Amick.  

Photo by Richard N. Amick.
 
 
Windmobile at Tecumseh Products Co. airport, Tecumseh, Michigan, spring 1973.  Piloted by Douglas J. Amick.  Photo by Richard N. Amick.

North American Land Sailing Association Regatta:  "America's Landsailing Cup," Roach Dry Lake, Nevada
April 4 through April 9, 1974.

(Original all-wind-powered Windmobile at extreme right.)

Photo by James L. Amick

North American Land Sailing Association Regatta, 1974 - Photo by James L. Amick
James L. Amick, Roach Dry Lake, Nevada, April, 1974.

Photo by Jean T. Amick

James L. Amick, Roach Dry Lake, Nevada, April, 1974 - Photo by Jean T. Amick
James L. Amick, Roach Dry Lake, Nevada, April, 1974.

Photo by Jean T. Amick

James L. Amick, Roach Dry Lake, Nevada, April, 1974 - Photo by Jean T. Amick
Jean T. Amick, Roach Dry Lake, Nevada, April, 1974.

Photo by James L. Amick

Jean T. Amick, Roach Dry Lake, Nevada, April, 1974 - Photo by James L. Amick
Roach Dry Lake, Nevada, April 9, 1974.

Timed Speed run piloted by Nord Embroden.

Photo by James L. Amick



Roach Dry Lake, Nevada, April 9, 1974  - Photo by Jean T. Amick

Roach Dry Lake, Nevada, April 9, 1974.

Crash! The unfortunate combination of a dust devil and high speed turn caused wheels to dig into dry lake surface and catch, flipping the vehicle into the dirt, which collapsed wing on one side.  Nord Embroden, pilot, was unhurt.

Photo by Jean T. Amick

Roach Dry Lake, Nevada, April 9, 1974  - Photo by Jean T. Amick
Roach Dry Lake, Nevada, April 9, 1974.

Photo by Jean T. Amick


Roach Dry Lake, Nevada, April 9, 1974 - Photo by Jean T. Amick
Roach Dry Lake, Nevada, April 9, 1974.

Invitation to North American Land Sailing Association Regatta with certification of speed record on reverse.
 
Roach Dry Lake, Nevada, April 9, 1974 - Invitation to North American Land Sailing Association Regatta  Certification of NALSA speed record, Roach Dry Lake, Nevada, April 9, 1974
Windmobile on freeway I-275, Michigan, 1976(?);
Douglas Amick, pilot.

Photo by Richard N. Amick

Windmobile on I275, Michigan, 1976? Douglas Amick, pilot. - Photo by Richard N. Amick
Windmobile, Ford Proving Grounds, Michigan 
September 22, 1976
Richard N. Amick, pilot.

Photo by James L. Amick

Windmobile, Ford Proving Grounds,  September 22, 1976 - Photo by James L. Amick

 
James L. Amick during construction of the Windmobile (1974).

Note the concentric steering wheels -- only one of which steers: inside (smaller) one for steering, outer one for turning all three wheels together to adjust yaw of sail (does not affect direction of travel; vehicle body faces away from direction of travel).

Photo by Douglas J. Amick


James L. Amick during construction of the Windmobile. - Photo by Douglas J. Amick

James L. Amick explaining the operation of the Windmobile at an exhibit.
 

 
 

James L. Amick explaining the operation of the Windmobile at an exhibit.

The Windmobile on display at Expo 86 in Vancouver, B.C. (In the b.g., a human-powered airplane by Paul MacCready.)

Photo by James L. Amick

The Windmobile on display.
Who is drafting whom?

The electrified Windmobile (single steering wheel, electric motors, batteries, controller, regenerative braking system) in the passing lane on U.S. 23, outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Photo by Jack Stubbs, Ann Arbor News
Windmobile on U.S. 23, 1976

Images from Popular Science cover story, November 1976. Pictured are (clockwise from top) Ben Kocivar, Popular Science reporter; designer/inventor James L. Amick (in white hat) and Douglas J. Amick builder; Ben Kocivar (seated) assisted by Douglas J. Amick.

(photos copyright Popular Science, 1976)

Follow this link to read follow-up letters to Popular Science and responses from James L. Amick to author Ben Kocivar and to a reader's letter.

Windmobile on cover of Popular Science magazine, Nov 1976

James L. Amick and Douglas J. Amick with Windmobile

The Solitair A4, designed and manufactured by Douglas J. Amick, at Epcot Center, Walt Disney World, Florida 1994. The Innoventions exhibit kick-off featured Bill Nye driving the vehicle onto the stage.

Photo by Douglas J. Amick

The A4 Windmobile at Epcot Center, Walt Disney World, Florida.
Mana La, co-designed by James L. Amick, components built by Douglas J. Amick; sponsored by John Paul Mitchell Systems for the first ever World Solar Challenge cross-country race in Australia, 1987.


The Mana La Windmobile sponsored by John Paul Mitchell Systems.










Follow related energy innovations at Douglas J. Amick's site.