The 1966 TDX "all plastic car" is unlike other "cars of the future" or "concept cars" of the time. It isn't a plastic body set on a metal frame. It is an all plastic monocoque chassis / body structure. The suspension and running gear attach to the plastic chassis / body. There is no metal frame. In fact, if you were to cut the TDX in half the only metal you would cut through was the wiring, hydraulic lines and the drive shaft.
The suspension is standard coil springs front and rear. The engine is a Chevrolet V-8. The TDX was America's first full sized, full powered, "all plastic" passenger car. Here is a profile of the TDX during some phase of construction. I have included this photo because the other photos create the illusion that the TDX is short and squat and not too graceful. Not true, in fact it was designed to be sleek as well as innovative, and this photo is more representative of how it looks.
THE TDX PLASTIC BODY/CHASSIS
This sketch shows the basic
structure of the TDX. Note the housing for a rocket motor.
Although the rocket braking aspect of the TDX was never tested, the concept
is one that is more practical today than it might have been in the 1960's
when it was proposed.
The modern computers similar to those used to control air bag systems in todays cars would all but eliminate one of the major problems anticipated in my retro-rocket concept.
Critics were concerned that the rocket could be accidentally activated when there was no need for it and the vehicle would suddenly be brought to an abrupt stop, or even worse, could be propelled backwards. Not a good idea, especially when stopped and waiting for the traffic light to turn green.
" TEEDEE " AND THE TDX
Here is the TDX without it's
polycarbonate headlight covers, but with Teedee, it's namesake.
The use of " wrap around " polycarbonate headlights is very common today.
In the 1960's I chose the " new " space age plastic for headlight covers which would actually protect the headlights because of its strength as well as transparency. A polyurethane " rub rail " was used to avoid scratching the clear polycarbonate. Polyurethane rub rails and bumpers, etc. are also common in todays cars. Another feature you can see in this photo is the unique full 180 degree clear view the driver has because of the lack of windshield posts. Often the usual posts block part of the drivers view. The TDX didn't need posts because of the heavily reinforced cantilevered roof design.
Click here and you can see the TDX roof structure being subjected to a " test ".
Motor Trend's All-Plastic Car Article Including the TDX
THE TDX AT THE FALL 2013 HEMMINGS CONCOURS IN SARATOGA SPRINGS NY
Return to Plastic Autos