Michelotti Lem


The diamond layout is a rare beast indeed, but it didn't stop Michelotti in 1974 from collaborating with noted Italian automotive writer Gianni Rogliatti to produce this electric city car.

One wheel up front…two at the sides…one in the back. What do you think of that? LEM stood for Laboratorio Elettronico Mobile, and its novel glued and riveted aluminum sheet construction has helped the prototype to survive to this day.

The coolest thing about the LEM? Its doors open up like the doors on McLaren's modern supercar lineup. Just remember: LEM had them first.

Problem is that there's not much information on the LEM, but World Cars 1975 sets a few things straight, including the car's correct name and technical specifications. The front wheel steers the car, the rear provides drive, and the ones on the side are set back a bit to help the 2-seat city car's maneuverability. Batteries were placed in hatches ahead of the rear wheels. 

Let me be the first to tell you its top speed of 45 km/h (28 mph) and range of 50 km (31 miles) would have restricted it to all but the smallest of towns. With just 2.4 kw, its motor was not going to push the LEM anywhere fast, despite its relatively svelte 510 kg (1,125 lbs) weight.

Rogliatti designed the mechanics and chassis, and Michelotti the bodywork. As far as I can tell, only a single LEM was made.