Today is about that time during winter when I've realized it'll be a few long months of more cold and more snow. The perfect antidote, it seems, is filling your browser history with vehicles that would be terrible in the winter, like the Sbarro Osmos.
Like the other Sbarro models I've written about, the Osmos comes from a place of absolute fantasy and excess. It's as if Franco Sbarro is doomed to try and push the automobile forward, because even when you think he's run out of ideas, he'll place the exhaust pipes of an SUV over the entire cabin. Or add a second rear axle to a Cadillac. Or invent the hubless wheel.
That's right: Franco invented the hubless—or centreless—wheel.
The way they work is quite simple: a rotating ring that holds the tire and brake pad material and a fixed part with bearings, attachment points, steering, and brake caliper. To fit everything inside you'll need a big ring and large-diameter tires, only recently commercially viable.
The advantages of such a setup are quite clear: a huge reduction in rotating mass, more solidly connected suspension, numerous alternatives for how brakes are applied, less vibration, and a lower centre of gravity.
Some sources online say that the Osmos was based on a Formula 1 chassis, and its profile, height, and width make a good argument for that conclusion. It's so low that the mid-mounted Jaguar V12 with individual exhaust pipes for each cylinder seems to poke out of the car—an effect no doubt enhanced by the snaking chrome exhaust pipes.
Two years after this car was shown in 1989 Sbarro sold his patents to for the design and development of the hubless wheel, effectively stopping his work with the technology. Apparently the group now in charge of the project is in touch with Sbarro—so we may soon see hubless wheels make a more impactful return.
And what is the project now called? Osmos Wheel.
But how would it fare in the winter?