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Alfa da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci drew up a car, not an automobile. Someone had to wind up the coil springs for it to drive, so it does not qualify as an auto mobile cart. Our cars are not automobile in the sense that an external source of energy is needed; two in fact. There is the motor, driven by fuel or electricity. Then, to make it all happen there is the chauffeur, the tender of the fire, of the energy. Leonardo’s car was a forerunner of the wind-up toy car. It had no driver.

Leonardo da Vinci's wind-up car

​Leonardo da Vinci's wind-up car

Only Living creatures and the Universe are automobile; our inventions are not. We can program the energy we let loose on the mechanism.

Leonardo da Vinci's baby car?
Baby in wheelchair.

My first automobile adventures were similar to Leonardo's, but I had my own propulsion. Truly automobile!

​Leonardo da Vinci sketches.
​Leonardo da Vinci sketches.

All aspects of the wind-up car is here at

The site is owned by Museo Gallileo in Firenze.

A video of the car for YouTubers is here:
Leonardo Da Vinci Automovile (1495)

The reconstruction of this vehicle can be seen in this video.

Google image search the wind-up toy car. Do!

The bicycle is the closest man has come to automobility. Under our own power we can multiple our strength. Leonardo realized that our arms were not strong enough to operate the weight of wings. On the bicycle we use our much stronger muscles of the thigh and the whole body to operate the gears and wheels to at least triple our effort and our speed. Leonardo da Vinci did not invent the crank that multiplied our strength. He used cranks but did not make use of it to pedal a bike or a plane. He had a proposal using the arms and a crank to flap wings about but there was too much weight and not enough power.

More on Leonardo da Vinci: Science Museum of Milano

The principle of the pedal power multiplication has been used in flying. Here the stronger lower body muscles power a lighter propeller and not the wings.

Flight of the Gossamer Condor

Bicycles were considered modern people’s transport until the combustion engine was refined for mass production. Rover and Peugeot are two well known car brands that made the switch from bike to car production.

It is interesting to see the bicycle still being developed as our most efficient automobile.. Our genius is in the ratios.

Who will build the first Alfa da Vinci?

An early plane powered by steam:

Ader Éole - a flying chauffeur