top of page

1989 Sbarro Osmos

"Throw out the hubs!" exhorted Franco Sbarro at the 1989 Geneva show when he released on to the world a significant innovation: the hubless wheel. As Gordon Murray confirmed, the concept of a wheel without a center to it had a sound theoretical basis. The idea was that the wheel rotated around bearings -actually in the rim. The drive and braking applied directly to the run meant greater rigidity, less weight, less torque reaction, less axial and radial strain, and perfectly vented braking. Sbarro had experimented with such wheels on a motorcycle a few years before; however, it was obvious that much more development was required, and tills innovative scheme was left on the shelf.

Nevertheless, the Osmos show car, which incorporated the hubless wheel, was popular at motor shows. Cleanly styled, somewhat soberly perhaps for Sbarro, it boasted a 12-cylinder engine.

Images: Sbarro; Peter Vann