Russian Mechanic Brings 5th Wheel Parallel Parking Trick Back to Life

Still works better than some modern-day park assist systems.

byJames Gilboy|
Culture photo

As satisfying as it may be to nail a maneuver, parallel parking isn't exactly a fun task behind the wheel. Because of this, engineers have tried to come up with clever solutions, though most end up being too obnoxious to use, such as the early versions of park assist—which date as far back as the 1930s. You may have seen the most frequent result in an old magazine or an archived newsreels online someplace: a fifth wheel, perpendicular to the other four and tucked up in the back that could drop down and allow the car to pivot into a spot. Clever, but did these really work? No need for a time machine—Russian YouTube channel Garage 54 is here to help.

Inspired by the newsreel linked above, the same people who made the legged, walking Lada repurposed an old Fiat hatchback they had lying around from a prior six-wheel conversion. The host uses extra Fiat parts and a small boxed steel frame to build the appendage axle, which is powered by a starter motor. The parking wheel is lowered via a simple mechanism that'd make any applied engineering professor proud: a scissor jack, extension bars, and an impact gun.

And surprisingly, once hooked up to the Fiat's turn signals, it works like a charm.

The real reason the concept never took off with Detroit is because it completely obliterates your trunk space, and obviously the host here completely tore apart the Fiat's rear to get the job done. 

Things are simpler yet just as gimmicky nowadays, as some sort of self-parking technology is almost standard in new cars. And besides, if having a car that can spin in place like a merry-go-round is your real reason for wanting that extra wheel, Rivian has you covered there.

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