According to Jason Torchinsky, yes. And when they do, they make sure that it is the worst.
Jason from Jalopnik found out about this car in his segment where he drives, quote: ´´the weird, the wonderful, and the downright insane.´´ This video featured the peculiar ´Hoffman´. With a whopping six horsepower, produced by the tiniest 0.2 liter, one-cylinder engine, along with its questionable design, you can make the easy assumption that this is, in fact, a monstrosity.
These initial feelings are absolutely confirmed by the test driver in the video. When we can even hear Jason over the soar and loud noises of the engine, it is a river of non-stop complaints and pouring out inner emotions for a fear of dying. The contraption he drives around on a small piece of tarmac does not know the word speed, unsurprisingly.
It kind of reminded me of my time in the Citroën Traction Avant, I drove not too long ago. The similarities are marginal, and the Hoffman must at least be a thousand times scarier to drive, but on some level I think our fears matched. Especially when Jason addressed the issue of the gear lever, or the entire gearbox for that matter. On the Traction, you had to direct the lever in some sort of triangular pattern, while on the Hoffman it was just a linear one. Note that the Hoffman’s gear shifter does have neutral in between every slot. As a matter of fact, there aren’t actually any gear slots on the 1951 Hoffman; you just have to hope for the best that you land the gear you were aiming for.
Luckily for me, that is where most of the similarities end. The Hoffman is not only visually terrifyingly ugly, it also horribly made. It is as if everything that is so bad about it, was done on purpose. The mirrors on the car have been placed in such a way that you can’t actually see them. The steering is so direct that the car turns even when it is stationary. Everything, and I mean everything is terrible.
I think it could actually be considered a gift that this car does not have the ability to go fast, because if it would everyone that drove it probably would have rolled over and crashed to death. This is not only because of it’s magnificent three-wheel feature. It also has an incredibly short wheelbase that adds on to this instability.
According to Micro Car Museum, the number of cars Hoffman produced never exceeded just the one car, which makes me fairly certain that it isn’t even road legal. Let’s not doubt that fact though, as if the Hoffman isn’t scary enough!
Another thing they point out is not only applicable to this specific car, but to a range of other questionable ones as well.
Perhaps this interesting and eccentric vehicle can be used to illustrate the reason why in this modern day one has a myriad of rules to contend with when building a vehicle.
The Hoffman is a car that resembles a lot of the great features from a time where rules were merely there to guide, while at the same time reminding us of atrocious things we would never ever want to see again.
On the other hand, I am happy that car-makers like Hoffman existed. They show us that anyone is capable of creating a car that, 64 years after its production can still bring a smile to our faces. For that Hoffman, I applaud you!
Have a good one,