A rear engine, front wheel drive layout is one in which the engine is behind the rear wheels, but drives the front wheels via a driveshaft, like a conventional front-engine rear-drive vehicle traveling in reverse.
Although an uncommon drive layout, it has been used in the past, by Buckminster Fuller in his conceptDymaxion car, which was able to turn within its wheelbase due to rear-wheel steering.
According to the patent, the layout is designed to be advantageous in terms of crash performance by increasing the front crumple zone, in allowing greater styling freedom, in enhanced ride via reduced noise, vibration, and harshness, and in lowered center of gravity providing improved handling, braking and roll characteristics. Its main disadvantage is the lack of weight over the drive wheels, particularly under hard acceleration as weight shifts to the rear.
In 1932, Coleman Motors based in Littleton, Colorado, chief designer Harleigh Holmes designed and built an automobile named Maroon Car which had front wheel drive by a rear mounted V-8 engine. Only one was built and never placed in production.