Aircraft

The world's only road- and FAA-registered flying car is up for sale

The world's only road- and FAA...
The world's only dual-registered flying car is up for auction
The world's only dual-registered flying car is up for auction
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It may not be the sexiest thing on the road in car form, but it'll do an honest 60 mph on the highway
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It may not be the sexiest thing on the road in car form, but it'll do an honest 60 mph on the highway
Wings, tail and other flight bits are towed behind the Aerocar in a big ol' trailer
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Wings, tail and other flight bits are towed behind the Aerocar in a big ol' trailer
If the cabin looks a bit busy, it's also a cockpit
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If the cabin looks a bit busy, it's also a cockpit
The motor is a Lyncoming O-320 making around 150 horsepower
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The motor is a Lyncoming O-320 making around 150 horsepower
Not what you'd call a stealth operation
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Not what you'd call a stealth operation
This Taylor Aerocar, which will cruise at about 100 mph in the air, is going to auction
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This Taylor Aerocar, which will cruise at about 100 mph in the air, is going to auction
The tail prop is driven by a shaft running down the middle of the tail
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The tail prop is driven by a shaft running down the middle of the tail
The world's only dual-registered flying car is up for auction
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The world's only dual-registered flying car is up for auction
A look into the two-seat cabin
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A look into the two-seat cabin

As we speak, according to auction house Barrett Jackson, there is only one vehicle currently registered as a roadworthy car and an FAA-certified aeroplane, and it's about to go under the hammer in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The Taylor Aerocar was big news in its time. Molt Taylor's innovative Aerocar design promised to give you a cheery little two-seat bug of a thing to putt around in, its 150-hp Lycoming O-320 motor delivering a front-wheel-drive top speed of 60 mph (96.5 km/h).

If you needed to fly it, you'd tow some wings and a tail around with you on a big ol' 8-foot (2.4-m) trailer. Stopping at an airstrip, you'd attach the flight gear in a process that took around half an hour, then pop the transmission in neutral and switch the drive back to a pusher prop on the tail. Then off you'd go, taking flight at around 55 mph (88 km/h) and reaching a cruise speed around 100 mph (160 km/h), your fuzzy dice swinging in the breeze.

Not what you'd call a stealth operation
Not what you'd call a stealth operation

Totally roadworthy and registered, it also managed to achieve FAA certification in the Standard Airworthiness Category – the only vehicle yet to achieve both feats.

Taylor had plans, and a deal in place, to manufacture the Aerocar in bulk. What he couldn't find was a sufficient number of buyers, and the project was scrapped with only five of these things ever built. Now, more than half a century later, one of them has come up for sale.

This is N101D (1954), the second to be built, and its owner Greg Herrick has kept it well maintained at the Golden Wings Flying Museum in Minneapolis. It's done 15,254 miles (24,549 km) on the road and 781 hours in the air.

If the cabin looks a bit busy, it's also a cockpit
If the cabin looks a bit busy, it's also a cockpit

Herrick has had a few stabs at selling N101D in the past, asking US$1.25 million back in 2012 and US$895,000 in more recent times on a dedicated website. Now, it's going to Barrett Jackson for auction at Scottsdale in early 2020, with no reserve. Raid your piggy banks, flying car enthusiasts!

It's allegedly still in flying order, so who knows, you might just be able to fly the thing home if you're feeling super adventurous.

Source: Barrett Jackson

5 comments
Victor-in-A2
Quite unwieldy both in the air and on the ground- a case where something designed to do two things is good at neither.
buzzclick
So what controls the ailerons and rudder? After studying the images I think it's cables. Half an hour to put the gear together? Gotta be at least two people. It's an interesting thing, this Taylor Aerocar. Makes me wonder if this or any of the other four units had any problems (and crashed?). He wants to sell his for maximum bucks, and with no reserve it could become a lunch bag letdown. We'll see what enthusiastic collectors and speculators come up with, but I suspect it won't get to 1.25 million. .
ei3io
Yes it is unwieldy, but a very sweet piece of flight history. I bet many will bid on it.
JeffK
Just saw one of these at the Museum of Flight in Seattle last week. The exhibit information said that when not towing the trailer/fuselage, the car actually handled nicely and that it was "...quite stable and pleasant to fly." When transitioning to flight mode, the engine wouldn't start unless all of the necessary mechanical connections were properly engaged. Here is a link to the museum's web page on the craft: https://www.museumofflight.org/aircraft/taylor-aerocar-iii For those of us old enough to remember, "The New Bob Cummings Show" which premiered in 1961 also featured the Aerocar. Here is a link to the Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_Bob_Cummings_Show
Gregg Eshelman
If only the guys who built the flying Ford Pinto, the Mizar, had been a bit better at engineering. They didn't reinforce the bottom wing strut mounting points on the car. Twice one tore loose. The first time the pilot was able to fly straight to land in a bean field. The second time he tried to turn back. That put too much load on the ex-Cessna Skymaster wing and it folded up, dropping the vehicle to the ground, killing the pilot (different guy than the first time) and passenger.