Putting aside jet packs, the other science fiction dream to perpetually elude us is the flying car. Gizmag is littered with stories on flying car inventions and yet my Toyota Camry is mournfully clipped, fused to the road while my dreams of zooming to work in the 21st century remain unrealized. But this is not a story about a new-fangled invention, this is a story about the pioneering forerunner to these zippy young upstarts; the ancient grandfather of flying automobiles, Frank Skroback's Flying Car, which recently went to auction in Atlanta, Georgia.
Frank Skroback was a retired industrial technician from Syracuse, New York and wanted a vehicle that could be flown from house to house using roads as runways. He developed the car in 1934 after studying the concepts of Henri Mignet, a French furniture manufacturer-turned-aircraft designer responsible for the "Flying Flea". Skroback wanted to modify this design to build a multi-purpose vehicle, and gave his craft six fixed 7' wide wings to lift the 21' long tubular steel fuselage, and spruce wind panels all wrapped in linen.
Let's face it, she's not pretty - a stocky extinct Dodo, she barely looks capable of waddling down the road much less taking to the sky in second gear, but we are assured she has at least the normal amount of lifting area for a fabric-covered wooden framed plane.
It is unknown what engine was installed and sadly, there is no known document of her ever flying and so she has been consigned to the annals of obscurity, while other more successful planes such as the Taylor Aerocar dominate the flying car entry in the history books.
Red Baron Antiques, the company auctioning the car, is well-known for the preservation and sale of some of the world's most historically significant innovations. Extensive documentation, including the 1921 patent on the design and correspondence demonstrating Skroback’s attempt to sell his vehicle, were included in the auction lot.
We are still waiting to hear the details of the buyer and price from Red Baron, so we'll update you when that information arrives.
Whatever the price, we think she's sure to be worth it. She may be fabulously ugly, but she's still fabulous.