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.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.
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.