The incredible flying car: Barrett-Jackson has one on its January docket

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flying car
The Aerocar has a cruising flight speed of 100 mph | Barrett-Jackson photos

One can always count on finding something completely different at Barrett-Jackson’s sprawling Scottsdale collector car auction, so it’s not surprising to find a vintage flying car listed in the 2020 catalog. 

The 1954 Taylor Aerocar is one of just five built by Moulton Taylor, an aeronautical engineer with an active imagination.  The Aerocar is both roadworthy and ready to fly with full FAA certification, according to the catalog description.

aerocar
The wings and other flying gear are towed on a trailer

 “The Aerocar is the quintessential vision of the flying automobile,” the catalog reads.

The unique flying car has been used on both the highway, with 15,254 on its odometer, and in the sky, logging 781 flight hours. 

A 150-horsepower, 320cid Lycoming H4 engine mounted in the rear transfers power to the front wheels via a 3-speed manual transmission for driving, and for flying, to a Hartzell two-blade HA12 UF pusher propeller mounted behind the tail. The Aerocar has a 300-mile range and 100-mph cruising speed.  

Aerocar
Without the trailer, Aerocar can be driven like a regular automobile

The little two-seater can be driven on the road towing an 8-foot trailer that carries the wings and other flying equipment, which the catalog says can be attached for takeoff in less than 30 minutes. 

The Aerocar could be a great setup for a commuting pilot. The trailer with the wings and such could be stored at the local airport and the Taylor driven home like a regular car, although it doesn’t look much like one.

The Museum of Flight in Seattle, which has an Aerocar in its collection, describes on its website the transformation from automobile to aircraft.

Aerocar
The 2-seat interior is fitted with flight equipment

“To get ready for flight, the driver/pilot first connects the driveshaft (flip up the license plate to make the connection) in the tail,” the museum says. “Then, the wings swing around into position and are pinned into place. The flight controls – movable steering wheel and rudder pedals – slide into place automatically. The engine cannot start unless every connection has been properly made, an ingenious safety device.”

The Smithsonian Institution supplies a 1950s video of the flying car in action.

The Aerocar will be sold during the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction, held January 11-19 at WestWorld, and like nearly all of B-J’s offerings, at no reserve.  But expect bidding for this gem to take off, and the winning bid to be sky high.

For more information, visit the auction website.

Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

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