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.
“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.
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.
“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.