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Entries in flying cars (22)


Flying Automobile of the Near Future (1924)

It seems Eddie Rickenbacker's passion for futurism started early. A of couple weeks ago we looked at his excitement over the prospect of post-WWII frozen dinners, plastic skyscrapers, and the wireless transmission of electricity. But as early as 1924 Rickenbacker predicted that the flying automobile -- complete with folding wings -- would soon take to the air.

This article is from the November 23, 1924 Zanesville Times Signal (Zanesville, OH).

Imagine the convenience of being able to drive around in the city, as is done nowadays, and then when you start for some other town and get on a straight of way or enter a nearby pasture, to unfold the wings on the machine and take to the air! It will mean quicker transportation for the suburbanite, for people living at a distance from a large city, and for traveling salesman, who now uses the motor car and highways to cover his territory.


1924 Nov 23 Zanesville Times Signal - Zanesville OH Paleo Future


Previously on Paleo-Future:



Flying Family Car (1958)

The November 30, 1958 edition of This Week magazine ran this illustration of the flying family car. The image accompanied a larger piece about Army vehicles of the future. Best thing about the article? It promised that this flying car could be a reality within two years.

Previously on Paleo-Future:



Letters by 4th Graders to the Year 2000 (1976)

The July 4, 1976 Grand Prairie Daily News (Grand Prairie, TX) published letters written by 4th graders, addressed to people of the year 2000. Just as the newspaper did, I've left the spelling and grammatical errors. Because if we've learned anything at the Paleo-Future blog, it's that kids are stupid.

We'll begin by looking at letters by young Laurie Smith, Yolanda Tejeda, and R.C. Brown. These kids really hit all the major futurism topics of the 20th century: robot maids, moving sidewalks, flying cars, meal pills, push button everything, education through television, socialism, and candy. Lots of candy.


Dear Janice,

In the year 2000 I think that cars can fly in the air as fast as they want to without using gas. You can get whatever you want, including candy. Houses will be way up in the sky. You can have robots to do the housework for the mothers. Instead of walking, the the sidewalks will move for you.

Your friend,

Laurie Smith


Dear John,

In the year 2000 I think thay kids will be taught at home on their T.V. The army will be using lazor guns. Cars will be like spaceships and the strreetlights will be on long tall poles. Another means of transportation will be push buttons. Select where you want to go, push a button, step through a door, and you'll be where you wanted to be.

Food will be in tablet form, put on water on the tablet and your food will be on your plate.

Sincerely yours,

R.C. Brown


Dear Laurie,

I think in the year 2000 the earth will be much more polluted than it is.

I also think that we will have no more school, and cars can go as fast as they want without getting a ticket.

The government will pay every person as much as they want without them having to work. I also think we will be out of energy for stores or anything that uses fuel in the year 2000.


Yolanda Tejeda


Previously on Paleo-Future:



Inventors Die Testing "Flying Pinto" (1973)

Remember a few months back when I made a joke about how dangerous a flying Ford Pinto would be? Well, in 1973 two inventors actually tried to create such a flying vehicle, and died while testing it. The article from the September 12, 1973 Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA) is below.

Known as "the flying Pinto," a combination of a Ford Pinto auto and Cessna airplane, the prototype plunged to earth about a mile from Ventura County Airport late Tuesday afternoon.

Killed were Henry A. Smolinski, 40, Santa Susana, and Harold Blake, 40, Los Angeles. They were the founders and top two officers of Advanced Vehicle Engineers, launched at Van Nuys in 1968.

Previously on Paleo-Future:



"Aerocar" Hits the Road (1950)

The April 25, 1950 Yuma Daily Sun (Yuma, AZ) ran this picture of Moulton Taylor's "Aerocar" which could be converted into an airship "even by a woman, without soiling her gloves." So easy, a woman could do it!

"AEROCAR" HITS THE ROAD - With its wings folded back against the fuselage, his flying auto is ready to cruise down the highway at 50 miles an hour. According to its Longview, Calif., designer, the airship can be converted to the auto "even by a woman, without soiling her gloves."

Previously on Paleo-Future:


The Inevitable Flying Car (USA Today)

You may have noticed a certain paleo-futurist quoted in yesterday's USA Today:

Matt Novak, however, remains unconvinced. The host of, a blog that looks at past predictions of the future, says flying cars look even further away these days.


"We had this sort of optimism in the '50s and '60s, a feeling that things were inevitable because of technology. And flying cars were on the short list," Novak says. "I don't think we're going to have freeways in the sky any time soon."

Read More:
What the future didn't bring
New Hampshire Public Radio (Jan, 2008)
Paleo-Future in the Wall Street Journal
Streamlined Cars of the Future



The Family Plane of 2030 A.D. (1930)

The June 15, 1930 Fresno Bee (Fresno, CA) published a piece about the year 2030 as envisioned by F.E. Smith, 1st Earl of Birkenhead. Super-airplanes, synthetic food, eugenics and a 16-hour work week are just a few of his predictions. An excerpt about transportation from the piece appears below. Bibliodyssey has a great collection of illustrations by E. McKnight Kauffer, which were used in Smith's book, The World in 2030 A.D.

In speaking of the "family" plane, a development conceded by almost everyone, Birkenhead adds that it will mean the relegating of the automobile to a most minor place in the field of transportation.


"By 2030," he says, "motor cars will probably have passed their zenith of popularity. A century later they will only be used for shopping, picnics and the amusement of youth. They will, in fact, sink to the level now occupied by the bicycle."

We may look forward then, it is to be supposed, to having our grandchildren tour the more out-of-the-way parts of the world and marvel at the "quaint" people who still chug here and there in automobiles even as we now smile at Bermuda where bicycles and horse-drawn buggies are the only forms of transportation allowed.

See also:
Sky Toboggan (1935)
Cyclonic Rocket (circa 1930)