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Entries in glideair (1)

Tuesday
Feb222011

Flying Carpet Car (1958)

Andrew A. Kucher [right] with Anastas I. Mikoyan [left] (Life Magazine, 1959)

In 1958 you'd find no greater advocate for the hovercar than Ford vice president Andrew A. Kucher. Kucher was on a media blitz in the late 50s and early 60s, being quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street JournalMechanix IllustratedChicago Daily Tribune, Popular Mechanics, Automotive Fleet and below in Arthur Radebaugh's syndicated Sunday comic, Closer Than We Think.

Kucher is credited with having conceived the idea of the hovertrain in the 1930s, a precursor to today's Maglev trains which use magnets rather than compressed air to achieve a similar effect. Newspapers from April, 1958 describe a three foot long hovercar model that was shown to reporters in Detroit. Riding on a cushion of air, Kucher described how this "Glideair" car could one day achieve 200-500 miles per hour since it didn't have tires which burn up and lose traction or control. An Associated Press piece even quotes Kucher as saying that such technology would be in use in the "foreseeable future."

For the love of Hugo! If God had intended that we fly he would've attached propellors to our feet! Amirite? Amirite?!!?!?!

Look, pa, no wheels! Use of a thin layer of compressed air may allow autos to hover and move just above ground level.

A pipe dream? Not at all. The concept (already proved) comes from scientist Andrew Kucher, vice-president of engineering at one of our major motor companies. His people are studying how to maintain stability. Special highway engineering is one way. Another is skillful design, evidenced already in experimental ideas from the staff of motor stylist George W. Walker.

Today's earthbound cars won't turn into low flying carpets right away. But it may happen sooner than we think!

 

As always, thanks to Tom Z. for the color scan of this panel from April 6, 1958.

 

Previously on Paleofuture: