6 Fantastic Flying Cars

Ever since the Wright Brothers successfully took flight, humanity's greatest minds have been trying to make automobiles fly.

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On Dec. 17, 1903, the Wright Flyer took off in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. It was the culmination of nearly a half-decade of R&D by brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright. Most consider that 12-second, 120-foot aerial jaunt to be the world’s first successful flight by a powered heavier-than-air flying machine. The fabric canard biplane was elementary in mechanically, a 12-horsepower horizontal four-cylinder driving dual propellers via sprocket-and-chain transmission system. In the eyes of many, on this day 112 years ago, modern aeronautical engineering was born.

It wasn’t long before the world started combining the airplane with another fledgling vehicle, the automobile. Well, trying to combine.

In honor of the Wright Brothers maiden journey, here are some fantastic flying cars.

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From 1928, here’s an attempt at the illusive ‘triple-threat,’ a car-slash-boat-slash-plane. Yes, that’s a rudder. And tailfin. And propeller. Yes, of course it’s British.

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Meet the 'Flying Maruti,' a 2011 prototype by Indian innovator A. K. Vishwanath.

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Moulton Taylor's novel ‘Aerocar,’ as seen in Motor Trend’s Nov., 1957 issue. “Your flying car of the future—it's here today,” it boldly announced. We’re still waiting.

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More triple-threat, this one also from 1928 and with a distinct Norman Bel Geddes flair. Whether it actually worked is unknown. (Read: “doubtful”).

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That’s a man named A.H. Russell, of Nutley, New Jersey, inside a contraption of his own making, circa 1924.