1935 Skroback "roadable" aircraft – Click above for image gallery
Going across the block this weekend in Atlanta is a vehicle auction house Red Baron's Antiques is describing as the oldest original flying car in existence. Built in 1934 or 1935 by designer Frank Skroback, this "roadable aircraft" is truly a sight to behold. Looking a bit like a dirigible that's been set up for grand prix racing, it has a seven-foot wingspan and enough wings, stabilizers, ailerons and flaps to supply the whole grid in last weekend's Bahrain GP.
Skroback wasn't a car builder or a plane builder. He was actually a retired industrial technician and electrician from Syracuse, New York. He was apparently inspired by the concepts of Henri Mignet, the French furniture maker who became an aircraft designer and came up with the tandem-wing monoplane. Skroback wanted to adapt the concept to a vehicle that could be used both on the ground and in the air. It's hard to believe it could actually fly, with its six fixed seven-foot-wide wings trying to lift that 21-foot long contraption, even if it was actually pretty light. Under its linen outer wrap is a tubular steel fuselage with spruce wind panels.
Red Baron's Antiques will be selling the flying car this weekend along with an extensive collection of documentation. There's a small sample in the gallery below. Think of it as the great-grandfather of Rudy Heeman's flying hovercraft.