If you ever wanted to shred the air (and pedestrians) in your wake, here is your chance.
Why attach propeller to a perfectly normal car? Because you can! Because you can rid the car of transmission, clutch and brakes. Because you can utilize air power and powerful aircraft engines, gain lots of traction and never have to worry about wheelspins or getting stuck in snow or mud.
Some of these cars are even today seen running at the shows (with onlookers keeping a respectable distance). Most models feature sluggish low-speed acceleration (0 to 40mph), great maximum speed (up to 170mph), bad fuel economy and a ridiculous noise from propellers. All this does not take away from awesomeness of owing one.
French engineer Marcel Leyat made plenty of "Helica" propeller-powered cars between 1913 and 1926 (30 were built, two still exist today). Some models had an open, unprotected propeller, good for shredding everything that might stand in their way. Other models gained a wooden protective shroud, which made them sort-of road-worthy (at least in France)
Many Soviet snowmobiles during World War One and Two were powered by propellers - see our article, covering the full range of models.
Come the 1930s... and the revival of the Imperial Propeller-Mobile
There was something irresistible about the idea of streamlined propeller car for imperial-minded Germans. Here is a 1938 Maybach Experimental, with 7-cylinder radial aircraft engine mounted on the back.
(images by National Photo Museum, Beaulieu)
"Helicron" (1932) - an interesting example discovered in France not long ago hidden in a barn. it was completely restored, the original horizontally opposed two cylinder four stroke engine replaced with a 4-cylinder, air cooled Citroen GS engine (the propeller coupled directly to the crankshaft). It's deemed safe for French roads, and can reach a top speed of 75mph.
The Argentinian Aerocar (powered by a Chevrolet six-cylinder) was even considered for mass-production in California in 1955 (more info) The fully-exposed propeller would seriously decimate the amount of pedestrians (potential customers) in California, so these plans never got off the ground.
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