Our dreams, or wishful longing, for a flying car continue unabated. eBay this week is listing not one, but two, flying cars for auction. One has actually flown and been certified, while the other is just a bunch of Computer Aided Design (CAD) files and a half-completed prototype. The listing for the certified Molt Taylor Aerocar indicates this is the third one ever built. From the pictures in the listing, it appears to be in pretty good condition. But it hasn’t flown for over 30 years, so it could take a fair amount of money to get it flying again. Then again, if you can afford the “Buy It Now” price of $3.5 Million (that’s not a typo, we’re talking well into 7 figures for this flying car), you can probably afford to get it flying. While this type of aircraft/car is very rare (one of only four every built), I’m thinking the price is a tad high. But hey, it’s eBay, and I’m not surprised anymore by what folks pay for stuff there.
The other listing is for the TAERO flying car, err, ah, I mean “roadable aircraft” prototype. This hybrid car/plane has never flown, and looks like it is a long way from doing so. It reminds me of the bastardized flying car they built on the “Monster Garage” TV show a few years back. After a lot of money and effort, it flew, but just barely a few feet off the ground for the TV cameras. A classic TV reality show stunt, not anywhere near a practical flying car. At $135K, The TAERO is listed for much less than the Aerocar on eBay. But you are basically buying the design and hardware assets of a bankrupt company, and of a design that in all likely-hood will never fly, based on the numerous past failed attempts at building a flying car.
If you still have your heart set on a practical flying car, I believe the best chance of success I’ve seen in a long time is the Terrafugia Transition, which I blogged about in an earlier entry this year. The latest info from the Terrafugia web site indicates the prototype has been successfully driven on roads, and has started taxi tests in preparation for first flight, which could be very soon. Terrafugia is claiming a price of about $200K (up from original $150K estimate), which is still not cheap by any means. But at least you are buying the latest “flying car” technology, developed by graduate engineers from one of the best engineering schools in the world, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. If I’m going to spend that kind of money, I want the best (and safest) chance of seeing my flying car dreams realized.