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In the 1950s, Ford Motor's vice-president pushed for a flying car

Illustration for article titled In the 1950s, Ford Motors vice-president pushed for a flying car

In 1958, you'd find no greater advocate for the hovercar than Ford vice president Andrew A. Kucher.

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Kucher was on a media blitz in the late 50s and early 60s, being quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Mechanix Illustrated, Chicago Daily Tribune, Popular Mechanics, Automotive Fleet and above in Arthur Radebaugh's syndicated Sunday comic, Closer Than We Think (click on the lower right-hand corner to embiggen).

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."

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For the love of Hugo! If God had intended that we fly he would've attached propellers 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.

The Paleo-Future blog was started by Matt Novak in January of 2007. Matt has since become an accidental expert on past visions of the future, and has amassed an enormous library of media related to the study of retro-futurism. Matt can be reached at matt@paleofuture.com or followed on Twitter.

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DISCUSSION

ManchuCandidate
ManchuCandidate

Jane, I'm going to be picking up the kids from their space hockey practice on Saturn then I'm taking them to the Moon Fun Park for a couple of hours while I play some blackjack. After that we'll go to the orbiting restaurant for some Jupiter Burgers. Walk Astro.