Who doesn’t want to take a summer road trip from Florida to the Bahamas, or leapfrog rush hour traffic at the press of a button? The New York Auto Show was abuzz this week with talk of the Terrafugia Transition, a two seater with a sticker price of more than a quarter of a million dollars that’s said to be just as at home among the clouds as on the interstate.
The idea of the flying car is almost as old as the idea of mass-produced automobiles and civilian aeronautics. At the turn of the 20th century, Americans may have been able to get a Model T in any color they wanted so long as it was black, but they also wanted a motorcar with wings, and the fantasy of a popular vehicle that can take to the skies has lingered in the popular imagination ever since. There have been plenty of attempts since the first flying plane was unveiled nearly 100 years ago, but the same design and business challenges remain. A flying car has never been successfully made for the mass market, and yet, as The Daily Beast’s list shows, the dream of leaving one’s garage and heading into the blue is as strong as ever.