Why, flying cars, of course!
Humanity’s introduction to personal aerial mobility is quite a bit older than you might think. In fact, it was none other than known yesteryearian Henry Ford (the first one) who created the Ford Flivver aircraft in the mid 1920s. Any of you who’ve read Brave New World might be in the midst of deja vu by now.
After the runaway success of the Model T (you may have heard of it), Mr Ford decided to recreate the effect of his most famous car – this time in the sky.
Now, you’ll notice that, at first glance, the only thing that even vaguely links the Flivver to a car as we know it is the rather large ‘Ford’ painted down the side. Well, that’s both true and untrue. Think about how new the concept of personal motorised transport was back in the 1920s – it had only just been democratised by Henry Ford’s company. If the car was a nascent, rapidly evolving technology, why would the concept of airborne personal motorised transport be outside the realms of possibility?
The gist of the Ford Flivver was that it’d serve as a single-seat aeroplane, pitched squarely at the ‘everyman’– in that it was easy to buy, run and store – and the story goes that Henry himself insisted that it “fit in his office”. It’s a noble concept, as were so many in the optimistic days after the Great War.
However, there’s a very good reason you can’t go on to Autotrader and pick up a second-hand Ford Flivver MkIV “with three months’ MOT and the major service just done.” And it’s not because using and maintaining an aircraft is in a different league compared to a car. It’s not because it just didn’t catch on as a concept, either.
It is, and there’s no way to put this gently, that testing involved one too many crash-related deaths for Henry Ford to pursue the dream of personal aerial transport any further.
But, like cockroaches, the idea of the flying car just doesn’t seem to die. It’s waxed and waned in popularity over the past nine decades or so, but it must be said that we’re currently living through an especially waxy bit.