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Old 09 March 2010, 04:52 AM
WildaBeast's Avatar
WildaBeast WildaBeast is offline
 
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Location: Folsom, CA
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Driver 1932 Helicron

A few days ago I got a forwarded email full of pictures of this unusual car:

Quote:
1932 Helicron

In the late 1930s this one-of-a-kind Helicron was placed in a barn and forgotten. More than six decades later this odd lost little gem was rediscovered, rebuilt, and reintroduced to the world... Although the manufacturer is unknown, it's believed that this car was built in France 1932. Following the first World War it was not uncommon for recently displaced airplane engineers to look towards the automobile industry for employment.
As in this example, a few entrepreneurs developed propeller-powered cars with the notion that propeller power was an efficient means of moving a vehicle. On this car, when the wooden propeller is spinning at full speed and efficiently, this little 1,000-pound boat-tailed skiff can hi t freeway speeds exceeding 75 mph. This is the one and only Helicron in existence, owned by Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, TN.
To save me the trouble of having to post the pictures, here's a website I found with a bunch of pictures of the same car. It repeats pretty much the same information as the email as well -- except it says "airplane engines" instead of "airplane engineers."

I don't see any reason to doubt that the pictures are real, but what about the story behind them? The "valuable antique car discovered in a barn" story is an often discussed UL here, which makes me a little skeptical of the story.
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Old 09 March 2010, 05:17 AM
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Eddylizard Eddylizard is offline
 
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Here is the website of the Lane Motor Museum which appears to be a real museum in Nashville (anyone down that way can tell us if it isn't), specifically their page on the Helicron, with a little more detail about the discovery and restoration.

It would seem that it is one of their exhibits. Also (demonstrating the page hasn't been updated recently).

Quote:
Please note, the Helicron is on loan to the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, CA from Feb. 28, 2009-Sept. 20, 2009 as part of their exhibit entitled "What Were They Thinking?"
Anyone in LA go to the Petersen during that period? I dunno how far Folsom is from LA but it looks like you missed your chance old chap.

Last edited by Eddylizard; 09 March 2010 at 05:24 AM.
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Old 09 March 2010, 05:30 AM
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Roadsterboy Roadsterboy is offline
 
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The Leyat Helica was another propeller-propelled car. I've read at least one road test of this car, and I recall that it's very difficult to drive. Propeller driven aircraft don't have the same immediate acceleration and deceleration as a car-the Leyat has similar qualities. Plus it's noisy as hell.
Quote:
Originally Posted by WildaBeast sez
I don't see any reason to doubt that the pictures are real, but what about the story behind them? The "valuable antique car discovered in a barn" story is an often discussed UL here, which makes me a little skeptical of the story.
Go to your nearest B&N, and pick up the current issues of Classic and Sports Car, Classic Cars, and Classic Motorsports. Each magazine has several pages devoted to interesting old cars that have been found in barns, pastures, back alleys, old garages, junkyards, parking garages, and any number of places. Not all of them are in the Helicron's rarity category, but they are out there.

-RB

ETA-I've been to the Lane museum, so I can verify that it exists, but I didn't see that particular car.
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Old 22 March 2010, 04:51 PM
Nod(again)
 
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W O Bentley mounted one of his aero engines to a car. Not as a means of propulsion though, just as a way of displaying the aero engine.


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