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See the fascinating Helica prop driven car and a period film

Guest T-Head

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This bizarre machine, christened the Hélica, was designed a century ago by Marcel Leyat. It’s a hybrid vehicle halfway between a plane and a car.

The design of this strange vehicle went against all the principles of auto construction at the time, because Hélica didn’t have a gearbox, a driving system, or a drive wheel! This revolutionary prop-driven car was very light, simple, cheap to run, and fast.

Its performance was amazing: it could do over 60 mph and weighed less than 300 kilos with two passengers.

See the period film of it in operation as seen below and many more details at TheOldMotor.com


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I've spent a lot of time around small airplanes. Much care is taken to keep spinning propellers away from people. The idea of this thing idling at a traffic light with kids running up to it gives me goose bumps. Yes, you could screen the prop, but a screen big enough to be safe would cut the airflow so much, you'd need a bigger engine. And prop. And screen - - -

Gil Fitzhugh, Morristown, NJ

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I wonder if it is somehow related to the Helicron Built in 1932, also French made that is in the Lane Motor museum collection

It's not, the Helicron is a 1-off built in 1932 by an unknown manufacturer, the Helica was made for 1919-1925 by Marcel Leyat with 25-30 total produced.

BTW, there's a nice video of the Helicron in action on YouTube:

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