It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s a car-plane!

28 Jun 19 6 Comments
Cessna 172 on a Volkswagen Beetle Chassis

This photograph was posted on Reddit and I immediately fell in love.

Isn’t it fantastic?

And the comments on the Reddit thread made me smile as well.

This is like cartoon in real life. Only lacks fluffy clouds and smiling sun in the background.

Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.

That’s the most adorable little deathtrap I’ve ever seen.

Anyone know who owns this thing? Using it as a getaway vehicle at my wedding would be awesome. Bonus points if it makes propeller noises.

And in response to how much thrust it would need to get airborne:

Judging by the size of its wings, it’ll have to get somewhere around Mach 2.

Of course, I had to find out if the car really existed and I’m thrilled to say, yes! The photograph originally appeared on Craigslist in Reno, Nevada as a car-airplane for sale for $25,000. The advert explains that it is a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle with the bodywork of a Cessna 172 and fully street legal. “It doesn’t fly,” said the ad point blank, just in case anyone was wondering.

The original advertisement has since disappeared but I tracked down some more of the photographs that accompanied it:

“This could be a fun airport taxi or parade vehicle”
”It does have a clean title so you can license it”
“The condition is good”

The dashboard includes all the original aircraft gauges except for one which has been replaced by a VW speedometer/fuel gauge.

“The engine is a 1600 VW 4 cylinder and manual transmission”

Hagerty magazine contacted the seller for an interview to ask him about his airplane car. “I’m retired and I had nothing to do, and I’m an ex-pilot.” He told them that he was too old to fly (he’s 80) and that this was the third airplane-car that he had built.

He originally added aircraft parts to a golf cart, however that couldn’t be licensed, so he did the same again but this time on a Beetle chassis. Both sold quickly so when he found a damaged Cessna 172, he decided to go all out to make a working car that visually used as many Cessna parts as possible.

The article doesn’t say what version 3 sold for but the retired pilot did say that it would be his last. “This was it for me, I’m gonna go back to woodworking.”

That’s a shame because I’m sure I could have convinced you all to pitch in and buy me one for Christmas. I’d be the belle of the town!

Category: Crazy,


  • Great to see that some people still have the skills and the sense of humour to build something like this.
    Street legal? Maybe not if the legal requirements are to be met.
    Will this be registered as a VW beetle? Perhaps it can fly just under the radar of the law.
    And what cop would be mean enough to take it away from the owner?
    I would love to have something like that myself.
    Once I looked inside a Learjet – then the most prestigious of private air transport. Inside, a metal plaque was mounted on a pieve of wood.
    The inscription read:
    “The difference between a man and a boy
    lies mainly in the price of his toy.”
    Judging from Sylvia’s comment, this does not apply to men only !

  • Of course, Volkswagen had a long relationship with airplanes.
    In the ‘seventies, before the word “microlight” had even been invented, some aircraft were powered by VW Beetle engines.
    The engines were air cooled; the ducting around the engine was removed and the coild and distributor ignition replaced with two magnetoes.
    They were single-seat contraptions. The ones that come to mind were the “Tipsy Nipper” and the Rollason Turbulent. I have not flown the Nipper but I have taken the Turbulent in the air.
    It looked like a rather big model aircraft. Only when close it became apparent that it could carry an adult pilot.
    The engine was underpowered. Not really a major problem, as long as one remembered that the aircraft could get behind the “power-drag curve”. Meaning that, below a certain speed, the aircraft was not near the stall, but the drag built up at low speed – as with all aircraft.
    Only, in the case of the Turbulent, even at full power the engine could not accelerate the aircraft sufficiently to maintain level flight, let alone climb. So if the aircraft was low and slow on finals, it would land before the runway. Of course, before taking it out the novice Turbulent pilot would be given a thorough briefing by the club instructor. I mean: the Tiger Club at Redhill. Club rules dictated that a newly joined pilot had to be given a thorough checked out on the Tiger Moth first before allowed to take other types, like the Fournier, Stampe or Turbulent.

  • Brilliant, but I can see those stubby wings causing head trauma, on entering the “car”, or leaving it!

  • Yes, the “wings” could cause a bit of a headache I suppose.
    Painting them dayglow orange would reduce it, but I suppose it would spoil the effect!

  • Re the Turbulent, I flew one for 36 years. Medical problem stopped me. Initially it had the old 1100 cc engine and was underpowered, but it would climb at about 350 ft/min. Once took me five tries to get over a range of hills into wind. Later a 1600 engine transformed it, with about 800 ft/min. So I can’t understand the earlier comments.
    Delightful to fly, with less stick loading than the PC joystick I use now.

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