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Once-futuristic ‘flying car’ up for auction

The Sky Commuter 'flying car' designed in the 1980s will be up for auction in January 2015 in Arizona.

Barrett-Jackson Auctions

Ever wanted to own a flying car? Here's your chance: Barrett-Jackson will be auctioning off the Sky Commuter next week in Arizona and there is no reserve on the price.

First, however, a word of caution. The Sky Commuter is a car and indeed, it was built to fly. Unfortunately, it has barely left the ground.

Developed in the 1980s by former Boeing engineers with a company known as Sky Innovations, about $6 million dollars of investors' money was spent on the project before it was scrapped. Three prototypes were built, only one remains and, at the time some people believed it to be the future of personal transportation.

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"This Sky Commuter flying car … represents a huge leap beyond the typical flying car concept," reads the description on Barrett-Jackson. "Unlike most previous efforts that were typically based on compact cars with clip-on wings, the Sky Commuter's tricycle road wheels/landing gear are non-powered. Forward movement – whether on the ground or in the air – was to be provided by an on-board gas turbine engine linked to each fan via helicopter-based drive shafts."

The description makes it clear that the vehicle is "non-functional" and there is no engine.

The vehicle was registered with the Federal Aviation Administration as a Vertical Take-Off and Landing aircraft and could reportedly hover about three metres above the ground before losing stability.

Sky Innovations claimed to successfully perform test flights, but as the Paleofuture blog notes, the company produced no evidence of the tests. When the company folded, it left about 60 angry investors.

The prototype was last offered on eBay in 2008 and sold for about $130,000.

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