#3. Radio Flyer Car
via Radio Flyer
Judy Foster and Fred Keller decided to take an old 1976 Mazda pickup truck and transform it into a drivable scale replica of a Radio Flyer wagon, which many of you may recognize as a toy no child has played with since polio was a national concern.
The couple spent $10,000 and 11 months on this wave of nostalgia, making sure to get every single detail correct without ever stopping to question the wisdom of building a giant convertible with less secure carrying space than an actual Radio Flyer wagon. The car made them minor local celebrities, resulting in appreciative waves and stares from fellow drivers and pedestrians, presumably along with numerous "clever" well-wishers jokingly offering to "fix their little red wagon."
They'd actually built a big, working wagon specifically because they hated that phrase.
As charming and impressive as the car is, we can't help but wonder how much of a logistical nightmare an 8-foot vertical handle must be when you're driving around town. That thing would be smacking into stoplights like a wrestler high-fiving people on his way out to the ring. And if the Radio Flyer ever gets into a head-on collision, it essentially has a massive javelin on the front that's going to go harpooning through somebody's windshield like the surfboard in the car chase scene from Lethal Weapon 2. We can't decide if that makes it more lame or more awesome.
#2. The Fuller Dymaxion
The Dymaxion was the brainchild of Buckminster Fuller, who apparently took one look at a zeppelin and decided that it should be made of metal and driven along the ground on fewer wheels than a grocery cart. Fuller's nonexistent background in engineering inexplicably made the Dymaxion all the more attractive to investors, and he was able to convince someone to put up the capital to commission a prototype model, although the inflatable wings that were a part of Fuller's original design were left off of the prototype for reasons that were immediately obvious to everyone except Fuller.
via The Old Motor
The prototype also nixed the tail fin. Who'd ever put fins on a car?
The final product was 20 feet long and capable of seating 11 passengers, enough to instantly kill two entire families when it inevitably tipped over. The front two wheels were powered by a big ass V8 engine, and at about 90 miles per hour, the Dymaxion's single rear wheel would actually lift up off of the ground, because Fuller had designed the Dymaxion to be capable of flight in anticipation of a future wherein this would make sense (hence the inflatable wings).
The first Dymaxion was completed in July of 1933 and shockingly took until October of that same year to kill someone (by tipping over). Fuller couldn't find anyone else willing to give him any more money to fund his project (a struggle that would become synonymous with the name "Buckminster Fuller"), so the design was abandoned.
#1. The Moller International Neuera
Paul Moller, a Canadian engineer and professor, has spent the past 40 years trying to build a flying car, because The Jetsons was apparently on television the first and only time his father hugged him. After many, many iterations (including the infamous Skycar, over which he was actually sued for fraud by the SEC), he has unleashed the Moller International Neuera (pronounced "new era"), which looks every bit as exciting as deliberately misspelling common phrases to convey your ingenuity.
Paul Moller isn't just the engineer. He's an extremely indifferent client.
That is easily one of the most depressing promotional photos ever published. The driver looks like he's waiting for an iTunes update to finish installing, rather than sitting behind the wheel of a flying goddamned saucer.
The Neuera uses a bunch of vented fans for vertical takeoff and landing (instead of jet engines and a stretch of unoccupied runway like most other flying cars) and can travel at a maximum height of 10 feet, which you may recognize as not nearly high enough to make a fucking bit of difference.
However, it can evidently travel back in time, because that man is clearly from 1978.
Luckily, a version of it is technically street legal, otherwise there would be no way to use it to travel anywhere, considering it can't even clear a retaining wall, much less soar over treetops and sunbaked canyons.
Related Reading: Ready for more of the craziest street-legal cars, click here. The smallest car in the world is more wee than Hot Wheels. Oh, and in case you're in the mood for crime-fighting check out this turbine-powered batmobile. For a look at some car modifications that need to stop happening click this link.