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top five flying cars

The Flying Car

I think most of us as children expected that at some point we would be able to drive a flying car. Not a plane or a helicopter — but a car that flew. The fact that no such car has been produced, is but one of the many small attempts by reality to crush our souls that occur each day. Kevin Smith had some thoughts on the subject. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend watching his short film, The Flying Car. There are some profound thoughts on the status of the American dream.

Here in Sacramento, we have this guy working on a real flying car. It looks bad-ass and he shows up on TV, in magazines and in the newspaper fairly often, but the car never seems to actually materialize at my local Audi dealer. And I’ve never noticed him zipping by overhead on my way to the grocery store, so there is a distinct possibility that he is full of crap.

But these things make me think about the dream, the dream of a flying car. I decided I needed to make a list — a list of the top fictional flying cars.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car

Chitty Chitty Bang

James Bond never had a flying car. He had a car with rocket-launchers attached, a car that could be driven via cell-phone — even a car that car that turned into a submarine — but that doesn’t mean that Bond author Ian Fleming isn’t represented on this list. He wrote the classic children’s novel Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car for his son Caspar. The book was immensely popular and was quickly converted into a movie by an unconventional team that married James Bond producers, directors and crew with a cast culled from popular ’60s musicals. Dick Van Dyke was the purported star of the movie, but the real star was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang itself, a souped-up magical 1920s-era roadster that comes to life and sprouts wings.

The Weasly’s Flying Ford Anglia

The Weasleys

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

The Harry Potter novels and films have sparked imaginations all over the world. And even though the flying broomsticks are the primary mode of transportation for the main characters, they have nothing on the Weasley family’s enchanted Ford Anglia 105E, which was introduced in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In the book, the insides of the Anglia could magically expand to seat the entire Weasley plus Harry,. It could also turn invisible on command, and of course, fly. There was something inexplicably poetic about seeing the charmingly boxy, retro-styled Anglia cutting through the air in the film. It captured the sense of magic and whimsy of the Potter books in a way that no sleek modern car ever could.

The Fantasticar

The Fantastic Four

The Fantasticar

Reed Richards is a superhero. But what makes him truly great is not his ability to stretch like a rubber band, but his unsurpassed intellect and penchant for inventing bad-ass toys. And there is no greater Richards invention than the original Fantasticar. Although it has been replaced and upgraded many times over the years, nothing touches the original model created by comics god and design genius Jack Kirby. Affectionately known as the “Flying Bathtub,” he original Fantasticar could carry about 1200 pounds at 60 MPH with a range of 200 miles. It also separated into four mini-vehicles capable of transporting individual FF members at speeds of 30 MPH and a range of 100 miles. A “new and improved” version of the Fantasicar is set to debut in this summer’s Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer, but I’ll stick with the tub.

George Jetson’s Space Car

The Jetsons

The Jetson

This is the prototypical flying car from which all others descend. Who didn’t see George Jetson zip through traffic in his clear-domed space car and feel instant pangs of envy? As each family member was jettisoned from the vehicle in their own personal flying pod, the embers of my lust were fanned into a raging fire. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, he landed, stepped out of the car and it turned into a lightweight briefcase — marking a quick and silent death to parking woes. The Jetsons teased us with this unattainable vision of the future every single episode in the opening credits, which were generally better than the actual show.

Doc Brown’s Time-Traveling DeLorean

Back to the Future

Doc Brown

Immensely impractical yet irresistibly attractive, the ill-fated, stainless steel DeLorean DMC-12 would be a sweet ride even if it didn’t fly. But this one did, and that wasn’t even it’s coolest feature. By the end of the first movie — thanks to the magic of the flux capacitor and a recently installed “Mr. Fusion” — the DeLorean could fly, travel in time and generate more than 1.21 gigawatts of electricity from ordinary kitchen garbage and beer. The Back to the Future movies came out more than 20 years ago, but the DeLorean still looks like a vehicle 50 years ahead of its time.