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Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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5 comments

Front-Wheel Drive Mystery

Posted February 07, 2011 10:06 AM by dstrohl

George Albright of Ocala, Florida has sent us photos of some of the unusual cars he's bought in the past. He recently bought this, well, vehicle with only the vaguest notion of its identity.

Supposedly, it was built around 1950 at the Grumman factory in Wichita, Kansas. The steel birdcage-type construction is typical of aircraft construction and the wheels were taken from aircraft landing gear, but the engine is an air-cooled Onan two-cylinder, which drives the front wheels only through a pair of three-speed motorcycle transmissions, possibly Harley-Davidson or Indian.

While it certainly looks similar to some of the flying car concepts that abounded at that time – particularly Molt Taylor's Aerocar – it is definitely not an Aerocar, and we doubt that this was even designed as anything but a roadable car, given the lack of attachment points or bracing structures for wings. Rather, this appears to be a prototype or one-off design for an economical front-wheel-drive automobile.

Aside from aircraft, Grumman did indeed build vehicles meant for ground transportation – and still does today. But so far we haven't seen anything that references Grumman building a front-wheel-drive automobile at that time. Have you?

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#1

Re: Front-Wheel Drive Mystery

02/07/2011 11:42 AM

Eeees an Italian car made of pasta
Del

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#2

Re: Front-Wheel Drive Mystery

02/07/2011 1:59 PM

Now introducing the new Chevy 'Conduit' at its low low introductory price of $27,999 which features an impresive 21 MPG city and 23 MPH highway rating at 27 MPH. (Some assembly required.)

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#3

Re: Front-Wheel Drive Mystery

02/08/2011 12:13 AM

The precursor frame of the first flying car. All you ned are the wings and fit the prop and Up, Up and away you go!

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#4

Re: Front-Wheel Drive Mystery

02/08/2011 4:05 AM

Someone at Grumman built this from scrap parts he found lying around, or smuggled out.Kinda like Johnnie Cash,s "One piece at a time" song.

Front nose of a plane,a generator motor,motorcycle trannies,aircraft wheels,tubing frame.Skin looks like the fabric type that was doped after installing to pull it taut.Obviously built to be light weight.Bet it got good mileage.

Hey,that guy on the passenger side resembles N Tesla....Hmm....

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#5

Re: Front-Wheel Drive Mystery

02/08/2011 8:27 AM

One wonders why, if they wanted an economical front wheel drive car, they did not just purchase a French Citroen light 15 which had been on sale in Europe since before WW II. Brilliant engineering, but not rocket science (which Grumman is famous for).

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