Helicron was born nearly 90 years ago, has used aircraft technology to move. This is one of the unique cars born in the 1930s of the last century.
It is often said that necessity is the mother of invention and throughout human history this has been proven many times. We can mention the important inventions of the modern world that were born out of necessity such as the electric light bulb, the telephone, and of course the automobile. In it, the auto industry alone has had a lot of creativity, and before man made a standard design, some cars of the past looked a bit eccentric.
One of them is the Helicron, an open-wheeled classic of the 1930s that used a propeller to move. A large part of the inspiration for the Helicron came from the aircraft technology of the time, but just one look at this car will tell you why it couldn’t take off. Here, we will learn more about this car using unique aircraft technology.
This quirky vehicle looks like a hybrid between a biplane from World War I and a car. In fact, this description is part of how the Helicron works. This car was built in the 1930s and uses a giant front-mounted propeller like a biplane.
The chassis was built by the famous French engineer Lucien Rosengart. However, a strange feature of this chassis is that the steering wheel will be used to turn the rear wheel in reverse to the front wheel. Instead of using engines to send power to the wheels, Helicron uses propellers as the main thrust. This design means it doesn’t need a gas pedal. Instead, it has a lever to increase the rpm of the propeller when you pull it down, and if you pull it up, the engine will stop spinning completely.
The lever can be positioned freely, which means that the rpm will react to the position of the lever. It is placed next to the steering wheel to allow the driver, or pilot, to keep the controls at their fingertips. In addition, Helicron also has an emergency brake next to the steering wheel and brake pedal that you can find on a regular car.
After failing to become popular in the 1930s, the Helicron pictured here was abandoned in a warehouse. It lay dormant for nearly 70 years until it was discovered in 2000. When discovered, the car was sent for restoration. Although long forgotten, when it was brought into a shop in 2000, engineers tried their best to restore it to its former condition.
Most of the original Helicron parts were rusted or rotted, but they were replaced with similar ones. The original wooden frame had to be sandblasted and treated to make it shiny again, while the interior was re-upholstered and the gear system recreated. While many of the original parts were found and used during the restoration, the original engine was not so lucky.
The restored Helicron may lack the original engine, but it was replaced with a Citroen GS four-cylinder. While the exact amount of horsepower and torque is unknown, the new engine provides the Helicron’s propeller with enough power to propel it to speeds of 120 km/h. Since Helicron has a relatively simple construction, it weighs only 454 kg. The Helicron has no gearbox installed, and the engine’s power is solely dependent on the throttle.
While the Helicron is certainly a unique car, it doesn’t have many positive advantages. The large propeller in front is like a life-threatening weapon when it works. Besides, the driver of the Helicron also has to face extremely high-pitched noise from the front. Those propellers spin pretty fast, and the driver can’t seem to hear anything else while driving.
Speed is another issue at Helicron. When operating on the street, Helicron moves not as fast as expected. Sometimes it runs so slow that the rider needs to jump out and push it by hand to catch the wind. However, even when moving at slow speeds, Helicron always feels unsafe.
However, the driver in the video admits that the Helicron driving experience is also very interesting and different. Despite the obvious dangers and drawbacks, after the Helicron was fully restored in 2000, French safety inspectors inspected the vehicle and deemed it safe to use on public roads.