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1958 Ford Volante Concept Car Model

Although the day when there will be an aero car in every garage still may be far off, Ford research designers developed this 3/8-scale model to show how such a vehicle might look.

Named the Volante, the model was not operable but represented a design concept of a vehicle capable of operating in the air or on the ground. The tri-athodyne concept called for the ultra-sophisticated use of the ducted fan principle, which is employed uniquely.

The front rotor featured two sets of contra-rotating blades in conjunction with two opposite-rotating, multi-bladed fans in the rear. This system theoretically canceled out all propeller torque characteristics, showing that aerodynamic tail surfaces were unnecessary.

The Volante would be controlled by adjustable lateral and longitudinal vanes, allowing complete maneuverability in all directions. The tri-ducted fan arrangement also inspired Ford designers to take full advantage of the delta-shaped aerodynamic configuration.

In 1958, Ford built several 3/8-scale concept car models, including the Volante, which supposedly could use three fan motors to levitate from a parking place and take to the air. But the most amazing of these models was the Nucleon. What may have looked like a Continental kit sitting on the large and flat rear deck was the cover for a small nuclear reactor that would power the car through the Atomic Age.

Source: Ford Motor Company; Larry Edsall,

Images: Ford Motor Company;