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Mystery Propellor-Driven Car – Detroit, Michigan 1932


Today we have this newsreel of an odd mystery propellor-driven car, filmed during 1932 from Critical Past that states it was filmed in Marysville, Michigan. A quick search did not turn up any information about this vehicle.

Update: Steve Bogdan of Serviside was able to trace this story further and found out that the video title was incorrect and the Air Propelled Car was designed and patented by E.C. Juergens of Detroit, Michigan. The inventor can be seen below with his car as it was published in the July 22, 1932 The Rhinelander Daily News (Wisconsin). View Juergen’s patent and drawings for the car that show the original design had an angled cowl and windshield.


Update I: Reader Tom M. has found interesting photos of this car and the text from a December 1932 Popular Science magazine article at Modern Mechanix. That coverage tells how it has “a 100 h.p. engine, a four-bladed prop, created its own down force, and was capable of going 80 m.p.h”. Who built it and the reasons behind it are still unknown.

Is it possible that Wood, or William Stout with whom he may have had dealings with, have anything to do with this car? Found via Eric Matt, who helps us here in the shop.

11 responses to “Mystery Propellor-Driven Car – Detroit, Michigan 1932

  1. I still find myself asking, what advantage does the propeller drive provide? especially to outweigh the noise and lack of fine control.

    Imagine trying to rock yourself out of mud or snow.

    Or jamming on the brakes to stop, but the prop is still spinning around.

    Didn’t even the early fluid-drive transmissions also have a clutch to immediately disconnect the power from the drivetrain?

    Tom M.

  2. C. Harold Willis an early associate of Henry Ford was from Marysville and produced the Willis St. Claire automobile in Marysville from 1921-26.

    He also was involved in the development of the front wheel drive Ruxton.

    Could be a connection there?

  3. Get out of the way! Here comes the SafetyMobile.

    Knowing what I do about airplanes, I never understood why anyone would want to build a prop car. An airplane at taxi is typically when it’s most out of control. A car like this one would require a firm grasp on the wheel under WOT lest torque turn it into a careening food processor. Frankly, I don’t think 80 mph is fast enough. People can still see you.

    Very interesting entry. I guess someone has tried everything at least once.

  4. Johnny, I love your line; “Frankly, I don’t think 80 mph is fast enough. People can still see you.”

    Reminds me of when Car and Driver tested the 78 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. They wrote; “It matters not at all how this car drives. For each one that buys it thousands will have to look at it. No car could be worth that mass sacrifice.”

  5. I could have imagined the service manual warnings, “Beware that objects in the service area may be drawn into the rotating propulsion mechanism and become projectiles.” To prevent projectile damage, J254361-2 (projectile net) may be purchased through the manufactures specific tool catalog.

    • The inventor had to wait about twenty years to implement his ideas! Until horses and other large animals were largely absent from the roads. Thus the problem of flying fodder FOD (Foreign Object Debris) was solved.

  6. Seems like that prop should have been kicking up a lot more snow if it was the only thing making that car go. I’ve only had the misfortune to taxi a few times in snow. I know for sure a propeller throws up a lot of snow.

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