Another unusual streamlined model air car is shown here for the reader’s interest. Notice that the engine is installed inverted. This can be duplicated on the model described in this chapter if desired, but the only advantage on our model would be improved appearance. Model-car enthusiasts will be glad to know that many articles and contraction features on model cars of all types appear in Young Men Magazine.


Building And Operating Model Cars, by Walter A. Musciano (1956)  was a book I discovered in the public library when I was a boy of perhaps 10 or so.

It had a chapter on how to build a propeller-driven speedster. This was the age of small gas-powered, single-cylinder hobby motors (think flying model airplanes of that era) and so naturally these cars were powered by these small engines — pushed in fact by small model airplane propellers. In fact most of the parts to assemble these small racers came also from the model airplane field: the wheels are the same ones used for the landing gear of model aircraft of the era, even model aircraft landing struts were sometimes used.

Like their “control line” model aircraft contemporaries they were fixed to always travel in a circle by a bridle on one side of the car where a tether of some length could be looped over a stake in the ground. Unlike control-line airplanes though, it seems there was nothing for the “operator” to do but watch the car until the gas ran out.

They look like fun though if only in the inventiveness of creating one.


Here is an unusual all-metal propeller-driven air car which attained a speed of over fifty-one miles per hour. Note that the wheel struts are made of sheet Dural, as on the car we describe in this chapter. The body on this design is made from a piece of aluminum tubing and two aluminum model airplane spinners.

I wonder however  if two cars could run at the same time — assuming you allowed for the one with the longer tether to pass their line over the spinning propeller of the car on the inside lane.

I guess they could race until a certain number of laps are completed (or one runs out of gas a little early and loses that way).

In considering that the one on the inside lane has the advantage of a smaller circumference, it occurs to me that a mechanism might be employed that would, at regularly timed intervals, reel in one model’s tether while letting out the other. In order to give the car with the outside lane disadvantage the inside lane for a period.

In such a scenario I imagine both cars would need to have the propellor in the rear of the car and perhaps a sort of simple single stiff wire (like a simplified cow-guard on old trains) that would allow the pursuing car to lift their opponents line up and over the pursuing car’s propeller.

The bigger danger comes at that moment the mechanism’s timer starts to invert the radii of the cars: if they should be passing one another at that time there would be a collision.

One safety mechanism might be a kill switch built into each car if there is a loss of tension from the bridle (meaning the car has been cut loose and is no longer being pulled into a circle by centripetal force).

Also, the timed mechanism that switches the car lanes could have a manual override such that a referee delays the lane change until the two cars are no longer in danger of colliding. Or perhaps it is a manual operation completely — requiring someone to operate the lane change manually.


Composed only of the bare essentials required for an air car, this experimental vehicle is designed to test various types of fuel tanks. The tank shown here is of the pressure balloon type claimed by many to have qualities superior to the conventional type.

Anyway, just some musings and the fond memories of little book that caught my attention when I was a young boy.