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July 17, 2022

Leyat Hélica: The Plane Without Wings

Leyat was a French automobile manufacturer, established in 1919 in Paris by Marcel Leyat (born in Die). The automobiles were built on the Quai de Grenelle in the 15th arrondissement.

The first model was called Hélica, also known as ‘The plane without wings’. The passengers sat behind each other as in an aircraft. The vehicle was steered using the rear wheels and the car was not powered by an engine turning the wheels, but by a giant propeller powered by an 8 bhp (6.0 kW) Scorpion engine. The entire body of the vehicle was made of plywood, and weighed just 250 kg (550 lb), which made it dangerously fast.

In 1927, A Hélica reached the speed of 106 mph (171 km/h) at the Montlhéry circuit. Leyat continued to experiment with his Hélica. He tried using propellers with two and four blades.

Between 1919 and 1925, Leyat managed to sell 30 vehicles. Here is a set of beautiful photos of the Leyat Hélica.


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