Howard Hughes Aero-Mobile
This car started out as Howard Hughess personal 1936 Lincoln K model V-12 Limousine. Hughes converted the car shortly thereafter into his custom version of what a 1936-37 Boat Tail Speedster should be. Hughes completely re-designed and restructured the limo into a time trendy art deco aerodynamic vehicle. The car would have been very stable at high speeds due to its long wheelbase. After reducing the original weight by thousands of pounds and modifying the engine and exhaust this car would have easily cruised in excess of 100 MPH. Originally Hughes may have started out to compete in some sort of speed or endurance contest however some say Hughes was developing his version of the Ultimate concept Car. During this same time frame Edsel Ford, Auburn, Duesenberg and others were doing this as well. In 1936 he was known as the worlds fastest man by air. Hughes had visions of developing automobiles. He funded many ventures including building a steam car and invented the worlds first Motor Homes. This car seems to be half automobile and half airplane. According to the Henry Ford museum and research archives this car was originally shipped to Long Beach California in January of 1936.
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It was special ordered with only one-foot rest. Not many people would have ordered a Limo for just one person to ride in except someone with a clean air phobia like Hughes. Then other documents indicate the car was customized by the Hughes Aircraft Company shortly thereafter in Culver City California. There are eyewitness accounts of Hughes personally driving this modified car through the factory. Its possible this car was used as an experiment to determine a formula to help increase fuel mileage and engine performance using weight reduction combined with the benefits of aerodynamics as to help increase traveling economically at high speeds. Hence this may have helped Hughes when setting some of his world flying records. Others believe the car may have helped Hughes while filming high speed take offs and landings of aircraft he was developing or even while pioneering his invention of the retractable landing gear. Because of the cars Aerodynamic design it would have been able to get close to aircraft while filming without disrupting the planes natural airflow. Although a definite reason why Hughes built this vehicle is certain no one can say for sure exactly what it was. This vehicle remains, like its creator, unique, unusual and a mystery in many ways. This car is like a window into the soul of a man who was known for being a true American Hero. Howard Hughes was a gutsy eccentric man who walked the wire between Genius and Madness.
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The car was on display at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregonalongsidethe "World Famous Spruce Goose" May 18th through 24th 2009. The carused to be stored in the same hanger with the "Spruce Goose" inCalifornia whenHughes still ownedthem. The Spruce Goose was restored and open to the public in 2003, thisHughes car was unveiled after a complete frame-off restoration May 18th 2009. A completely stock 1936 K-model limousine thatwas onceownedby Richard Ringling of the famous"Ringling Brothers Circus" was on display as well, to show the dynamic change that Hughes implementedwhen customizing his limousine. The car was appraised by one of the top appraisers in the United States for four million dollars.