Retro-Future: Mind-Boggling Transportation
Among the fascinating concepts that appeared in the 1940s-60s magazines are some pretty good ones that could even prompt interest in modern designers and manufacturers. Other ideas, on the contrary, did not age well and may appear nuttier than a drunk hamster on a treadmill.
Regardless of their potential and practicality, these glorious glimpses into transportation’s elusive future can speak to us on some deep level – whispering perhaps to forsake that lumbering sport-utility for a slim and mean aerocar, which will transport us in a blink of an eye to… alas, the same old strip mall for groceries.
Picked mostly from little-known Eastern Bloc publications, most of the concepts shown here are the product of socialist and communist research, often as unrealistic, as their leader’s plans for global utopia.
Soviet-dreamed Giant Catamaran – Supertanker – Icebreaker Hybrid:
Russian concept of the rotor-plane, 1960:
Soviets also proposed to stick together a bunch of big airplanes to make a REALLY huge one. Kind of like a Lego dream come true:
This American concept shows the ultimate helicopter:
(at least the largest we’ve seen drawn on paper)
An interesting helicopter also can be found inside this issue of Startling Stories, 1940:
Ekranoplans & Hydrofoils
Ahhh… How can we not mention the “wing-in-ground-effect” liners? Russia was crazy about ekranoplans and hydrofoils for some time. Here is an ultimate replacement for a passenger airliner:
“The Glider” super hydrofoil, 1960
and a huge passenger/cargo ekranoplan:
German version of water/highway transport system, more focused on personal transport:
Russian Spiral Vehicle
This is a vehicle that literally “screws around a lot” to get somewhere. Never mind the possibility of it being built (there was actually some talk about prototypes spotted in the Russian Army), the vehicle like this would need a lot of “personal space” while it moves. Nobody wants to end up wrapped around the spirals like some kind of spaghetti.
Beautiful supertruck, imagined by the US Royal Tires:
(I had a toy like this once)