º 1917 • Curtiss Autoplane
The first of many concepts for a flying car looks like the front of a pickup connected to the back of a plane -- but navigating traffic with its 40-foot wingspan is a bear.
1933 • Dymaxion Car
Inventor Buckminster Fuller's teardrop-shaped three-wheeler is 20 feet long but light, fuel- efficient and inherently aerodynamic.
1950 • Rover JET 1
The first gas turbine-powered car -- based on the then-modern jet engine -- is fast, but it guzzles fuel and suffers from sluggish steering.
º 1958 • GM Firebird III
Concept car godfather Harley Earl's jetlike automobile boasts realistic future features such as hands-free navigation, rear-mounted cameras (to replace mirrors) and joystick steering.
º 1958 • Simca Fulgur, Ford Nucleon
Nuclear power is the driving force behind these Atomic Age wonders. The French-conceived Fulgur shown here even features radar -- maybe to detect all of those flying cars.
1959 • Ford Levacar
Who needs wheels? This miniature vehicle floats on a cushion of air, the precursor to decades-long quests to create a hovercar.
1977 • "Star Wars"
Luke Skywalker's X-34 landspeeder uses three thrusters and antigravity technology to cruise above the ground.
º 1982 • "Blade Runner"
The spinners of the cult classic switch easily between driving and flying thanks to a combination of an internal-combustion engine, jets and antigravity power.
1985 • "Back to the Future"
The De Lorean DMC-12 is ahead of its time in 1981, but it really takes off as a time machine thanks to a nuclear-powered flux capacitor.
º 2002 • "Minority Report"
In 2054, cars clean themselves, change color at the owner's whim and drive automatically in heavy traffic. "It's a credible future," Szondy says.