Friday, July 15, 2011

Futurism in 1922 ! The Leyat Helica

Helica, Rio (model nº62), Italy,

Futuristic cars and extreme design is not a thing of the present. This toy represents a real vehicle, that was built in 1922 by Frenchman Marcel Leyat - in an era where new ideas were still being tested. (at a time of Zeppelins and skyscrapers and other crazy inventions.) Basically, it has positive aspects: no transmission, no clutch and, well... no brakes ! Since traction is not obtained through the wheels, no worry about  getting stuck in snow or mud. It is extremely lightweight (body made out of plywood) - about 250kg... and very fast ! (even though acceleration speed was another issue...). Some sportier models were even built with open top - just what you need for drying your hair quickly after a shower in the morning. Note that only the back set of wheels could turn, which made for some very "interesting" curves at high speed.

Yes, definitely not the most pedestrian-friendly car (it's like a meat grinder on wheels) but one man's dream. 

Helica 1922 (Leyat, France)
(owner: Jean François Bouzanquet)


  1. very nice model you have my friend.
    I am trying to make a wood model on my own,
    I may take your photos as inspiration.
    thank you a lot and greetings from argentina

  2. Thanks ! I hope you can send us some pictures of the finished model - that would be great !