Propeller cars to take centre stage at Rétromobile

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Propeller-powered Hélicas will be the centrepiece of Rétromobile in Paris from 6-10 February.

The French show is to celebrate the centenary of Marcel Leyat's Hélica via an original 1921 Berline version (fully tested in C&SC in August 1996).

There will also be five replicas coming from all over the world, including a private collection in Italy, the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, Monaco, plus two from the Lane Museum in the USA.

The Hélica was such a fascinating vehicle because it abandoned most of the accepted wisdom of car design that was developing at the time, doing away with chassis, gearbox, transmission and even a driven wheel.

The prop-driven cars were light, simple and fast: a Hélica achieving 106mph at Montlhéry in 1927.

The revolutionary design didn't catch on, however, and Leyat built just 23 Hélicas between 1913 and 1926.

For more information on the showpiece French event, click here.

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