Originally published in Automobile, February 1988
Behind John Kibler’s head is a 400-cubic-inch V-8 rescued from a 1971 Chevy Kingswood station wagon. Its roar, however, is largely obscured by the distinctive pulse of a propeller cutting through the air. This is John Kibler’s Aircar. Not a hovercraft. “Aircar,” asserts Kibler, who points to the four (sometimes five) wheels.
Kibler built the vehicle using mechanicals from many locales: front suspension from a VW beetle, rear axle from an Olds Toronado, springs from a Chevy LUV pickup, radiator from a ‘68 Camaro. The engine is mounted on wooden timbers to minimize vibration. The wooden propeller is from an airboat.
Over the mechanicals is a Kibler-designed body of urethane foam sheets and fiberglass, with normal provisions for street legality: side-marker lights and pop-up headlights.
Despite being clocked at 90 mph, the Kibler Aircar’s off-the-line pickup is weak. It’s great on the Interstate, but it won’t go up the driveway. To solve the problem, Kibler has installed a Porsche 914 transmission driven by the belts off the front of the Chevy engine. By that method, power is transmitted to a fifth wheel many the Aircar.
Kibler can explain why he built the Aircar, but does admit, “It would probably drive Ralph Nader crazy.”