“The car is over,” says the founder of the First Flying Car Store

A photo from the Arsenale concept store in New York City.

Have you ever been shopping in Manhattan and thought, “I wish I could buy a $400,000 seaplane”?
photo: The Arsenal

Another week, another story of how flying cars could be the future of transportation. This time it’s the turn of mobility specialists The Arsenale, which claimed that “the car is over” at the opening of the “first ever flying car shop.”

Despite our own Collin Woodard argues that flying cars are not actually real, a quick look at this very website reveals a multitude of creations that many people might consider “flying cars”.‘

Now The Arsenale is the latest company trying to bring the conversation about personal aviation to the masses.

If you’re not familiar with the company, they’ve made a name for themselves since 2016 by selling and promoting some pretty outlandish machines. When you read the company’s online catalogue, you will be addressed personally submarines, high-tech electric Cycles, futuristic airplanes and some incredible looking ones cars.

A personal flying machine made from the shell of a vintage Renault 4 car.

The Air 4 was built to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Renault 4.
photo: The Arsenal

It has now opened the doors to its latest venture, a flagship store in New York City. The venue, Arsenale’s third retail location, has been described by founder Patrice Meignan as the “world’s first flying car store”.

The new store, opened in partnership with luxury watchmaker Roger Dubuis, currently offers The Arsenale‘s apparel collection alongside a $400,000 Icon seaplane. In the coming months it will also be home to Renault’s outlandish Air4 ‘flying car’ concept from last year. Neither is the typical purchase for someone wandering the streets of Manhattan.

Last year the Arsenale worked with Renault to develop the “flying car” concept, based on the design of the classic Renault 4. The electric quadcopter could only fly for a few minutes at a time, but it was a first test of the Arsenale’s own aeronautical engineering. And now it appears the company is going all-in in its fight to escape.

“I think we can hardly imagine what’s in store for us,” said Meignan.

But what is to come?

Well, Meignan has some thoughts on that. In fact, he has a lot to say about the future of personal aviation.

He said, “It’s funny when you look at the 1900s and the auto shows, in Detroit they showed things like cars with bubbles and said in the future we’re going to fly.”

A black and white photograph of Patrice Meignan stood in front of an airplane.

Patrice Meignan thinks “the car is over”.
photo: The Arsenal

Several decades later, since flying cars made it into pop culture through performances Bladerunner and Back to the Future, Meignan now believes technology is catching up with that sci-fi vision. He explained that “we’ve discovered more in the last 20 years than we have in the last 200 years” when it comes to personal escape.

Meignan added: “So that means a lot of things are going to change over the next three or four years in terms of batteries, motors, performance, etc.”

But this is not the only area that needs to be developed if we want to take to the air. The infrastructure surrounding the roads above us also needs to be built, as well as other aspects we take for granted when driving on the ground.

Image for article titled 'The Car Is Over,' Says the founder of the world's first flying car shop

photo: The Arsenal

“Instead of driving on the ground, you will take off and use a road that is yours. We will create many new street architectures, we will also need a new payment system to be able to use these facilities and new machines.”

And that’s where he thinks The Arsenale will come in.

Meignan said he’s already in talks with “about 10” companies that want to work in the “flying car” space. And while he’s spoken to a small number of builders himself, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of brands looking to take to the skies.

Meignan said: “There are around 40 projects and some of them are great. That’s too much for a burgeoning industry, but it shows there’s interest. At the end of the day you might only have five or ten or more – but it shows that something is happening now.”

In addition, Meignan also takes part everything he learned from the Renault Air4 and thus to develop his own brand of private aircraft.

A display of baseball caps and t-shirts at the Arsenale store.

From baseball caps to flying cars, what’s next for The Arsenale?
photo: The Arsenal

“The difficulty is how to go from a blog, a website, and a business to flying cars?” he asks.

That must be a tough challenge to overcome. But he says his reputation for “doing crazy shit” should help Arsenale Aero take off.

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