Slartibartfast's Air Car

Slartibartfast's Aircar had a short but illustrious career as a BBC prop and then a longer and less illustrious one as a tomato cloche and garage filler.

Air car in flight
Air car in flight

For the 1981 BBC television series when Arthur travels from the surface of Magrathea deep into the heart of the planet which is a gateway to hyperspace where the factory floor is located he does so with Slartibarfast in the latter's aircar. The prop was designed by Jim Francis and built by the BBC effects department and used both in the studio and on location in Cornwall which doubled as the alien planet's surface. The aircar was hoisted quite a long way into the air and as Simon Jones and Richard Vernon were much too precious to risk, Jim Francis and a colleague sat in it when it was off the ground. A couple of years later it appeared on Jim'll Fix It when a viewer wanted help making a short science fiction film.

In 2005 a resident of Linton in Cambridgeshire contacted ZZ9 to say that the aircar was in the garden of a house he had recently purchased. The story he told was that the previous house owner had liberated the aircar from a skip outside of the BBC, installed it in his garden and used it for growing tomatoes. The new owner wanted to free up some space in his garden and contacted the fan club to see if he could get someone to take it off his hands. It was "rescued" but has been sitting in a garage in Clacton for the last decade, though we will roll it out for LL3.

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Slartibartfast's Air Car