Among the early exotics, or experimental cars were the XPAK 400.
The XPAK 400 was built and designed by Barris Kustoms in 1959. Barris fans remember the XPAK 400 as an early attempt at creating a car that would never experience a flat tire. That’s because the XPAK 400 rode on a cushion of air, and had no wheels or tires.
The 422-pound vehicle was propelled forward by a revolving jet nozzle, so that the thrust could be pointed in different directions to steer the vehicle.
The XPAX held one person, and resembled a small space craft with a pair of stabilizer fins on either side.
To underscore the importance of the XPAK 400, Motor Trend magazine, one of Car Craft’s sister publications within the Petersen Publishing family, proclaimed Barris’ air car “the most valuable contribution to the automotive industry of the year,” as stated in the 1961 show program.George Barris put the XPAK 400 in storage at Van Nuys airport when it was done touring the shows. Years later when he went to recover it, he was shocked to found out that the car was done. It had been sold off to settle a debt. In 2022 the whereabouts of the old Barris air car were still unknown.