Faster than the wind Blackbird wind-powered car up for auction

Rick Cavallaro

 (Rick Cavallaro)

The record-setting Blackbird wind-powered car is now on sale.

No, it hasn’t entered production, but the actual vehicle that sailed directly downwind nearly three times faster than the wind is being auctioned on Ebay.

The quixotic creation was built by a team of aerodynamics hobbyists, led by computer scientist Rick Cavallaro, to disprove the widely held belief that it is impossible to travel directly downwind faster than the wind in a wind-powered vehicle.

The superstructure of the Blackbird is designed to be pushed by the wind as its wheels, through a transmission, spin a giant propeller that creates thrust to drive the car faster.

Even after the record was set, how exactly it works remains a head-scratcher for some, but the calculations exist to explain it.

The team also used the same car to set an upwind record of 2.1 times the speed of the wind, which was achieved by replacing the propeller with a turbine and facing it directly into the wind – a more straightforward accomplishment from the standpoint of physics.

Having done what they set out to accomplish, Cavallaro and crew are now selling the car, hoping to recoup some of the more than $20,000 and 2,000 volunteer man-hours put into making it and finding it a good home in the process.

According to the listing, the “vehicle is used (and wasn't all that pretty even when it was new). Low miles :)”

The auction runs through June 8th and as of this writing the bidding stands at $1,250. Not a bad deal for a zero-emissions car with no fuel costs -- assuming you have a very straight commute.