Live Auctions

Hangar Find: The Friendship

As the saying goes, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and that’s generally the hope of travelers visiting the famed Sin City. However, in this case, Grandpa brought something home and it may not be what you think. Grandpa was lucky enough to stumble upon a one-of-a-kind airport transport vehicle that was used to shuttle passengers to and from their planes, which makes sense because an airport is the one place that this creation might actually fit in. Found here on Facebook Marketplace with an asking price of $70,000, it has been christened ‘The Friendship’ according to the script found on what would normally be described as the front fender. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Terry for this unusual find!

When you start looking at all the high-quality work that went into this vehicle, it’s actually pretty impressive. The chassis is from a 1979 Jeep Cherokee and the body is a Beech 18 Navy rescue plane fuselage. The bumpers, side panels, and fender flares blend seamlessly, flowing into the airplane bits like they were meant to be together. Powering the contraption is the donor Jeep’s 360ci V8, linked to an automatic transmission with Quadra-Trac, which helps explain the awesomely oversized Dick Cepek tires. Under the hood (er, nose?) you’ll find a dual battery system, presumably for running all the gadgets and gizmos inside.

The sixteen gauges and various switches on the dash will certainly keep the driver (pilot?) occupied, while the passenger will be kept company by the highly-detailed mermaid reportedly carved from Brazilian Sateen wood. The Jeep also gave up its power steering and power brakes in order to help make the commute more manageable. The rear of the vehicle looks capable of holding a fair amount of passengers and everyone can have their own reading light, just like on a real plane. Everything looks to be in good condition, with the exception of an upper cushion needing some reupholstering.

With what can only be described as a face that only a mother would love, the front end may possibly be enough to intimidate left-lane hogs to move over and give this beast the right-of-way it deserves. The ad doesn’t mention if the propeller fan is functional, but it would certainly help add some authenticity. The seller states that the vehicle does need work, but doesn’t mention if it currently runs and drives. However, it does have all of its paperwork in order, which should make the transaction go smoother. Do you have what it takes to add this unique vehicle to your current fleet?


  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    Sponsored by United Airlines? – “Fly The Friendly Skies”.

    • David Frank david Member

      Before “Fly The Friendly Skies” it was “Fly United”. Perhaps that might be fit as well.

  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    The ultimate SUV?

    Like 1
    • WayneS

      Nah, Soccer Mom-mobile.

  3. Ed Casala

    I kind of like it. But after looking at that dash, That rock and roll has got to go!
    Make a cool SUV out of it. It is interesting to say the least.

    Like 1
  4. Mr Exotherm

    I’d call it the Model Y or maybe Model Why?

    Like 5
  5. john iorio

    Hmmmm….Id take it on grateful tour…its too hippie to be a street car….I have a little buzz just looking at it…I remember there was a song “fly the frendly skies, captain high at your service” back in the day

    Like 2
  6. MattR Member

    If the plane is a rockin’, don’t come knockin’?

    Like 3
  7. AndyinMA

    I love a dash with switches and levers, all this touch screen stuff blows.

    Like 8
  8. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Yes it’s strange, but when you look it over, the work is impressive. Beyond parade use, I’m not sure what one would do with it. Maybe an in-city “party bus” for poor-weather use?

    Like 6
  9. Ike Onick

    Remember the Timbukthree video for the “Futures So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades” ? Where the scaled-down version of this is moving in front of the trailer?

    Like 3
  10. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    The front headlight areas remind me of my Tatra T2-603 with the later “wide” headlight treatment, used by Tatra from 1966 to 1975.

    See an example here:

    Like 1
    • john iorio

      I’d put even money they are tatra lights and grill…..they must have used two tatra grill surrounds, the second one welded inside and over the first, then either leaded in, or bondoed in, then painted blue… first guess was a 64 chevelle grill surround, but googling tatra, i believe its a tatra grill !!…nice call here!

    • chrlsful

      I wuz thinkin 40s, ’50s usa p/u truck (just the full frnt @ head lght/fender)?

  11. John Kish

    I like it. But not for 70k

    Like 1
  12. Rob

    This is what’s known as a “labor of love.” He’s not going to see $70K, no way.

    Also, “gave up power steering and brakes to ease the commute?” Someone is very high if they think that makes it easier to drive. Did I misread that?

    Like 9
    • Jimbosidecar

      Yes. I believe it means to say the Jeep gave up it’s power steering and brakes

  13. Scott A. Ewing

    Great party bus for hitting the local wine trail.d

    Like 1
  14. moosie moosie

    70K & its currently non running ? It would make an awesome RV to take on vacations or just to tour the continent if you’re retired after the interior was modified as such. Priced way too high no matter how unique tis !

    Like 6
    • Howie Mueler

      Where does it say not running? It just says needs some work. Super cool!!!

      Like 4
  15. Randy

    I didn’t see an altimeter on the dash, so there’s’ no telling how ‘high’ this guy was when he built this thing.

    Could the wings be re-fitted?

  16. ed sel

    The FB site shows the mermaid and interior shots – it’s called the ‘California Dreamer Beach Craft – I’d say more like the “Margaritaville Express.” Yes, it’s got off-road tires and Jeep drive train – but I would sure hate to pause at the top of a dirt road and get out and see daylight where the fiberglass was seamed and bondoed. The interior ceiling treatment may actually be structural.

    Like 1
    • john iorio

      Yea, you can bet you’ll see some points of daylight coming in when it gets to the top of the hill, its that old… fact, it will stall also, then make a “Poooof” sound because of the rusty 4- barrel jeep carb. The whole thing is downright ridiculous, reminds me of the poodle van Jim Carrey drove in “dumb- and dumber”….I’d offer the ol’dude about $300, because its got the 360 block, and maybe a dana rear I can use….lets get real!

  17. Lothar... of the Hill People

    It would make a nice shuttle for the EAA, Oshkosh WI. Or at Sun n’ Fun.

    Like 4
  18. Sam Shive

    20 Years IN the Navy working on airplanes and 20 years working FOR the Navy on airplanes. I’d love this parked out front. I’m sure not many of these are at the local Cars and Coffee.

    Like 3
  19. G Mobley

    I think Tim Tyler’s Jungle Cruiser looks better than this thing . .

  20. Rick

    This thing looks like a combination of the 1951 Buick LeSabre show car, a mall kiddie ride pumped full of growth hormones and something used to transport physically challenged assisted tourists to and from casinos.

  21. Red Car Club

    I think “Santa Fe Super Chief parade train for special events” is better than this

    Like 2
  22. scottymac

    Where’s the autopilot?

  23. mstang

    Take that thing on a tour around the country and you would be paying another $70,000 for gas!

  24. jim simpson

    I can imagine the inflatable safety slide deployed as an additional feature. That would definitely make the sale!

  25. Howard A Member

    Can you say “blind spot”?

  26. Jonathan Q Higgins

    Just the thing to take to Burning Man. Probably not optimized for the road however.

  27. jwaltb

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It has a cassette deck, though… I think cry is appropriate. And the price? OK, now I’m laughing!

  28. Terrry

    The dash is not complete. It’s missing an altimeter and artificial horizon! Can you imagine delivering UberEats in this “car”?

  29. John Boehler

    I see a PPG logo on the rear surface. Was this one of PPG’s special vehicle creations?

    Like 1

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