And on a recent Thursday morning on Castleberry Road, it did just that.
The Roswell resident pulled his 32-foot-long vehicle into the parking lot of Flex-Fab Inc., the metal fabrication factory on Castleberry Road in Cumming where Ray’s plane car all came together. A slight breeze gently spun the propeller on the front. The vehicle’s tail rose 12 feet high.
Ray’s plane car is hard to miss. But, then again, who would want to miss it?
Not the white van that slowed to a crawl while its passengers gaped as it drove by (then turned around and passed again just a couple minutes later.)
That’s exactly the kind of reaction Ray hopes to get from his plane car.
And Ray’s current plane car isn’t his first. He had a small three-seater built in 2017, which he eventually sold.
Soon after, Ray wanted another, and this time a bigger one. He knew just what to do: he went to a salvage yard in Griffin (the same one used for filming in the Blank Panther movie, Ray said) and found a 1974 Cessna Ram 421B gutted and with its wings cut off, and then he bought a used GMC Sierra 2500 pickup truck and had the body, sides and bed removed.
Ray brought both vehicles to Flex-Fab where they cut off the bottom of the plane and fastened it to the truck using metal posts. Then he took the vehicle to another shop to have the interior done with hardwood floors and comfortable cloth seats from a used Toyota Sienna minivan.
Ray spends about 30 hours a week driving the vehicle, he said, in cities like Alpharetta, Cumming, Milton and Roswell, to name a few, giving exposure to the dozen or so advertisers he works with.
“I’ll pull into a shopping center, like the Oscar Mayer wienermobile, cars will come off the street. You’ll hear them screeching,” Ray said. “They get their kid out, they’re posing in front of it. They’re taking pictures all over it asking a thousand questions.”
Ray also consulted with local and state law enforcement agencies to ensure the vehicle would be street legal.
When the plane car was completed in 2018, it didn’t take long for it to get attention. Ray remembers the day a driver pulled up next to him at a red light and tried to talk to him, which was difficult since plane windows don’t roll down. Ray signaled for him to call the number on the vehicle. It turned out to be the owner of The Flying Biscuit Cafe, the Atlanta-area breakfast chain restaurant.
“He said, ‘We gotta be on there,’” Ray said.
“He said, ‘What’s the best spot on the plane?’ I said, ‘The tail.’ He said, ‘I’ll take it,’” Ray said.
The plane car has also been featured on the YouTube series, “Ridiculous Rides.”
Ray now has a handful of advertisers, but he has visions of turning the plane car into a full-fledged enterprise with more advertisers, maybe even more plane cars.
“I want everyone to see this thing,” Ray said.