This is one of just 10 examples of the Tritan A2 Aerocar that were ever made. They were ordered by Domino’s Pizza as a futuristic pizza delivery vehicle that would also grab news headlines resulting in free publicity across the country.
The A2 Aerocars that were used by Domino’s were fitted with internal pizza ovens to ensure that people’s orders would remain hot while in transit, and the vehicle offered a top speed of up to 95 mph with a coefficient of drag of just 0.15.
Fast Facts – The Tritan A2 Aerocar
- The Tritan A2 Aerocar is the best-known of the small number of vehicles developed by Tritan Ventures, Inc. of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The company was founded in 1984 by aeronautical engineer Douglas J. Amick, who had been experimenting with fuel-efficient, trike-based vehicles since at least 1969.
- Amick’s father James L. Amick had started off this fascination with unusual trikes, he had built his son an ice boat with one forward ski and two at the rear in a trike configuration. These were later replaced with wheels and the vehicle was called the “Windmobile” – they claimed it could travel at up to five times the speed of the cross wind thanks to its adjustable airfoil.
- Tritan Ventures unveiled the Tritan A2 Aerocar in 1984, the design was seized upon by Domino’s Pizza who ordered 10 of them for their Ann Arbor, Michigan operations and finished them in Domino’s Pizza livery and a pizza oven in the rear.
- The initial plan was to buy 180 examples of the A2 Aerocar and use them at Domino’s locations across the country, this never came to fruition however, and ultimately just 10 were made, with just seven said to be surviving today.
Domino’s And The 30 Minute Guarantee
Fortuitously, Domino’s Pizza and Tritan Ventures would both be founded in Michigan in towns right next to each other, with Domino’s in Ypsilanti and Tritan in Ann Arbor. For those interested in weird car history, it would be a match made in heaven.
Domino’s Pizza actually started out as DomiNick’s, but the name was changed after the business was bought by Tom Monaghan in 1960. The company originally had three locations, which is why the domino in the Domino’s logo has three dots.
The original plan had been to add a dot for each new location, however this plan was quickly forgotten as the company grew at breakneck pace, opening 200 stores in just 1o years.
The company became famous for its 30 minute pizza delivery guarantee which debuted in 1973. It was a wildly popular promotion that offered people free pizza if their order took more than 30 minutes to arrive after it had been placed by telephone.
As a result of this guarantee, the company was always looking for an edge when it came to cutting time off deliveries, and this is possibly why executives got in touch with aeronautical engineer Douglas J. Amick of Tritan Ventures, Inc. of Ann Arbor, Michigan after they saw the first prototype of the Tritan A2 Aerocar.
The Tritan A2 Aerocar
The Tritan A2 Aerocar debuted in 1984, it was a wildly futuristic design with a fiberglass composite monocoque chassis, seating for two in tandem, a forward-sliding canopy for entry/exit, a mysterious rear loop that was claimed to generate power from the wind, and it was powered by a 30 bhp 440cc air-cooled rotary engine made by an Israeli firm called Syvaro.
The outright performance of the A2 Aerocar wasn’t particularly impressive, though it could reach speeds of up to 95 mph thanks to its slippery aerodynamics that had been perfected in the University of Michigan’s wind tunnel.
The 0 – 62 mph sprint took 17 seconds, a pace best described as geological in its speed, but the good news was that the A2 offered up to 80 mpg thanks to its remarkably well-designed aerodynamic body with a coefficient of drag of just 0.15.
To put that into meaningful context, lower numbers mean less drag – a baseball in flight has a drag coefficient of 0.30, a Ferrari Testarossa comes in at 0.36, and a Toyota Prius beats them both with a 0.27.
Fuel efficiency, rotary engines, and fighter jets were all the rage in the 1980s, and the Tritan A2 Aerocar embodied all of them. The only thing that was missing according to Domino’s, was a pizza oven in the back.
Domino’s struck a deal with Tritan for 10 prototype A2s, this was then planned to be followed by orders for at least 180 more which would be used at various Domino’s locations around the United States.
Once the 10 initial vehicles arrived they were given their distinctive Domino’s paint jobs, and the rear seat was removed and replaced with a square pizza oven that could hold multiple pizzas in their boxes stacked vertically to keep them warm en route to their final destinations.
For reasons unknown, Domino’s decided not to proceed with the plan to expand the A2 Aerocar program. As a result just the original 10 were made, Domino’s then donated them to automotive museums across the country once they had removed the pizza warming ovens from the rear.
Today it’s believed that just seven of them survive, almost all still in museums, with at least two now in private hands – one of which is available to rent for shows on Drive Share.
The Tritan A2 Aerocar Shown Here
The Tritan A2 Aerocar you see in this article is coming up for sale, it’s listed as having been restored, though it’s not noted when, and it’s powered by the correct SP-440 Syvaro rotary engine that’s now been rebuilt.
The car is finished in the correct Domino’s livery, though the pizza warming oven is missing as they were all said to have been removed before Domino’s parted with them.
This vehicle comes with its own customized Aluma motorcycle trailer that was built in 2022, this offers a way to move the A2 around easily, and the trailer is said to still be capable of hauling motorcycles if you need.
If you’d like to read more about this unusual piece of pizza delivery history you can visit the listing on Mecum here. It’s due to roll across the auction block with them in Las Vegas in early November.
Images courtesy of Mecum
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.