Quote: People have dreamed of roadable aircraft since 1918 when Felix Longobardi was issued the first patent for a vehicle capable of both driving on surface roads and flying through the air. The most well known, and arguably most successful roadable aircraft was developed in the 1950s and 60s by Molt Taylor. Although his design was never mass produced and does suffer from a number of practical drawbacks, there are a handful of prototypes that were built and are capable of both flying and driving. There are also many visionaries developing their own concepts for a roadable aircraft. A fairly comprehensive listing of vehicles of this type along with their espousers is available at the Roadable Times website.
This plurality of concepts shows that there is a perceived need for a vehicle of this type. Unfortunately, the cost/benefit of these vehicles (both in terms of development and design compromises that must be made to build a vehicle like this) never justified serious financial backing – the real need was not sufficiently acute to justify the performance sacrifices of a dual use vehicle. Consequently, the ‘flying car' was relegated to the realm of lone inventors or visionaries that had the desire but not the resources/capability to build a practical, commercially viable entity around its sale to the global general aviation community.
Terrafugia is the company that will change this paradigm and be the first to successfully bring a roadable personal air vehicle to the general aviation marketplace.
The only use of 'flying car' has quotes as a nickname. My guess is that some PR came and said "hey!, let's call it a flying car so we can call for investors". Of course a public relations agency, a person without knowledge in the field or a man living in the mid-past century won't tell the difference between both terms.