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"A science fiction story is a story built around human beings, with a human problem and a human solution, which would not have happened at all without its scientific content."
- Theodore Sturgeon

Groundcar (or Ground Car)  
  A non-skimming, non-flying vehicle.  

One of the ways a writer can emphasize the extraordinary advances of a culture is to use verbiage to suggest that current technology is old-fashioned.

I will return in three hours, as well before sunset the wind makes it impossible to get even a ground car into the port.
From Galactic Patrol, by E.E. 'Doc' Smith.
Published by Street and Smith in 1937
Additional resources -

Robert Heinlein used it in Methuselah's Children in 1941:

She dropped down the lift tube from Ventura's apartment, claimed her speedy ground car from the attending automaton in the basement and set the control combination for North Shore.

Isaac Asimov used it in Foundation in 1951. At this point in the novel, Hober Mallow, intrepid space trader, is trying to introduce Foundation technology into an interstellar backwater.

Twer shook his head, "I wish I'd been with you yesterday."

"I wish you had, too," said Mallow stonily. "I have no objection to moral support. Unfortunately, it was the Commdor who set the terms of the meeting, and not myself. And what is coming now would seem to be the royal groundcar to escort us to the foundry. Have you got the gadgets?"

"All of them."

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Galactic Patrol
  More Ideas and Technology by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
  Tech news articles related to Galactic Patrol
  Tech news articles related to works by E.E. 'Doc' Smith

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