Sunday, January 24, 2016

15 Coolest Concept Cars Ever Made

1. Lancia Stratos Zero1970 Lancia Stratos Zero Bertone Concept

Designed by Marcello Gandini, who also designed the Lamborghini Miura and the Alfa Romeo Carabo, the Lancia Stratos Zero was a beautiful concept car. Using the Lancia Fulvia HF as a foundation, the Stratos Zero was specifically built to be the lowest car possible. With it’s wedge design and short stance, the Stratos Zero stood only 83 centimeters tall (32.7 inches). The car was so low that it didn’t have doors, you needed to enter it through the hinged windshield. The engine for the Stratos Zero came from the Fulvia HF, a 115 horsepower 1.6 liter V-4. The engine was a mid-mounted engine to keep the front end as low and possible. While it may not have been very fast with this engine, the Stratos Zero concept paved the way for a rally car edition that ended up winning three rally car championships.

2. Buick Y-Job
1938 Buick Y-Job

The Buick Y-Job is considered to be one of the first concept cars. The Y-Job was designed by GM Design chief Harley Earl in 1938. The Y-Job was build to be an idea car. Using a Buick chassis, the Y-Job featured a number of new technology ideas for its time. Hidden headlights, a power top that disappeared under a hard tonneau, and power windows were all featured on the Y-Job. The Y-Job was much fancier than current vehicles at the time, with a longer, lower body and an extended rear deck. Harley Earl used it as a personal vehicle and had it painted gloss black. Every year he would have it repainted to keep it looking fresh. In 1947 the vehicle gained a few improvements such as push button door handles and fender skirts.

3. Oldsmobile Golden Rocket
1956 Oldsmobile Golden Rocket

The Oldsmobile Golden Rocket debuted in 1956 at the New York Motorama. The vehicle stole the show with its missile shaped, shark nose body. Under the hood was a 275 horsepower V-8 engine. With a body composed of fiberglass, the Golden Rocket weighed only 2500 pounds. With such a low body weight and decent engine power, the Golden Rocket would have been one fast vehicle. The Golden Rocket was equipped with a number of electronic conveniences that are a normal feature on today’s cars. One feature that never reached production was what happened when the door was opened. When opening the doors, the seats automatically raised three inches and swiveled outward. At the same time the roof panels tilted upward to make getting in and out of the car easier. Sadly the production model Golden Rocket did not feature the same look or features as the concept.

4. Ford Gyron
1961 Ford Gyron

The Ford Gyron was a space-age concept car designed by Alex Tremulis and Syd Mead. What makes the Gyron so interesting is not only it’s unique design, but the background of the people who designed it. Tremulis was stationed at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio during the war. There he worked on top-secret activities involving advanced aircraft designs, gyroscopic theory, cutting-edge aerodynamics, and, according to numerous reports, the conceptualization of alien lifeforms and spacecraft. Renamed Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in 1947, the facility was ground zero for “Project Sign,” an official government-authorized UFO investigation, as well as the (alleged) home for the infamous “Hangar 18,” an alleged UFO and alien storage and study facility. Mead was a self-professed “visual futurist” who went on to work on many sci-fi movies such as Star Trek, Aliens, Tron, Blade Runner, and many others. Together the two designed the Gyron, a vehicle that hinted at the use of future power sources like fuel cells and new tech like GPS navigation and cell phones. In theory the vehicle would balance on two wheels using gyroscopes. The vehicle never went into production, and the original was destroyed in a fire in 1962.

5. GM-X Stiletto
64 Gm X Stiletto

The GM-X Stiletto was a dream car created by General Motors in 1965. The vehicle was designed to have an aerospace look, aircraft steering, a maintenance monitoring system, toggle switch controls, and three way communication speakers. The vehicle looked like it was heavily inspired by rocket technology, with an elongated front end and wrap around windshield. The GM-X Stiletto was missing doors and window pillars. The only cuts in the body were made for a pair of vents behind the front fenders. The air brakes were retractable and would pop out from behind the rear wheels. The only way into this bizarre vehicle was to climb into it from the back, meaning that if it was snowing or raining you were going to filthy up the inside. Even though the Stiletto was full of inconvenience, it was still a cool car to look at.

6. Alfa Romeo BAT 7
Alfa Romeo B.A.T 7

The Alfa Romeo BAT 7 was designed by Franco Scaglione. Scaglione was known for designing the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale. The BAT 7 was built upon Alfa Romeo’s 1900 chassis and had a drag coefficient of 0.19. The term BAT is derived from “Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica”. The exterior of the BAT 7 looked like something that might have shown up in the 60’s Batman TV show, with sleek curves and fins on the rear fender that resembled the ears on Batman’s mask. The design of the BAT 7 and the other BAT vehicles is based on the study of aerodynamics. The design also aims to do away with any extra resistance generated by the wheels turning, as well as achieving a structure which would create the fewest possible air vortices.

7. Chevrolet Corvette Four Rotor
gashetka:1973 / 1976 | Chevrolet Corvette Four Rotor /...

At the height of the wankel rotary engine craze in the 70’s Chevrolet decided to try and capitalize and make their own rotary engine vehicle. In an effort to be better than everyone else, Chevy created a four rotor concept that featured two two-rotor engines under the hood. The exterior of the vehicle had a wedge front end design, gullwing doors, and a small tail end. The vehicle was never considered for production. GM cancelled all their rotary plans after finding that their prototype engine consumed fuel and oil at very high rates. Since the design of the Four Rotor was so desireable, GM tried to replace the rotary engine with a conventional engine and rename it the Aerovette. That vehicle never saw production either.

8. Nissan Pivo
NISSAN PIVO

Leave it to Japan to create something as weird as it is cool. The Nissan Pivo is a tiny transportation pod that debuted at the 2005 Tokyo auto show. The name Pivo comes from the word “pivot,” and the vehicle was named after the passenger compartment’s ability to spin around 360 degrees. This means you never have to put the vehicle in reverse, instead you can just spin the compartment around and then drive forward in the other direction. The Pivo is also an electric vehicle, something else the Japanese are fond of due to their crowded roads. The vehicle also featured sliding doors, staggered one-plus-two seating, and four-wheel steering. The Pivo was so well received that Nissan made two more versions of it, the Pivo 2 in 2007 and the Pivo 3 in 2011.

9. Chrysler Atlantic
Chrysler Atlantic 1995

The Chrysler Atlantic was one of many well received concept cars produced by Chrysler in the 1990’s. Debuting in 1995 at the Detroit auto show, the Atlantic was a gorgeous vehicle. Large curved fenders, a wide rear end, and a small passenger cab were all design features of the Atlantic. The vehicle resembled the Dodge Viper in many ways. Under the hood the Atlantic featured a straight-eight engine created from two Dodge Neon engines with an S configuration 4.0 liter. The concept had around 360 horsepower and used Chrysler’s Autostick transmission. The Chrysler Atlantic is one of the most popular concepts created by Chrysler and has proven popular enough to still make occasional public appearances at auto shows.

10. Lincoln Futura
1956 Lincoln Futura Show Car 02

If that Lincoln Futura looks familiar, that’s because a modified version of it was used to create the Batmobile for the 1960’s Batman TV show. Built in Italy in 1954, the Futura was painted pearl white and displayed at the Chicago auto show in 1955. It was featured in the 1959 film It Started With a Kiss, but was painted red for the film. Later when 20th Century Fox needed a Batmobile for the TV series in 1966, the Futura was given a modified front end, more open wheel wells, and reshaped rear wings. They gave it a black and orange paint job and the Batmobile was born. Ever since then the vehicle has been the Batmobile. Originally costing $250,000 to build, the Futura sold for $4.6 million dollars at auction in 2013.

11. Mazda Furai
Mazda Furai

The Mazda Furai was a concept car from Mazda that debuted in 2008 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The name Furai means “sound of the wind” and it was the fifth and final design in the Mazda Nagare line of concept cars. The vehicle was designed to run on E100 ethanol fuel and was powered by a 20B 3-rotor wankel engine that produced 450 brake horsepower. The exterior design was based on the Courage Competition C65 Le Mans Prototype and the Furai was intended to be used for racing in Le Mas. The vehicle appeared in a number of racing video games such as Gran Turismo 5 & 6 and Forza Motorsport 4. In September of 2013, it was revealed that the Furai was destroyed in a fire during road tests by Top Gear in 2008.

12. Ford Mustang Milano
Ford Mustangs That Never Were: 1970 Mustang Milano concept

The Ford Mustang Milano was a beautiful Mustang concept released in 1970 that inspired the fastback profile of the 1971 Mustang. The Milano was a two-seater with a large cargo hold that was accessible through a power-operated rear hatchback. The taillamps of the vehicle supposedly glowed green when under acceleration, yellow when coating, and red when braking. This is a neat concept, mimicking a stop light, but would likely confuse other drivers on the road. The exterior was a deep shade of purple and was accented with a silver rear fascia and front grille. The hood had vents on the sides similar to the Mustang GT500. The Mustang Milano was definitely one of the most attractive Mustang concepts produced by Ford.

13. GM XP-21 Firebird
Firebird I XP-21 GM 1953

Introduced in 1953, the XP-21 Firebird was never meant for public use. The crowds were probably very disappointed when they learned this from the brochures that were handed out, as the disclaimer stated “It is not the first in a new line of General Motors cars. It will never be seen on a public highway. Actually, it was built only for the proving ground and test track.” This is a shame because the XP-21 Firebird would have sold like hot cakes. Who wouldn’t want to drive around in a car that looked like a fighter jet? GM released newer versions of the Firebird, some more extreme than others; the Firebird III had seven wings for example. With technology where it is today, I’m surprised no one has tried to recreate this road jet, maybe with 3D printing technology.

14. BMW Lovos
BMW Lovos Concept

Feeling that our world was mass produced and mundane, designer Anne Forschner created the Lovos concept to encourage viewers to “escape from the embrace of pleasant conformism.” At first glance the Lovos looks like it’s covered in fish scales, as it’s covered in panels and structures. When the panels open the car looks even more bizarre. The panels are supposed to function as air brakes when opened, and harvest solar energy. The wheels are also covered in these scales, and as the wheels spin the scales retract, giving the wheels the appearance of turbines. Created as more of an art piece than an actual car you would see on the road, the Lovos certainly turns heads wherever it goes.

15. Dodge Tomahawk
Dodge Tomahawk 4

The Dodge Tomahawk was a crazy merging of car and motorcycle. It looked like a motorcycle and you drove the vehicle by sitting on top of it like a motorcycle, but the vehicle had four wheels and was powered by a Dodge Viper V-10 engine. This was taking the idea of stuffing a big engine in a small car to the extreme. Dode was said to be open to building a limited run of Tomahawks, but the vehicle never saw production. Nine replicas were sold for $555,000 each, but they were not street legal. The Tomahawk was able to go from zero to sixty in 2.5 seconds and had a 400 mph top speed, but it was advised not to try and test the Tomahawks ability. Chrysler viewed the vehicle as a “rolling sculpture.”

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