Daimler’s recent introduction of a doorless, open-roof electric car might have startled some, but in the wild world of concept cars it’s far from daring.
Since their invention by the auto industry in the late 1930s, concept cars have afforded engineers and designers an opportunity to let their imaginations run free. Notably, some designers have taken the idea to an illogical extreme, producing cars that are more memorable than functional.
But some of today’s production vehicles have their roots in concept cars. The recently introduced Cadillac ELR, for example, started out as the Cadillac Converj at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show. Similarly, the Ford Mustang and Pontiac Firebird evolved from concept cars that seemed daring in their day.
We’ve collected photos of concept cars that range from wild to pragmatic. From Smart’s Fourjoy, to Cadillac’s racy Converj, to BMW’s shape-shifting GINA, we present some of the best-known and most unusual. Click on the concept car below to start the slideshow.
Winner of a Peugeot design competition in 2005, the Moovie Concept Car was designed for city dwellers who needed to fit into tight parking spaces. Each of its wheels were independently driven by their own electric motors, allowing the car to rotate on its own axis. The vehicle’s two-passenger interior was designed for brightness and visibility. (Source: Wikicars.org)
Good point about fabrication, bobjengr. That's particulaly the case for high volume fabrication. That's why most concept cars never reach production. The ones that do usually see some dramatic (and boring) changes.
Very very informative slide show Charles. I love to see engineering and design talent pushed to extreme as these cars indicate they have been. I am assuming all of the design was CAD and solid modeling. In other words, the products can be built. I know that sometimes what really looks good is very difficult to fabricate. I would love to see most of these newer product on the road.
Ervin, my feeling is that if every artist was an engineer then most of them would probably not be artists. I see the two talents pointing in different directions. Of course some engineers do appreciate appearances but only a few follow appearance to the detriment of functionality. That task is most often handled by marketing and cost reduction groups.
But sometimes it becomes quite clear that some engineers have no concept of what looks good and what does not, and unfortunately a few of them have been architects responsible for buildings that the rest of us have to see.
That FourJoy looked every bit as impractical as any of the concept cars shown. And it was not nearly sporty enough to be a fun sports type of vehicle. WHAt were they thinking?
The Dodge pickup would have sold a lot if they had put regular type doors on it, it looked much cooler than the El Camino. But Chrysler management of that era was often immume to creativity, except for my 1965 Barracuda. I loved that car. With a few modifications to the suspension it handled like a real race car.
Right - someone clearly thought "unnecessary ballast" was a clever turn of phrase, but that pesky "ballast" on any car is almost never considered unnecessary by the designers. The real indicator as to whether it's necessary or not would ultimately be determined by the marketplace.
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