The craziest concept cars ever
Remember motor shows? They were huge gatherings where new cars were revealed, back when nobody knew what ‘social distancing’ meant. To grab attention at such events, manufacturers would often reveal outlandish concept cars. Some hinted at future products, others definitely didn’t. Here, we round up the craziest concepts ever to grace a motor show stage.
Back in the 1950s, the world of the future was nuclear-powered. And as this Ford Nucleon concept of 1958 proves, so were our cars. Because we’d have no problem sitting down in front of a nuclear reactor, would we? Rear-end collisions might get a bit messy.
Audi Urban Concept
The Audi Urban Concept of 2011 somehow combines a racing car, roadster, ‘fun car’ and city car into one two-seat, four-wheeled concept. If built today, it would somehow manage to be an SUV coupe as well.
Mercedes-Benz F300 Life Jet
Winning the prize for the best car name of all time, the Mercedes-Benz F300 Life Jet of 1997 ‘brought the feel of a motorcycle to the car world”’ Or so said Mercedes-Benz. As you can see, the Active Tilt Control allowed the Life Jet to lean like a motorbike, while the driver (or should we say ‘rider’) sat in an aircraft-inspired cockpit immediately in front of the A-Class-sourced engine.
The 2016 Trezor’s C-shaped headlights echoed the contemporary Megane hatchback, but that’s where the sensible stuff ends. Powered by a 350hp electric motor, the huge two-seat sports car hits 62mph in less than four seconds. Instead of oh-so-boring doors, access is via a lift-up canopy, which hinges forward like a giant sun visor.
The Volkswagen XL1 concept of 2011 was the stuff of pure fantasy. Who could imagine conservative Volkswagen actually building a 795kg, 313mpg, carbon fibre, two-seater, plug-in hybrid eco car? Oh, wait.
The Peugeot 20Cup concept of 2006 was part-Peugeot 207, part-tricycle and all mad. It looks like half a car, which may explain why it weighed less than 500kg. That’s approximately the weight of, um, half a car.
The Ferrari Modulo concept of 1970 sat so low to the ground, only someone the size of Richard Hammond could drive it. If its space-age looks are crazy enough, consider that the Modulo didn’t even have conventional doors, with Pininfarina instead opting for a sliding canopy approach.
A crazy name for a surprisingly clever and innovative vehicle. On its own, a Chery @Ant has the ability to go anywhere. But link a Chery @Ant to another Chery @Ant and it’ll form a road train, using automated telematics to provide a different type of self-driving car. That’s a big 10-4, good buddy, looks like we’ve got ourselves an @Ant convoy…
Truth be told, we could have chosen any number of Luigi Colani’s weird and wonderful creations for this list, but we’ve settled on the C112 of 1970 – mainly for its uncanny resemblance to the Panthermobile.
The Citroen Lacoste offered ‘a modern, pared-back option that aims to end the “always more” ethos that the automotive industry so often lives by’. We could go on to say the concept car was’“positioned at a crossroads where the car meets the world of fashion and style’. So it could have been called the Citroen JD Sports?
The Toyota U2 ‘Urban Utility’ concept is so innovative that photos of it will appear on your generic smartphone device without you even asking. It moves in mysterious ways.
The brilliantly-named Renault Racoon of 1992 would venture further off-road than any other concept car had dared. In fact, thanks to its amphibious qualities, it could even go for a swim.
The soft-bodied Honda Puyo fuel cell vehicle of 2007 was meant to convey a ‘warm, friendly impression’. Just look at it. We reckon the Honda Puyo could be a cure for road rage. How could you be angry with someone driving this?
Nissan Pivo 2
The Nissan Pivo 2 had four independent wheels that swivelled in much the same way as a supermarket trolley. But thanks to its incredibly cute face and onboard robot traveling companion (no, really), you wouldn’t want to chuck the Pivo 2 into a nearby canal.
Like the aforementioned Volkswagen XL1, the BMW i8 sits under the ‘concept car becomes a reality’ banner. BMW even retained the dihedral doors of this original version. Bravo.
The Citroen Tubik’s face is part fish, part Angry Birds character. The nine-seat concept never made production – shame as it still looks like the H-Van of the future.
Mercedes-Benz Bionic Car
We just love the fact that Mercedes-Benz developed a Bionic Car. It just sounds so un-German. Taking ‘nature’s solutions to problems’, the car was inspired by the boxfish, thanks to its superb aerodynamic properties. A Mercedes, inspired by a boxfish and called the Bionic Car. You couldn’t make it up.
Valmet Automotive Dawn
We take it all back, F300 Life Jet isn’t the best car name, that accolade must go to the Valmet Automotive Dawn. Unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, the electric vehicle looks like a racing car that’s been left in the oven too long.
We’re going to mention Saab concepts in as many articles as possible until someone comes to their senses and resurrects the once great brand. This is the Aero-X concept of 2006. It still looks great today.