Concept cars allow auto companies to display ideas and technological advancements that they plan to use on upcoming models in a uniquely stylish package. Generally, concept cars do not go directly into production, but instead have some of their elements incorporated into production models. These five crazy concept cars can almost do double duty as works of art on wheels created by their respective designers.
The Dymaxion was designed by none other than famed American futurist and author Buckminster Fuller as part of a series of inventions intended to improve the American way of life. The car had a fuel efficiency of 30 mpg, could transport 11 people comfortably, and was documented reaching speeds of up to 90 mph. None of this is terribly impressive by modern standards, but The Dymaxion debuted more than 80 years ago, in 1933.
Cars don’t get much more emblematic of 1950s America than a Ford with a nuclear reactor inside. The Nucleon, which debuted in 1958, was not actually a functional car that ran on nuclear energy, but was instead a model of what a car with a built-in reactor might look like. The car was designed much like a miniature version of the nuclear submarine.
Assystem City Car
The cool Assystem City Car prototype, which appeared in 2007, is packed full of features to make urban driving easier. Most notably, two of the wheels can rotate a full 180 degrees, vastly increasing maneuverability and making it easier to squeeze into tight parallel parking spaces. The car also has external cameras to increase the driver’s field of vision, and a biometric interface to keep you from dozing off behind the wheel.
The2010 Fiat Eye is a single-person electric vehicle based on Segway technology. The tiny pod only has room for the driver, who it transports in style thanks to a voice command interface and a cool rounded exterior design.
The Firebird XP-21 was the first of the three concept cars produced by General Motors to explore the use of turbine-powered rockets in car design. Released in 1954, the XP-21 was theoretically one of the fastest vehicles on the road, with the ability to reach speeds in excess of 200 mph. However, no test driver ever got the rocket-powered car over above 100 mph without the wheels losing traction.
If you are looking for a new set of wheels, you unfortunately won’t find any of these concept cars on the road. However, you can find many of their stylistic and technological innovations in existing vehicles.