Concept cars are generally made just for one purpose- to test a concept. Manufacturers use the concept cars to test customer reaction to new styles or technology they are planning to use in their future productions. These types of cars are used in Auto shows, where the customers are given a sneak-preview.
After gauging their reactions, the designs undergo changes before they are made road-safe or cost effective. Many just end up being destroyed or some really good ones end up in Museums.
Few of the top concept cars which never saw the light are listed below:
1) 21st Century BMW M1
One of the top auto manufacturers in the world, BMW had created the BMW M1 in the early ’70s. In 2008, to mark the 30th anniversary of their first and only mid-engine-car, they revealed their new BMW M1. It was created as homage to the original one.
The classic Liquid Orange Metallic paintwork, popup headlights with recessed lamps, squinting front end reflect the classic M style. The original M series was powered by a 207kW 3.5-litre inline six-cylinder that propelled the car to a super speed of about 260km/h. The new version would surely have surpassed that.
To the dismay of many car-lovers, the manufacturers for some reason did not go any further and the car never went into production.
2) Mercedes C111
The next name to be mentioned is surely Mercedes. In 1969, Mercedes C111 was created by the company to research on rotary engine car. The C111 was first shown at Geneva Motor show in 1970. It was fitted with four-rotor Wankel engine with 350 hp and a speed on 180mph.
The most interesting feature of Mercedes C111 was the gull-winged doors, doors which opened upwards. It would have been an awesome feature if it had made to production. The car had high fuel consumption and emissions which prevented the hope of the car being ever produced. And also the company was said to have some financial troubles, which led to the project being shelved.
3) Chevrolet Corvette Four-Rotor
Another name on the top of the car-maker’s list is the Chevrolet. The Corvette is one of their spectacular models. It was made in early ’70s to compete with Mercedes-Benz and Mazda which had 4-rotor engines at that time.
It also featured a Wankel engine, with an estimated output of 350 hp. Aside from this; the model had a very sleek design. The radically low and pointed nose and a sharp, sleek tail and the folding gull-wing-doors were nothing less than amazing.
Did I mention that it was one of the James Bond cars!! Due to whatever reason, even this Bond-car stayed put in the garage.
4) Saab Aero X
In 2006, at the Geneva Motor Show, Saab revealed its new design Aero-X. The people were stunned to say the least by its superior design. The main feature was that there were no doors. Instead, the top fully opened to allow entry and exit into the sleek car, like those seen in aircrafts.
Instead of ordinary dials and buttons, data was displayed in graphic 3-D images on glass-like acrylic ‘clear zones’.
The engine was a twin-turbocharged V6 which ran on pure ethanol, thus cutting down on CO2 emissions. The engine produced 400hp and a top speed of about 155mph.
Saab considered the Aero-X as the canvas to explore the potentials of the future and didn’t build any more of these super-cars.
5) Jeep Hurricane
The last one I liked is the Hurricane by Chrysler-Jeep. If you are into monster trucks and cool off-road driving expeditions, then this vehicle is for you. It will probably feel like something out of a sci-fi movie.
Jeep Hurricane doesn’t have side doors or roof. With 14 inches of ground clearance and superb suspension, you will feel like you are riding on the clouds. Some of the awesome features include four-wheel steering which allows the driver to turn the vehicle 360 degrees standing in one place. In another mode, the rear wheels can be turned in the same direction as front wheels which means that the Hurricane can “crab-steer”, or move sideways.
One would think it was an animal rather than a vehicle! Do I even have to mention that there are 2 engines, one in the front and one in the rear? And the vehicle can run on only four cylinders or 16 at a time. This would be useful when maneuvering over difficult terrains.
Again, the cost to mass-produce such a vehicle would be enormous and the Jeep Hurricane was also put on the shelf.
Well, that is what “Concept” is all about. Some of the features from these ideas, if not in its entirety, can be seen in other models which have been made by the above companies. So, some good has come out of these concepts. Still, wouldn’t it be cool to have one of the above mentioned spectacular vehicles to call your own!!