Concept cars: the catwalk models of the automobile world. Striking, distinctive, unobtainable and out-of-this-world. You look at them, fascinated, and wonder just how your own car is possibly related to them.
But, as catwalk fashion eventually trickles into the consumer consciousness, as do elements of concept cars, both design-wise and aesthetically. The best, and certainly most relevant, example of this is the BMW electric car. One of the most rapidly developing corners of the motor industry, concepts of such engineering first emerged in the early 1960s with US motor giants AMC and General Motors both revealing concept cars using similar lithium batteries you’ll find in electric cars today!
Here are four of the craziest concept cars ever unveiled to the motor-loving public…
GM Motors Firebird II
This rocketesque beauty was unveiled in 1956. At the time it caused all sorts of speculation and chatter about the future of automobile engineering because of its jet-like turbine engines. But, thanks to the beauty of hindsight, what’s really interesting about the Firebird II concept is its communication system which, as GM described at the time, could be used “along the electronic highway of the future”. Concepts don’t get much more perceptive than that!
Unveiled just two years after the GM Firebird II, the idea behind the Ford Nucleon actually makes the gas turbine engines idea look pretty sane. The clue’s in the title: the Ford Nucleon was home to its very own radioactive core in the back. Ah, the innocence the 1950s… Understandably this concept didn’t even develop fro0m its 3/8 scale model. Thankfully!
Back to the future. In 2010 Bridgestone revealed designs for vehicle that defies pretty much all regular automobile conceptions. With two wheels in the front and two jet engines in the rear, its pod-like design fits four passengers. While racing or driving at speeds the jet engines propel you at great speeds. But, when the need for more conventional driving is necessary, the jets push the car up vertically and you’re able to control this curvy demon like a Segway! Not only does it look cool, but it will help alleviate parking congestion, too…
Honda Fuya Jo
Short, tall and full of party spirit, Honda’s Fuya Jo (which translates to ‘sleepless city’) was designed to “induce the same kind of experience as riding skateboards or roller blades or dancing in clubs.” Yes, because those are the very same sensations you want when you’re driving around town. Aimed squarely at the super-club loving youth market, complete with DJ deck style controls and turntable steering wheel, this was first revealed in 1999 and hasn’t been seen at a motor show since 2002.