Concept cars – usually revealed at major car shows – are typically protypes to show off new technologies and to gauge consumer interest in innovative, futuristic designs. Concept cars that get a lot of favorable buzz may eventually make it into production (after rounds of design changes for safety and regulatory compliance), but others have ended up in the junkheap of time. Below are a few concept cars, according to Car and Driver, that probably should have stayed in someone’s imagination forever.
Unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in 1997, the Rageous lived up to its outrageously dumb name. The car was a strange brew; it was built on a Firebird Trans Am chassis and included both a glass hatchback (um, what?) and a drop-down tailgate. Is it a sportscar, a station wagon, or a truck? Well, the public decided it was a dud.
The Buick Signia came out the following year (also in Detroit), and also had a weird looking glass hatchback. It was also the opposite of sleek and streamlined. Car and Driver described it as “grotesquely misshapen” as well as “swollen”, “wide-hipped” and “bulbous.” Unfortunately, this car has a similar look to Buick’s first crossover vehicle – the Rendezvous – which was produced from 2001- 2007.
Any list of bad concept cars wouldn’t be complete without 1999’s addition, the Pontiac Aztek. Unlike some of the other cars here, you’ve probably heard of this one, because the Aztek was actually produced and sold by General Motors as a sport recreational vehicle. Pulitzer Prize-winning automotive journalist Dan Neil, named it one of the 50 worst cars of all time, and said, “With its multiple eyes and supernumerary nostrils, the Aztek looks deformed and scary, something that dogs bark at and cathedrals employ to ring bells.”
Dodge Super8 Hemi
The Dodge Super8 Hemi was a strange sedan that came out in 2001 but looked more like it came out of a bad 50’s home movie (filmed on a Super8). The bulky beast featured a tiny, wraparound windshield, big ole bench seats, and a giant, angry looking crosshair grille. It had a few modern touches, like an MP3 player and a system that allowed for limited internet (it was 2001!) but this is concept is best left in the past where it belongs.
The aptly-named Honda Unibox was deemed the strangest concept car in 2001, since it was exactly that – a big box. Weirder still, it was a big box with 6 wheels and clad entirely in transparent polycarbonate panels. (Attention all drivers: please wear pants.) But wait, there’s more. It also included a navigation equipped shopping cart and…wait for it…a pair of folding motorcycles to come along for the ride. Atta way, Honda!
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