vineri, 13 mai 2016

The Crazy World Of Concept Cars - World Of Classic Cars -

It is hard being a visionary car designer. Carrozzeria Scaglietti is as much responsible for Ferrari’s iconic status as the founder himself. Without him there would be no 250 GTO or 250 Testarossa. He succeeded despite the fact that Enzo Ferrari was initially lukewarm about his designs (Dino had to convince the old man that he was worth perservering with). Mauricio Gandini produced the Miura despite Ferruccio Lamborghini not wanting to produce a two-seat racer. He went on to pen revolutionary classics such as the Lancia Stratos and the Alfa Montreal. But what of those designers who have to show the same level of belief in their designs. Whose vision ends up being entirely of the hindsight variety. Let’s take a moment to celebrate some of the weird and wonderful concept cars that didn’t quite make it.

Dodge Deora

This oddity is the result of the Alexander brothers taking an A100 pick-up and pimping the hell out of it. It exhibited to rave reviews. This is despite the fact that the driver and his passenger seem to act as the crumple zone for any potential accident (at least the contents of the boot would be kept relatively safe). It recently sold for over quarter of a million dollars. It also has the claim to fame of being one of the first Hot Wheels cars ever produced.

Alfa Romeo BAT series 

The BAT cars that Alfa produced were instant classics. It’s difficult to appreciate just how forward looking these cars must have been in the fifties. There was reason behind their radical looks too. The BAT wasn’t referencing a certain caped crusader with a penchant for flamboyant cars. It stood for Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica and it aimed to be as aerodynamic as possible. They achieved a drag co-efficient of 0.19 (which is still impressive a full sixty years later). They didn’t particularly influence mainstream Alfa design which erred towards being boxy. But as an exercise in engineering and design these cars have rarely been bettered.

Davis Divan D2-Coupe 

We’ve often thought at the club, if only someone would build a three wheeled car that could sit four people up-front. Well they did. The Davis car company thought they’d spotted a gap in the market for the type of driver that likes to lunch four abreast with his friends. Just look how comfortable they all look sitting next to each other. It’s a wonder this never caught on.

Toyota CX-80 

To help say goodbye to the seventies Toyota wanted something that would be a palate cleanser. A leap into the future. They had a strong history in producing bold designs. After all, everyone loved the GT-2000. What they unveiled was the CX-80. A kind of proto Austin Maestro. The car of the future if the future was to be depressingly dull.

The Dymaxion car 

Radical doesn’t begin to cover the Dymaxion. Originally built at the height of the Great Depression (which took some balls) it was unveiled at the Chicago Trade Fair in 1934. This odd, back-to-front car reached for the future like no other. Inspired by airplane design, it was intended that it would one day be modified into the world’s first flying car. This was for men who were made of the right stuff. Literally – the car had a tendency to blow sideways in strong winds which would have been a little terrifying. True to its inspiration it also had a tendency to lift at speed. Which would have been great on a runway with wings attached, but a little less enjoyable when hitting 70mph on the M1. While it may have failed as a car/plane hybrid, it succeeded as a design exercise. As lauded today as it was when it launched. Famed architect, Lord Foster, even went as far as to re-create it. We don’t necessarily want to go on a roadtrip in it, but we do love it.

GM Firebird III 

Go home GM, you’re drunk.