Concept cars give us a glimpse into the future of the automotive industry, showing us years in advance what direction a manufacturer is headed in with regards to design and engineering.
While concept cars are rarely production-ready, they frequently capture our imagination and make us wonder what it would be like if they actually made it down the production line. Here are some concepts that should’ve become reality.
The Indigo was a wild Formula 1-inspired open-wheeler first shown in the mid-Nineties. It has a wild aerodynamic setup with an interesting front wing, and a mid-mounted V-12 made from two Duratec V-6s. It would’ve been nice to see it be built for real, even as a track-only vehicle.
In the U.S., the Datsun brand was built on the back of the 240Z sports car and the 510 sedan, the first Japanese car to give machines like the BMW 2002 and Alfa Giulia a run for their money. The IDx was a modern, rear-drive reinterpretation of the 510, revealed in 2013, and promised for production, but killed in 2015. It would’ve been too expensive to develop a new rear-drive platform for a low-volume car for this.
In 2016, Buick revealed something stunning. A two-door coupe designed by Ed Welburn, based on the Camaro’s Alpha platform with a 400-hp twin-turbo V-6 and looks that hark back to great Buick concepts of the past. We hoped it’d see the light of day, but it was just a design study to generate hype.
Chrysler ME Four-Twelve
The 2004 ME Four-Twelve is the coolest thing to come from Chrysler this century, packing a carbon monocoque and a Mercedes V-12 engine. It was a fully running prototype, ready to be driven. Sadly, the financial crisis squashed any hope of it seeing production.
The Concept-RA was introduced at the New York Auto Show in 2008, featuring recyclable plastic resin body panels and a turbodiesel engine, of all things. Like the ME Four-Twelve, the recession crushed any plans for a production variant.
The Eterne was one of five pie-in-the-sky concepts Lotus infamously unveiled at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. It was a four-door sedan with killer looks and a 5.0-liter supercharged V-8. Sadly, it failed to ever reach production.
The Mythos was designed by Pininfarina, and used underpinnings from the Testarossa. Ferrari never made a proper Testarossa convertible, and we think this should’ve been it. It’s too bad it remained a concept.
Cadillac has a bad habit of showing off stunning concept cars, then not building them. The four-door convertible Ciel is one of the prettiest of all, with an incredibly long wheelbase and fantastic styling.
Built as an experiment in the Seventies, the C111 was powered by a range of rotary engines before the project was abandoned. Mercedes built 13 examples in total, and the only example still running currently uses a more traditional V-8.
We were pretty heartbroken to hear the news Jaguar wouldn’t produce the C-X75. It’s an achingly beautiful design, and it starred in James Bond’s Spectre.