Sometimes car manufacturers design concepts that we beg and plead for them to produce but never see the light of day.
Other times they miss the mark so far, it makes one wonder how hard could it be to work in the concepts department? Can anyone apply? I’d love to design weird cars all day long.
This isn’t The 5 Weirdest Production Cars That People Actually Bought. That one was about cars they actually made.
Other than the first one on the list, which doesn’t count because they made fewer than ten, they never produced these prototypes. They all died in the design stage, as they should.
Put on your helmet. It’s about to get weird.
1936 Stout Scarab
Long before the VW buses of the 1960s, a designer named William Stout designed what one could only describe as the great granddaddy to said bus.
Stout was an aircraft engineer before he turned his attention to automobiles. He wanted to bring the luxury element of flying to the road.
His airline, Stout Airlines takes credit for introducing features like flight attendants and in-flight meals.
The Scarab didn’t take off, though, not because they meant it to fly but it couldn’t. It was because of soaring production costs.
The cost to buy it was in the neighborhood of $90,000 in today’s market.
1942 Oeuf Electric
In fairness, the modern eCar movement has produced some doozies, bizarre looking, uninviting to many drivers.
Oeuf Électrique translates to Electric Egg from the original French. That’s a pretty accurate description.
The design elements of the Oeuf, borrow from futurist visions blended with the designer’s experience in locomotives.
Paul Arzens, the Parisian who designed it, wasn’t an engineer but a painter. Odd that he didn’t think to paint the body of the Oeuf.
The body was aluminum, something we wouldn’t return to until recent history.
1953 GM Firebird 1 XP-21
No. Just, no. It’s understandable how GM arrived at this silly car. The fifties were all about the space race rocket culture, evidenced by the size of car’s fins.
The next logical leap was to make a rocket on the ground. They did one better, powering the car with a real jet engine, because what’s the worst that could happen?
Disappointment? Perhaps. The output was 370 horses from this elegant monstrosity.
1955 Chrysler (Ghia) Streamline X “Gilda”
With a 1.5 liter engine, the Ghia was an Italian touring car, a grounded spaceship of sorts.
They’d originally intended to install a jet turbine engine (what’s with all the jet engines in cars?) but decided against the idea.
There would be no jump to hyperspace in the Gilda. At the time, Chrysler was behind a run of cars sporting turbine engines, of which the Gilda was one. Thankfully it was only the one.
1970 Ferrari 512 S Modulo
If the Gilda is the space-rocket of the bunch, the Modulo was so Buck Rogers.
It looks like someone ripped the cockpit of Buck Roger’s ship, then slapped on some Goodyear tires.
Ferrari contracted designers from Pininfarina to create the car for the 1970 Geneva Motor Show. The underpinnings were a Ferrari 512S race car, with a new body.
Needless to say, these never hit the road.