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Exceptional Conceptual: The Greatest Concept Cars of All Time, Volume I

By: · August 26, 2015

-Go to any auto show and you’ll find at least one vehicle that shines bright among the horde of production units, one with exterior shapes and interior details unrestrained by the limitations of mass production. Known universally as “concept cars,” these vehicular peacocks not only lay bare the heart and soul of an automaker’s design department, but they also often allow manufacturers a way to hint at certain styling elements and design themes that may weave their way into future production models.-Initially reserved for pure flights of fancy highly unlikely to make production, the concept moniker has in recent years been slapped on barely disguised future production models in an effort to wring every last headline from a model before it officially goes on sale—we’re looking at you, 2015 Honda Civic coupe “concept.” In rare instances, as was the case with the original Dodge Viper, a concept will prove to be so overwhelmingly adored that a manufacturer essentially is forced to make the dream a reality, lest the buying public call its bluff.   --Here we review some of our favorite concepts from history—note that this is by no means an exhaustive list—starting at ground zero with Harley Earl’s iconic Buick Y-Job.-Buick Y-Job concept-1938-Buick-Y-Job-concept-Harley-Earl-Dodge Flitewing concept Ghia-Dodge Flitewing concept Ghia-Ford Gyron, 1961-Ford Gyron, 1961-GM-X-Stiletto-concept-But the X Stiletto is equally notable for what it lacks: door cuts and window pillars. The only cuts in the body were made for a pair of vents aft of the front fenders, and—get this—retractable air brakes that would pop out from behind the rear wheels.---Occupants had to climb in from the back, which might make the interior rather delightful after jumping into the car from a wet or muddy walkway. Once inside, however, they would have a completely unobstructed view. The driver would have to decipher information from at least 16 dials, and most controls were inspired by airplane controls, including toggle switches and W-shaped steering handlebars. But despite its inconveniences, it sure looks cool. —Steve Siler-1995 Chrysler Atlantic concept-Chrysler Atlantic concept-1955 Lincoln Futura Concept-Lincoln-Futura-concept-Batmobile-mazda-furai-concept-mazda-furai-concept-Mercedes-Benz C-111 concept-Mercedes-Benz Research Car C 111-II-Cadillac Sixteen concept-Cadillac Sixteen concept-1953 GM Firebird I concept-GM XP-21 Firebird I concept, 1953-Dodge Deora, 1967-Dodge Deora, 1967-Long, low, and outrageously retro, the Efijy didn't lead to a production car—or much of anything else—for Australian automaker Holden when it debuted in 2005 in Sydney and in 2007 at the Detroit auto show. That’s a real tragedy, because the stunning Efijy, an homage to the chopped customs of decades gone by, certainly wowed onlookers.-Holden Efijy, 2005-Jeep Mighty FC, 2012-Jeep Mighty FC, 2012-Dodge Tomahawk concept, 2003-Dodge Tomahawk, 2003

 

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