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

By: · December 18, 2015

-Like wine in a box and nude motocross, the best concept cars are born of unhinged moments of inspiration. Offering an unfiltered peek into the consciousness of a designer or a creative team, concepts are not asked to answer to the demands of reality, but instead to inspire and provoke and challenge the accepted tenets of the day. Manufacturers love them for their ability to grab the attention of an otherwise-indifferent public, and we love them because they remind us of why we got into cars in the first place.  To celebrate, we compiled another list of our favorite concept cars of all time. Click on through for the full rundown.-Concept Lancia Stratos Zero-Lancia Stratos Zero-Oldsmobile Golden Rocket concept-Oldsmobile Golden Rocket concept-Franco Scaglione-Alfa Romeo BAT 7-chevrolet-corvette-4-rotor-Chevrolet-4-Rotor Wankel rotary-Plymouth XNR Concept Virgil Exner-Plymouth XNR Concept Virgil Exner-Nissan Pivo Concept-Nissan Pivo Concept-Ford Mustang Milano concept-Mustang Milano concept-GM LeSabre concept-And it was on the road. Despite its otherworldly looks, this was no static-display show pony. It was powered by a supercharged, 335-hp aluminum V-8, mated to an aluminum driveshaft and a rear-mounted automatic transmission. Hidden under a hard tonneau was a power top; a rain sensor could actuate it automatically in the event of a passing shower. The best part is that, like the Y-Job, the LeSabre was Harley Earl’s personal driver; Mister Earl tooled around Detroit in this one-off show car for years, ultimately putting some 45,000 miles on it. Public reaction to the LeSabre was so strong that it spurred GM to begin building a series of dream cars for the company’s Motorama traveling road shows. In that respect, it ignited the whole concept-car tradition. —Joe Lorio-Simca Fulgur-Simca Fulgar Colette Duval-Maserati Boomerang-Maserati Boomerang Giugiaro-Of all the concepts Jeep has cooked up over the years, none tugs at the heartstrings of nostalgia like the Jeep J-12 concept, and that’s exactly the way Jeep planned it. When  we drove the J-12 a few years ago, Kyle Evans, the designer of the J-12, told us, “If there was a guiding principal or theme behind the J-12 concept, it was grandpa’s fishing truck.” Built on the proven bones of a Jeep Wrangler Sahara Unlimited, the J-12 is fully operational off-road animal of a concept.-Arguably one of the J-12’s most noteworthy features is its first-generation “gladiator” grille and front clip. Constructed largely of carbon fiber, the entire assembly fits over the Wrangler’s existing substructure with little to no modification. It even uses many of the stock bolts and related hardware. --As good as it looks, the J-12 goes even better, as proven by it’s performance on the rugged terrain of Moab, Utah, where the Jeep crew put it through its paces shortly after its unveiling. Powered by stock 285-hp 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 backed by five-speed automatic transmission, the J-12 employs a pair of ARB air-locker-equipped Dynatrac axles (D-44 front, D-60 rear) and Tom Woods custom driveshafts to spin the 36-inch bias-ply tires. --Sadly, despite its off-road bonafides and relatively stock underpinnings, Jeep tells us this is one concept that will never make production.-—Andrew Wendler-American Motors Corportation concepts-American Motors Corportation concepts


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