Many of today’s most popular car designs began as cool high-tech concepts, while other concepts never got out of the planning stages. The following are ten of the coolest concept cars ever released, spanning the past 80 years of car manufacturing.
1. Buick Y-Job
Any list of the world’s coolest concept cars must begin with the original. The Buick Y-Job was first shown in 1938, and is widely considered to be the first concept car for its use of features still popular today among those selling auto parts, such as electric windows and hidden headlamps.
2. BMW Mille Miglia
Created to commemorate BMW’s involvement with the historic Mille Miglia auto race, this concept car was designed in 2006. Its sleek curves are meant to mirror the lines of the original BMW 328 Mille Miglia Touring Coupe, which won the title auto race in 1940. This new version is streamlined, aerodynamic, and thoroughly modern.
3. Volkswagen Aqua
Built for use on land or sea, the Volkswagen Aqua is a slightly goofy looking vehicle that’s surprisingly functional. It has two hydrogen powered motors, making it environmentally friendly. Furthermore, the Aqua can move on land, water, or ice at speeds up to 62 mph.
4. Subaru BLT
Unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1987, Subaru’s kooky BLT was based on the Domingo van but gave it a super 80’s futuristic edge. BLT stands for “business, leisure, transport,” and this van was meant to be the multipurpose vehicle of the future.
5. Fiat Eye
Could the Fiat Eye be a glimpse into the single-cell future of driving? Controlled with voice commands and driven upright like a Segway, the pod-like Fiat Eye is a futuristic concept car built for one.
6. Peugeot Honey B
An even weirder looking car than the Fiat Eye, the Honey B from Peugeot uses hydrogen fuel cells and looks like a robot bee. Panoramic windows give you a good view of the road, while you can control the car on multiple surfaces using four-wheel drive.
7. Lamborghini Estoque
Perhaps Lamborghini’s first and last attempt at a family car, the Estoque was shown at the Paris Motor Show in 2008. This 4-door sedan may be practically sized, but it also offers serious power with its 5.2-litre V10 engine.
8. Autobianchi Runabout
Designed for Fiat by Marcello Gandini, the Autobianchi Runabout was inspired by the sleek, pointy look of 1960’s speedboats. It is notable for its sporty proportions, geometric architecture, and metallic inserts on the lower half; for a very cool overall impression.
9. Vauxhall SRV
The 1970 Vauxhall SRV was never intended to get to the production stage or be broken down for selling auto parts, instead designed as an elegant design concept that was meant to boost Vauxhall’s overall image. Short for Styling Research Vehicle, the SRV was inspired by the top Le Mans racing cars of the era. It boasts a snub nose and long tail, along with the ability to change its aerodynamic profile using an adjustable aerofoil. The car could also redistribute fuel as needed for added ease of handling.
10. General Motors Firebird 1
Looking like the offspring of a small plane and a sports car, the General Motors Firebird 1 dates back to 1953 and was one of the coolest concepts ever created. It was created as an experiment to see whether gas turbine engines could be used to build cars. The answer was no.