Concept cars are all about being daring and exciting and forward-looking. Here are ten of history's most shameless, lazy, and strange excuses for concept cars, as chosen by Jalopnik readers.
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Photo Credit: Ford
10.) The Dodge Super 8 Hemi
Suggested By: whitehatspecial
Why it's despicable: Concept cars are all about wonderful flights of fancy, beauty, and visionary thinking that's not yet ready for the production line. What they're not about is shamelessly phoning in a bland, nostalgic mish mash of 1950s design cues. No one at Dodge realized that they were actually signing off on the budget of a 1958 Chevrolet knockoff, and for that, you've made the top ten worst concept cars list.
Photo Credit: Chrysler
9.) Toyota A-BAT
Suggested By: cesariojpn
Why it's despicable: The worst crime a concept car can commit is dullness. Toyota was resting on its laurels when it cranked out another tall, anonymous truck like the A-BAT. That and it looks like it has a rage face.
Photo Credit: Toyota
8.) Tang Hua Detroit Fish / Tang Hua Book of Songs / Strip of Cloud
Suggested By: Senna MP4
Why it's despicable: These three Chinese concept cars (the Book of Songs is pictured) aren't so much despicable as just unfortunate. Picking on them is really just taking cheap shots, as the fledgling automaker never had much experience in the concept car game, but we at Jalopnik don't cut anyone any slack, so feel free to point and laugh at these smiling, cheery, deathtraps on wheels.
7.) 1957 Studebaker-Packard Astral
Suggested By: SuperfastMatt
Why it's despicable: SuperfastMatt summed up this ridiculous nuclear-age show car with these words: "The zenith of the fantastical hyperbolic show car, this baby was atomically powered, gyroscopically balanced on one wheel (though it could hover at low altitudes over water and land), and it had a protective curtain of energy that made collisions impossible."
6.) Aston Martin Lagonda Concept
Suggested By: E39d
Why it's despicable: It's hard to put your finger on what is wrong with Aston Martin's 2009 SUV proposal, but that's mainly because you imagine that it will rise up, the wrath of Cthulu blaring from its cruel headlamps, and devour you whole. If there was ever a concept car that seemed outright evil, then this money-grabbing behemoth is it.
Photo Credit:Yo Ghurt
5.) BMW 328 Hommage
Suggested By: Rockshowscott1
Why it's despicable: Bradley Price, a designer/car enthusiast who runs Automobiliac gave his professional opinion of the snaggletooth BMW concept on his website, and I'm inclined to agree with him. "[T]he BMW 328 "Hommage" (the extra M is for Mengele, I suppose? What else could have inspired such an atrocity?) only served as a snapshot of everything that is right and wrong in today's car design landscape. The 328 "Hommage" Concept had horrific, stubby proportions, a pastiche of mismatched styling cues and textures, a mess of intersecting and folded surfaces that would give even Frank Gehry indigestion."
4.) Mercedes-Benz SLS E-Cell
Suggested By: ThelynXAZ
Why it's despicable: Much respect to Mercedes-Benz for actually building a one-off electric supercar, but shame on it for making such a shameless ‘green car' that exists principally in the world of press releases and marketing mumbo jumbo. We might like to dream that the future of sustainable exotic cars is just around the corner, but the "Look at me, I'm eco!" neon-green paintjob is nothing more than a straight grab for headlines and little else.
3.) Chrysler Atlantic Concept
Suggested By: sprovost
Why it's despicable: I have a particular bone to pick with the 1995 Chrysler Atlantic Concept Car. It is easy enough to doodle a modern update of the landmark, beautiful Bugatti Type 57 Atlantique and its French contemporaries. As ordinary human beings, we have the right to entertain these flights of fancy. When you are a top-flight automobile executive, you have a greater responsibility than to turn half-baked napkin doodles into real, live concept cars. What started out as a chat between Maximum Bob Lutz and then-Chrysler design chief Tom Gale at Pebble Beach became a self-serving exercise in hubris. I can understand that you might want to turn two Neon inline-fours into a 4 liter straight-eight, but please have the decency to put it into an original, creative design and not just this shiny, tacky, lazy, unadventurous, rose-tinted piece of nostalgia. Rant over.
2.) Ford Synthesis 2010
Suggested By: coryd
Why it's despicable: Aside from the strange proportions, there is little to merit the Ford Synthesis 2010 as such a terrible concept car. Rather, the fact that Ford stuck on with the strange looks of the Synthesis 2010 in its failed 1995 Taurus redesign pulls it to the very pit of concept cardom. Our own coryd had this to say of Ford's 3rd-gen Taurus ancestor: "Contrary to other entries, the worst part is not that the manufacturer didn't follow through, the worst part is that Ford actually built it. Every time I see one of these on the road, I can't help but throw up in my mouth a little and wonder how this horrid piece of design was not only green-lighted, but that people actually bought it."
Photo Credit: Ford
1.) The 1962 Ford Seattle-ite
Suggested By: The Never Awesome Guacamole
Why it's despicable: It's a shame that if you ask anyone of a certain generation, they will understand you completely when you say, "where are our flying cars?" Concepts like this massive nuclear-powered Ford played a large part in America's disillusionment in the face of the underperforming, excessively publicized fantasies of the 1950s. The excesses of this particular Ford (as opposed to, say, the 1958 Nucleon) should not, however, be excused as part of some kind of childlike innocence. This Ford was brought out into the world for the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle, making it perhaps the laziest, most half-assed rehash of an automotive cliché the world has ever seen. Way to beat a dead horse, Ford, and take a bat to the dreams of young America at the same time.
Photo Credit: Ford