Here are ten right ideas that came at the wrong time.
In 1979 when the AMC Eagle was first released, there was no single vehicle class or genre of car that could properly describe what this lifted, wagonish-4x4 thing was. In today’s automotive world, the Eagle could live comfortably on the market between popular SUVs, wagons, and crossovers like the Subaru Outback, the Forester, the Audi Allroad, the GMC Terrain and so on.
Long live wagonish-4x4 things!
Suggested By: jariten1781, Photo Credit: AMC
In the 1990s, the Audi A2 was the bubble-shaped, baby, European economy car of the future. At the time, its aluminum construction, oddly-shaped design, and cheap pricing structure were uncommon in global markets, and even more so for a car produce by a luxury brand like Audi. Now, tiny luxury-brand cars like these flood the streets of Europe and can be found in other markets around the world.
Suggested By: Doctor-G-and-the-wagen, Photo Credit: Audi
The Damsels of Design team, made up of nine different female designers, was created in the mid-1950s by GM’s then head of design Harley Earl. The team was gathered in an effort to create cars that would appeal to the growing number of female drivers buying cars at the time.
One of the most notable and seriously before its time designs thought up by the team of women was an Oldsmobile Fiesta Carousel station wagon with an interior designed specifically to appeal to children. Inside the station wagon was a magnetic game board that was affixed to the rear of the front bench seat, as well as dashboard-mounted controls that would allow parents to lock and unlock the rear doors and controls for the rear windows. These are features that would only otherwise be seen in child-friendly cars like minivans and such decades down the line.
They were also pioneers for women in car design, and for that we salute them.
Suggested By: The Crazie Kanuck, Photo Credit: GM
The Series 2 and later Aston Martin Lagondas were not only weird and out of place on the outside with their wedge-shaped design, but also oddly space-like on the inside. Seriously, the interior looks straight out of Star Trek. Too bad the Lagonda’s faulty electronics couldn’t keep up, and nor could its potential customer base with its starting MSRP at nearly £50,000.
Suggested By: JayHova, Photo Credit: Aston Martin
Today with the upcoming Bentley Bentayga, the Lamborghini Urus, andRolls-Royce’s not-SUV, not to mention established luxutrucks like the Mercedes-Benz G65, news of ultra-luxurious, super-expensive SUVs and crossovers seems to flow almost nonstop. It was a different time back in 1986 when the V12-powered “Rambo Lambo” entered production. Now, consumers wouldn’t even blink twice at the sight of a multi-hundred thousand dollar SUV.
Suggested By: neverspeakawordagain, Photo Credit: Lamborghini
Before the WRX, the Subaru XT led the Japanese automaker’s foray into go-anywhere, sporty, turbocharged cars. Reader As Du Volant can tell us about this special little coupe:
Funky styling, super aerodynamic (one of the slickest of the time actually), lots of innovative features such as height adjustable suspension, digital dash, tilt/telescopic steering column with gauges that moved along with the steering wheel, electric power steering pump, and of course turbo and all-wheel drive.
Suggested By: As Du Volant, Photo Credit: Subaru
Though it might not be as pretty as its counterparts from the future (or now), there’s no denying the resemblance that is shared between this early 2000’s SUV and CUVs or “Sport-Activity Vehicles” of today like the BMW X4, BMW X6, and the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe.
At least what we ended up with today isn’t too bad, I guess.
Suggested By: HammerheadFistpunch, Photo Credit: Pontiac
As one of the few electric cars of its time, the GM EV1 was considerably well-received amongst consumers and very well-liked with those who were lucky enough to be able to drive one. When GM ended the EV1 program and forced all of the cars off the road, they claimed that the EV1 was not profitable to enough to be kept alive. California’s 15 year service and parts requirement was also a factor in the cancellation of the EV1. Now in 2015, many automakers, including GM, go through serious efforts to get their electric cars on the road.
The GM EV1 was a great, and its death came far too soon.
Suggested By: Danimalk, Photo Credit: GM
With only 51 units built, sales of the Tucker 48 never truly got off the ground. That’s a real shame, because for a car of the late ‘40s, the 48 was out of this world. Reader mad_adam can explain what was going on here:
The Tucker 48. One of the first vehicles to put safety at the forefront of its design. Notable features:
-“Crash chamber” meant to protect passengers in an accident
-Hemispherical combustion chambers
-Frame reinforcement and a rollbar
Only 51 were built.
In 1934 the world met the Chrysler Airflow. It might look like your normal car from the ‘30s, but Jalopnik reader Simcik can tell us what brought the Airflow years ahead:
It was ahead of the curve in so many ways:
-It was wind-tunnel tested and aerodynamics were placed at a premium.
-The cabin was moved forward and placed between the axles (rather than over them) for an improved ride.
-Significant engineering was done to lessen the amount of vibration that passed from the road/chassis to the passengers.
-The car featured a unitized chassis (uni-body) construction. The passengers ride inside a cage, making the vehicle very stiff and very safe - especially for its time.
-An in-dash radio, which featured automatic volume control, was available.
-A curved safety-glass windshield was available on the larger 9-passenger luxury model. (As was a powered partition window.)
This car was so far ahead of it’s time that people didn’t understand the value of it, and sales were flat. As such, it convinced Chrysler (and others) that its advances weren’t warranted. Many of the advances made with the Airflow weren’t made popular until much, much later.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day’s Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It’s by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Top Photo Credit: AMC