These Are the Best Concept Cars That Never Made It to Production

These Are the Best Concept Cars That Never Made It to Production

I promise not all of these ill-fated concept cars are from GM — just most of them.

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A rendering of the The Nissan IDx Nismo concept car.
Is this the best concept car that never made it to market?
Photo: Nissan

From VW’s ID.Buzz to the original designs for the Nissan GT-R, there have been some phenomenal concept cars that made it off the page and onto the roads. But not every vehicle design can be so lucky.

In fact, there are a raft of gorgeous concept cars out there that made it as far as the auto show floor, and no further. Many were either cancelled outright or toned down beyond recognition in the finished model.

We wanted to celebrate some of those lost design studies, so turned to you. We asked for your picks of the best concept cars that never made it to production. These are some of the best responses we received.

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Cadillac Sixteen

Cadillac Sixteen

A photo of the Cadillac Sixteen concept car.
Photo: General Motors

“The Cadillac Sixteen was a masterpiece that would have given Cadillac the Bugatti of sedans, but I think GM did realize beating Rolls-Royce at their own game was beyond their willingness to open the money purse.”

Starting things strong with Cadillac’s answer to the luxurious limos produced by Bentley and Rolls Royce. This concept has had a spot in our hearts since it was unveiled way back in 2003.

Suggested by: gto62

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Dodge Razor

Dodge Razor

A photo of the Dodge Razor concept.
Photo: Dodge

“The Dodge Razor. It was to be a no-nonsense, bare bones performance car that could be easily customized to the owners desires.

“I wanted one so bad.”

Premiered in 2002, the Dodge Razor concept had it all: killer looks, rear-wheel-drive and a turbocharged 2.4-liter engine. Sadly, it never made it off the show floor.

Suggested by: Lonnie Rowe (Facebook)

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Buick Avista

Buick Avista

A photo of a red Buick Avista concept car.
Photo: General Motors

“The ‘80s kids of me wants to say the Dodge M4S, but the middle-aged man of me knows the correct answer is the Buick Avista.”

If you’re squinting at the Buick Avista from a long way off, it looks like an old Aston Martin Vanquish.

Suggested by: smalleyxb122

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Nissan IDx

Nissan IDx

A rendering of the The Nissan IDx Nismo concept car.
Photo: Nissan

“The Nissan IDx Nismo.

“Six-speed manual, RWD, turbocharged coupe. It had a big following, and everyone wanted it, but Nissan was like ‘nah, we’ll just build more crossovers with CVTs, and you will like those instead’.

“Whatever respect I had left in Nissan that day was gone when they made that announcement.”

The automotive world shed a collective tear when Nissan said that the IDx wouldn’t progress any further than this killer concept.

Suggested by: Sydrick Luna (Facebook)

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Dodge Charger

Dodge Charger

A photo of the red 1999 Dodge Charger concept in a studio.
Photo: Dodge

“The 1999 Dodge Charger concept.

“You see how Dodge did the impossible—they made a four-door look like a gorgeous two-door. Dodge was even getting into non-ICE with this car running off of compressed natural gas. Except for the headlights and that damn crosshair grille, it could easily be built today.

“Oh wait, due common second gen styling cues, the electric Charger concept is practically a second iteration of the ‘99 concept. Hey, you got a good look, stick with it.”

We did get a reimagined Charger in 2006, but sadly it didn’t look half as cool as this 90s design study.

Suggested by: the1969dodgechargerguy

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Volkswagen W12 Nardo

Volkswagen W12 Nardo

A photo of the Volkswagen W12 Nardo race car concept.
Photo: Volkswagen

“Since somebody already said the Nissan IDx, I’ll go with the Volkswagen W12 Nardo. That thing would’ve been timeless.”

This 1990s concept was VW at its bonkers best. The Nardo packed in a six-liter W12 engine that produced 600hp.

Suggested by: Ryan Dolce (Facebook)

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Chrysler Atlantic

Chrysler Atlantic

A photo of the Chrysler Atlantic concept car parked on a beach.
Photo: General Motors

“The Chrysler Atlantic. It was supposed to have a 4 liter straight 8, made from 2 Dodge Neon engines.”

One poster said this looked like a lazy rework of an old Bugatti, and I can’t disagree with those similarities!

Suggested by: hangovergrenade

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Chrysler ME412

Chrysler ME412

A photo of the Chrysler ME412 concept car.
Photo: General Motors

“The Chrysler ME412. I mean, a mid-engine quad-turbo V12 supercar from Chrysler? Wild. The Chrysler Firepower was also a neat idea, an upscale luxury coupe with a Hemi on the Viper platform.”

Let’s just agree that Chrysler and GM have some of the best concept cars out there and call it a day.

Suggested by: Nick Dixon (Facebook)

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Dodge Demon

Dodge Demon

A photo of a golden Dodge Demon concept car in a parking lot.
Photo: Dodge

“Since the ME412 is taken, I’ll swing the Mopar-that-could-have-been pendulum to the other end, and pick the Dodge Demon concept.

“It was such a viciously cute little thing. It would have been a great competitor to the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky. It was sooo close to production-ready, if not for that pesky recession a year after it was introduced.”

This is wonderful, I’m pretty angry that it never saw the light of day. Just look at the lil guy!

Suggested by: dbeach84

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Mazda Furai

Mazda Furai

A photo of the Mazda Furai race car concept.
Photo: Mazda

“The Furai and the Vision coupe.

“Mazda was making incredible styling prototypes and designs, but the market moved away from them, sadly. I’m an incredibly practical person, but I would be camping out at my annoying Mazda dealership to get a Vision coupe if they made one that looked close to the design prototype. Especially with a six cylinder engine.”

This is the correct answer. The Mazda Furai should have become a racing icon plastered on bedroom walls around the world. But instead, we all got to watch it go up in smoke on an old episode of Top Gear.

Suggested by: Joe Sledge (Facebook)

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Holden Coupe 60

Holden Coupe 60

A photo of the silver Holden Coupe 60 concept car.
Photo: General Motors

“The easy answer is the Cadillac Ciel, but that never had a chance at production.

“Instead I’m going with the Holden Coupe 60 concept – what would have been the next – generation Monaro (or Pontiac ‘GTO’, if you will).

“The platform was there & ready, the design was concept-y but not far off produceable (the car actually drove) – it was a beautiful pillar-less coupe.

“Instead the bean-counters decided that there wasn’t a market in America for both this and its Zeta platform sibling, the Camaro (probably correct) and the Australians got - - - nothing.

“(Actually we got some sick-ass utes and went to Deniliquin to do circlework and bag a sheila maaaaate)”

This is an excellent answer to the question, ‘what would an Australian muscle car look like?’ I’d buy one, would you?

Suggested by: skipp

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Ford Barchetta

Ford Barchetta

A photo of a man in a red jumper sat in a Ford concept car.
Photo: Ford

“The 1983 Ford Ghia Barchetta is my favorite. Sure it eventually evolved into the Ford/Mercury Capri eight years later, after Ford hit it with an ugly stick for almost a decade but the original was brilliant and would have been a 1980's version of the MG Midget.”

Niche reference for an American car site, but this guy looks like he’s heading out to do a Big Art Attack!

Suggested by: Alan Dahl (Facebook)

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Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta

Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta

A photo of the Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta Concept car.
Photo: Alfa Romeo

“The Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta Concept. It’s been 12 years since its debut, and it still looks beautiful and modern, yet timeless; breaks my heart.”

This stunning roadster was designed to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Pininfarina and the 100th birthday of Alfa Romeo. Maybe for the Italian design house’s 100th anniversary they might actually ship a few?

Suggested by: Mr-PLP

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Lamborghini Asterion

Lamborghini Asterion

A photo of a blue Lamborghini Asterion concept car.
Photo: Lamborghini

“The Lamborghini Asterion. I think we really missed something. Outside of the hybrid powerplant, it showed a Lamborghini coupé could look differently than another variation on the Aventador/Huracan’s wedged shapes.

“This thing looked more like a grand tourer more practical for the ‘real life’, yet it retained the Huracan’s V10!

“This car was ready for production, its fate finally boiling down to what concept would be actually released between it and the Urus.

“Of course, the focus groups answered for the SUV…”

Sure, the Lamborghini Estoque is a pretty cool car and it’s a shame it never made production. But, it’s the Asterion concept that the company should be shunned for not building. Just look at it!

Suggested by: Adrien Svartasmetal (Facebook)

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Volvo Concept Estate

Volvo Concept Estate

A render of the Volvo Concept Estate car.
Photo: Volvo

“Come on, this is Jalopnik? Why don’t I see the Volvo Concept Estate? Brown. Shooting Brake. Volvo.”

My favorite thing about doing Answer Of The Day is when someone suggests something I’ve not seen before, but instantly love. This is one of those moments.

This poster also made me want to listen to Radiohead, which is never a bad thing.

Suggested by: fake-plastic-eye

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Chrysler Chronos

Chrysler Chronos

A photo of the Chrysler Chronos concept car at sunset.
Photo: General Motors

“There is only one correct answer: Chrysler Chronos.

“It was peak Chrysler that was still flush with cash under Bob Eaton after Iacocca’s tenure of (again) saving the company. ‘Maximum’ Bob Lutz was greenlighting some absolute masterpieces from the design studio.

“It would all come to a crashing halt in just another year after the ‘Merger of Equals’ gutted ChryCo for all it was worth.”

I promise it’s the last entry from GM. Honestly, it’s quite annoying that they can design all these stunning cars but then make the things they do.

Suggested by: Scott Pro (Facebook)

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Peugeot Quasar

Peugeot Quasar

A photo of the Peugeot Quasar concept with its futuristic doors open.
Photo: Peugeot

“Since the Holden Couple 60 has already been mentioned I will nominate the Peugeot Quasar. I was fascinated with it when I saw it at the local car show back in high school.”

What happened to the bonkers Peugeot that churned out stuff like this while also making lovely pepper grinders? Can we have that iteration of the company back, please?

Suggested by: pontiacssv

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Tesla Roadster

Tesla Roadster

A photo of a red Tesla Roadster driving on a highway.
Photo: Tesla

“Tesla roadster 2.0"

Honorable mentions also go out to the ever-delayed Cybertruck and the Tesla Semi.

Suggested by: Noe Arribas (Facebook)

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