Top 10 Craziest Concept Cars
by William Sprecher
Concept cars provide a chance for auto manufactures to push the boundaries of convention by defying practicality, performance, safety and sometimes even gravity. The beauty of concept cars is that they are uninhibited, unadulterated works of automotive imagination. In many cases, these concepts provide a glimpse into where automotive trends are heading. We decided to take a look at some of the most memorable works of automotive design, ranging from the inspired to the inexplicable.
2008 Citroën Hypnos
Named ‘Concept Car of the year 2008’ by Automobile Magazine, the Hypnos concept has a seating arrangement said to mimic the spiral of a DNA strand while the rest of the interior promises an emotionally engaging drive by changing the trim color and smell depending on your mood.
2007 Toyota RiN
The RiN takes its inspiration from a Yakusugi tree, which we can only guess is short, polite and surrounded by UV-filtering green glass. The interior is designed to promote good posture and a cheerful mood, all while maintaining consistent oxygen and humidity levels. No word on how this would be powered. Love, perhaps?
VW’s hybrid concept recently debuted at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, and the two-seater is supposedly capably of getting 240 mpg. The super sleek - and radically different - design uses a diesel-electric hybrid engine to drive the front wheels and weighs just over 830 lbs. According to VW the L1 is only a few years away from production, but are we ready for it?
2005 Nissan Pivo2
Before you ask, yes, that is a robot’s head rising from the dash. The Pivo2 concept is centered around a revolving three-person cabin and individually-powered electric wheels. Using an intelligent machine (that’s where the robot comes in), the Pivo2 creates a new kind of car-driver relationship. Let’s just hope the robot isn’t the clingy type.
2008 Antro Solo
Serious about going green? Look no further than the Solo Tribrid, which is the first ever gas-, electric- and human-powered hybrid. Pedals mounted in the foot wells mean your passengers would have to earn their free lift. Fred Flintstone would be proud.
1957 Aurora Safety Car
The Aurora Safety Car, coming in at number five, used a gaping, foam-filled front-end to scoop up pedestrians without injury in the event they got in the way and belt-like seat restraints to hold occupants in place (how novel!). It was designed to be the world’s safest car, though it ended up being a pretty dangerous endeavor for its makers. Taking three years to build, the prototype cost $30,000 and bankrupted the company.
2008 Helios Lizard Car
While this vehicle wasn’t designed by an automaker, its use of collapsible, fan-like solar panels means it’s strange enough to make our list. The off-road car was inspired by some sort of frill-neck lizard and can retract its panels for long jaunts across the Mojave Desert, where it undoubtedly feels at home.
Along the same lines as the Aurora Safety Car, Raquel Aparicio Lopez’s “Soft Vehicle” is made entirely of foam and “impact-absorbing jelly balls.” Simply slip in to the form-fitting driver's seat through its “sensual slits” and let the whirr of the electromagnetic engine bring peace to your inner chakras while the GPS guides you to your destination. Think of it as an automotive interpretation of a Tempur-Pedic mattress.
2008 Audi Snook
As concepts go, this two-seater takes the cake with a truly logic-defying, gravity-be-damned attitude. The self-described “magic egg of Columbus” with its single basketball-like wheel makes about as much sense as, well, a car with a basketball for a wheel. But who knows, maybe this concept will make parallel parking a thing of the past.
1958 Ford Nucleon
This unholy combination of Ford Ranchero and nuclear reactor (yes, really) is clearly from a time when people weren’t afraid to dream big and risk possible nuclear meltdown. 5,000 miles per reactor core meant that either Ford was onto something spectacularly efficient or the radiation had already gone to their heads.