Top 5 Mind Blowing Concept Cars in Automotive History

Published On: June 30, 2024Last Updated: July 2, 2024
Concept Cars

Attend any auto show, and you’ll spot at least one vehicle that stands out among the multitude of production models, one with design features and interior details that are free from the constraints of mass production. These cars, universally known as “concept cars,” not only reveal the core vision of an automaker’s design team but also often hint at styling cues and design themes that might be incorporated into future production models.

Originally intended as imaginative exercises with little chance of reaching production, the concept label has in recent years been used for barely disguised future production models to generate buzz before their official release. Occasionally, as with the original Dodge Viper, a concept car becomes so popular that the manufacturer is compelled to turn the fantasy into reality, rather than disappoint potential buyers.

Here, we highlight some of the coolest concept cars from history—though this list is far from comprehensive—beginning with Harley Earl’s legendary Buick Y-Job.

5 Coolest Concept Cars That Blew Our Mind

1. 1938 Buick Y-Job

Concept Cars - 1938 Buick Y-Job

Concept cars are a way for firms to reveal their future design ideas to the public. They hint at upcoming innovations and technologies before they are ready for mass production. But there was a time before concept cars, and Buick kicked off the trend with their 1938 Y Job.

The Y-Job boasted several advanced features and forward-thinking design elements, crafted by the renowned GM designer Harley Earl. It was built on the Buick Series 50 Super and had hidden running boards, concealed headlights, recessed door handles, and an electrohydraulic power convertible top, among other unique details. Designed to be an experimental model, it was also Harley Earl’s personal daily driver for many years.

While the Y-Job might look conservative by today’s standards, it was very progressive in the late 1930s (like the self-driving cars of today), blending contemporary features with new ones. The positive public response demonstrated that concept cars were effective for brand promotion. The coolest aspect of the Y-Job is that it paved the way for GM and others to dream big, showcasing their most innovative ideas at auto shows and public events.

2. 2010 Jaguar C X75

2010 Jaguar C X75 (Concept Cars)

The Jaguar C X75 was designed as a cutting-edge sports car featuring a hybrid electric powertrain that promised incredible performance and excellent fuel efficiency. It featured four electric motors, one at each wheel, powered by two diesel gas turbines that charged the battery. The power output was reportedly 778hp.

Although Jaguar intended to produce a limited number of road-legal C-X75s with a less complex petrol-hybrid system, only five development cars were built to these simpler specifications. Even though this mid-engine concept didn’t reach Jaguar showrooms, it impacted the design of models like the F-Type and I-Pace.

3. 1955 Lincoln Futura

The Lincoln Futura stands out not so much for its original form—a stylish double-bubble two-seater previewing the 1956 Lincoln’s fender and headlight design—but for its transformation. While many concept cars are scrapped after their show days, the fully-operational Futura was filmed in Ford’s 1961 promotional movie The Secret Door, and then sold to customizer George Barris. Barris turned it into one of TV’s most famous cars: the Batmobile from the 1966-68 Batman series. The original Futura/Batmobile, along with many replicas, still exists, with the original fetching $4.2 million at Barrett-Jackson in 2013. There are plenty of car mods you can apply to this Lincoln’s concept car.

4. 1980 Aston Martin Bulldog

1980 Aston Martin Bulldog

Aston Martin has crafted some of the most distinguished automobiles from the British Isles, a source of pride for discerning British enthusiasts of internal combustion engines. With extensive experience in motorsport, Aston Martin excels in creating new technology trends and cars focused solely on speed. Thus, it came as no surprise that amid the era of angular supercar prototypes, Aston Martin joined the fray, producing a car not just to compete, but to dominate.

One of the best concept cars of all time, the Bulldog is a futuristic luxury vehicle propelled by a cutting-edge engine—an impressive 5.3L twin-turbo V8 generating 650 horsepower, a remarkable feat even by today’s standards, let alone in 1980. Aston Martin aimed for speeds exceeding 200 mph, yet achieved a modest 192 mph during testing.

Beyond its performance, the Bulldog boasted striking aesthetics. Embracing a straightforward wedge design with conservative styling cues, its motorized gullwing doors added a touch of audacity. The doorsill seamlessly integrated with the raised door, creating a spacious entryway to a typically British interior of luxurious leather and wood trim—a hallmark of Aston Martin’s craftsmanship.

5. 1994 Volkswagen Concept One

1994 Volkswagen Concept One

If the Viper and Prowler captivated hot-rodders, the Volkswagen Concept One charmed everyone else. This delightful nod to the classic air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle became an international sensation, prompting Volkswagen to swiftly move it into production, complete with the dashboard-mounted bud vase. The New Beetle became an instant favorite, despite complaints about the engine placement. Volkswagen had trouble drawing in male buyers (as “chick car” is seen negatively by automakers), yet it remained in production for over a decade with only minor design tweaks, a fitting tribute to the original Beetle.

About the Author: Musa Khan

Musa is a lifestyle enthusiast and passionate blogger who has a wealth of knowledge in the world of business and a deep passion for the automotive industry.

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