Auto show after auto show, we see some of the coolest designs car manufactures can think up. But for every hit, there’s a miss or two. Do car manufacturers just compete to create the most out-of-this-world vehicle they can imagine?Read More…
“American Dream” limousine
In the 1990s, Guinness World Records certified “American Dream” as the longest car in the world at 100 feet long. On top of its 26 wheels were a jacuzzi with diving board, king-sized water bed, and a landing pad for a helicopter. Why? Just because. Like a firetruck, it needed a second driver in the back to help navigate any turns.
1956 BMW Isetta
This minuscule city car was designed for the tiny roads and spaces of European cities, and its single-cylinder engine was capable of around 78 mpg (U.S.). Could you take anyone anywhere with you? No. Could you bring back groceries from the market? You’d probably have to open a window for a long baguette. Where are the doors, you ask? Well, you open the hinged front, silly.
“Driving” this vehicle is a bit of a misstatement. Really, you just want to keep it headed in a straight direction because it, quite literally, has two F-4 Phantom II fight jet engines strapped to its sides. Thrust SSC holds the world land speed record (763 mph) and is the only land vehicle to the break the sound barrier. If you don’t think a car with jet engines looks weird, we, honestly, can’t help you.
The Aurora was designed by a Catholic priest, specifically as a safety car. It had seatbelts, a roll cage, collapsible steering column, and padded instrument panel. But because of its safety-focused design, it looked quite ugly. The scooping front bumper literally scooped up any hit pedestrians (lowering fatality), and the bulging windshield avoided impacts with passengers during collisions (in a pre-airbag world).
The 1948 Tasco never met a wheel cover that it didn’t like. And, we’re not really sure what the silver protrusion in the nose was supposed to achieve (other than offering confusion from design choices). It’s unique to say the least.
1974 Vanguard-Sebring CitiCar
This electric car was produced during the 1970s (does energy crisis ring a bell?) and is basically a metallic golf cart. It had a range of about 40 miles, but about the only thing you could take with you in this duckbill-designed vehicle was a briefcase.
1935 Stout Scarab
Its name was the Scarab, and it looked like its namesake beetle. Stout brought palindromes to car design by creating something that looked the same in its front as it does in the rear. Maybe they spent so much time designing the front that they decided to put it on the back as well.
1959 Cadillac Cyclone
When you have to lift up the roof of the cabin like a space capsule hatch, that is not a practical design. And Cadillac took the space theme too far with the rock fins on either side. Honestly, if we have to be strapped to rockets, we want to be able to go 700 mph. Not 30mph.
Smart ForTwo Cabriolet
These huggable city microcars we explicitly about high fuel economy numbers. That made their design weird enough to begin with. Then they came out with a convertible variation, even though the roof was only about a foot long anyway. Yay! So fun!
1959 Chevrolet El Camino
A two-seater car with a truck bed and tailfins. What more could you want? One positive is that it’s easy to load things into the bed because of the low height of the vehicle. But, seriously, why would you be doing any kind of work with this vehicle? How practical were these things?
The President of the U.S. has his armored car, but it still looks like an actual car. After Pope John Paul II survived an assassination attempt, the Vatican had this modified van fitted with a bulletproof glass cage. The Pope could be safely protected and be seen at the same time. Success! Is this a strange Frankenstein’s monster of car design? Also, success!
The Phantom Corsair too sleek and mysterious to all-new levels. Notice that there are no wheel wells or humps. Those babies are fully integrated into the body, a body that looks like a tortoise shell. Honestly, we start to wonder when a car’s front hood is longer than the rest of the vehicle. It looks like the superhero car for Turtle Man.
The Peel P50 brought new meaning to the terms commuter vehicle. You could literally pick it up, and take it to work with you. Ok, not really, but this thing was SMALL! It only had three wheels, and we honestly don’t know where this woman kept her bag while she was driving in it. Maybe she sat on top of it?
With the Divan, Davis answered everyone’s need for a hovercraft that actually ran on wheels but you didn’t want to see the wheels because it would ruin the illusion that you were driving a hovercraft. Oh, no one needed that? Well here it is anyway.
The Oscar Mayer Weinermobile
Don’t get us wrong. We love the Weinermobile! Who doesn’t? But it is, objectively, a strange and weird-looking sight to behold driving down the road.
1967 Dodge Deora
Everyone seems hell-bent on redesigning the truck. This offering from Dodge was only possible during the days before safety requirements regarding bumpers and airbags. Doors? Why bother? Just climb in and out via the front hatch.
1942 L’Œuf électrique
The “electric egg” was one of the first electric vehicle options, but does driving around a glass egg actually seem safe? We still haven’t really seen anything like this, design-wise, in the 80 years since.
Dream Car 123
Behold. The picture alone does it justice. Yes, this is a pyramid car. It’s electric, and the design allows for some solar panels for it to recharge as well. Also, did we mention it’s a pyramid? Weird!
1970 Ferrari Pininfarina 512 S Modulo
Ferrari is known for their racing-inspired vehicles, but the Pininfarina 512 S Modulo is from a different planet entirely. There are no doors. The cabin shell moves forward to open (along tracks that go down the front of the car?). And we’re not even sure what’s going on with those headlights. This thing is a UFO on wheels. But at least it has windshield wipers!
1999 Fiat Multipla
The Fiat Multipla has the unfortunate distinction of looking like multiple vehicles sandwiched together forcibly. Why does the cabin sit on TOP of the body? And why does the front of the cabin have its own headlights? Mysteries we will never know…
The Messerschmitt KR200 takes everything people loved about the VW Beetle (a quirky and economical design) and makes it even quirkier. This little guy even has its own umbrella. Who needs 4 wheels when 3 will do?
2014 Mercedes-AMG G63 6×6
When you think of Mercedes, you think of trucks. Right? A 6-wheeled truck sounds interesting, sure. But, as we ask for many of these vehicles, why? Who is this really for? Who needs six wheels over four? The exposed C-pillar pylons show Mercedes means serious off-roady business, too.
The Heinkel Kabine is another egg-shaped entry on the list where you open the front hatch and…perhaps climb over the steering wheel? If you wanted to enjoy the weather, just roll back the canvas roof. A rear panel unlocks with clasps to access the engine.
At least the Lightyear One has a distinct reason why it looks so weird. It’s sideways teardrop shape is not only for aerodynamic purposes. The hood and roof (which slopes down continuously across the back of the car) house solar panels to recharge the car’s electric battery. The positioning allows them to readily access solar rays for energy production.
The Insight was built for fuel economy specs. The two-seater had rear wheel covers and was clad outside and in with lightweight materials. Its harsh rear raking liftback helped aerodynamics allowing it the be the most fuel-efficient gasoline-powered vehicle ever sold in the U.S. It was rated an astounding 43 mpg in the city and 60 mpg on the highway. And that was the year 2000! Regardless, it still looked wonky.