There are plenty of boring car brands out there, but occasionally, they seem to strike gold – at least when it comes to concept cars.
With the ocean of automotive companies on the globe today it can be tough for any of them to get attention. Concept cars have proven themselves as an opportunity for an automaker to stand out a little. It gives them a chance to show off what they’re capable of. It also gives them a chance to get public opinion on a style or feature that they’re considering using in the near future.
At the same time, as automotive enthusiasts, we have the opportunity to get a taste of just what might be coming down the pipeline in the near future. It’s exciting to think of what may be here in just a year or two’s time. What future technology will be available when companies finalize designs. What might shock you though is how many car companies that seem to have no real passion or connection with driving enthusiasts end up building wild and impressive concept cars. Today we look at ten cars that seem totally off-brand when you see the badges on them.
To begin things we’re talking about the only real chance Volkswagen has ever had at credibility with me. As a company that seems to have no passionate auto enthusiasts in it (don’t bring up the GTI argument, it’s a compromised attempt at best) the Nardo or W12 Syncro as it was sometimes referred to was a proper supercar contender.
It housed its namesake, a W12 engine producing nearly 600 horsepower and 500 ft-lbs of torque. If only VW would build cars in this spirit they’d win over so many more fans, I think.
The name PassoCorto or “Short Wheelbase” is about the most boring thing about this car. It features the same 1.6-liter turbocharged engine from the Veloster and it’s mounted amidships like a proper sports car.
No, it’s not going into production but Hyundai has been seen and heard testing something very similar in terms of drivetrain and layout lately. Who knows, maybe we’re getting something shocking from them soon!
The Suzuki GSX-R/4 is kind of what it sounds like, a car that was born from their highly successful motorcycle lineup. While the car never saw anything like the light of day it was a great demonstration of what the company could do with a little less regulation and a little more passion. It was even featured in the Gran Turismo video game and received great fanfare there.
You might pick up on a theme here as we take a look at the Mazda Furai. This is a stunning car from every single angle. The back end is just special in a way that most cars can’t claim to be. Look at those flowing & intersecting lines.
Furai means “Sound of the Wind” and the car was as fast as it was good-looking. It produced 450 horsepower and used it to propel the 1488lb car (Yes you read that right) to incredible speeds. Sadly we lost the only Furai in a fire in 2008. Who knows though, maybe Mazda will recapture the spirit someday.
Now, Chaparral isn’t a boring company but when the 2X was released they had basically been out of production for decades. Nothing is more boring than nothing at all. GM decided it was time to bring back the brand in a large way.
The 2X uses LASER propulsion and requires the driver to lay prone with arms outstretched to pilot the vehicle to what in theory could be 240mph + thanks to the 900 horsepower it’s supposed to make. That’s certainly in line with the crazy race cars Jim Hall used to build. Nice to see GM sticking close to that heritage.
The Aerotech is actually a series of cars that Oldsmobile made over the course of a few years to demonstrate the capability of their “Quad Four” motor. The production version of the engine made 150 horsepower but in the Aerotech it made 900. That’s right. The engine was made more powerful by 750 horses. It managed to set all kinds of speed records too. Too bad Oldsmobile didn’t use it in any kind of meaningful way.
The Buick Wildcat was their chance at doing something similar and boy did it flop hard. Despite a bespoke 3.8 liter V6 and nearly 400 ft-lbs of torque, this thing could only manage 60mph in 8.4 seconds. That’s longer than it’s taken you to read this blurb about the slow Wildcat.
The Karin comes from Citroen, a Company in France that’s never really blown the doors off Americans with their cars. The Karin though shocks everyone who sees it. Why the pyramid shape? Well, that’s for the driver whose position is in the middle between a passenger on either side of them. That’s advanced thinking for the time and we all know it was adopted by Gordon Murry for his McLaren F1 years later.
2-Chrysler ME 4-12
Perhaps the biggest let down for me on this list is the Chrysler ME 4-12. Had Chrysler had the moxie to build and sell this car to the public they would’ve been the ones seen as setting the bar higher than anyone else at the time. Remember that this thing arrived in 2004, a year BEFORE the Bugatti Veyron.
It featured a Mid-Engine Quad Turbocharged V12 which resulted in that terrible name. If they couldn’t bother to name it though, it was going to be even more difficult to push it into production. Nevertheless, the performance numbers are as good as almost anything available today. 0-60 in 2.9, 850 horsepower and a top speed of 248! Utter failure Chrysler.
Daewoo is perhaps the most boring car company on this list, but they certainly didn’t know it 1995 when they debuted this, the Bucrane concept car. First of all, notice that wacky window that’s in the air like a gull-wing door would be. You’ll notice that the door is still closed though. It was designed that way to allow easier access to the rear seats (of which there are some for some reason). The trouble is that it means that you can’t open the windows on the car while driving for fear of them flying off the car and back into traffic.
In addition, despite the intention, in the promo video when they mention the reasoning behind the window design they show a woman getting into the FRONT seats, not the back! I’m willing to bet that it’s because they’re still impossible to get into. Watch the video. You’ll see what I mean. It’s a hilarious trip down memory lane.