Automotive Concept Cars

Concept cars is a term that the majority of car owners or drivers know nothing about. I had always thought that a concept auto was the clay model that is made for a new car style. That’s nowhere near close, because concept cars are actual real cars built and ready to drive. A concept vehicle is a show car or prototype meant to be driven around to showcase a new concept, style, technology, etc.

Concept vehicles are usually shown at the big motor shows throughout the world. They’re shown to consumers to gauge their reactions to radical design changes or concepts. The idea of the concept or show car was developed by the GM designer Harley Earl. The concept auto is a real car, but it never goes into production directly. It would have to changed for safety, practicality and costs to be a production vehicle instead of just a concept vehicle.

Concept cars have extreme or radical engines, designs, materials, layouts, doors or things not found on production cars. Most concept cars never get past the scale model or computer drawings. A small numbers of concept vehicles are actually fully functional and some can’t even move faster than 10 mph safely. After the concept vehicle is done being used, the cars are usually destroyed but some survive in company museum or in storage. The 1954 concept car Lincoln Futura was in a custom car shop for years until it was used as the Batmobile in the Batman TV series in 1966.

There are some concept cars that are well known for one reason or another. The Buick Y Job was designed in the 1930s by Harley Earl and is considered to be the first concept vehicle. The General Motors Le Sabre built in 1951 introduced the 12 volt electrics and aluminum 215 ci V8. The 1959 Cadillac Cyclone was one of Harley Earl’s last designs. Chevrolet Volt is one of the first plug in hybrid electric vehicle concept cars.

A concept vehicle that I would never want to see in production is the Ford Nucleon, a nuclear powered car. MIT worked with Frank Gehry to develop the MIT Car concept vehicle. Pontiac’s Bonneville Special was Pontiac’s first two seater sports car and debuted in the 1954 Motorama. Another Pontiac is the Club de Mer an all stainless steel sportscar from 1956. The Lancia Megagamma was the prototype for the current minivan. Volvo’s YCC was the first car designed entirely by women.