Feel-Good! | airplanes | animals | architecture | art | auto | boats | famous | cool ads | funny pics | food | futurism | gadgets | history | japan
military | music | nature | photo | russia | sci-fi | signs | space | sports | steampunk | technology | trains | travel | vintage | weird | abandoned

American Concept Cars Showcase, Part 1

Link - article by Avi Abrams

Beautiful Styling + Extreme Engineering = the Creme de la Creme of Automotive Design

Today we're starting new DRB series, Exceptional Concept Cars, which will highlight the absolute best in concept car design from 100 years of automobile history.

It is not our aim to present a complete list, or even a comprehensive coverage of particular brands and car shows (there is enough material of this nature available on the web). What we want to do instead, is to celebrate the daring and esthetic value of the most fascinating and unusual concept automobiles - give you shapes and curves to brighten up your day, and to make you say "Wow, what a cool concept!" a couple of times.

(image credit: Mechanix Illustrated, 1951)

For every model we will include a piece of interesting fact or trivia... and perhaps some highly subjective remarks from the author. Remember, beauty is the eye of the beholder, and what some may count as pretty, others will consider an abomination, and vice versa. The good news is that there were enough concept cars produced in the last hundred years - of every conceivable kind and shape - to satisfy every taste.

(Astra Gnome: "Time and Space Car", 1956 - )

And so, let us begin with a selection of American concept cars - the American Dream cubed, quadrupled and multiplied to infinity by the daring designers of yesterday and today:

From way back in 1917 - Behold the Golden Submarine (in its "Silver" incarnation):

(image via)

This extreme custom "stick rod" was built by Harry A. Miller for racing driver Barney Oldfield. The car looked almost jet-powered when the smoke came out... Above picture is the modern interpretation of this legendary car, built by Webb's Automotive Art - more info.

1948 Tucker Torpedo Concept

Check out the "Cyclops Eye" on this early design rendering from 1946:

(image from "Science Illustrated", 1946 - via)

...which later evolved into the legendary Tucker "48" production model, and also spawned weird Carioca, 1955 design:

(images via)

1937/1954 Mobilgas Special: Listen Up People!

(image via)

Fun fact:
Originally 1936 Buick/Chrysler 'Topper Car' (built for "The Topper" movie to be driven by Cary grant himself), then converted into Mobiloil /Gilmore Special.
Designed by Bohman & Schwartz (also known as Bohman & Son) who also came up with extremely beautiful aerodynamic designs - see more here, for example this modified 1938 Phantom Cosair (owner Herb Shriner):

(image via)


The 1950s -

1955 Ghia Streamline X-Coupe: Welcome to the Rocket Age

(images credit: Andrew Coates, via)

Fun Fact: This aerodynamic marvel (designed by Italian engineer Giovanni Savonuzzi) was nicknamed "Gilda", after Rita Hayworth's "noir" role in the classic 1946 movie.

1956 Buick Centurion 3: Flight-Ready!

(image via)

Fun fact: This great example of futuristic 1950s styling also included a television camera mounted in the trunk. The images were displayed on the instrument panel, so there was no need of the rear-view mirror. Sounds familiar?

It also features one of the most futuristic, and perhaps confusing, dashboards ever designed (certainly sparkly with all this chrome and funky shapes):

(image via)

1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special

Fun Fact: Designed by famous designer Harley J. Earl, it had a full canopy with gull-wing panels - and the incredible, totally over-the-top rocket-engine styling in the back. One of the cars was painted in metallic bronze: looking slick and striking, like a steampunk'd fish submarine.


The 1960s -

1961 Chrysler Turboflite

(images via)

Check out the automatic canopy (lifted every time the door is opened):

(images via)

Fun fact: the first appearance of the large rear spoiler, later a feature on many models of the 1960s muscle car era. And of course, the fact that this car was powered by a gas turbine (part of the Chrysler Turbine Engines project). Here is a later 1963 Turbine Car incarnation (Ghia-designed):

(photos by Motor Trend, 1979 - via)

Ford Aurora, 1964: Car Seat Extravaganza

(images via 1, 2)

Fun fact:
Such incredible variety of front- and rear- seat arrangements was called "a compartmentalized interior: designed for family travel in utmost comfort and convenience." This family pre-SUV "dream on wheels" was complete with polarized sunscreen glass roof and some "Aerosmith", eh, sorry "Aerohead" cooling system. Indeed, an epitome of cool for 1960s family travel.

Here is a bunch of other extreme 1960s concepts from Ford:

Pictured above, top to bottom: 1960 Ford Predicta, 1960 Ford Levacar, 1961 Ford Gyron, 1962 Ford Seattle, and 1962 Ford Selene. All ready to be shipped to some outer space colony, or a futuristic City Dome - to be driven by the bladerunners and paranoid androids in various Philip K. Dick environments.

Speaking of Blade Runner (1982), here is how legendary designer Syd Mead pictured a futuristic urban car in the 1960s:

(image via)

Another rocket-like automobile is 1969 Buick Century - a true Jetson's family ride, if there ever was one:

(images via)

Aahh... can't get enough of these space age shapes! Here is another one: 1967 Corvair Astro

Chevrolet Monza series had very smooth lines, almost feline-like. 1962-1963 Corvair Monza GT concept car:

(images via)

This wonderful buggy-like automobile never made it into a working concept, only existing as a scale model:

Dean Jeffries' Mantaray from 1963:

(image via)


Closer to our times: 2005 -

Chrysler ME Four-Twelve Exotic Car Concept

(image via)

Fun fact:
The Chrysler ME Four Twelve is considered the most advanced concept car to have come out of Chrysler (and this is in the midst of huge financial difficulties!). It looks great, even though it took less than one year for design and development. Powered by a huge V-12 engine (and yet one of the lightest, as it's made out of aluminum) producing 850 horsepower. Top speed is estimated 399 km/h, which is in the league with the Bugatti Veyron.

Chassis is carbon-fiber and aluminum honeycomb: lots of sweet, sweet power and a certain "lightness of being".


BONUS Weird oddity here: a custom body designed by American Sunroof Corporation... complete with front-end propellers and a huge hood ornament:

(image via)

Article by Avi Abrams, Dark Roasted Blend.

Make sure to check out next installments in this series!




Futuristic Concept Cars of the 1970-80s

French, Italian & Japanese rare beauties

DRB Feel-Good
DRB Feel-Good Issue #29

Loads of cool and rare imagery

Epic 1970s French Space Comic Art

DRB Time-Slice: Valérian and Laureline

"Dark Roasted Blend" - All Kinds of Weird and Wonderful Things, Discovered Daily!"

DRB is a top-ranked and respected source for the best in art, travel and fascinating technology, with a highly visual presentation. Our in-depth articles in many categories make DRB a highly visual online magazine, bringing you quality entertainment every time you open your "feed" reader or visit our site - About DRB

Connect with us and become part of DRB on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus; make sure to subscribe to our updates.



OpenID brooksmoses said...

This "wonderful buggy-like automobile" is Bill Cushenberry's custom "Silhouette", and it very definitely did exist as a real car: http://www.kustomrama.com/index.php?title=Silhouette.

Like the "1960 Ford Predicta" that you show, it was a custom built by an independent customizer, not a factory concept car.

Blogger beceen said...

the customized Eldorado comes from the SuperFly movie. Classic pimpmobile:]

Blogger Harley said...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Pontiac concept looks a lot like a Solstice

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ford mustang did pretty well but never appealed to me. Now when I think about what the original concept was--A mid-engine two seater--I really wish they went with that!

Anonymous Rick said...

One of my fav concepts...Pontiac Rageous...http://www.netcarshow.com/pontiac/1997-rageous_concept/

Anonymous Titus said...

The Chevy Monza is the sexiest car on there next to some of the latest cars that were presented in the article. I have to agree with the author, the Monza has a feline grace to it that others cars can't match. The indentations on the hood in this picture are absolutely beautiful. http://www.cariseasy.com/image-model/724-chevrolet-monza_key_17.jpg.html


Post a Comment

<< Home

Don't miss: The Ultimate Guide to NEW SF&F Writers!
Fiction Reviews: Classic Cyberpunk: Extreme Fiction
Short Fiction Reviews: Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness" (with pics)
New Fiction Reviews: The Surreal Office


The Trees Are Escaping! The Abandoned Prison in French Guiana

"Great Escape" from the Devil's Island

Videophones from the Future Past

Skype? Smartphone? Google Hangouts?

The Best of DRB in 2014

Weird & Wonderful 2014 Overview

Amazing Automatons, Robots & Victorian Androids

Industrious Clockwork Creatures!

What Kids (Really) Wish For

The Ultimate Imaginary Gifts List

The Last Victorian Leviathan Steam Ship

An Iron Monster, framed in a cloud of billowing white sails

DRB Time-Slice:
Infinite Music & "Oud" Masterpieces

Unique melody for every day of the year!

DRB Time-Slice: 1930 Design:
Golden Telephone For Pope Pius

You needed to kneel to speak with Pope Pius XII by phone

FULL ARCHIVES (with previews, fast loading):

Jan-Feb 2015 -- Nov-Dec 2014 -- Sep-Oct 2014 -- July-Aug 2014 --
June 2014 -- May 2014 -- April 2014 -- Feb-March 2014 --
January 2014 -- Oct-Dec 2013 -- September 2013 --
August 2013 -- July 2013 -- May-June 2013 -- April 2013 --
March 2013 -- February 2013 -- Dec-Jan 2013 --
November 2012 -- October 2012 -- September 2012 --
August 2012 -- July 2012 -- June 2012 -- May 2012 -- April 2012 --
March 2012 -- February 2012 -- Dec-Jan 2012 --
November 2011 -- October 2011 -- September 2011 --
August 2011 -- July 2011 -- June 2011 --
May 2011 -- April 2011 -- March 2011 --
February 2011 -- January 2011 -- December 2010 --
November 2010 -- October 2010 -- September 2010 --
August 2010 - July 2010 -- June 2010 --
May 2010 -- April 2010 -- March 2010 --
Winter 2009-2010 -- Oct-Nov 2009 -- September 2009 --
August 2009 -- June-July 2009 -- May 2009 --
April 2009 -- March 2009 -- February 2009 --
January 2009 -- December 2008 -- November 2008 --
October 2008 -- September 2008 -- August 2008 --
July 2008 -- June 2008 -- May 2008 --
April 2008 -- March 2008 -- February 2008 --
January 2008 -- Dec, 2007 -- November 2007 --
October 2007 -- September 2007 -- August 2007 --
July 2007 -- June 2007 -- May 2007 --
April 2007 -- March 2007 -- February 2007 --
January 2007 -- December 2006 -- November 2006 --
October 2006 -- Link Latte Issues -- Biscotti Issues

Feel-Good! | airplanes | animals | architecture | art | auto | boats | books | cool ads | funny pics | famous | futurism | food
gadgets | health | history | humour | japan | internet | link latte | military | music | nature | photo | russia | steampunk
sci-fi & fantasy | signs | space | sports | technology | trains | travel | vintage | weird | abandoned

Cool Ads
Extreme Weather
Funny Pics
Link Latte
Oops Accidents
Science Fiction

UE Abandoned

Avi Abrams
Rachel Abrams
M. Christian
Simon Rose
Paul Schilperoord
Scott Seegert
Constantine vonHoffman

Send us your topic ideas, site suggestions, rants or sweet unpublished poetry. We love to hear from you.

Samsung Galaxy Case friendly.