Featured: What Classic Concept Car Should've Gone Into Production?

What Classic Concept Car Should’ve Gone Into Production?

By Yoav Gilad
December 24, 2014

Photography courtesy of RM Auctions

Who doesn’t think the Lancia Stratos is cool? No one, that’s who. The Lancia Stratos is among the coolest cars ever, but you know what’s even more amazing? The Lancia Stratos Zero, it’s otherworldly. Built by Bertone, on Lancia Fulvia Coupé running gear, to secure Lancia’s business. The Gandini-designed Zero was driven under Lancia’s gate to the applause of factory workers. It did the job, Bertone secured the contract, and the Stratos went into production as a rally racer.

But let’s be honest, the Stratos Zero is a far cry from the production Stratos no matter how wild the Stratos corsa or stradale are. Still, the fact that the Stratos was put into production, in any form is incredible. Can you imagine anyone but the Italians putting a car like this into production? But how many other concepts didn’t make it into production, in any form?

The list is long: Bertone’s Sibilo, and Ramarro, Giugiaro’s Boomerang and Manta, and Pininfarina’s Modulo; not to mention countless American, British, French, German, Japanese, and Swedish concepts that were ultimately destined for the scrap pile.

So we’d like to know, out of all the nonstarter car concepts ever debuted, which do you still remember and long for, over all the others?

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Wayne Barratt
Wayne Barratt(@wayne_barratt)
2 years ago

Vauxhall SRV by Wayne Cherry and David Jones

Robert Wyland
Robert Wyland(@rmwyland)
2 years ago

Would have loved to see the Pontiac Banshee

3 years ago

Not entirely a classic, but the Mazda Furai for me.

4 years ago

Holden GTR-X

Lee Proudfoot
Lee Proudfoot(@lee_proudfoot)
4 years ago

The 2003 Lancia Fulvia prototype, an opportunity missed on a grand scale.

Alvise Mori
Alvise Mori(@alvuz)
4 years ago

The Fiat Turbina. I wonder what it would have done in a racing championship.

Zold Fulu
Zold Fulu(@zold_fulu)
4 years ago

I would go for the Infiniti Essence. It is one of the best Luxury GTs around.

I also liked the Maybach Coupé that Mercedes brought along to the Paris Car show.

Teddy Ruxpin
Teddy Ruxpin(@toyota-celica)
5 years ago

Nissan IDx – Because there’s not enough small cool cars
Jeep Hurricane – Because 360 turns on the spot. ON. THE. SPOT!!!!
Spyker D8 – Because it’s a better than the Bentley SUV

None of these are classics. Sue me…

4 years ago
Reply to  Teddy Ruxpin

Thanks for the IDx, still glad people appreciate it!

Bryan Leech
Bryan Leech(@leechbd)
5 years ago

Alfa Romeo Pandion by Bertone

Boomerang by Giugiaro

Leon Bray
Leon Bray(@leon-bray)
5 years ago

Holden Hurricane from 1969

Kirby Schperl
Kirby Schperl(@sk8boarder)
5 years ago

I think the Dodge Deora should have gotten a production run for it’s unique design concept. Mid engine front seats over front axles, sounds impractical for a truck today but it would be interesting to see where it would have gone.

Harri Theocleous
Harri Theocleous(@boxer6)
5 years ago

The Peugeot 908RC. A mid-mounted V12 HDI sedan which doesn’t make much financial sense but imagine having it as an alternative to today’s german limusines…

Chris Dixon
Chris Dixon(@cmaurelius)
5 years ago

I was always partial to the Chrysler Atlantic. Had that gone into production, I would have sold my left arm for it. I still think it’s stunning.

Steven Perry
Steven Perry(@jsteveperry)
5 years ago

I don’t know why Audi never put the 1991 Avus Quattro concept into production. It was soooo beautiful and had great specs. Apparently they had a lot of potential orders, but things were too fickle.

Leon Prinsloo
Leon Prinsloo(@leonpmu)
5 years ago

Sorry, I would also like to add the Peugeot Quasar, which really got my attention as a young boy as I had a model of it.

Leon Prinsloo
Leon Prinsloo(@leonpmu)
5 years ago

The Lamborghini Cala, the “baby” Lambo featured in the game Need for Speed II SE. If I remember correctly there were only a handful ever made which were “rolling concepts” ie ready for production (give or take). Sadly, this is when money at Lambo dried up, this was prior to the takeover by the sensible Germans, so it was never made even though they had literally hundreds of confirmed orders when it was launched at (I think) the Paris motor show.

Otávio Tucunduva Mattana
Otávio Tucunduva Mattana(@fb_534472363)
7 years ago

Alfa romeo Carabo

Emanuel Costa
Emanuel Costa(@genovevo)
7 years ago

The Tumbler!!!

Max Rosenfeld
Max Rosenfeld(@fb_673329699)
7 years ago

I would definitely buy a Lamborghini Bravo if it was gone to production (and if I had the money). The Ferrari Pinin was also a fully realistic and amazing car.

Francisco Yantorno
Francisco Yantorno(@fyantorno)
7 years ago

Every prototipe made by Alfa Romeo using the floor plan from the 33 Stradale. Canguro, Iguana, etc…

Michael Paladini
Michael Paladini(@rovermike)
7 years ago

My personal favorite is from a 1967 Road & Track cover image. The BRE Hino Samurai… in orange of course. This was a time when the Japanese auto producers were just starting to stretch their wings. Could of been fun!
comment image\%3Bhttp\%253A\%252F\%252Fwww.blenheimgang.com\%252Fbre-hino-samurai\%252F\%3B562\%3B1013

Nick DePaolo
Nick DePaolo(@obrohno)
7 years ago

I wish people with big car money would invest it in new ideas – something custom – as opposed to a collection.

There would be more rolling concepts in production then right?

Whoever owns the Stratos Zero (XJ Wang??) please produce another video of the car rolling/going fast this year please!

Also in terms of “look and feel” ensure it pays homage to this ; ) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_oe4vmXbAE

Anyway if I had the money to spend on something in this vein of concept/bespoke etc… I’d put it all on a Spada Condatronca or an american/italian V8, some welded good looking metals and a CFRP body, but not the bidirectional woven type like a full grown rc car.

Terrence Cahill
Terrence Cahill(@1974911)
7 years ago

Not a classic but – Chrysler Firepower
[url=”http://www.amcarguide.com/concept/2005-chrysler-firepower-concept/”]Your text to link…[/url]

Ana Riley
Ana Riley(@anariley)
7 years ago

Aston Martin always seems to me the best vintage model cars ever, but this Lancia Stratos is also great to have a wonderful ride.

4 years ago
Reply to  Ana Riley

Aston Martin Bulldog would have done it for me big style!!!

4 years ago
Reply to  Ana Riley

Yummy aston

Shane Widmann
Shane Widmann(@mustangs3109)
7 years ago

chevy corvair monza spyder gt

Shane Widmann
Shane Widmann(@mustangs3109)
7 years ago

Chevy Corvair Monza

Faisal Haq
Faisal Haq(@fb_597200952)
7 years ago

The Audi Avus and the Bentley Hunaudieres!

Leon Prinsloo
Leon Prinsloo(@leonpmu)
5 years ago
Reply to  Faisal Haq

Technically, the Avus “became” the R8 road car, much like the Stratos morfed into it’s own version from the concept.

But you still get my vote for it, it was outrageous, and I loved it for it!

Mike Yates
Mike Yates(@bi-motore)
7 years ago

Alfa Romeo Canguro. Among the finest of 1960s Italian design.

Ayush Goyal
Ayush Goyal(@193-ayush)
7 years ago

Most of the concept cars mentioned here are wedge shaped, What about the curves? My favorites are Franco Scaglione’s Alfa Romeo BAT 5, BAT 7, BAT 9. And in modern era- Batman’s Tumbler.

Sté Phane
Sté Phane(@thewolf)
7 years ago

My biggest frustration in terms of concept not going on road is the Peugeot 907. Unlike Boomerang, Carabo or all those outstanding concepts, the 907 was built in order to be driven like a production car. It revealed the lack of guts PSA had – and still have – which partially led them to the current situation. With the taylor made sales and after market team, a French V12 GT would surely have been able to make the cut !

coni glio
coni glio(@coniglio)
7 years ago

Bertone Emotion, apparently based on an EB110 (not Lotus).

Bernard Holzberg
Bernard Holzberg(@slow-m)
7 years ago

Having to choose one, “over all the others” makes this a difficult question to answer. Through the decades, there have been so many. While the Boomerang you mention has forever been alone, in my heart, in evoking the kind of response you suggest, there were plenty of potential usurpers. A handful came from GM, in the guise of various AeroVettes, the Holden Hurricane, as well, of course, as the Chevrolet Corvair Monza.

Ital’s NAZCA not becoming BMW’s flagship was a dirty shame, and the same is true for Pinninfarina’s Alfa Romeo Tipo 33.2, AMC’s AMX II and AMX/3, and Maserati’s Barchetta Stradale could have helped to elevate that (then floundering) company’s product range.

Other “if onlys” include Lamborghini’s Marzal, which was a thousand times prettier than the hideous Espada, Tadao Watanabe’s Duopower Lycaon, Franco Sbarro’s Tiger, and Mazda’s Furai.

Best regards,

Mustafa Uyal
Mustafa Uyal(@mkuyal)
7 years ago

1964 Pontiac Banshee

Clayton Merchant
Clayton Merchant(@mgcam)
7 years ago

Jaguar should have continued to develop the XJ13 and and put it into production. A simply beautiful prototype racer that should have and could have been an amazing street car.
I also agree with JB21, the ’63 Chrysler turbine had tremendous potential and could have changed the evolution of the automobile forever. I guess an argument could be made that it was produced, 55 in total, which was more than Tucker made of theirs.

Rafael Tardelli
Rafael Tardelli(@tardelli)
7 years ago

I agree with Jouni, the Alfa Romeo Carabo is more real car and less show car.

Jouni Hyoekki
Jouni Hyoekki(@fb_1107190523)
7 years ago

I think another Gandini creation, Alfa-Romeo Carabo was a bit more mature design, Stratos Zero is interesting but too far out for my taste.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange(@365daytonafan)
7 years ago

I reckon Jaguar should’ve produced the XJ Pininfarina Spider, and Mercedes should’ve put the C111 into production.

7 years ago

Any of them turbine cars, of course!!
And there’s one concept car that I still occasionally think about, is BMW GINA concept by Chris Bangle. I know, probably too new for a consideration.

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle(@mosler)
7 years ago

I thought about this long and hard and id have to say my answer is the 1955 Chevy Biscayne concept car. It wasn’t necessarily the best looking concept car but it shows what Chevy could have done back in the day. It was a four seater stylish car with a fibreglass body and a high compression V8 with a dual exhaust. It really could have a been a BMW for the masses if Chevy would have played its cards right.