Journal: What’s Your Favorite Prototype?

What’s Your Favorite Prototype?

By Michael Banovsky
October 12, 2015
20 comments

Prototypes are awesome. It doesn’t really matter if we’re talking about the Ferrari Enzo prototype—you know, the one that looked like a stretched 348—or one of the engineering mules for what would eventually become the Citroën 2CV. The stories from testing eventually seem to leak out, and we get to lust after vehicles that serve no purpose once the production car is released.

Sometimes, like in the case of the Jaguar X-C75, a prototype car is pulled to and from in a sort of “Will they?” or “Won’t they?” limbo, a process which serves only to make enthusiasts jittery. I prefer finding out a company made the coolest car ever after it’s crushed into a million tiny pieces—it’s easier that way.

Such is the tale of my favorite prototype, the Lamborghini Countach Evoluzione. Horacio Pagani worked there at the time, so the car was packed with composite parts to bring the weight down. It may look like the cash-strapped company just relied on wheel covers and small tweaks to make the ageing Countach more efficient, but even in 1986, engineers had recast the car with a composite structure, active suspension, ABS, (rumored) four-wheel-drive, and a 490 horsepower V12 to send it screaming through the countryside.

Fast? Definitely: at just 2,160 lbs., it weighed 1,102 lbs. less than a normal Countach and even 180 lbs. less than a McLaren F1. As a rolling test bed, it was sacrificed in a crash test: nobody really knew how composites would hold up in a supercar.

Do you have a prototype that tugs at your heartstrings?

Image Sources: oldconceptcars.comjaguarusa.com

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Jean-Noël Fermaud
Jean-Noël Fermaud
4 years ago

I mean, that Jag has made everyone swoon for the past few years, and rightly so… For me, it would have shown to the world that you don’t need to put a V12 engine in a supercar to make it extremely exciting/powerful/fast.

But than, there’s also the VW Bluesport, this small, mid engined sportscar that they could easily have built on the Boxster platform… It would have been an awesome competitor to the MX-5/Miata.

And I’m going to add too the Saab 9-5 II Estate. They produced a few dozens of the prototypes, but now you can buy it on the used market, even if it’s of course very rare.

Sorry, my choices are only modern ones, but these are the one I hoped to see on the road the most since I started being interested on cars, so, as Michael said, the deception about these is far stronger than for those I only learned about subsequently.

Tikhon Osipov
Tikhon Osipov
7 years ago

Bertone Bravo and latest Giugiaro Parkour. Pininfarina Sintesi spring to mind as well. But yeah, it’s Bravo all the way!

Chris Ardren
Chris Ardren
7 years ago

What about this one?

Pier Vanpoucke
Pier Vanpoucke
7 years ago

Volkswagen-Porsche Tapiro
with a chassis based on the nimble 914/6, and a 2.4L aircooled, mid-mounted flat-six engine I can only dream of what it must have been like to drive. and in my opinion it’s the best looking car to be made in the 70’s.
One was made, but it was lost in a fire.
I have a poster of this exact picture on my bedroom wall 🙂

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
7 years ago

I’ll second the Audi Avus concept offered earlier but will go with something a bit more humble myself ;

The 2004 Chevy Nomad concept ;

http://www.supercars.net/cars/2736.html [ there’s a ton more links as well ]

The car GM should of built … that thousands had requested [ Chevy had pre – orders numbering in the tens of thousands in waiting ] …. and perhaps the one car that might of displaced the BMW-MINI in the segment [ that the FIAT 500 even in Italy has failed to do so ]….. sigh …

So what did GM give us enthusiast types instead ? The hideous , worthless , bulbous and completely pretentious …. HHR

And GM wonders why its always in the hole and in need of the next Tax Payer funded subsidy fix …. 😉

JB21
JB21
7 years ago

Prototype and concept cars are two different things, but sometimes it’s kind of difficult to separate them apart. Was Marzal a prototype for Espada? If so, still may favorite prototype is Marzal.
http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/images/large/4845/Lamborghini-Marzal_2.jpg

Francois Bozonnet
Francois Bozonnet
7 years ago

for me, i always like the Ferrari 308 serie, and the 308 millechiodi was the perfect evolution of the model. the wide body give the 308 an angry look.
i think that Ferrari should have made some, but they did not, and it’s really sad…

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
7 years ago

Ahem … they did .. although they upped the ante quite a bit along with the price tag and called it

The 288 GTO

Davis Harris
Davis Harris
7 years ago

you beat me to it!

Jan Andreas Knudsen
Jan Andreas Knudsen
7 years ago

I’ve always thought the 1962 Corvair Monza GT was an amazing design, too bad it didn’t make it to production.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corvair_Monza_GT

David Messner
David Messner
7 years ago

ZERO LOVE///images by Benedict Redgrove

Leon Prinsloo
Leon Prinsloo
7 years ago

There are quite a few, but one that I love still do this day, has got to be the Lamborghini Cala, that still born “baby” which featured in Need For Speed II SE. I fully agree with the comments of the AVUS as well, and another one well of left wing is the Peugeot Quasar. Well ahead of it’s time. I think the Quasar was actualy listed here in an article at some stage.

Larry Brantingham
Larry Brantingham
7 years ago

Alfa Canguro

jolocho
jolocho
7 years ago

The Mazda RX-01.
It would’ve been a worthy successor to the original RX-7 (the 2nd gen was too heavy and 3rd gen complex), being lightweight with a rotary packed low and toward the center. Instead we got the RX-8 which had a fine chassis, but was too heavy and big to take advantage of the Wankel engine’s power/weight advantage and compactness.

Chris Buckley
Chris Buckley
7 years ago

As a Kid, it was the Ford GT 90. That thing just looked like a rocket ship… I loved the idea of space shuttle like ceramic tiles to absorb engine heat generated by that quad-turbo V12 and of course, that design…. The kind of thing that inspired me to sit down with pencil, paper and let my imagination run wild dreaming up car designs.

HendrikO
HendrikO
7 years ago

Lotus Exige V6 test mule based on stretched Exige MKII with riveted fender flares – beautiful in a very functional and raw way!

Douglas Anderson
Douglas Anderson
7 years ago

As a kid growing up in Detroit and Dearborn Michigan , we would always go to the Ford Rotunda and of course the Auto shows in the city. I was always surprised when the new models came out and they had very little resemblance to the so called
prototypes . I guess the prototypes sort of set the bar for the future but sadly are rarely practical and never slated for production.

Karl Muth
Karl Muth
7 years ago

And, yes, I know the Avus was shown without a working engine, but it was intended to be a working prototype and its engine, the W12, was eventually built, along with the necessary platform (it could, in retrospect, have been built on either modern Lamborghini platform or the Bugatti space frame design or even an altered-wheelbase Cayman platform…).

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
7 years ago
Reply to  Karl Muth

Actually Herr Muth .. the Audi Avus had a working platform underneath … coming from the Audi Quattro Group S prototypes that were in development before the demise of Group S [ that also later spawned the AudiGhinis and the R8 ] So though I’ll agree on the importance of the Avus [ as well as declare my undying love of the beast not to mention my disappointment that it never made it to production ] .. methinks we’ll have to give the Group S Quattro the nod for most influential ..

Oh … but ” Hold On Sloopy ” … in reality the Auto Union Type 22 Sport prototype was the grand daddy of them all . Without it .. no Avus … period … So that’d have to get the award overall

Karl Muth
Karl Muth
7 years ago

The Audi Avus quattro remains, in my view, one of the most important concepts for doing what concepts are supposed to do: Guide the future of the brand. We can see its influence not just in the B5 S4 wheels, but in the MkI TT, the R8 road car, the EXP Speed 8 race car, and the roofline geometry of many subsequent VW/Audi concepts. Its basic front-end family of shapes were reinterpreted for Jozef Kaba?’s Bugatti design studies. It’s an enormously influential work and not discussed enough in the context of VW/Audi’s styling language, or in the context of J. Mays’s design CV, for that matter.