Welcome to the latest installation of The Forgotten Concept Cars of the Year! Here, you'll find a collection of photos of concept cars from the same year that are considered forgotten. Legendary concept cars are not included. Part 1 contains photos of concept cars from 1980 to 1983. Go right here for Part 2, which contains photos of concept cars from 1984 to 1986 and 1989. Enjoy!
1980 Aston Martin Bulldog Concept; it was planned to go into limited production, but Aston Martin scrapped the plans. At 110cm (3.6ft) tall, it was the lowest car Aston Martin has ever built. It was later sold to an American, who had a terrible taste in colours, for $215,000 USD. The owner painted the exterior green and replaced the black interior with a tan one. That's right, green car with tan interior. *gags*
1980 Aston Martin Bulldog Concept; with the doors opened.
1980 BMW Futuro Concept by B & B; it was designed and built as a testbed to test BMW's new engines that were later used on the BMW 7-Series and S-Series motorcycles. This is my son's favourite because he'd automatically pick a motorcycle over a car.
1980 Briggs and Stratton Gasoline Electric Hybrid Concept; it was designed by Brooks Stevens and built by Briggs and Stratton. This is what happens when a washing machine motor manufacturer gets bored. Hilariously, it had over 450kg (1,000lbs) worth of batteries in the back, which is why it needed 4 wheels in the back.
1980 Chevrolet Corvette Duntov Turbo Concept by ACI (American Custom Industries); it was basically a heavily customised Chevrolet Corvette C3 with a turbocharger. It was a goodbye gift for the Father of Corvettes, Zora Arkus Duntov, when he retired from his position as a Corvette engineer at GM.
1980 Citroen BX Prototype; its production counterpart didn't have slats and it went into production two years later.
1980 Citroën Karin Concept; it had the famous 3-seat arrangement like the McLaren F1. It was inspired by Bertone's 1978 Lancia Stratos Sibilo Concept. If you can't tell, the car had a pyramidal body and windows.
1980 Ferrari Pinin Concept by Pininfarina; the first 4-door Ferrari. it was based on everyone's favourite Ferrari of all time, the 400GT. Enzo Ferrari himself wanted the car to go into production, but thankfully it never did.
1980 Fiat Panda 4x4 Offroader Concept by ItalDesign
1980 Fiat Panda 4x4 Strip Concept by ItalDesign
1980 Fiat Ritmo Cabrio Prototipo by Bertone; it later evolved into the cabriolet version of the Fiat Ritmo, which went into production two years later.
1980 Ford Altair Concept by Ghia; it was based on a Ford Granada. It later evolved into the Ford Scorpio, which went into production in 1985.
1980 Ford Pockar Concept by Ghia; it was a Fiesta-based rolling sculpture to experiment with the space efficiency. There are actually three doors on both sides: one in the back and one in the front that is horizontally cut in half. The top half opens normally like a car door and the bottom half opens like a tailgate to access the luggage compartment. Amazingly, it can seat four with comfort.
1980 Ford Probe II Concept by Ghia; it was the only Probe concept car that looked… Normal.
1980 GM Epcot 2003 Concept; it was a rolling sculpture to experiment with low-drag aerodynamics. Oddly, it was debuted at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena, Florida, USA. Hilariously, one of the magazine ads for GM featured the Epcot 2003 with a caption that reads, "We're the best GM ever," but the car never went into production.
1980 Lamborghini Athon Concept by Bertone; the Lamborghini Egoista of the 80's. It was basically a Lamborghini Silhouette with an Italian coachwork. If Lamborghini never had financial trouble at that time, the Athon would've gone into production.
1980 Lancia Medusa Concept by ItalDesign; it was based on a Lancia Beta. It later grew a little butt and evolved into the Lancia Prisma, which went into production two years later.
1980 Lotus Eminence Concept; it was based on a Lotus Eclat. It later evolved into the Lotus Excel, which went into production two years later.
1980 Mercedes-Benz T1 307E Elektroantrieb (En: Electric Drive) Concept (electric vehicle)
1980 Rolls Royce Camargue Concept by Sbarro; the wickedest custom Rolls Royce of all time. It was based on a Rolls Royce of the same name minus the Sbarro part.
1980 VCC (Volvo Concept Car) Concept; it was probably based on a Volvo 240. It was later evolved into the Volvo 760, which went into production two years later.
1980 Volkswagen Polo Concept by Colani; what, you thought present day Volkswagens are bland? Better bland than this, uh, thing. It was based on a Volkswagen of the same name minus the Colani part.
1980 Volkswagon ARVW (Aerodynamic Research Volkswagen) Concept; Volkswagen designed and built the car from the scratch to experiment with aerodynamics and fuel economy. It was the fastest diesel-powered car at that time and it reached 367km/h (228mph).
1981 AC Ghia Concept by Ghia; it was based on an AC 300ME. Ghia downscaled the car a little to make it a compact sports car.
1981 Audi Forschungsauto (En: Research Car) Concept; it was Audi's first concept car that was designed and built in-house. It was an experimental vehicle to study fuel efficiency that was based on a second generation Audi 100.
1981 Audi Quartz Concept by Pininfarina; it was based on an Audi Quattro. Sergio Pininfarina and Audi teamed up to build and hand over the Quartz to a Swiss magazine "Automobil Revueas" for its 75th anniversary. It was one of the earliest cars to use carbon fibre.
1981 BMC Moke Concept; like its production counterpart, it was based on a BMC Mini Cooper. There's no information on it, but my best guess is that it was the first Moke to have plastic windows. I know what you're thinking and I agree, it's hideous.
1981 BMW M2 Concept by Colani; it was basically a BMW M1 E26 that was suffering from two rare and incurable diseases called Colanitis Bloatus and Ihatestraightlinesitis.
1981 Citroen Xenia Concept by Cogglola; it was a rolling sculpture that represented Citroen's vision for the year 2000. Citroen scrapped the project at the concept stage. Presumably because, like many Americans, Citroen thought the Earth will explode once it turns "2,000 years old." Just kidding!
1981 Fiat Abarth SE 037 Prototype; it later evolved into the Lancia 037, which went into limited production a year later to meet the homologation requirement to participate in the Group B rally.
1981 Fiat VSS Concept by I.DE.A; it was based on a Fiat Ritmo. The entire car's body was put together using only 9 plastic panels to reduce the curb weight. Fiat scrapped the project at the concept stage and went back to using normal metal panels. The VSS abbreviation is unknown.
1981 Ford Avant Garde Concept by Ghia; there isn't much information on it other than the name and a few photos.
1981 Ford Probe III Concept by Ghia
1981 Ford Shuttler Concept by Ghia; it was basically a Ford Fiesta with a sporty Italian coachwork.
1981 GM Aero X Concept; GM was trying to increase the fuel efficiency by reducing the curb weight. They used a wraparound glass and ditched the mouldings that had absolutely no functioning value. Despite having a design with liquified lines, it had a very little improvement in fuel economy. Oh, and yes, that's where SAAB Aero X Concept got its name from. GM has been recycling old model names for years, so it's nothing new.
1981 Lamborghini LM001 Prototype; it later evolved into the Lamborghini LM002, which went into limited production in 1986. It was unveiled along with the Lamborghini Jalpa. Predictably, the Jalpa got the most attention.
1981 Lola Ultimo Prototype by Michelotti; it was based on a Lola T70. Giovanni Michelotti passed away during on the project, and his son, Edgardo, took over and finished it.
1981 Mazda MX-81 Aria Concept by Bertone; it was a sporty 4-seat coupe that was based on a Mazda 323. Unfortunately, Mazda being Mazda, they had no intention of putting it into production.
1981 Mercedes-Benz Auto 2000 Concept; there's a Jalopnik article with everything you need to know about this car. Go right here to read it.
1981 Opel Tech 1 Concept; there's not much information on it other than the name and a few photos.
1981 Peugeot 305 Rallye V6 Prototype #1; the V6-powered Peugeot 305 Group B rally car that never was. My son mocked it by saying "Daddy, that car looks like a Matchbox."
1981 Peugeot 305 Rallye V6 Prototype #2
1981 Renault Alpine GTA Concept by Heuliez; it was based on a Renault Alpine A310. It later evolved into the Renault Alpine A610, which went into production in 1986.
1981 Toyota F120 Concept; there's not much information on it other than the name and a few photos. Update: a commenter suggested that it later evolved into the Toyota Camry Liftback, which went into production later that year.
1981 Volkswagen Auto 2000 Concept; it was an experimental vehicle to study fuel efficiency that was based on a Volkswagen Golf. It had a diesel I3 engine with a fuel economy of 3.9L/100km (60mpg) with a top speed of 145km/h (90mph).
1981 Wolfrace Sonic Concept; Nick Butler and the owner of Wolfrace Wheels, Barry Treacy, designed and built this functional, street legal concept car. Other than having six wheels, it had two Rover V8 engines and two automatic transmissions. Unfortunately, it was so unreliable to the point it required a week woth of repairs every time the car moved. It is unknown what car it was based on, but it's likely the chassis was custom made specifically to fit two V8 engines. For a non-motorccle vehicle, this is my son's favourite.
1982 Alfa Romeo Sprint 6C Concept; the only V6-powered, mid-engine Alfa Romeo Sprint in existence. If Alfa Romeo never had financial trouble at that time, the Sprint 6C would've gone into limited production to meet the homologation requirement to participate in the Group B rally.
1982 Alfa Romeo Alfasud Svar Concept; there isn't much information on it other than the name and a few photos. My best guess is that it was an Alfasud-based testbed to experiment with the aerodynamics for an improved fuel efficiency. It was probably later evolved into the Alfa Romeo 33, which went into production a year later.
1982 Chrysler Stealth Concept; there's not much information on it other than the name and a few photos. I don't think it was the predecessor to the Dodge Stealth because it looked nothing like it.
1982 Citroen BX Coupe Concept; the Citroen BX "coupe" that never was.
1982 Dodge Turbo Charger Concept; very little is known about it. It was debuted at the 1982 Indy Car World Series as a pace car. A commenter shared an amazing story on this concept car. Go right here to read it.
1982 Ford Brezza Concept by Ghia; it was basically a Ford Escort with an Italian coachwork.
1982 Ford Cockpit Concept by Ghia; it was the most fuel efficient three-wheel vehicle of 1982 that boasted a fuel economy of 3.15 L/100km (75mpg). Unfortunately, due to its tiny 9kW (12hp) engine, Ford scrapped the project at the concept stage knowing it won't sell well.
1982 Ford Cockpit Concept by Ghia; with the canopy door opened.
1982 Ford Probe IV Concept by Ghia
1982 General Dynamics XM998 Prototype #1; it didn't evolve into the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle or "Humvee." American Motors developed and produced the Humvee, not General Dynamics.
1982 General Dynamics XM998 Prototype #2
1982 GM Lean Machine Concept; the super fuel efficient motorcycle-powered motorcycle-like three-wheeler that points and laughs at today's fuel efficient cars. Only two examples were built, one with a 11kW (15hp) two-cylinder engine and another with a 27kW (36hp) two-cylinder engine. The 11kW model had a top speed of 130km/h (80mph) with a fuel economy of 2.94L/100km (80mpg). The 27kW model's top speed is unknown, but it had a fuel economy of 1.18L/100km (200mpg). It weighed only 159kg (350lbs). It actually had the leaning capability like a motorcycle. It was featured in the 1993 film "Demolition Man" along with the 1992 GM Ultralite Concept. In 1993, a toy car maker called Hot Wheels put a 1:64 scale version of the Lean Machine into production.
1982 GM TPC (Two-Person Commuter) Concept; the Ford Taurus "Bubble Car" of the 80's. Everything on this car was smoothed out for improved aerodynamics. How smoothed out, you ask? The side mirrors are inside the car with front door windows ballooned outwards. At 475kg (1050lbs), it was the lightest car GM has ever built. The L/100km/MPG numbers are unknown.
1982 Lamborghini Countach LP5000S Fuel Injection Prototype; it was the first Lamborghini to have the fuel injection technology. It also got the 4.8L V12 engine that it was supposed to get when the production started in 1974. It later evolved into the Lamborghini Countach LP500S, which went into limited production later that year. Only 323 Countach LP500S's were built before the Countach 5000QV replaced it two years later.
1982 Lamborghini Countach LP5000S Fuel Injection Prototype; the engine.
1982 Lamborghini LMA002 Prototype; the Lamborghini LM002's latest predecessor. It's good to see a Lamborghini SUV that got dirty for the photos, unlike the Lamborghini Urus.
1982 Lamborghini Marco Polo Concept by Italdesign; it was a rolling sculpture with a Lamborghini badge. It was built for the aerodynamic research.
1982 Lancia Olgiata Concept by Pininfarina; the three-door Lancia Gamma hatchback that never was. It was based on a Lancia Gamma Coupe.
1982 Lancia Orca Concept by Italdesign; the car. It was the first car to have steering wheel mounted controls. Unfortunately, it was widely criticised by the public for being too pointless. ItalDesign paid more attention to the interior ergonomics than the design of the car. It was based on a Lancia Gamma
1982 Lancia Orca Concept by Italdesign; the steering wheel mounted controls. "Daddy, they look like M&M's. The car will get fat and holes in its teeth!" my son commented.
1982 Mercedes-Benz NAFA (De: Nahverkehrsfahrzeug, En: Short Distance Vehicle) Concept; it inspired the development of the Mercedes-Benz city cars (Smart and A-/B-Class). Unfortunately, the project was scrapped at the concept stage because it failed to meet the strict safety standards. At 2.45m (8ft) long, it was the shortest car Mercedes-Benz has ever built.
1982 Opel Corsa Spider Concept; the sporty Corsa roadster that never was. Despite the popularity it gained, Opel didn't bother putting it into production. Its production counterpart was a hatchback and a sedan, and they went into production later that year.
1982 Renault 5 Turbo II PPG Indy Pace Car Concept; the second generation Renault 5 Turbo that never was.
1982 Renault Fuego Cabriolet Concept by Heuliez; the cabriolet version of the Fuego that never was. It was based on a Renault Fuego coupe, which went into production earlier that year.
1982 Renault Super Twelve Concept by Sbarro; amazingly, it was powered by two Kawasaki 6-cylinder motorcycle engines. It can reach 160km/h (100mph) from a standing start in only 8 seconds. It was based on a Renault 5 Turbo.
1982 Trabant 601 WE-II Prototype; there's not much information other than the name and a few photos. It was from a now-dead Deutsche Demokratische Republik automaker.
1982 Volkswagen Scirocco TR Prototype; the T-top version of the Scirocco that never was. It had the same fate as the Pontiac G8 ST. Test mules were on the streets, tools at factories were made and prepared, they were crash tested and passed, and then nada.
1983 Alfa Romeo Delfino (En: Dolphin) Concept by Bertone; it was based on an Alfa Romeo Alfa 6.
1983 Alfa Romeo Zeta Sei Concept by Zagato; it was based on an Alfa Romeo GTV6. Sadly, it never went into limited production.
1983 Austin-Rover MG Metro 6R4 (6-cylinder, R rear-engine, 4-wheel drive) Group B Rally Car Prototype; its production counterpart went in limited production in 1985 to meet the homologation requirement to participate in the Group B rally just a year before it was banned. Only 205 examples were built.
1983 Buick Questor Concept; the most futuristic vehicle on this post. It crammed many advanced technology in a single car such as navigation system, auto-tint windscreen, automatic aerodynamics (when it reaches 40km/h (25mph), the nose is lowered and the rear spoiler is raised for an improved fuel economy), rear view camera, and so on. It is unknown what car it was based on. GM being GM, the plans were scrapped, but some of the technology appeared on future vehicles.
1983 Chevrolet Corvette Concept; it later evolved into the Chevrolet Corvette C4, which went into production later that year.
1983 Fiat Ritmo Coupe Concept by Pininfarina; the coupe version of the Ritmo that never was. It was based on a Fiat of the same name minus the Pininfarina part
1983 Ford Barchetta Concept by Ghia; it was basically a Ford Fiesta with an Italian coachwork.
1983 Ford Trio Concept by Ghia; it was an fully functional motorcycle-powered experimental vehicle to experiment with the space efficiency in terms of seating arrangements. The seats were arranged like an arrowhead (one in front, two in middle, and one in back). It was the first Ford to have CVT (Constant Variable Transmission).
1983 GAZ RAF 3920 Prototype; Soviet Union's Lincoln Continental hearse knockoff.
1983 Jeep CJ-7 Renegado Concept; it was basically a Jeep CJ-7 with the Renegade package.
1983 Lincoln Continental Concept 100 Concept; it was Ford's attempt to complete against the GM's Buick Questor Concept from the same year. Interestingly, it had sonar sensors in the front and rear bumpers that were completely functional. For reasons unknown, Ford ditched the most useful technology for many years after that time. It was based on a seventh generation Lincoln Continental.
1983 Lincoln Quicksilver Concept by Ghia; it was based on an AC 3000ME. It was expected to fetch at least $60,000 USD at the Auctions America in Florida, USA. It was sold for an Earth-shattering price of $9,570 USD when it went up for grabs last year. It was probably the cheapest functional Ghia concept car ever sold at an auction.
1983 Mazda Le Mans Concept by Colani; the Mazda 787B's predecessor that never was. Very little is known about it. Mazda teamed up with straight-line-hating Luigi Colani to develop a new Mazda race car for for the Le mans. It had a four-chamber Wankel engine that produced 1,000 kW (1,400hp). Unfortunately, it failed to meet the race regulations and Mazda was forced to abandon it. Mazda resurrected the project few years later and developed the famous Wankel-powered Le mans race cars that were later known as the Mazda 787 and 787B.
If you're wondering, no, that's not Alien, a Hot Wheels car that was based on the real car of the same name. It was designed by a different stylist called IAD.
1983 Mazda MX-02 Concept; it was the first concept to have a HUD (Heads-Up Display). It also had a four-wheel steering system that is activated at speeds slower than 40km/h (25mph) for an improved stability control and handling. It is unknown what car it was based on.
1983 Nissan NX-21 Concept; it was based on a Nissan Pulsar EXA. Its design cues and lines appeared on three future Nissan cars: 350Z, Pulsar, and NX.
1983 Opel Corsa Sprint Group B Prototype; it was a Group B rally car that never was. It was based on a first generation Opel Corsa hatchback. After developing the prototype, Opel decided to participate in Group A instead. Its production counterpart went into limited production two years later under the name of Opel Corsa Sport. Only 500 examples were built to meet the homologation requirement.
1983 Opel Junior Concept; it was a functional camper in the size of a compact car. It had seat covers that can be used as sleeping bags. How cozy! Sadly, it failed to meet the safety standards and Opel scrapped the project. However, the project was resurrected for the Opel Adam, which wasn't as camp-happy as the Junior.
1983 Porsche 959 Group B Prototype; its production counterpart was part of the homologation requirement to qualify in the race in the Group B rally and it went into limited production three years later.
1983 Renault Gabbiano Concept by ItalDesign; it was based on a Renault 18. It later evolved into the Renault 21, which went into production three years later.
1983 Tatra Grafit Concept; there isn't much information on it other than the name and a few photos.
1983 Toyota FX-1 Concept; it was the first car to have a digital dashboard using CRT monitors. Sorry, Lexus LFA, you weren't the first. There isn't any information about the slide-out seat that is shown in the photo. My best guess is that it was Toyota's attempt to ditch normal car doors to improve the aerodynamics for an improved fuel economy.
1983 Toyota SV-3 Concept; the first Japanese mid-engine consumer car. It later evolved into the Toyota MR2, which went into production a year later. Did you know that MR2 was shortened to MR in France? According to some sources, MR2 sounded like a French profanity word (est) merdeux, which means "(it) is s****y."
1983 Toyota TAC3 Concept; very little is known about it. It was an open top truck with the famous three-seat arragement like the McLaren F1. It is unknown what car it was based on it, but it definitely didn't go into production.
1983 Volkswagen Student Concept; it was an affordable car for pissed uni students who live on student loans without realising that they'll be paying them back for many years while becoming incredibly poor. Volkswagen Type 1 was still in production at that time, so they didn't see a point in replacing it and scrapped the project. Unfortunately, Type 1's production ended 3 years later.
1983 Volkswagen Golf Turbo Concept by Sbarro; it was designed for a perverted Swiss customer who likes it when a car's backside is raised to expose its private parts. Bizarrely, it was powered by a H6 engine from a Porsche 911.
Oh, speaking of perverts…
Anyway, please carry on. We're almost done here.
1983 Volvo LCP (Light Component Prototype) 2000 Concept; it was probably the most dangerous project on this post. It had four 3-cylinder engine blocks of different materials including plastic and pure magnesium, a metal that is highly flammable when heated. One of the engines can run on sunflower oil. The body and other components were made of different materials in order to reduce weight.
1983 Zender Vision 1S Concept; very little is known about it. It was based on an Audi Quattro. It was from a now-dead Deutsch automaker.
Thank you very much for viewing. Cheers!