Welcome to the second part of The Forgotten Concept Cars of the 80's! 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. This part contains photos of concept cars from 1984 to 1986 and 1989. Go right here for Part 1, which contains photos of concept cars from 1980 to 1983. Enjoy!
In the mid to late 80's, automakers focused on the development of affordable sports cars and supercars, modern technology, fuel efficiency, space efficiency and advanced aerodynamics. Many concept cars on this post went into production.
Quick note: the commentary was done by my son Nakita.
1984 Alfa Romeo Alfetta Break Concept; the Alfetta wagon that never was. It was planned to go into production, but Alfa Romeo scrapped the plans due to lack of interest.
1984 Alfa Romeo Tempo Libero (En: Free Time) Concept by Zagato; it was based on a production Alfa Romeo 33, but with an Italian coachwork and a hybrid powertrain. It can seat 7 people with comfort. Only two examples were built.
1984 Audi 80 B12 Prototype by Pininfarina; it was based on a production second generation Audi 80 (B2). It was later evolved into the third generation Audi 80 (B9), which went into production two years later.
1984 Avion Prototype; it was a custom car designed and built by Bill Green and Craig Henderson. With a fuel economy of 2.06L/100km (114MPG), Henderson was able to drive it from Mexico to Canada on a tank of petrol (53 litres or 14 gallons). Unfortunately, no automaker was interested in buying the project.
1984 Chevrolet Citation IV Concept; it was based on a production first generation Chevrolet Citation. The designers at Chevrolet designed and built this concept car solely for the purpose of giving future Citation buyers some hope and boosting the already stale Citation II sales. The hope was crushed when Chevrolet ended the Citation production a year later.
1984 Chevrolet Ramarro (En: Lizard) Concept by Bertone; it was basically a production fourth generation Chevrolet Corvette (C4), but with an Italian coachwork. Instead of a standard gear shift, the gears can be changed by a flick of a switch on the dashboard.
1984 Chevrolet Ramarro Concept by Bertone; with the sliding doors opened.
1984 Dodge M4S (Mid-engine, 4-cylinder, Sports car) Turbo Concept; only one running example was produced. Dodge built 6 stunt and dummy versions of the M4S for the 1986 film "The Wraith", four were built on a towable frame and two were built on an unknown car. The running example was used in a few scenes, and interestingly, it was powered by a Cosworth 2.2L twin turbo I4 engine.
Fun fact: The Wraith was a forgotten car film. Other than the M4S, it had a Corvette, a Shelby Z, a Barracuda and many other customised cars. For a film with little CGI, it puts the entire Fast and Furious series to shame.
1984 Ferrari 288 GTO Prototype; it hardly changed before it went into limited production later that year.
1984 Ford Aerostar Concept; Ford resurrected the designs for the 1973 Ford Carousel Concept and made it smaller so it can fit in tiny American garages. Its production counterpart was less futuristic and it went into production two years later. After showing Nakita a photo of a production Aerostar, "Eww," he exclaimed in disgust.
1984 Ford Maya Concept by Italdesign; it was based on a Ford, but the exact model is unknown. It was planned to go into production, but Ford scrapped the plans to avoid a lawsuit from Lotus because it looked too much like the Lotus Etna Concept by ItalDesign from the same year.
1984 Ford RS200 Prototype; it hardly changed before it went into limited production later that year to meet the homologation requirement to qualify in the Group B rally. In 1987, a toy car maker called Matchbox put a 1:55 scale version of the RS200 into production. "I have a white one!" Nakita said proudly.
1984 Ford Transit Supervan II Concept; it was basically a Ford C100 Group C race car, but with an aerodynamic fibreglass body of a production second generation Ford Transit and a Cosworth DPL engine. It can be seen on display at British Commercial Vehicle Museum in Leyland, Lancashire, England. It's smaller in person than it looks in photos.
1984 Ford Vignale Mustang Concept by Ghia; the third generation Ford Mustang facelift for the 1987 model year that never was. Despite the popularity, Ford sticked to the stale, 8 year old design. In 1994, it was finally replaced with a more exciting fourth generation Mustang.
1984 GM Project Saturn Concept; it was the first car that started the now-dead American automaker called Saturn a year later. It was later evolved into the most controversial car of all time, Saturn S-Series, which went into production in 1990. Saturn dropped like a fly in 2010.
1984 Honda HP-X (Honda Pininfarina Xperimental) Concept by Pininfarina; the 1989 Honda NS-X Concept's predecessor. It had a canopy window that opens to the side like a jet fighter plane. It was based on a Honda, but the exact model is unknown. "It's nicer than the new one (2015 Honda NSX)," Nakita pointed out.
1984 Italdesign Marlin Concept; like its older sibling, the 1982 ItalDesign Orca Concept, it was based on a production Lancia Gamma. Like the Orca, ItalDesign paid more attention to the interior ergonomics than the exterior design. "Is there a car named Nemo?" Nakita asked.
1984 Italdesign Marlin Concept; the steering wheel mounted controls. "They (the buttons) didn't look like M&M's," Nakita commented. The buttons in the Orca actually looked like M&M's.
1984 ItalDesign Together Concept; the wagon version of the ItalDesign Marlin Concept.
1984 Lamborghini LM004 Prototype; it was basically 1982 Lamborghini LMA002 Prototype, but with a 7L V12 prototype engine and a whole house inside. It had a phone, a refrigerator, bucket seats, a telly, a privacy screen and so on. Due to the engine's poor performance, terrible fuel economy and extra weight, Lamborghini scrapped the project at the prototype stage.
1984 Lotus Etna Concept by ItalDesign; it was a rolling sculpture that was based on a production Lotus Esprit. The chassis was stretched to fit a new Lotus V8 engine if it goes into production, but it never did. Another ItalDesign concept car called Ford Maya from the same year looked so much like the Etna.
Fun fact: Did you know that ItalDesign designer named Georgette Guigiaro designed about two thirds of the Lotus Esprit models during its 11 year production?
1984 Mercedes-Benz O305 Methanol Antrieb (En: Drive) Concept; you guessed it, a bus that runs on methanol.
Fun fact: Methanol's chemical formula is CH3OH. Due to a single carbon atom in the formula, it burns so clean. So clean its fire is completely invisible in daylight.
1984 Peugeot Quasar Concept; the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 of the 80's. It was an AWD (All Wheel Drive) sports car powered by a tiny 1.6L twin turbo I4 engine that produces 450kW (600hp). Sadly, it never went into production, but it'll put the Veyron to shame if it did. In 1986, Matchbox put a 1:64 scale version of the Quasar into production. "I have one too," Nakita said.
1984 Peugeot Quasar Concept; the exposed mechanicals in the rear. The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 was probably inspired by this concept car.
1984 Peugeot Quasar Concept; the interior. Noticed how the entire dashboard was supported by the transmission column? Talk about simplicity!
1984 Porsche 942 Prototype; Porsche gave Ferdinand "Ferry" Porsche this one-off as a gift for his 75th birthday. It was basically a production Porsche 928 that was stretched by 25.4cm (10in). For reasons unknown, it was nicknamed 928-4, but my best guess is that it had an AWD drivetrain from a Porsche 911 Carrera 4.
Fun Fact: Ferry Porsche gave his father, Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, a Porsche 356 Coupe as a gift for his 75th birthday in 1950.
1984 Rover 800 Vitesse Prototype; it was based on a production Rover SD1. Its production counterpart got some retouching before it went into production two years later.
1984 Volkswagen Scirocco Bi-Motor 280/4 Prototype; there isn't much information on it other than the name and a few photos. My best guess is that it was a Group B or Group S rally car that never was or a homologated version of it that also never was. Some sources said it spent some years in England with other abandoned Volkswagen rally cars before it mysteriously disappeared.
1985 BMW Z1 Prototype; it was the earliest prototype. It went through many evolution stages before it went into production four years later.
Fun fact: The letter Z stands for Zukunft, which means "Future" in German.
1985 Buick Wildcat Concept; the fourth Wildcat concept car to appear after a 30-year hiatus. It was entirely designed and built in-house, and unfortunately, it was a rolling sculpture. The chassis was made of carbon fibre and like its three older siblings, the body was made of fibreglass. It had a canopy window and steering wheel that lift to make way for the driver and passenger to get in and out of the car. It can be seen on display at GM Heritage Museum in Flint, Michigan, USA.
1985 Buick Wildcat Concept; the interior.
1985 Cadillac Cimarron Concept; it was based on a production Cadillac Cimarron. Ja, it had two separate cockpits like its great grandfather, the 30's Cadillac Fleetwood. Each cockpit had a telly, a telephone, a dashboard with instrument displays and an atmosphere control. Unfortunately, the cockpit in front was the only one with a steering wheel. "It's not for backseat drivers like me, boo," Nakita commented.
Fun fact: The original Cadillac Fleetwood came from a coachbuilder called Fleetwood Body Company in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, USA that was owned by Henry Fleetwood. Fleetwood, Fleetwood, Fleetwood, Fleetwood, Fleetwood...
1985 Ford ELTEC (ELectric TEChnology) Concept; very little is known about it. It was a concept car that combines the modern technology of that time with a CVT (Constant Variable Transmission). It's unknown if it was an EV (Electric Vehicle).
1985 Ford Probe V Concept by Ghia; it was the last drag coefficient experimental vehicle in the Probe series of concept cars. Very little is known is about it. Ford recycled the Probe name for the car that went into production four years later. Some sources said Probe V no longer runs and it was in a very bad shape. Despite that, it was sold for the price of the original Peanut the Royal Blue Elephant Beanie Baby ($20,000 USD) in 2002.
1985 Ford Urby Concept by Ghia; very little is known about it. It was a Fiesta-based rolling sculpture to experiment with the space efficiency.
1985 Land Rover Discovery Prototype; did you notice that it was a "half car"? Oh excellent. I almost didn't the first time. It was based on a production Range Rover. The right half (left half in the photo) later evolved into one whole car before it went into production in 1989. "Willy Wonka would drive that," Nakita commented. Everything in Willy Wonka's office was cut in half.
1985 Mazda MX-03 Concept; very little is known about it. It was based on a production third generation Mazda 929 and powered by a turbocharged three-rotor Wankel engine that produces 240kW (320hp). Interestingly, it was an AWD car with an all wheel steering capability. It had a top speed of 300km/h (185mph). It was probably later evolved into the second generation Mazda RX-7 (FC), which went into production a year later.
1985 Mazda MX-03 Concept; the airplane-like interior.
1985 Nissan Be-1 Concept; like its younger siblings, the S-Cargo, Figaro and Pao, it was based on a production first generation Nissan Micra (K10). It hardly changed before it went into 10,000-unit production two years later. "It's a cute car!" Nakita commented.
1985 Nissan CUE-X Concept; very little is known about it. It was a turbo V6 powered concept car that represented Nissan's vision of the future. "Nissan's vision means mass-producing the Murano CrossCabriolet and Juke. Nissan should consider rehiring whoever designed that concept car," my husband criticised.
1985 Nissan LUC-2 Concept; very little is known about it. It was a production Nissan Fairlady 280Z-based sports car with a retractable roof.
1985 Nissan MID4 (MID-engine, 4WD) Concept; it was planned to go into production to compete against the European sports cars. It was the first Nissan to have an all wheel steering capability. It was later evolved into the 1987 Nissan MID4 Type II Concept, which was later evolved into the thin air. It never went into production.
1985 Oldsmobile Firenza FE3-X Concept; the sporty version of the already sporty Firenza GT that never was.
1985 Peugeot Griffe 4 Concept by Pininfarina; it was a rolling sculpture that was designed and built in-house to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Pininfarina's partnership with Peugeot. Much to Pininfarina's surprise, Peugeot didn't bother putting it into production.
1985 Renault Super Van Cinq Concept by Heuliez; very little is known about it. It was basically a customised production Renault 5 panel van.
1985 Rover AR16 Prototype; there isn't much information on it other than the name and a few photos. My best guess is that it was later evolved into the Rover 800 liftback, which went into production a year later.
1985 Rover AR17 Prototype; it was probably the sedan version of the Rover AR17 Prototype, which also went into production a year later.
1985 SAAB EV-1 (Experimental Vehicle #1) Concept; the most futuristic SAAB of all time that was based on a production SAAB 900 Turbo 16. Its bumpers were made of Kevlar composite material, which means they can return to their original shape after getting deformed from a collision. It had a canopy window with 66 solar cells inside for the solar powered interior fans that cool the car when it's parked in the sun.
Fun fact: it can be seen in the background in the 1989 film "Back to the Future Part II". "I like that silver time car (Delorean DMC-12 time machine) better," Nakita said.
1985 Sbarro Brescia Concept; very little is known about it. It was an one-off sports car that was powered by a BMW I6 engine that produces 125kW (170hp). Like many sports cars and concept cars of the 50's and 60's, its body was entirely made of fibreglass. At least Franco Sbarro knew how to design retro cars the right way, unlike those muscle car wannabes.
1985 Sbarro Challenge Concept; there isn't much information on it other than the name and a few photos. It was probably later evolved into the 2010 Sbarro Autobau Concept. The challenger looked so normal in comparison.
1985 Subaru ACX-II Concept; it was based on a production Subaru Vortex. It was later combined with the 1985 Subaru F-9X Concept and then evolved into the 1989 Subaru SVX Concept by Pininfarina.
1985 Subaru F-9X Concept; it was another production Subaru Vortex-based concept car. I wish Subaru put this concept car into production instead of the Vortex. Yay or nay?
1985 Suzuki RS/1 Concept; it was the earliest Autozam AZ-1/Mazda AZ-550 prototype (friendly reminder: Mazda and Suzuki were partners at that time). It went through several prototype stages before it went into production in 1992.
1985 Toyota FXV (Future eXperimental Vehicle) Concept; it was the first concept car to have a touchscreen display that controls the CD player, hands-free phone, atmosphere and 8mm video player. Apparently, one forced induction system wasn't enough for its tiny 2L engine because it was turbocharged and supercharged.
1986 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Concept by Zagato; like Morgans, the entire concept car frame was made of wood. However, its production counterparts used the chassis from a production Aston Martin V8 Series 5. The concept car hardly changed before it went into limited production later that year. Only 89 examples were built, 52 coupes and 37 cabriolets.
Fun fact: An British actor named Rowan Atkinson, famously known as Mr. Bean, bought the first RHD (Right Hand Drive) Aston Martin V8 Vantage by Zagato and had it professionally converted into a race car. The conversion was performed by Aston Martin World Services for the price of a round trip Air Royale flight ticket ($360,000 USD).
Fun fact: Speaking of Mr. Bean, he crashed every McLaren he owned, a F1 GTR in 1999 and a F1 in 2011. Talk about clumsiness!
1986 Audi 100 Prototype; it was based on a production third generation Audi 100 (C3). It was later evolved into the fourth generation Audi 100 (C4), which went into production in 1991.
1986 Audi GT Cabriolet Concept; it was an Audi Ur-Quattro cabriolet that almost was. ASC (American Sunroof Company, now known as American Specialty Cars) performed the custom job. It was so clean Audi USA was almost interested in putting it into production. Thankfully it never did. After teaching Nakita how to fingerspell a phrase in German, "Brennen Sie es auf den Boden!" he exclaimed in disgust.
1986 Audi Sport Quattro RS 002 Prototype; the Audi Sport Quattro E2's successor that never was. Like many Audi rally cars of the mid 80's, it was based on a production Audi Ur-Quattro. It was powered by a 2.1L I5 engine that produces 225kW (300hp). Unfortunately, Audi was forced to abandon the project after the cancellation of Group B and Group S. Whoo boy, can you imagine what it's like seeing a road-going version of the RS 002 pulling up next to you at a red light? Let's take a moment to daydream, shall we?
Thanks for ruining everything, FIA!
Anyway, please carry on.
1986 Citroen BX Break de Chasse Dyana Prototype by Heuliez; the Citroen BX 3-door hatchback that never was. It was based on a production Citroen BX 5-door hatchback.
1986 Citroen Eole Concept; the beginning of overly futuristic French concept cars. It was the first CAD (Computer-Aided Design)-designed car that was based on a production Citroen CX. It had many advanced technology and features crammed in such as:
- Air suspensions that lower the ride height at speeds above 40km/h (25mph).
- Hydraulics that open the front wheel covers outward when steering. The wheel covers stay mostly closed at high speeds.
- Steering wheel mounted buttons to control various gadgets such as telly, phone, atmosphere control, windows and so on.
- Pushbutton transmission (the gears can be changed by a push of a button).
- Hydraulics that raise or lower a small portion of the windscreen to control the drag.
- Personal entertainment such as telly, video game console, computer and CD player.
Sadly, it never went into production, but it eventually evolved into the not so futuristic Citroen XM, which went into production three years later.
1986 Citroen Zabrus Concept by Bertone; very little is known about it. It was basically a production Citroen BX 4TC, but with an Italian coachwork.
1986 Citroen Zabrus Concept by Bertone; with scissor doors opened.
Fun fact: Did you know that Giorgetto Giugiaro was the one who designed the scissor doors? He used the funds from his scissor door patents to start his own design house, ItalDesign.
1986 Ferrari F116 Prototype; it was basically a rebadged Honda Civic cabriolet one-off by Chip Foose. Just kidding! It was based on a production Ferrari 412. It was later evolved into the Ferrari 456, which went into production in 1992.
Fun fact: there was never a cabriolet version of the Ferrari 456, but Pininfarina built only two examples for, you guessed it, the Sultan of Brunei. Both examples were probably abandoned and collecting dust. "Why did they buy them?" Nakita asked. "They have too much money. They probably found some change under their sofa and bought these one-offs," I answered.
1986 Ford Vignale TSX-6 Concept by Ghia; very little is known about it. It had an interchangeable rear and it can be transformed into a two or five-seater ute, a five or seven-seater wagon or a five-seater sedan. The center and rear seats can be folded down for various configurations. It was based on a Ford, but the exact model is unknown.
1986 I.A.D. Alien Concept; it was a rolling sculpture designed by a race car driver named Martin Longmore as an attempt to "out Countach the Countach". Longmore wanted the Alien to have an interchangeable engine, an economy 4-cylinder for daily commuting and a V8 for the weekend. Ja, like the Lamborghini Countach, it had scissor doors. A toy car maker called Hot Wheels put a 1:64 scale version of the Alien into production two years later.
Fun fact: I.A.D. Alien was named after the 1979 film "Alien".
1986 Jaguar XJ42 Concept; the Jaguar E-Type's successor that never was. It was evolved from the 1974 Jaguar XJ12 PF Concept by Pininfarina, but it was developed entirely in-house. The chassis was designed specifically to fit a NA (Naturally Aspirated) I6 engine like the original Jaguar E-Type. The original unveiling date was set for 1986, but it was repeatedly pushed back due to the rapid growing sports car competition. Jaguar was forced to add unwanted upgrades such as AWD, all wheel steering and turbochargers, therefore increasing the car's curb weight and cost of the project. Unfortunately, in 1989, long before Jaguar can finish the project, Ford bought the company and then things fell apart. Jaguar's new CEO, Bill Hayden, stormed into the studio and coldheartedly cancelled the project. The entire development team was ordered to destroy everything. After that time, there was never a Jaguar E-Type successor until 2000 when Jaguar unveiled the Jaguar F-Type Concept.
Fun fact: despite the cancellation, Ford gave Jaguar the green light to put the more expensive and less profitable Jaguar XJ220 into limited production in 1992. A supercar from a brand that builds boring sedans wasn't a smart move at that time.
1986 Jaguar XJ41 Concept; the roadster version.
1986 Lancia ECV-1 (Experimental Composite Vehicle #1) Prototype; the Delta S4's successor that never was. Like the model name suggests, it was an experimental vehicle to experiment with the idea of using composite materials, like carbon fibre and Kevlar, to reduce the curb weight. It had a new engine that produces 450kW (600hp), but the panicky regulators at FIA put a 225kW (300hp) limit on Group S rally cars. Despite the new limit, Group S was banned along with Group B later that year. Lancia was forced to destroy the car, but in 2010, the original development team rebuilt it using the original parts, including the engine. There are a few videos of the ECV-1 in action on YouTube.
1986 Lancia ECV-2 (Experimental Composite Vehicle #2) Prototype; another Group S rally car that never was. After the banning of Group B and Group S, Lancia went ahead and developed a new rally car on the same carbon fibre chassis from the ECV-1. Its whereabouts today are unknown. "It looked weird," Nakita commented.
1986 Lotus Esprit Sport 300 Prototype; it was based on a production Lotus Esprit. It was slightly changed before it went into limited production in 1993. Its production counterpart was later renamed to Lotus Esprit 300 Sport.
1986 Oldsmobile Incas Concept by ItalDesign; after narrowly avoiding a lawsuit from Lotus, ItalDesign replaced the 1984 Ford Maya Concept's body with a new one. It had some additional high tech components and personal entertainment.
1986 Pontiac Trans Sport Concept; the best looking minivan of the 80's that never was. It had a gullwing rear passenger door instead of a standard sliding door, full glass roof, massive spoiler, aggressive face and it even had a NES (Nintendo Entertainment System, a video game console) installed. It was later evolved into three fatally bland minivans, Pontiac Trans Sport, Chevrolet Lumina APV and Oldsmobile Silhouette, which went into production in 1989 (Trans Sport and Lumina APV) and 1990 (Silhouette). GM knew it won't sell well because the radical concept car was very popular, so they sold three different models that shared the same chassis. To no one's surprise, GM's strategy didn't work out well.
Fun fact: GM has a very long history of poor management.
1986 Rover CCV (Coupe Concept Vehicle) 800 Concept; it was based on a production Rover 800. It was later evolved into the Rover 800 Coupe, which went into production in 1992.
1986 Volkswagen Machimoto Concept by ItalDesign; it was based on a production second generation Volkswagen Golf GTI (Mk2). It was the interpretation of Giorgetto Giugiaro's bizarre idea of combining a car with a motorcycle. It can seat 9 passengers (motorcyclists in this case). It had two rows of three motorcycle seats and a three-seat bench in the back. Instead of a standard steering wheel, it had a handlebar like a motorcycle. Instead of a seatbelt, the passengers had to hold onto a fixed handlebar in front of them. "Motorcycle? It had one, two, three, four, four wheels. It's a quad bike," Nakita pointed out, "but I like it!"
1986 Volkswagen Orbit Concept by Italdesign; it was based on a production second generation Volkswagen Golf (Mk2) Syncro (short lived 4x4 version of the Golf). It was a research vehicle to give the designers at Volkswagen some ideas for the third generation Volkswagen Golf (Mk3). The Volkswagen Golf Mk3 had smoother lines and edges that were influenced by this concept car.
1986 Volkswagen Scooter Concept; very little is known about it. It was a FWD (Front Wheel Drive) 3-wheeler with gullwing doors that was powered by an I4 engine that produces 30kW (40hp). Two tenners say it inspired the Volkswagen's 1-Litre series of concept cars, which eventually went into limited production last year.
1986 Volkswagen Scooter Concept; with the gullwing doors opened.
1986 Volvo 480 Turbo Cabrio Prototype; the turbocharged cabriolet version of the Volvo 480 that never was. Volvo held a press conference about adding it to their lineup for the 1992 model year. However, the car was never displayed in the public until it was unveiled in 1990. It was planned to go into production, but Volvo was forced to scrap the plans because of the overprotective American nannies at NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) whinged about the rollover safety. To add insult to the injury, one of Volvo's suppliers went bankrupt, thus preventing Volvo from making any further changes.
1986 Volvo 480 Turbo Cabrio Prototype; another prototype, but with the roof closed and nicer wheels. "It's pretty," Nakita commented.
1989 Autech Stelvio Concept by Zagato; it was basically a production second generation Nissan Leopard (F31), but with an Italian coachwork. It went into limited production later that year. It was the worst Zagato-bodied car of all time for three good reasons: these pods on the bonnet are actually wing mirrors, it was laughably underpowered and it was three times the price of a new Honda NSX Type R.
1989 Cadillac Solitaire Concept; the two-door version of the 1988 Cadillac Voyager Concept. Like the Voyager, it was based on a production Cadillac Seville, but unlike the Voyager, it had a V12 engine. Hilariously, Cadillac designed the Solitaire and Voyager specifically for the 320km/h (200mph) American superhighways of the future. It's likely Cadillac got slapped across the face by reality and sheepishly swept the cars under the rug.
1989 Chevrolet California IROC (International Race Of Champions) Camaro Concept; it was based on a production third generation Chevrolet Camaro that was stretched by 7.5cm (3in). It was later evolved into the less pointy fourth generation Camaro, which went into production three years later. Some of its design cues and lines appeared on the most beautiful concept car of all time, 1993 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray III Concept. Some sources suggested that the pointy 1988 Pontiac Banshee IV Concept inspired the design of this concept car.
1989 Chevrolet XT-2 (eXperimental Truck #2) Concept; the American version of the Holden Ute that never was and never will be. It was basically the pickup version of the production fourth generation Chevrolet Camaro IROC. Interestingly, its V6 engine was positioned in the centre just beneath the truck bed. When it was unveiled, it quickly became the most unpopular, I repeat, unpopular concept car. The lack of popularity didn't give GM any hope to put it into production for the USDM (United States Domestic Market). Ja, that's why you Americans never got it.
Fun fact: it was used as a pace car in the CART PPG Indy Car World Series later that year.
1989 Chevrolet XT-2 Concept; the truck bed. If there was a V6 engine under there, then I wonder what was under the bonnet. "GM's hopelessnesses?" my husband suggested.
1989 Chrysler Millennium Concept; it was an ESV (Experimental Safety Vehicle) to experiment with the forward cab design and use of safety equipment such as accident avoidance system, airbags and impact-resistant composite materials.
1989 Daihatsu Fellow 90 Concept; the next generation Daihatsu Leeza hatchback that never was. It was based on a production Leeza hatchback. Leeza was replaced by the Daihatsu Opti for the 1992 model year.
1989 Dodge Dakota Sport V8 Concept; it was based on a production first generation Dodge Dakota. It was later evolved into the Shelby Dakota Sport, which went into limited production later that year. The Shelby Dakota had its standard 3.5L V6 engine swapped with a Shelby 5.2L V8 engine. It was the first high performance mini truck to enter the market before the 90's goodies came in (GMC Syclone and Ford SVT Lightning). "Why aren't trucks that wicked anymore?" Nakita asked.
1989 Dodge Viper VM01 Prototype; the first Dodge Viper prototype. Interestingly, it was powered by a Chrysler 360 5.2L V8 engine, which was used in the production first generation Dodge Ram. It was strictly a show car without any plans to go into production. However, it quickly became the most popular concept car. Chrysler saw a great opportunity and then started the plans to put it into production.
1989 Dodge Viper VM02 Prototype; the second Dodge Viper prototype. It had the Viper 8L V10 engine that Dodge intended to use when it goes into production. Lamborghini was involved with the development of the V10 engine (friendly reminder: Lamborghini was owned by Chrysler at that time). For reasons unknown, it added side exhausts, but ditched the windscreen frame. With the lack of rollover safety equipment, the scaredy kittens at NHTSA predictably forced Dodge to start over. "It looked like a hot car (hot rod)," Nakita commented.
After the VM02, there were two more Dodge Viper prototypes, but they appeared in 1990 and 1991.
1989 Ferrari Mythos Concept by Pininfarina; it was based on a production Ferrari Testarossa. Only three examples were built, one is residing at Pininfarina's museum in Turin, Piedmont, Italy and two were delivered to the I-buy-new-cars-and-drive-them-for-two-days-and-then-I-buy-new-cars-to-replace-them royal family. It's likely these two Mythoses are rotting away in a garage that the family forgot about. "Did they find some change on the floor to buy these?" Nakita asked.
1989 Ford Fiesta Urba Concept; it was based on a production second generation Ford Fiesta. It had a built-in refrigerator and a garage door opener remote control. Despite the hideous exterior and interior colour choice, the 3-door and 5-door Fiesta Urba concept cars were very popular at their unveiling.
1989 Ford Fiesta Urba Concept; the 5-door version.
1989 Ford Saguaro Concept by Ghia; the very first CUV (Crossover Utility Vehicle). It was based on a production Ford Sierra 4x4. Ghia paid more attention to the approach of an off-roader. It inspired many crossover designs over the years. It was originally unveiled at the Turin Motor Show in 1988, but it became official when Ford had their turn at the Chicago Auto Show a year later. In 2002, it was sold for 15 times the price of your first beater car ($6,463 USD).
1989 Ford Via Concept by Ghia; it was based on a production Ford Sierra, but with a turbocharged V8 engine from a production third generation Ford Mustang. Ghia paid more attention to the optical technology on this concept car. It had fibre optic headlights that help the driver navigate in the fog and a photochromic roof that can be removed. Some of its design cues and lines appeared on the second generation Ford Taurus and Ford Probe, which went into production later that year (Probe) and in 1991 (Taurus).
Fun fact: photochromic is a material that darkens in the presence of light of a specific spectrum or intensify, usually the sunlight. Some reading glasses have photochromic lenses.
1989 GMC Syclone Concept; it was based on a production first generation GMC Sonoma. Its production counterpart hardly changed before it went into limited production two years later. It was eventually later evolved into the SUV version called the GMC Typhoon. White cars with white wheels are nicer than "murdered out" black cars with black wheels.
1989 Honda NS-X (New Sportscar Xperimental) Prototype; the 1984 Honda HP-X Concept's successor. The 2.0L V6 engine in the HP-X was swapped with a VTEC (Virtually Torqueless Economy Car. Just kidding! Variable value Timing lift Electric Control) V6 engine. The VTEC V6 was designed to make the car affordable and reliable to compete against expensive sports cars and supercars. It went through thousands hours worth of testing before it went into production a year later. The hyphen (-) was removed from the model name when it went into production.
Fun fact: Did you know that Honda had an army of race car drivers help with the NSX development? A Formula 1 driver named Ayrton Senna was solely responsible for the NSX's success by suggesting some suspension tweaks for improved handling. Honda eventually rewarded Senna with two production NSX's.
1989 Isuzu 4200R Concept; the Isuzu sports car that never was. It was based on a production Lotus Esprit SE. Lotus was very involved in the Isuzu 400R development by providing a chassis, a V8 engine and a V12 engine (friendly reminder: Isuzu and Lotus were owned by GM at that time). It's unknown why the 4200R never went into production, but my best guess is that Isuzu wanted to focus on their successful commercial vehicle market.
1989 Isuzu Costa Concept; it was based on a production 3-door Isuzu KU Wizard. It was an experimental vehicle to experiment with plastic body panels for weight reduction. It had a motorised truck bed cover that slides to open or close by a push of a button. "It looked like a toy," Nakita commented.
1989 Jeep Grand Cherokee Concept 1 Concept; the best looking Jeep concept car of all time. It was based on a production Jeep Grand Wagoneer. It was later evolved into the less exciting looking first generation Grand Cherokee, which went into production three years later.
1989 Mazda AZ-350 Sports Concept; there isn't much information on it other than the name and the photo. Some sources suggested it was one of the early Mazda Miata concepts.
1989 Mazda AZ-550 Type A Concept; it was based on a production Mazda Carol. It was basically a Japanese Ferrari Testarossa knockoff with gullwing doors.
1989 Mazda AZ-550 Type B Concept; another Carol-based concept. It was the sporty version of the AZ-550 Type A, but with fixed headlights and standard doors.
1989 Mazda AZ-550 Type C Concept; yet another Carol-based concept. It was inspired by Mazda's endurance race cars like the Mazda 787B. Unfortunately, it had a stock Mazda Carol powertrain. It was the biggest disappointment in Mazda history because Mazda said it was the "joke car" of the AZ-550 series. "It looked scared," Nakita commented
Amazingly, the designers at Autozam were able to combine all three AZ-550 concept cars into this Autozam AZ-1/Mazda AZ-550, which went into production three years later.
1989 Mazda TD-R Concept; despite having many photos on the Internet, there isn't any information on it other than the name. My best guess is that it was a styling concept to study the idea that was later evolved into a CUV. Ja, a crossover with gullwing doors. Sorry Tesla, your ridiculous Model X isn't the first CUV to have gullwing doors.
1989 Mercury Concept One Concept; it was based on a production Mercury Tracer. Mazda was partially involved in the Mercury Concept One development by providing the designs for an aerodynamically smooth body (friendly reminder: Mazda and Ford were partners at that time). Ford then selected one of the designs, made a fibreglass body and then slapped it on top of a Tracer chassis. It was later evolved into two cars, the second generation (USDM) Ford Escort and second generation Mercury Tracer, which went into production two years later.
1989 Michalak Cilindro Concept; there isn't much information on it other than name and the photo. Some sources suggested it was designed and built by the wheel manufacturer of the same name.
1989 Mitsubishi HSX Concept; it was based on a production Mitsubishi Starion. The HSX and its famous sibling, the 1989 Mitsubishi HSR-II Concept, were later combined and became the Mitsubishi GTO/Mitsubishi 3000GT/Dodge Stealth, which went into production a year later.
1989 Mitsubishi Minicab EV Concept (electric vehicle); the production sixth generation Mitsubishi Minicab MiEV's predecessor. It was basically a production fourth generation Minicab, but with an electric motor.
1989 Nissan Boga Concept; very little is known about it. It was Nissan's another (failed) vision of the future. Like the 1986 SAAB EV-1 Concept, its windows had solar cells for the solar powered interior fans that cool the car when its interior temperature reaches a specific temperature.
1989 Nissan Chapeau Concept; there isn't much information on it other than the name and a few photos.
1989 Nissan Neo-X Concept; the first Nissan to have a HUD (Heads-Up Display). It was an experimental concept to study the idea of using advanced safety technology and interior comfort. Interestingly, it had a fully functional LIDAR (LIght Detection And Ranging) that beeps when there is something nearby. It had liquid crystal windows that darkens at a push of a button. Despite its normal appearance, it's unknown what car it was evolved into.
1989 Nissan UV-X Concept; it was based on a production Nissan Bluebird 910. Like the Nissan Neo-X Concept, it had liquid crystal windows. It also had a rear view camera and a CCTV (Closed Circuit TeleVision) screen on the dashboard to assist with driving in reverse for confused teens who can't work the rearview mirror. It was later evolved into the first generation Nissan Primera, which went into production a year later.
Fun fact: NHTSA is going to require all new cars in the US to have a rear view camera installed.
1989 Oldsmobile Tube
Sock Car Concept; it was based on a production eleventh generation Oldsmobile 98. It had rear-hinged doors and no pillars. It was later evolved into the first generation Oldsmobile Aurora, which went into production a year later.
1989 Opel-Lotus Omega Prototype; it was based on a production Opel Omega A chassis. Lotus and GM (Opel and Vauxhall) were involved with the Lotus-Omega development. Lotus performed some engine modifications and supplied body kits and then GM took care of the rest. A tyre company called Goodyear was involved with the development as well. Goodyear developed tyres that were designed specifically for the car, and they had a Greek symbol for Omega (Ω) on them. The prototype didn't change much before it went into limited production a year later. In Europe, it was called the Opel-Lotus Omega and in UK, it was called the Vauxhall-Lotus Carlton (friendly reminder: the Omega and Carlton used the same chassis). To no one's surprise, the car was never sold in the US, but it can be legally imported next year for a premium price.
1989 Plymouth Speedster Concept; the Honda Element of the 80's. It was designed specifically to be resistant to everyday elements. Its fluorescent yellow interior was entirely made of neoprene, a rubber-like material that is used in wetsuits. Ja, that means you can easily hose down the interior (a myth that many unfortunate Honda Element owners fell for). Its design was inspired by motorcycles, but it had a four wheel drive (4WD or 4x4) drivetrain that is driven by a Mitsubish 2.0L I4 engine. "A quad bike with pretty colours and a swimming pool inside! This is my favourite car!" Nakita said cheerfully.
1989 Plymouth Voyager III Concept; the STUPIDEST and MOST POINTLESS concept car of all time. It was actually two cars attached, a tiny 5-seater minivan and an extension section to add three more seats to turn the minivan into a 8-seater minivan. To add insult to the injury, both, I repeat, both vehicles had an engine. The minivan had a 1.6L engine and the extension section had a 2.2L engine. Despite having an engine, the extension section was completely undriveable without the minivan attached to it.
1989 Plymouth Voyager III Concept; here's what it looks like when they were separated. The minivan itself would've looked better without the other half. Stupid. "I want to drive that (extension section) without the minivan (attached) on a hot day. It will be windy (inside)!" Nakita commented.
1989 Pontiac Fiero Prototype; the next generation Pontiac Fiero that never was. It was based on a production Pontiac Fiero. Unfortunately, due to poor Fiero sales, GM scrapped the plans to put it into production. This prototype is the only surviving example in existence. Many of its design cues and lines were combined with the 1988 Pontiac Banshee IV Concept and then became the fourth generation Pontiac Firebird, which went into production three years later.
1989 Pontiac Stinger Concept; the funnest concept car of all time. It was based on a production Pontiac 6000 STE, but with an AWD drivetrain from a 6000 S/E. It was powered by a modified Pontiac 3L SD4 (Super Duty 4-cylinder) engine that produces 125kW (170hp). The designers and engineers at Pontiac managed to cram in many things under those carbon fibre body panels such as:
- Cassette and CD players
- Beverage cooler
- First aid kit box
- Travel cases
- Compact camping stove (propane)
- Air suspensions that can raise the car up to 10cm (4in) for off-roading
- Removable windows (except the windscreen) and roof
- Electricity generator with sockets and a built-in extension cord
- Picnic table
- Torches (flashlights)
- Removable radio
- Hosepipe with a built-in water pump
- Air compressor
- Handheld vacuum cleaners
Like the 1989 Plymouth Speedster Concept, the interior was entirely made of neoprene. The seats had removable memory foam cushions that can be used as beach chairs. How cozy! Sadly, it never went into production, but it will easily outsell motorhomes and caravans if it did. "I wish cars were fun like that," Nakita commented.
1989 Porsche Panamericana Concept; the Porsche 911 off-roader that never was. It was based on a production Porsche 911 (964) Carrera 4. The body panels were made of carbon fibre and plastic. Its roof had three configurations: roadster, targa (removable roof) and coupe. The development took Porsche only six months to complete. It later evolved into two non-offroader cars, the Porsche 911 (996) and Boxster (986), which went into production in 1996 (Boxster) and 1998 (911). The Panamerica can be seen on display at Porscheplatz in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Deutschland.
Fun fact: Porsche gave Ferry Porsche the Panamerica as a gift for his 80th birthday. He was probably the luckiest CEO in the automotive industry.
1989 Sbarro Orbital Wheel Concept; the futuristic motorcycle with hub-less wheels. Only three examples were built, one in white (pictured), one in red, but it had a standard rear wheel and one in black for educational purposes. From the Sbarro website:
The orbital wheel comprises two components:
• A rotating part including the tyre, a centre-free rim and a brake ring.
• A fixed part lies around the inner ring of the bearing to which are set linking triangles, steering rods and brake gripper.
"I LOVE it!" Nakita said with delight.
1989 SEAT Proto T Concept by ItalDesign; it was basically a production SEAT Malaga, but with an Italian coachwork. It was later evolved into the first generation SEAT Toledo, which went into production two years later.
1989 Subaru SVX Concept by Italdesign; it was basically a production Subaru Vortex, but with an Italian coachwork. ItalDesign combined two Subaru concept cars from 1986, the ACX-II and F-9X, with a production Subaru Vortex, made some cosmetic tweaks and then the Subaru SVX was born. It was later evolved into the first generation SVX, which went into production two years later.
1989 Toyota 4500 GT Concept; the car that caused Mother Earth to hit the earth crust's ceiling with a broom in annoyance. It was powered by a rear mounted 1UZ-FE V8 prototype engine that produces 220kW (295hp). It had liquid crystal windows, roof and headlight lens. Here's the most annoying and pointless feature: it had mirrors with water sensors that emits ultrasonic sound waves (ultrasound) to clear them free of water drops. When it was unveiled, it became the most disliked concept car. The unpopularity forced Toyota to scrap the plans to put it into production, but many of its technology appeared on the third generation Toyota Soarer (also known as the Lexus SC 300 in the US), which went into production two years later.
Fun fact: a vast majority of animals can hear ultrasonic sound waves.
1989 Toyota RAV Four Prototype; there isn't much information on it other than the name and a few photos. It was later evolved into the first generation Toyota RAV4, which went into production in 1994.
1989 Volkswagen Corrado Magnum Concept by MAG (Marold Automobil GmbH) #1; it was basically a Volkswagen Corrado that was heavily customised with the body of a wagon. MAG hopelessly wasted their time developing two prototypes (pictured above and below) hoping Volkswagen will put one of them into limited production. Volkswagen saw no point of putting it into production because their Golf Mki2 and Scirocco Mk2 were already in production at that time
1989 Volkswagen Corrado Magnum Concept by MAG #2; the rear.
1989 Volkswagen Futura Concept; very little is known about it. It was an experimental vehicle to experiment the idea of using sound cancelling materials, evaporation cooling system and gullwing doors. The evaporation cooling system helped the car ditch the traditional ventilator and pump to reduce the curb weight.
WARNING: VOMIT INDUCING COLANI CONCEPTS AHEAD
This section contains graphically explicit photos of the ugliest, most hated concept cars of all time that were designed by a famous straight line hater named Luigi Colani. I threw in some photos and words because I didn't bother doing any research on them. It's advised to have a coffee bag or a bucket ready at hand. Have fun! *gags*
1985 Mercedes Benz Le Mans Prototype by Colani
1989 Chevrolet Corvette Concept by Colani
1989 Colani Utah 6 Concept
1989 Colani Utah 8 Concept
1989 Ferrari Lotec Testa d'Oro Concept by Colani; there's an article on Jalopnik with everything you need to know about this puke. Go right here to read it.
1989 Ford Prototype by Colani
Are you okay? Oh good. Well, we're done here.
"Danke schön!" Nakita finished. Thank you very much for viewing. Cheers! :)