Concept car

A concept car (also known as a concept vehicle, show vehicle or prototype) is a car made to showcase new styling and/or new technology. They are often shown at motor shows to gauge customer reaction to new and radical designs which may or may not be mass-produced. General Motors designer Harley Earl is generally credited with inventing the concept car, and did much to popularize it through its traveling Motorama shows of the 1950s.

Concept cars never go into production directly. In modern times all would have to undergo many changes before the design is finalized for the sake of practicality, safety, regulatory compliance, and cost. A "production-intent" prototype, as opposed to a concept vehicle, serves this purpose.[1]

Buick Y
1938 Buick Y-Job, often considered the first concept car


Concept cars are often radical in engine or design. Some use non-traditional, exotic, or expensive materials, ranging from paper to carbon fiber to refined alloys. Others have unique layouts, such as gullwing doors, 3 or 5 (or more) wheels, or special abilities not usually found on cars. Because of these often impractical or unprofitable leanings, many concept cars never get past scale models, or even drawings in computer design. Other more traditional concepts can be developed into fully drivable (operational) vehicles with a working drivetrain and accessories. The state of most concept cars lies somewhere in between and does not represent the final product. A very small proportion of concept cars are functional to any useful extent, some cannot move safely at speeds above 10 miles per hour (16 km/h).[2]

Inoperative "mock-ups" are usually made of wax, clay, metal, fiberglass, plastic or a combination thereof.

If drivable, the drivetrain is often borrowed from a production vehicle from the same company, or may have defects and imperfections in design. They can also be quite refined, such as General Motors' Cadillac Sixteen concept.[3]

After a concept car's useful life is over, the cars are usually destroyed. Some survive, however, either in a company's museum or hidden away in storage. One unused but operational concept car that languished for years in the North Hollywood, California, shop of car customizer George Barris, Ford Motor Company's "Lincoln Futura" from 1954, received a new lease on life as the Batmobile in the Batman series that debuted in 1966 on the ABC Television Network.

Notable concept cars

Model Notes
Alfa Romeo BAT cars 1950s aerodynamic studies by Bertone.
Aston Martin Atom Designed in 1939 by Claude Hill. Fully functional and still in road-worthy condition, it was adopted by Aston Martin owner David Brown into a racing car that won outright at the 1948 Spa 24 Hours and became the basis for the DB1.
Auburn Cabin Speedster Considered the first concept car,[4] it was built in 1929 and used for publicity, touring the car show circuit until it was destroyed in a fire at a Los Angeles exhibit that also consumed about 320 other cars on display.[5]
BMW GINA A fabric-skinned shape-shifting sports car. This platform (aside from the body material and changing shape) was adopted in 2012 for the BMW i3 and BMW i8 Electric Vehicles.
Buick Y-Job Designed in the late 1930s by the famous General Motors designer Harley Earl. Considered by most to be the first concept car.[6] Inspired many other Buick vehicles, including the Buick Blackhawk Concept.
General Motors Le Sabre Built by Harley Earl in 1951, it helped introduce 12 volt electrics and the aluminum 215 ci V8 to GM. This nameplate was transferred over to be a production vehicle.
Cadillac Cyclone Built in 1959, it is one of Harley Earl's last designs. Its futuristic styling was heavily influenced by 1950s aviation and rocketry.
Cadillac Debutante Considered the most luxurious car ever built, the Cadillac Debutante came with leopard skin interior with a 24 karat gold instrument panel and fittings.
Chevrolet Corvette Mako Shark Previewed the design of the 1968–1982 production Corvette.
Chevrolet Volt One of the first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle concept cars. This vehicle was launched with limited availability in certain states in early 2011, with availability in all of the United States, as well as parts of Europe by the end of 2012. The production car is the successor to the failed GM EV-1, originally leased through Saturn dealerships.
Chevrolet Corvair Monza GT 1962 mid-engined experimental prototype.
Dodge Tomahawk A 2003 V10-powered four-wheel motorcycle-like design that drew attention for its audacity, and the debunked claim that it could hypothetically reach speeds of 300 to 420 mph (480 to 680 km/h).
Ferrari Modulo Designed by Paolo Martin of the Italian carozzeria Pininfarina, unveiled at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show.
Ford Nucleon A nuclear-powered car (scale model only).
Ford Probe A series of four designs between 1979 and 1983 of which the Probe III was eventually developed into the Ford Sierra.
Ford SYNus First shown in 2005. This design was developed to explore the creation of an ultra-safe roadgoing environment.
General Motors Firebird A series of gas turbine-powered cars. Pontiac adopted this nameplate based on the Chevrolet Camaro. The nameplate was retired in 2002, along with the Chevrolet Camaro, which was revived in 2010.
Holden Efijy Based around the Holden FJ, named the United States concept car of the year for 2007.[7]
Lancia Megagamma The prototype for the modern MPV (minivan).[8][9]
Mercedes-Benz F700 Its PRE-SCAN road scanning suspension allows you to not feel any bumps and humps on the road (developed later into Magic Body Control). This design will lead to the development of the next-generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Mercedes-Benz B-Class, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
MIT Car The Massachusetts Institute of Technology concept car with Frank Gehry.[10]
Phantom Corsair A 1930s concept car, developed by Rust Heinz.
Pontiac Bonneville Special Pontiac's first 2-seater sportscar that debuted at the 1954 Motorama. This nameplate carried over to a Pontiac sports car of the 1950s.
Pontiac Club de Mer Pontiac's all stainless steel sportscar that debuted at the 1956 Motorama.
Porsche 989 Porsche's first 4-door car, a predecessor of the Porsche Panamera.
Rolls-Royce 1EX The first in a series of 'experimental models', the 1EX was built by Rolls Royce in 1919 on a 40/50 h.p. chassis to test and develop their cars. Individual EX models were produced for over 40 years ending with the 45EX in 1958.The Ghost name Rolls Royce Ghost was adopted in 2011 as a production vehicle. 1EX was also used for the concept version of this Rolls-Royce vehicle.[11]
Volvo VESC Used as testbed in the development of safety features incorporated into the Volvo 240 series cars, used by the NHTSA as a basis for later safety standards, including self-retracting three-point seatbelts, crumple zones, head restraints, rollover protection, and shock-absorbing zero-damage bumpers.[12][13]

See also


  1. ^ Chrysler "Jolts" PHEV Race; PHEV Ads; V2Green Acquired Archived December 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, September 24, 2008, CalCars (California Cars Initiative)
  2. ^ "What is a Concept Car? - Kelley Blue Book".
  3. ^ Cadillac Sixteen Archived November 26, 2005, at the Wayback Machine, by Nick Hull, Detroit Auto Show 2003 Highlights, Car Design News, Inc.
  4. ^ Smith, Karl (November 24, 2017). "CCotW: Auburn Cabin Speedster (1929)". Car Design News. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  5. ^ Lamm, Michael (May 17, 2015). "The Sensational Auburn 1929 Cabin Speedster". The Old Motor. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  6. ^ Wilkinson, Stephan (2005), Man And Machine: The Best of Stephan Wilkinson, Rowman & Littlefield, p. 83, ISBN 9781599216799, retrieved August 2, 2016
  7. ^ "Bold Holden wins top US award". News Limited. June 22, 2007. Retrieved July 15, 2007.
  8. ^ Tumminelli, Paolo (2004). Car Design. teNeues. p. 66. ISBN 3-8238-4561-6.
  9. ^ "30 Years of ItalDesign". Jack Yan & Associates. 1998. Retrieved January 3, 2008.
  10. ^ Concept Car w/ GM & Frank O. Gehry
  11. ^ Mosher, David (July 10, 2004). "Australian International Motor Show – Rolls-Royce Speech". Maybach. Archived from the original on December 5, 2004. Retrieved May 21, 2011.
  12. ^ Lasse Swärd (April 24, 2012). "Ett säkert kort från Hisingen" [A safe bet from Hisingen]. Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  13. ^ "Volvo questions need for safety vehicles...". New Scientist. Vol. 58 no. 842. April 19, 1973. p. 160.

External links

Audi Le Mans quattro

The Audi Le Mans quattro is a concept car, developed by German automobile manufacturer Audi, for presentation at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show, in order to celebrate Audi's three successive wins at the arduous 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in 2000, 2001, and 2002. It was the third and final concept car designed by Audi in 2003, following the Pikes Peak quattro and the Nuvolari quattro.Audi's subsidiary quattro GmbH subsequently decided to produce the Audi Le Mans quattro as a production road car, calling it the R8, naming it after their very successful R8 LMP race car, which won the 24 Hours of Le Mans five times.

Auto Expo

The Auto Expo is a biennial automotive show held in Greater Noida, NCR, India. It is Asia's largest and the world's second-largest motor show.

Till 2012, the expo was organized at Pragati Maidan, but since 2014 it is organized at India Expo Mart, Greater Noida. It is organized jointly by the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association (ACMA), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

Chevrolet Cheyenne (concept car)

The Chevrolet Cheyenne was a concept car created by Chevrolet. It was first introduced at the 2003 North American International Auto Show. The Cheyenne had innovative designs not available in production vehicles at the time, such as its side access doors and unique cargo bed.

The Cheyenne's cargo area featured storage drawers, similar to the Honda Ridgeline's, but the Cheyenne also had side access doors to load and unload cargo from either side of the vehicle.

The Cheyenne's engine was a supercharged 6.0 L V8 engine developing approximately 500 hp (370 kW) and 580 lb⋅ft (786 N⋅m) of torque.

American Motors used the name for its Rambler Cheyenne concept station wagon that was exhibited at the 1964 Chicago Auto Show. This model should also not be confused with the Cheyenne trim badging used on the Chevrolet C/K pickup prior to 1998. In Mexico, the Chevrolet Cheyenne is also a luxury trim for Chevrolet Silverado, is also available in Regular Cab since the 1980s, Extended Cab since 1998 year model and Crew Cab since 2005 year model.

Chevrolet Corvair Monza GT

The Chevrolet Corvair Monza GT was a mid-engined experimental prototype automobile built in 1962 and based on the early model Chevrolet Corvair series. As it was essentially a concept car, the Monza GT did not enter production.

Chevrolet Express (concept car)

The Chevrolet Express is a concept car created in 1987 by Chevrolet. The car featured a roof which opened to allow entry, ran on a gas turbine engine, was capable of 150 miles per hour, and was made of carbon fiber. The car had drive-by-wire controls, instrumentation and three dash-mounted screens, and cameras replacing mirrors.The car is also seen in Back to the Future Part II upon Marty's arrival in the year 2015.

Chevrolet SS (concept car)

The Chevrolet SS was a concept car designed, branded, and built by Chevrolet. It was introduced at the 2003 North American International Auto Show, but was never approved for official production. The SS (which stands for Super Sport) was intended to be a modern version of past SS variant vehicles, such as the Camaro and Chevelle.

Chevrolet Trax (concept car)

The Chevrolet Trax is one of three small car concepts introduced at the 2007 New York International Auto Show. The Trax showcases a new style of small car from General Motors with a two-tone exterior. The mini car was completely designed by GM Daewoo in South Korea. The small hood houses a 1.0 L gas engine with a top speed of 105 mph (169 km/h).

Chicago Auto Show

The Chicago Auto Show is held annually in February at Chicago's McCormick Place

convention center. It is the largest auto show in North America.

Corvette Stingray (concept car)

The Corvette Stingray Racer Concept Car is a privately funded concept car that formed a basis for the second (C2) generation Corvette Stingray. The Stingray racer-concept car was designed by Pete Brock, the youngest designer to work at GM at that time, Bill Mitchell, GM Vice President of styling, and Larry Shinoda in 1959. The basis of the Stingray was the 1957 Corvette SS, a stillborn racing project. The Stingray still exists today with a 327-cubic-inch (5.4 L), fuel-injected V-8 of 375 hp (280 kW).

Giorgetto Giugiaro

Giorgetto Giugiaro (Italian pronunciation: [dʒorˈdʒetto dʒuˈdʒaːro]; born 7 August 1938) is an Italian automobile designer. He has worked on supercars and popular everyday vehicles. He was born in Garessio, Cuneo, Piedmont.

Giugiaro was named Car Designer of the Century in 1999 and inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2002.In addition to cars, Giugiaro designed camera bodies for Nikon, computer prototypes for Apple, Navigation promenade of Porto Santo Stefano, and developed a new pasta shape "Marille", as well as office furniture for Okamura Corporation.

Honda OSM

The Honda OSM (for Open Study Model) is a concept car that was revealed on at the London Motor Show on 2008-07-22.Honda OSM was designed by Honda's R&D facility in Offenbach, Germany. Honda has no plan for production model.

Mako Shark (concept car)

The XP-755 concept car, also known as the Mako Shark, was designed by Larry Shinoda under the direction of General Motors Styling and Design head Bill Mitchell in 1961, as a concept for future Chevrolet Corvette production cars. In keeping with the name, the streamlining, pointed snout, and other detailing was partly inspired by the sleek, fast-moving shortfin mako shark. The '61 Corvette tail was given two additional tail lights (six total) for the concept car. The concept was inspired by Bill Mitchell's 1959 Stingray racer XP87 which also inspired the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray.

New York International Auto Show

The New York International Auto Show is an annual auto show that is held in Manhattan in late March or early April. It is held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. It usually opens on or just before Easter weekend and closes on the first Sunday after Easter. In 2018, the NYIAS took place from March 30 through April 8.

The show has been held annually since 1900. It was the first automotive exhibition in North America.The show was held at the New York Coliseum from 1956 to 1987 when the show moved to the Javits Center.Before the show opens every year, several auto companies debut new production and concept vehicles for the press. In addition, the Greater New York Auto Dealers Association (GNYADA) and the International Motor Press Association (IMPA) host corporate meetings and events.

In addition to individual programs during the show, there are automobile related conferences, forums, symposiums, and other gatherings. The ten day event contribution to economy of the City and State is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Nissan Terranaut

The Nissan Terranaut was a 4x4 concept car shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 2006. It was described by its manufacturer as being designed for scientists, geologists, archaeologists or adventurers, and would have seated three people, including an operator of a workstation.

North American International Auto Show

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is an annual auto show held in Detroit, Michigan, at Cobo Center. The show was held in January from 1989 to 2019 (for 31 years), but will be held in June from 2020 onwards. It is among the largest auto shows in North America. UPI says the show is "regarded as the foremost venue for [car] manufacturers to unveil new products".

Renault Trezor

The Renault Trezor is a two-seater electric concept car with autonomous capabilities built by Renault which was unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. The car secured the Festival Automobile International's Most Beautiful Concept car of the Year 2016 award. The car is expected to become a commercial product by 2020.

Vehicle canopy

A vehicle canopy is a rarely used type of door for cars. It has no official name so it is also known as an articulated canopy, bubble canopy, cockpit canopy, canopy door, or simply a canopy. A canopy is a type of door which sits on top of a car and lifts up in some way, to provide access for passengers. It is similar to an aircraft canopy. There are no established sub-types of canopies, so they can be hinged at the front, side, or back, although hinging at the front is most common. Canopy doors are rarely used on production cars, and are sometimes used on concept cars.

Volkswagen Concept BlueSport

The Volkswagen Concept BlueSport is a mid-engined roadster concept car produced by Volkswagen. It was introduced at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The Concept BlueSport follows on from a previous roadster concept car, the Volkswagen Concept R, shown at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show.

The Concept BlueSport is powered by a 2.0 L (120 cu in) TDI I4 producing around 180 hp (134 kW) and 260 lb⋅ft (353 N⋅m). A six speed dual clutch DSG gearbox helps give it an estimated 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) time of 6.2 sec, and a top speed of 140 mph (225 km/h).

Volkswagen Microbus/Bulli concept vehicles

The Volkswagen Microbus Concept Car (also known as the Volkswagen New Microbus and Volkswagen Microbus Concept) was an early-2000s concept car recalling the original Volkswagen Microbus

and first presented at the 2001 North American International Auto Show.


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