15 Futuristic Auto Designs That Never Made It to Production

Every year, the major car companies release their futuristic concept cars. Some of the most creative auto designers compete to build these concept cars with one goal: to dazzle the audience.

Most of these cars contain cutting-edge technologies that are too advanced to hit the road. Unfortunately, these cars live in our memories as vehicles we would love to drive one day. Of all the concept cars that have appeared in car shows, these are the ones people wish had made it to the production line.

1. 1997 Dodge Copperhead

Image Credit: Greg Gjerdingen – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

The Dodge Viper was the flagship sports car produced by Dodge in the 1990s. Looking to break through in the cheaper sports car realm, they unveiled the Dodge Copperhead in 1997. It had a similar appearance to the Viper but scaled-down and was much smaller. Think of a Viper and Mazda Miata hybrid.

Under the hood was a 2.7 V-6 rear-wheeled drive engine with 220 horsepower. That was all this lightweight car needed to zip around the highway.

Production was supposed to begin in 2000 but was ultimately canceled. This was a shame because this car looked like it would be a fun ride.

2. 2018 Audi PB18 e-Tron

Image Credit: Alexander Migl, Own Work – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

The Audi e-Tron is a two-door hatchback electric sports car that premiered in 2018 at Pebble Beach Automotive Week. It is powered by three electric motors, one on the front axle and two on the rear axle, sending power to all four wheels. The vehicle was said to have as much as 700 horsepower.

The real fun part was inside the e-Tron. The driver sat on the left-hand side but could also modify the cabin to a single-seated vehicle with the driver in the center. Only a handful of cars made it to production, though.

3. 2016 The United Nude Lo-Res Car's Reflection

Image Credit: Uncrate LLC.

The United Nude Footwear brand was inspired by the original Lamborghini Countach. They set out to make a concept car resembling something from the Star Trek Franchise.

It is hard to tell what the front and back are. It has just two light bars, 12 tinted clear polycarbonate panels, a two-seat cabin, and an electric motor. The exterior is covered in a reflective mirror-like metal, which could be the inspiration for the modern Tesla CyberTruck.

4. 2020 Mercedes Vision AVTR

Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz.

While brands like Audi, Hummer, and Tesla were experimenting with all-wheel steering, Mercedes-Benz was building a concept car that was really a rocketship/supercar hybrid of the future.

The futuristic concept car sits just inches from the road. Metal spikes adorn the backside, making it look like a dragon stalking its prey. Inside, you will find no steering wheel; it doesn't need one. The car can drive both forward, backward, and sideways on its own. Finally, the piece of technology that was completely shocking to the car world: you don't need a key. The car can sense the driver's heart rate or breath upon entering.

5. 1961 Ford Gyron's Design

Image Credit: The Henry Ford.

In the 1960s, the United States was in the middle of the Space Race, and everyone had high hopes of flying cars in the future. The auto designers at Ford were up to the task of making a futuristic car, and the result was the Gyron. This inline two-seater vehicle looked like something George Jetson would commute in.

The Gyron was equipped with just two wheels balanced by a gyroscope, with a pressure system to help keep the wheels stable. If any car could fly in the future, it would be this design. Imagine a paper airplane on wheels, and you're pretty close to how it looked.

6. 2008 BMW GINA's Skin

Image Credit: Ravas51 – CC BY-SA 2.0/Wiki Commons.

The Acronynm GINA stands for “Geometry and functions In ‘N' Adaptions.” The concept car, built by auto designer Chris Bangle, was made of shape-shifting fabric, with the body capable of changing its aerodynamics and certain speeds.

Pictures of this vehicle do not do it justice. But if I were to describe it, it looks like the James Bond version of the Batmobile. All it needs is some cool gadgets to restore order in Gotham City.

7. 2016 BMW Vision Next

Image Credit: BMW Group.

In 2015, many higher-end brands released self-driving technology. Tesla and Mercedes-Benz led the pack, but BMW was right behind them. But, what made the BMW Vision Next stand out among the crows was the “Active Geometry technology.”

The vehicle's front fenders could expand or retract depending on the speed or angle of the wheels. This provided optimal aerodynamics to reduce drag and improve energy consumption. So, no matter how the car moves, the body stays flush with the wheels to sync perfectly on the road.

8. 2020 Renault Morphoz

Image Credit: Renault.

Inside this concept car was a mini living room. It had seats that could swivel 360 degrees and a folding table. The real genius of the Renault Morphoz is that it could actually morph into a bigger or smaller sports utility vehicle, hence its name.

Yes, you read that correctly. The vehicle could literally change lengths by sucking in its front end and minimizing the size of its rear. How convenient would that be the next time you find a snug parking spot?

9. 2014 Toyota FT-1

Image Credit: Toyota Europe Newsroom.

In 2014, Toyota introduced the FT-1, which many speculated would be their new sports car concept. The car hugged the ground with a wide frame, futuristic lights, and a rather long hood. The car would eventually become the 5th generation Supra, and begin production in 2020.

Unfortunately, Toyota botched the original design. The Supra sat much higher off the ground, and the body appeared to have shrunk. Toyota also chose to use a BMW inline V6 over the 3JZ-GTE engine. The result was a decent sports car, but far from the perfection of the FT-1.

10. 2006 Saab Aero-X

Image Credit: Robin Corps – CC BY-SA 2.0/Wiki Commons.

The Swedish automakers brought their 2006 concept Aero-X to the public to rave reviews. The 2.8 L twin-turbocharged V6 ran on pure ethanol, had 400 horsepower, and reached a speed of 100 miles per hour in under five seconds. What is even more impressive is the cockpit canopy that raised both the doors, windshield, and roof for driver entry.

Despite many fans calling for the car's production, Saab responded with a statement saying it wasn't in the cards at that time. Still, it has been almost 20 years, and car enthusiasts are still talking about the Aero-X design.

11. 2004 Ford Shelby GR-1

Ford Shelby GR-1 Concept Coupe
Image Credit: Tabercil – CC BY-SA 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Much to the delight of Ford Mustang fans, the company brought to life the Shelby GR-1 in 2004. The concept car was a homage to the Daytona Coupe, the premier race car of the 1960s. The snug two-seater cabin, elongated hood, and slick hatchback looked exactly like a futuristic Daytona should, and customers were ready to get out their checkbooks.

Sadly, it wouldn't be until 2019 when Ford gave the green light for the smaller company to begin producing the vehicle.

12. 1995 Chrysler Atlantic

Image Credit: Tom Kredatus, Own Work/Wiki Commons.

The Chrysler Atlantic was a throwback to the designs of the 1930s. The curved front fenders and sunken headlights mimicked the art-deco look of the Plymouth Prowler, a retro-style hot rod that would gain some appeal a few years later.

The car was aesthetically beautiful and packed a punch under the hood. The 4-liter V8 gave the two-seater a whooping 360 horsepower. Still, it was the name that halted production. Buyers didn't believe a brand like Chrysler could produce a muscle car. Sadly, the concept floor was where it started and ended for the Atlantic.

13. 1996 Ford Indigo

Image Credit: The Ford Motor Company.

The Ford Indigo was inspired by Formula One racing cars. The two-seater had fenderless wheel hubs, an open-air cockpit, and a random front-mounted spoiler.

Underneath the hood, the Indigo was built for burning rubber. Ford filled it with a mid-mounted V-12 made from two Duratec V-6s. This little hot rod had 435 horsepower and 405 pounds of torque. The same engine would later be used in various Aston Martins. Of course, with these specs, the car was only used for track racing. Still, car enthusiasts would love to see a street-legal option built 25 years later.

14. 2011 Cadillac Ciel

Image Credit: Skinny Lawyer – CC BY-SA 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Cadillac is notorious for building glamorous concept cars, and then canceling them before they come to production. The Ciel was just another example of them being a tease to their fans. Especially after they saw the car make an appearance in the popular HBO series Entourage.

The four-door convertible sedan could have rivaled the Bentley. It was equipped with a hybrid and a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter direct injection V6, producing 425 horsepower. In 2013, they scrapped the project in favor of their new concept car, the Elmiraj, which has yet to see any advance in production.

15. 2005 Maybach Exelero

Maybach Exelero
Image Credit: Simon Davison – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

The Maybach Exelero has gained quite a reputation. It appeared in a Jay-Z music video, the popular German TV show Cobra 11, and the anime series Nisekoi.

The Exelero is one-of-a-kind. Literally, only one has ever been made. The twin-turbocharged 5.9-liter V-12 produced 691 horsepower and 752 lb-ft of torque. The legendary rapper and music producer Birdman once owned the car, but it has since been bought by Mechatronik, a high-end vehicle company.

Author: Adam Spraker

Adam Spraker is a Trending Topics writer known for such topics as music, sports, travel, and pop culture. He Recently relocated from Sunny San Diego to the Great Smokey Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina.

When he is not working, you can find him sipping on a craft beer at a ball game, hanging out with his pup Gilly, or searching for the best tacos in North Carolina.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.