Skip to content
#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal

7 jaw-dropping concept cars that really deserved to make it

Why can’t we buy these? WHY?
Mar 5th 2018, 2:32 PM 7,333 11

CONCEPT CARS ARE produced by manufacturers to highlight future design language. Or to demonstrate new technology. Or just to show off what the manufacturer is capable of doing.

Many concept cars eventually become production models. For example, in 2014 Volkswagen debuted an open-top small SUV concept. In 2016 this had morphed into the soft-top T-Cross Breeze concept – which later on this year will go into production as the T-Roc Cabriolet.

However, some concept cars are just one-off masterpieces destined to go no further than the automotive history books. And these are often the ones that really should be made. By not putting these concepts into production, manufacturers are denying us petrolheads some sexy, exciting and progressive motors.

Here are just a few concept cars that were tragically never given the go-ahead:

Alfa Romeo BAT 5

Source: Gregory MOINE

Long before the Batmobile was the BAT 5. It first appeared at the 1953 Turin Motor Show and was an immediate hit. It was designed by renowned coachbuilder Bertone after Alfa Romeo had asked him and Scaglione to build an aerodynamic experimentation to measure the effects of streamlining on a car’s performance.

The design resulted in an extremely light car of 1,100kg, with a drag coefficient of just 0.23cd.

Source: Jack Snell


Source: Rex Gray

Source: Rex Gray

Ferrari 512 S Modulo

Source: By Morio - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

This wacky and weird Ferrari was unveiled at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show. It was designed by Paolo Martin, of the Italian carozzeria Pininfarina, using the chassis of a donor Ferrari 512 S race car as well as its V12 engine. This ultra-low, wedge-shape spaceship-like piece of art was a hit with critics from the moment it debuted and it went on to win 22 awards.

Source: Morio

Maserati Birdcage 75th

Source: By 160SX - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

This sexy little number pays homage to the Birdcage ‘Tipo 61′, one is a series of lightweight racing cars built in the late 1950s by Maserati to conquer the 24 hours of Le Mans. The ‘Birdcages’ were constructed of a latticework of chromium/molybdenum steel tubing and covered by light sheet metal.

This modern reinterpretation of the Birdcage was a collaboration between Paolo Pinifarina, Franco Lodato, and Peter Aloumanis of Motorola and was constructed on the carbon fibre chassis of a Maserati MC12 GT1 racing car. The engine is an F140C – a 5999cc V12 used by both Ferrari and Maserati and rated at about 700bhp. The Birdcage was unveiled at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show to great acclaim.

Source: Nerval

Mercedes C111

Source: Shutterstock/Pierre Jean Durieu

The Mercedes-Benz C111 is a money-can’t-buy supercar legend from the 1970s. It’s a gull-winged wedge icon that was first shown to a rapturous reception at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1969.

Mercedes used the C111 platform as a test bed for new engine technologies. In fact, 14 C111 prototypes were built powered by everything from Wankel rotary petrol engines to in-line turbodiesels and in its final incarnation a twin-turbo 500hp V8 petrol unit. The original 1969 C111 was powered by a 280hp three-rotor Wankel engine.

16915209867_8a30a34238_k Source: mrA.BOZI

Phantom Corsair

Source: By Alden Jewell - 1938 Phantom Corsair, CC BY 2.0,

The oldest car on our list is the Phantom Corsair six-passenger coupe that debuted in 1938 and was built by Rust Heinz, a member of the HJ Heinz family (yes, the ketchup people).

The sleek ‘Car of Tomorrow’ (or “Flying Wombat” as it was affectionately known) has no visible handles. The passenger compartment is heavily padded and cork lined and it has bullet proof windows.

Source: G.T

Source: Rex Gray

Renault Laguna concept

Source: Alden Jewell

This slinky French number debuted at the 1990 Paris Motor Show. It was styled by an up and coming designer called Jean-Pierre Ploue and the dramatic and futuristic sports car garnered lots of attention.

The super light and low slung sports car had no roof and no windscreen so occupants had to wear visors – which had speakers inside to act as the car’s audio system. Seems practical. I’ve no idea why it didn’t make it to production.

Saab Aero X

Source: By Robin Corps from Crowthorne, England - Saab Aero-X Concept Car, CC BY-SA 2.0

Unveiled at the 2006 Geneva Motor Show, the Aero X is a fabulously cool two-seat sports coupe from now-defunct Swedish manufacturer Saab. It is powered by a 400hp 2.8-litre twin turbocharged V6 running on E100 pure ethanol.

As you can see, there are no doors or windscreen pillars. Instead it has a cockpit canopy, just as you would see on a jet aircraft. This offers the Aero X pilot full 180 degree vision, especially useful when riding into the danger zone.

Source: Henrik Sonnergard

195993320_ec44b5dbe1_b Source: Robin Corps

READ: Review – The Honda Civic Type R looks like a bad boy but is oh so good >

READ: 5 killer performance arms of car manufacturers – and the best cars they’ve souped up >

Send a tip to the author

Melanie May


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a comment

    cancel reply
    Back to top