Car shows are the place to give us a look at new concepts for cars that might just make it to the production line and become our next favorite cars to drive. Concept cars are what we get to see before the bean counters and the safety guys get a look at them and start to chop up what the car will be and cause us to end up with boring or bland products. There are many concepts that we see every year, but I want to look at six that have become some of the best concepts we have ever seen show up but never made it to production.
Ford Mustang Milano – In 1970 Ford showed up with a purple Mustang Milano that features slim windows, a Naca-ducted hood and a build that was nothing short of a muscle car look. This car could have been a concept from other makers and was certainly one of the coolest looking cars to ever make it to a show and looked really cool in purple. This was one of the only ever two-seater cars as it had a huge rear area for some gear to fit. The Milano offer a huge amount of details that made for some beautiful racing lines.
GM LeSabre – This Buick Y-Job was considered to be the first concept car ever and was a chopped up Buick convertible that showed up in 1951. This design was meant to capture your imagination and attention while also having a jet engine look to the front nose cone of the car. This car was also made to be a low-rider and was built very close to the ground. To the rear the jet look was complete with a round rear cone and two large wings coming up out of the rear panels.
Simca Fulgur – Another concept that was part of the jet age and the time when cars were beginning to resemble what we thought space ships should look like was this Fulgar. This car looked like a cross between the speeders in Star Wars and the cars that actually showed up on the cartoon, The Jetsons. The bubble shaped cockpit and long body that hid the tires gave the look of a truly space ship style vehicle that appeared to be a fitting design. This vehicle first appeared at the Geneva auto show and eventually made its way to the US for use to see as well.
Maserati Boomerang – Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro this flying wedge design would eventually be the idea that would dominate super exotics for the decade of the 1970s. This design eventually made it way to be the inspiration for a variety of models around the world and was the version that would be used for several Lamborghini models. Giugiaro was responsible for several designs including the VW Golf, Lotus Esprit, Maserati Quattroporte and the DeLorean. This build works well for a variety of models especially from the instrument cluster that was put in a round formation.
Jeep J-12 – Why the J-12 never made it to production is really a mystery. This was a truck built on the Jeep features that could handle off road duties like a champ and had a real bed for putting gear in. With a unibody design, even back when it was built, this Jeep certainly could have been something we admired on the road as well. Powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that offered 285 horsepower and was attached to a five-speed automatic transmission this truck was ready to take on the rugged terrain of Moab even with a bed full of gear. This beauty even rode in Utah and did so on 36-inch tires, which were massive for this beauty, but unfortunately it never made its way to production even after a successful run in the desert.
AMC AMX – AMC needed a car that would add some sex appeal to its lineup as it was mostly a rather boring and bland offering for the market at the time. The AMX could have been such a car with the flat muscle car looks up front and a split fast back in the rear. This car used a 290 horsepower V8 that in 1968 was a great looking two-seater coupe. Why this never made it to production is still a mystery because this car looked like it would fit in well.
These six concepts certainly could have been produced in mass quantities and been the cars we enjoyed driving for many years, but unfortunately they never made it to production. Whether it was an accounting issue or a timing problem, each of these cars was made to perform and came from the imagination of a design and engineering team that certainly had some great ideas of what cars should be. Thankfully some of these were the inspiration for much of today’s car models.