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Concept cars

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Feb 5, 2009
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It doesn't matter whether you're into cars or not, at some point or another, you've seen a 'concept' car design that, arguably, has looked more futuristic than what you've glimpsed of even in science fiction films. You're impressed that it isn't just a drawing but rather a physical object complete with the brand's insignia; it's actually real, you think to yourself. Let's look at some of these designs by beginning with perhaps the most talked about.

1. Chevy Volt



Let's take the case of the Chevrolet Volt. At the 2007 Detroit Auto Show, this was the car of the show, green or otherwise. Heck, it's one of only two recent concept vehicles on Wikipedia's list of "Notable Concept Cars" (the other is the Holden Efijy). The Volt concept was muscular, aggressive and had this amazing thing called a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. The PHEV powerplant wasn't unique to the Volt, but it wasn't available in any production vehicle at the time (still isn't). Since General Motors announced soon after showing off the car that it would go into production, the preview that people saw at the show (above) needed to somehow morph into a vehicle that could actually go into production (below). Many, many changes were made, but there are vital clues in the production version that were carried over from the concept model. The thin side mirrors got a bit taller, but they still have a skinny yellow light on them. The blades on the wheels remained, mostly, intact. And the powertrain, of course, is still there. Not everyone liked the way the production model turned out – it was the concept that got people excited, after all – but production versions are almost always toned down from their concept forefathers.
What did they turn out to look like when all was said and done?



I know what you're thinking.



It isn't a new trend by all means. Take for instance the 1958 Ford Nucleon



What's under the hood or available in the cabin can be just as wild as the exterior shell. One of the most famous concept cars is the Ford Nucleon, which was to use a radioactive core powertrain and could go a theoretical 5,000 miles before needing a recharge. The concept was never explored for production at any great length, but when we're talking about reasons to make a concept car, the Nucleon stands as a great example of what's possible.
The Mercedes BIOME, for instance, looks ridiculously gorgeous and their functionality seems incredible. But in many ways it reads like the wet dream of a car enthusiast because I'm not convinced any of these 'concepts' do, or will, actually come to reality. The article I've been quoting above reasons the intent behind these concept designs and their public unveiling is to simply get journalists talking about something. To hype them up. But ifs also a realisation that these things are never going to get made, whats the point of paying any attention to them?

What is the point of concept designs?

http://green.autoblog.com/2010/01/07/greenlings-whats-the-point-of-concept-cars/
 

Kinitari

Black Canada Mafia
Feb 10, 2008
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I guess there is a disconnect between what someone conceives (concept car) and what is economical, practical or just applicable to the real world. Concept cars are wishful, but they're still interesting to think about.

Regardless - major manufacturer concept cars are boring, even the 'futuristic' looking ones. The ideas tend to just be 'make it look like a blob of mercury that is moving really really fast'.

I think what's more productive are concept cars that REALLY look outside of the box, and start considering upcoming tech, how it will integrate with cars and how that might change how we look at cars - for example:



A car that's more like a family room on wheels, and drives itself.
 

Forearms

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Oct 15, 2009
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The concept Volt looks more like the Camaro with the low roofline and those skinnier mirrors. The low roofline isn't practical for passengers in the back seat. I've had a couple 6' guys in the back of my Camaro and they had to bend their heads down to keep from touching the ceiling.
 

Ovid

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Oct 10, 2006
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Volt concept would look terrible as a production vehicle.

Pictures don't do the Volt justice. It looks gorgeous in person.
 

commedieu

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Jan 10, 2009
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Concept cars are to get people excited about the direction that the company is going. Not really what its literally going to look like. Ideas and things that they put into the concept, sometimes make it. Be it just wheel design, or tail-lights.

Cars are all unfortunately designed by a committee. Very rarely does a car go from idea, to paper, to production. I think rare instances of this happening are in the Super Car world. Like the Zonda , Saleen S7, or the Ultima GTR... Some things would be too expensive, others, not practical.

Its weird, because why do you want people to get excited about the direction your'e going, only to molest and spit on it later..?

I just like that Japanese car makers have realized that you can have amazingly cool cars, that are affordable. It doesn't cost more to design something pleasing to the eye... GM.
 

Forearms

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Oct 15, 2009
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Volt concept would look terrible as a production vehicle.

Pictures don't do the Volt justice. It looks gorgeous in person.

This as well. There's a family with a black Volt in my neighborhood... looks like they got the top line trim as well. IMO it's the best looking hybrid sedan out there right now.
 

Lord Error

Insane For Sony
Jun 8, 2004
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A car that's more like a family room on wheels, and drives itself.
That sort of thing is cool, but I keep saying, to get there we'll need a basically ideal road infrastructure. No potholes, no sharp turns, no sharp lane changes to be ever needed. Otherwise, sitting upright, facing front, with seat belts is actually more comfortable, not to mention safer.
 

GuitarAtomik

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Jun 13, 2008
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This always pisses me off. I fully understand that the concept version has to change to fit safety regulations etc but it annoys me that they show these fully functional versions off with no intent of ever building it as is.
 

FelixOrion

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Sep 16, 2011
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It isn't a new trend by all means. Take for instance the 1958 Ford Nucleon



What's under the hood or available in the cabin can be just as wild as the exterior shell. One of the most famous concept cars is the Ford Nucleon, which was to use a radioactive core powertrain and could go a theoretical 5,000 miles before needing a recharge. The concept was never explored for production at any great length, but when we're talking about reasons to make a concept car, the Nucleon stands as a great example of what's possible.
The Mercedes BIOME, for instance, looks ridiculously gorgeous and their functionality seems incredible. But in many ways it reads like the wet dream of a car enthusiast because I'm not convinced any of these 'concepts' do, or will, actually come to reality. The article I've been quoting above reasons the intent behind these concept designs and their public unveiling is to simply get journalists talking about something. To hype them up. But ifs also a realisation that these things are never going to get made, whats the point of paying any attention to them?

What is the point of concept designs?

http://green.autoblog.com/2010/01/07/greenlings-whats-the-point-of-concept-cars/

I want a Ford Nucleon :(
 

ascii42

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Mar 27, 2007
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I wish GM made the Cadillac 16. Did it ever get past fiberglass golf cart stage?

James May drove one on an episode of Top Gear.

They made, what was as far as I know, a fully functioning Cadillac Sixteen, with engine and everything. They just didn't think it would sell I guess.

They actually were very close to putting it out for sale, from what I've heard. I'd guess money issues were the main problem. It's a shame. Cadillac's been without a proper flagship sedan for far too long.

Hopefully something comes out of the Cadillac Ciel
 

enzo_gt

tagged by Blackace
Jun 7, 2009
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Thank god they changed the Volt. The production version is 1000x sexier, even if it's a bit chubby.
 

Arc07

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Aug 29, 2010
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I'm a huge fan of when the production model is pretty damn close to the concept. A good example is the CTS Coupe.

Concept


Production (Standard)


Production (V)
 

ascii42

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Mar 27, 2007
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I'm a huge fan of when the production model is pretty damn close to the concept. A good example is the CTS Coupe.

The Coupe, particularly in V form, has really grown on me. It's still awkward at certain angles, but at others, it's stunning. It's also tough to argue with a supercharged 6.2L V8.

But I'd still get the wagon.
 

Router

Hopsiah the Kanga-Jew
Feb 25, 2007
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The Toyota GT86/FR-S had a great couple of concept designs. Then they release the production design and overnight it went from awesome futureistic Toyota to something that looked like a late 90's Celica.
 

Router

Hopsiah the Kanga-Jew
Feb 25, 2007
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One of the reasons i picked My current car (Hyundai Veloster+) was due to how close the design stayed to the original concept.
 

Arc07

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One of the reasons i picked My current car (Hyundai Veloster+) was due to how close the design stayed to the original concept.

IMO the Veloster is a great example of the production car looking better than the concept.
 

Dark Octave

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Jul 2, 2007
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I've read on a few websites that it's expected to be priced about the same as an Audi R8. So roughly around the $150k mark.
That's a shame. There is a market for cars with an exotic body styling but with a standard V6/V8 engine and price.

Sucks that a lot of people are stuck with having to put a kit on a Honda Civic for an exotic look.
 
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