List: Ten Concepts We Wish Had Become Production Cars

By Brandon Turkus

June 16, 2010


Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta by Pininfarina: Designed to celebrate Pininfarina’s eightieth birthday, the 2uettottanta is a Spider for the 21st century. Mrs. Robinson will love it. Motivation came from a turbocharged 1.7-liter I-4, which made a historical nod to the 1969 Spider 1750 Veloce. Debuted at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show.


Suzuki GSX-R/4: Filling the evolutionary gap between the original Lotus Seven (and subsequent Caterhams) and the Ariel Atom, the GSX-R/4 is a track toy powered by the 1.3-liter motor out of the Hayabusa superbike. Debuted at the 2001 Los Angeles Auto Show.


Cadillac Cien: Designed as a follow-up to the Evoq, the Cien carried on Cadillac’s then new “Art and Science” design language. This looker produced 750 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque from a 7.5-liter Northstar V-12, allowing an estimated top speed of over 250 miles per hour. Debuted at the 2002 North American International Auto Show.


Shelby GR-1: A spiritual successor to the Le Mans-winning Daytona Coupe, the GR-1 featured many of the underpinnings from 2004’s Shelby Cobra Concept, including its 6.4-liter V-10. With bare metal exposed, the GR-1 was a stunner on the show stand. Debuted at the 2005 North American International Auto Show.


Cadillac Sixteen: Designed as a super-executive limousine, the Sixteen was utterly opulent. Inspired by the 1930 Cadillac V-16, this concept was said to produce around 1000 horsepower from its 13.6-liter engine, while still getting 20 miles per gallon on the European cycle. Debuted at the 2003 North American International Auto Show.


Mazda Furai: It may sound cliché, but the Furai looked fast just sitting on the show stand. Although Mazda did drive the Furai in anger, we wish there had been a road-going homologation special, complete with its three-rotor Renesis motor. Debuted at the 2008 North American International Auto Show.


Chrysler ME Four-Twelve: A quad-turbocharged, 7.0-liter V-12 was the centerpiece and namesake of the ME Four-Twelve. This epic motor produced 850 horsepower and 850 pound-feet of torque. Even more remarkable is that the ME was designed and developed in a year, and was initially destined for production before Mercedes’ SLR Team had a hissy fit. Debuted at the 2004 North American International Auto Show.


Lamborghini Estoque: Designed as a competitor for cars like the Aston Martin Rapide and the Porsche Panamera, the Estoque is the first Lamborghini since the LM002 to place the engine at the front, and feature four doors. Power came from the Gallarado’s 5.2-liter V-10. Lamborghini has been indecisive about production, but we really hope they go for it. Debuted at the 2008 Paris Motor Show.


Dodge Demon: This Mazda MX-5 competitor is powered by a 2.4-liter I-4, producing 172 horsepower and 165 pound-feet of torque. The baby Viper had a real shot at making production, but with Chrysler’s bankruptcy troubles, it remains a big question mark. Debuted at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show.


Infiniti Essence: Celebrating Infiniti’s twentieth birthday, the Essence features a host of production ready technology. Power comes from the G37’s 3.7-liter V-6, which makes 430 horsepower in concept form. Aiding acceleration and fuel economy is an electric motor which produces an additional 160 horsepower. Although not expected to make production, the Essence’s design is already influencing current Infiniti products. Debuted at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show.

Alfa Suzuki Cadillac Shelby Cadillac Mazda Chrysler Lamborghini Dodge Infiniti

Concept cars serve many purposes; technology demonstrators, gauges of public opinion, and indications of future design direction, to name just a few. Unfortunately, as cool as some concept cars may be, they aren't always followed up by production versions. In fact, some of the very coolest concept cars are pure thought/design exercises.

Still, we can't help but wish that some concept cars from the last few years had led to viable production products. Here is a list of ten of our favorites that never made it any farther than the auto show floor. Their spirits or design language may have been evidenced in later, road-going cars, but their wild forms, insane interiors, and massively exotic powerplants didn't make it through.