A concept vehicle symbolizes the designer’s vision of styling dynamics and technology that after years shall come to wide acceptance. The prototypes are developed mainly for observing the reactions of viewers over the world. All the collected responses in turn give information about the predictive feasibility of car’s production and marketing in coming times. The best venue for the purpose has always been auto expos. Almost all the motor shows around the world tend to display concept cars along with new and upcoming official releases.
Many Automobile makers indulge their engineers into bringing up concept cars, so that the firm can show to its enthusiasts, what it is capable of offering in future. The concept of presenting concept cars is in-turn a display of a maker’s technical soundness and advanced capabilities. So if not by the current products you can make out the difference between one and other car maker, you can certainly do that by observing the concept car displays by the car makers you want to distinguish between. The feedback so gained also lets the respective company whether it will be able to bring the car out in time or not. These cars look very distinctive in the entire show, funky, chic, and extra-stylish. But no matter how shiny these cars pose, the fact that they are still not on sales list is because they are still taking opinions at the designing stage. Though it may come to one’s obvious wonder, why a big company would put its costly resources into an exercise that may not conclude so fruitful. But a closer sneak peek into the cars does satisfy many questions regarding the future of the company.
What started as Harley Earl’s tool for better marketing and designing went onto become a lot bigger regime. Today this concept is not optional for car makers, to show one’s engineering tools better than others, the display of concept cars have become an essential element. Concept cars somehow reveal the future state of a company, an automaker’s step ahead in future get catch it’s inkling in present. The idea also allows the company to evaluate its own-self on grounds of technological advancement. At times some concepts are just too costly to be brought at reception of the world and some are technically not possible to be produced on mass scale. So one can put in a layman language that designers and engineers pursue their own interests and fantasies for making their unique dream cars, devoid of funding and feasibility of it being produced locally in future.
Companies also utilize concept cars to give clue of cars that they are to produce for wide acceptability. Even the cars that are put to display besides these concept cars go under a lot of changes before being produced. Concept cars let the firms assess how are they being received by people and what changes could be made to bring these cars or modified versions for global acceptance with considerable returns.
Such cars are always made a lot more non-traditional with costly material depicting the exotic nature of design thoughts of the carver. These cars feature unique designs and elements that makes all clearly feel that their wagon has been brought back from future. Yet these cars never actually taste local roads since as many of them are useful to certain extent. It would come to surprise that after a concept car has lived at its show it is either destroyed or put in firm’s museums of remarkable history. Concept cars often sport unique elements that are not seen regular cars. An intriguing example of same is Ford’s Lincoln Futura. Developed in 1954 the concept car enjoyed leisure in a customizer’s shop in LA before it was reanimated to be used as Batmobile in Batman TV series, in 1996.
Let’s take a look at the most admired concept cars, or the American dreams as they call it.
Produced by Buick divisions of GM, this very car actually started the concept car saga. Designed by GM’s chief Harley J. Earl back in 1938, the car sported power-operated secret highlights, electrically powered windows, gunsight hood and wrap-around bumpers. It even sported flush door handles and vertical waterfall grille. The car was brought up only to assess ideas and even before its making, it wasn’t intended to be produced on bigger scale. Harley Earl though drove the two-seater for some years and later it was housed in a warehouse. Ultimately, it found a better home at the Henry Ford Museum till 1993 when it came back to its ancestor company to be part of heritage collection of GM. Then came the year 2001 when Y-Job was reanimated by Buick as BlackHawk, which was largely inspired by Y-Job.
General Motors Le Sabre:
In 1951 GM’s Le Sabre was second concept car from hands of the legend Harley Earl. The car came out lot better and was advanced than the 1938 Buick Y-Job. The new car showcased design elements motivated by aircrafts like windshield that had wrap-around dynamics and tailfins. It also sported a higher grille that hid the headlamps. It gave a typical look of jet-fighter turned four-wheeler. The 1951 Le Sabre body was made up of lightweight magnesium and aluminium. It also featured 12 volt electrics, automatic transmission about the torque converter technology, oil cooler with fuel injection, built-in hydraulic jacks, chrome-molybdenum frame, rain-activated and jet-like air intake. After replacing Buick Y-Job with Le Sabre in 1951, Earl clocked 45000 miles with the latter.
So coming onto the last concept work of Harley Earl, Cadillac Cyclone was rather a bold presentation. It was built by the Cadillac Division of General Motors in 1959. American obsession with jets and aerodynamics was realized again with Cadillac Cyclone. The two fenders matched the design of rockets, making this Cadillac look more like an aircraft than a car. It was brought up on a 104 inches chassis and was backed by 325BHP V8 mill mated to a low-profile carburettor, back mounted auto-transaxle and all-wheel independent suspension. The car’s rather iconoclastic design was further commented by sliding doors and radar-sensing crash prevention. The bubble-top canopy closed itself when rain started. Like other concepts, Cadillac Cyclone didn’t get opportunity to be produced on a bigger scale.
Chevrolet Corvair Monza GT:
In 1963, the car was not only in the news but was one of the main highlights of New York Auto Show and also of the history of General Motors. The coupe was designed by Tony Lapine and Larry Shinoda under the supervision of Bill Mitchel, the then design chief at GM in 1962. The prototype was based on previous models of Chevrolet Corvair series. Monza GT coupe added 16 inches wide wheelbase as compared to a regular Corvair. The engine too was placed ahead of transaxle and rotated by 180 degrees and so forming it a mid-engine auto. Monza GT also sported magnesium-alloy wheels, disc brakes to four wheels and seats with pedals that could be adjusted. This model never got on the assembly line but did give way to Chevrolet Corvette C3.
The idea caught Bill Mitchell, as least what legend says, after he caught a shark while have the deep-sea fishing experience. The truth behind the legend could be seen with credibility since the Mako Shark’s design dynamism matched with that of shark body. Even the color scheme, blue/gray on top and silver white on bottom and rocking panels could clearly depict the inspiration taken from shark animal’s body. The pointed snout, streamlining body and other slim and sleek design details came out of the hands of Larry Shinoda. Other elements contained two additional tail lamps and four-into-two side pipes. Corvette Mako Shark gave way to 1963 Sting-Ray and together, these two cars affected the body design of second generation corvettes.
Even to this day concept cars by GM seem as stunning as back in those times (as can be clearly seen in the case of the Chevrolet Camaro.)