We love concept cars. What is there not to love about manufacturers granting their designers and engineers free reign to come up with their idea of future cars? While many concept cars never make it to the showroom floor, we love the parade of wannabe Batmobiles that come out of the world’s motor shows.
The Geneva Motor Show is one of the highly regarded on the motoring calendar and never fails to deliver a mix of new model reveals and concept unvelings. The 2018 show gave us a heap of new concepts, few were more exciting than Subaru’s VIZIV.
If history is anything to go by, a concept car from Subaru is rarely a pipe dream. And this concept hints at the next iteration of the Subie Levorg wagon. Previous auto show reveals from the Japanese manufacturer have foreshadowed updates to both the Impreza and Outback. So when Subaru wheeled out the new Viziv Tourer on the back of the Viziv Performance concept from last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, we stood up and took notice.
With the aggressively-angled front end, oversized wheel arches and (of course) symmetrical all-wheel-drive, Subaru fans are thinking that this might just be the new hot wagon that they’ve been waiting for.
All this excitement got us thinking about concept cars of years past. Which were the most exciting, most radical concepts ever wheeled out?
1. Ferrari 512 S Modulo
The Modulo might look more like a computer mouse than a Ferrari, but this futuristic concept car from the Modena manufacturer was unveiled at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show and won 22 design awards.
Getting into the Modulo was its party trick, with a cockpit canopy that popped up and forward. Despite concealed front wheels that couldn’t steer, it was still a true prancing horse powered by a 5.0-litre V12 engine.
2. Maserati LaMaserati
Perhaps the most impressive yet unofficial concept car is the LaMaserati, which is to the Ferrari LaFerrari what the Maserati MC12 is to the Enzo. Created by Maserati fan Mark Hostler, the LaMaserati is based on the LaFerrari platform and hosts the same 6.3-litre V12, sans any fancy electric hybrid system - just raw, naturally-aspirated power.
3. General Motors Firebird 1
Is it a plane or is it a supercar? Inspired by jet aircraft shapes, and more than just a design gimmick, this drivable concept was powered by a 280kW Whirlfire gas turbine jet engine.
It has just two gears and weighs just 1,134kg, propelling the GM to 160km/h in first gear during testing. However, the power it delivered when shifting to second gear was so dangerous testing stopped. The 677 degrees Celsius exhaust gases also proved an issue.
4. 1962 Ford Seattle-ite XXI
This novel concept car that was displayed during the Seattle World Fair featured a form of nuclear power for its main propulsion source. But it was more than just a plutonium-powered pipedream, this concept featured a lot of technological concepts that have become commonplace in today’s cars. Radical at the time were things like computer-aided navigation, mapping and automated information systems.
The front of the car was also capable of disconnecting and providing a more economical and nimble capsule for urban commuting - an idea that’s only now resurfacing on the concept car circuit.
5. Chevrolet Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo
Although there’s a nod to 1960s and ‘70s Chaparral Can-Am racing cars in the 2X design, the inspiration for this car comes from skydiving in a flying suit.
The driver lies with their head down and arms outstretched, rather than sitting, and an augmented reality helmet provides an overlay of information.
The car is powered by lithium-ion powered laser propulsion jets that produce a hypothetical 671kW. In theory, the car would accomplish 0-100km/h in just 1.5sec with a top speed of 386km/h, but don’t expect to see any of this technology soon.
What would like to see in the concept car of the future? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.