Concept car is a term that most car owners or drivers don’t know. I’ve always thought that concept cars were clay models made for new car styles. That’s not close at all, because concept cars are real cars built and ready to drive. A concept vehicle is a show or prototype car that is meant to be driven to show off a new concept, style, technology, etc.
Concept vehicles are commonly displayed at major motor shows around the world. They are shown to consumers to gauge their reaction to a radical change or design concept. This concept or show car idea was developed by GM Harley Earl designer. The concept car was a real car, but it never went into live production. It had to be changed for safety, practicality and cost to become a production vehicle not just a concept vehicle.
Concept cars have engines, designs, materials, layouts, doors that are extreme or radical, or things not found in production cars. Most concept cars never go through scale models or computer drawings. A small number of concept vehicles are actually fully functional and some cannot even go faster than 10 mph safely. Once concept vehicles are finished, the cars are usually destroyed but some survive in company museums or in warehouses. The 1954 Lincoln Futura concept car was in custom car shops for years until it was used as the Batmobile in the Batman TV series in 1966.
There are several concept cars that are famous for one reason or another. The Buick Y Job was designed in the 1930s by Harley Earl and is considered the first concept vehicle. General Motors Le Saber built in 1951 introduced 12 volt electricity and an aluminum 215 ci V8. The 1959 Cadillac Cyclone was one of Harley Earl’s last designs. The Chevrolet Volt was one of the first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle concept cars.
The concept vehicle I don’t want to see in production is the Ford Nucleon, a nuclear-powered car. MIT worked with Frank Gehry to develop the MIT Car concept vehicle. Pontiac’s Bonneville Special was Pontiac’s first two-seater sports car and debuted at the 1954 Motorama. Another Pontiac was the Club de Mer, a stainless steel sports car from 1956. The Lancia Megagamma is the prototype for today’s minivans. The Volvo YCC was the first car designed entirely by women.