Throughout history, there have been many exceptional visionaries in the automobile industry. These visionaries created unique cars with features that were decades ahead of their time. While we applaud them for their innovative efforts and forecasts of what the future could look like, most of the vehicles were not practical for mass-market production. Here is our list of the five most unique cars ever designed.
2008 BMW GINA Light Visionary Model
The BMW GINA project started in 2001 and was first revealed to the public in 2008 as a concept car. GINA stands for “Geometry and Functions in ‘N’ Adaptations.” The surface covering the aluminum wire chassis is what really makes the BMW GINA concept car special.
The polyurethane-coated Spandex man-made-fabric skin is flexible, stretchable, and water-resistant. This innovative shell allows the driver to change the shape of the frame at will; the shape of the GINA will also automatically shift according to speed and exterior conditions.
The interior of this unique BMW complements the exterior by adapting to the driver’s preferences and needs. For instance, prior to entering the vehicle, the headrest is sleekly molded into the seat, but when the driver is seated, the headrest rises automatically while the steering wheel simultaneously moves forward along with the instrument panel.
Check out BMW’s 2008 GINA release video:
1970 Lancia (Bertone) Stratos HF Zero
The Lancia Stratos, manufactured in 1970, was way ahead of its time. The unique Lamborghini-like body is sure to still turn heads today.
The Stratos sits only 13 inches off of the ground, forcing its engineers to be creative by putting the door in the windshield.
The fully functioning prototype was powered by a Lacia V4 engine able to put out a total of 115 horsepower. The seats were nearly horizontal, and the green glass instrument panel is reminiscent of the dashboard of a Tesla Model S.
Just take a look at the awesome dashboard!
1953 GM Firebird XP-21
General Motors manufactured the Firebird XP-21 in 1953 in an attempt to experiment with the efficiency and economic benefits of a gas turbine automobile.
The Firebird XP-21’s body was designed with a bubble cockpit, a tail fin, and aerodynamic wings, essentially making this unusual car a jet fighter on wheels. This road fighter’s engine was capable of generating an impressive 370 horsepower and a turbine speed of 13,000 rpm.
Take a step into the past through GM’s original promotional video for these futuristic cars:
1942 Oeuf Electrique
The Oeuf Electrique, which translates to “electric egg,” was designed decades before Elon Musk made electric cars cool.
The miniature aluminum vehicle was equipped with three wheels and powered by 1,110 kg of accumulator batteries, allowing the vehicle to reach a top speed of 37 mph and a range of 60 miles.
Paul Arzens designed this electric vehicle in 1942 Nazi-occupied Paris. Arzens’s idea to create an electric car stemmed from shortages and rationing of petrol and other materials during the war.
1932 Ford Model 18 Speedster
The 1932 Ford Model 18 Speedster was designed with a V-8 engine and came equipped with a push-button start feature. Although that’s now standard in many vehicles, it was a very unique feature for its time.
The Ford Model 18 Speedster was developed by Edsel Ford, Henry Ford’s son, who chose to use exquisite aluminum to shape the sports car. The Model 18 Speedster gave rise to the evolution of a series of three other Ford vehicles.
Fun fact: Once the car was completed, Edsel Ford was often seen driving it to work.
Years later, this car was involved in an accident and presumed to have been totaled, but actually, it ended up in the hands of a Connecticut auto body worker, who fixed it up and kept it for more than 50 years without knowing what a unique car he had. Once it was rediscovered, the car was restored to as close to its original condition as possible.
What is your favorite unique car? Have you spotted any on the road?