Many concept cars have actually entered production because of their innovative - but not physics defying - technology, beautiful styling cues and strange quirks. However, it is a sad thing that many of these cars will not be made to drive on the road, even if they are stunning to look at and amazing to drive. Be prepared to hear the words 'innovative' and 'produced' multiple times in this article. This is in no particular order!
1. Maserati Birdcage 75th
This particular concept car borrowed some of the styling and technology from the Maserati MC12 and was made to commemorate the success of the Birdcage racers of the 1960s. The entire front half of the car would lift up and slide forwards to let the passenger in (known as a canopy door). It produced around 700bhp using the same V12 engine found in the MC12 and also shared its carbon fibre chassis, keeping it light. However, it was not the best of cars as it did not have any air conditioning. Therefore, on hot days the people who were testing the car had to keep the door slightly open. By making the top of the canopy perspex, they managed to fix visibility issues but sadly this was not enough as it was not produced any further than one example. A shame because this car is a great honour to Maserati's original Birdcages, and it would have been even faster.
2. Peugeot Onyx
This strange, quirky car from Peugeot was innovative in terms of its interesting electric/diesel powertrain, the materials used and its 'dynamic' appearance. The 3.7 litre diesel V8 engine - the same engine used in their 908 race car - is accompanied by an electric motor, which produce a total output of 680 horsepower. A hybrid with a diesel engine instead of petrol is almost unheard of but it sounds pretty cool. The Onyx is made from many different materials, including carbon fibre, copper, felt and even paper which make it more natural and more efficient. However, concerns about the materials being exposed to varying degrees of heat made sure this car was no more. But just because it was not produced does not mean that it can't be innovative, right?
3. BMW Nazca C2
The body, space frame, front of the car and the engine cover of this Italdesign-styled BMW were all made of carbon fibre, bringing its weight down to just 1000 kg. The engine cover was also made from glass which displayed the 350 horsepower, 5 litre V12 also found in the BMW 850i. The doors and windows were very unique; the doors were small and opened outwards, but to allow the driver in the windows lifted up in a gullwing fashion. The front end definitely resembled a BMW, complete with its trademark kidney grille. It was a smooth-styled car with a few sharp edges and beautiful headlights. A spider version also appeared but used a V12 that was 700cc larger. It even had three spoilers. THREE! But this was the end for the Nazca C2: after the failure of the M1, BMW were reluctant to build any more than three cars, including the slightly older Nazca M12, the C2 and the C2 Spider. All three were classed as single production concept cars.
4. Volkswagen W12 Nardo
The W12 Nardo was named after the 'Nardo Ring', where the car was tested and the W12 was for... you know, a 12-cylinder 'W' engine configuration. Before they tested it in Nardo, Italy though, it was named after VW's 'Synchro' 4WD system. Its conception was from a meeting at Volkswagen to build a mid-engined supercar that had a W12 engine which could also be reliable and work in a luxury vehicle. The result? A stunning car with a big, powerful engine and could top 220mph with almost 600bhp! This truly was an orange monster whose scissor doors could cut through just about anything... including dry Weetabix.
5. Chevrolet Aerovette
This beautifully designed Chevrolet was originally named the 'XP-892' and had a V8 engine. Why that name? I'm not sure, but 'Aerovette' definitely suits it better. the name suggests that it is an aerodynamic-designed wedge based on the Corvette of similar name. Which it was. The XP-895 version of the Aerovette was another strange rotary-powered car, similar to the Mercedes-Benz C111 - which also ended up being a concept car. Finally, the actual Aerovette came around with another rear-mid engined layout with a V8 and was approved for production. However, they withdrew because it was too expensive and a front-engined car would be better. It wasn't all that useless though, as it inspired the angled but clean-flowing design of the C3 Corvette.
6. Mazda Furai
The Furai was part of the 'Nagare' design series of concept cars - including the Nagare, Ryuga, Hakaze, Taiki and, of course, the Furai. Its name comes from the Japanese word for 'sound of wind' and was powered by a powerful 3-rotor wankel engine. The number 55 on the side was a honour of the Le Mans-winning 787B. There would have been a very strong possibility that this car would get to race as well as drive on the road. It would have no problem keeping up with its rivals with 450hp and a kerb weight of just 675kg. The car went like it was powered by plutonium! It would have been awesome, if it were not for the unfortunate 'incident' that killed it off...
7. Jaguar C-X75
A stunning concept piece of art - if art had wheels, 778 horsepower, swan doors, electric motors and had batteries that recharged by using diesel-fed micro gas turbines. Here is the C-X75. What was described just there is inspiration for future technology but was ditched in favour of a petrol engine with the electric motors, which brought the power up to a massive 890hp. This would have been the spiritual successor to the great XJ220. There was only one concept made, as well as five experimental prototypes using butterfly doors instead. But it was sadly abandoned only three years after the beginning of the project, although the technology would be used on furure cars as well as the styling of the C-X75 (we're looking at you, F-Type). What a shame because it was one hell of a Jaaag.