Sometimes it's truly epic seeing what designers could come up with, should the reins be loosened. From the stylish, to the boisterous, to the down right unfathomable, here are seven of the absolute best.
Widely considered to be the first concept car, the Buick Y-Job was a significant leap forwards in car design. So far forwards, in fact, that for 1938, it looked like it came from the future. Its smooth, beautiful lines are only the beginning of the Y-Job's looks. It had power-operated hidden headlamps, electric windows, wraparound bumpers and the trademark waterfall grille used by Buick until the 1950s. The Buick Y-Job was certainly one of the most influential cars in history, with technology ahead of time.
The Dome Zero was a sporty concept car from 1970s Japan, effectively capturing the essence of the beautiful Italian wedge styling. The founder of the company, Minoru Hayashi, had a desire to compete in 24 Hours of Le Mans, and to do so he designed a sports car to achieve his goal. Dome tried desperately to put their prototype sports car into production, but despite the efforts to homologate this magnificent machine, Hayashi never achieved his Le Mans dream with the Dome Zero.
Revealed in 2008, this thoroughbred saloon was a fresh car for Lamborghini, who had built nothing but supercars since 1990 with the introduction of the Diablo. They believed it was time for some change, so they showed the Estoque to an excited crowd in Paris. It used the same 5.2 litre V10 from the Gallardo, with the engine in the front.
It had the subtlety of a GT but the aggressiveness of the low-production Reventon. A car like this would have brought Lamborghini into new territory, but sadly it never entered production.
Nissan wanted a radical re-design of their ageing NX-series cars, so with the help of designer Thomas Semple (responsible for the 350Z in the 21st century), they built the NX-21. In the rear was a gas turbine engine driving the rear wheels; Nissan knew that it was more efficient than most diesels at the time.
Along with greatly improved aerodynamics, the NX-21 had a whole range of features including a projector screen instead of a mirror, engine management system and voice warning. The 1980s were great for concepts!
Peugeot's first concept car was a stunning vision of the future. They took the frame of the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16, as well as the twin turbo 4-cylinder rally-tuned powerplant. Smooth bodywork was enforced by rigid lines, and the Quasar became just like a 1980s supercar, with a few futuristic finishing touches. The modified 205 engine produced about 600 horsepower, which was plenty in a mid-engined, four wheel drive supercar blended with a rally machine. This concept was one hell of a car!
Renault Espace F1
You would be wrong if you thought this Espace was merely inspired by the design of Renault and Williams F1 cars. Rather, this entire car was a Formula 1 machine, exactly the same underneath with a modified Espace chassis and body. In front of the rear wheels sits a tuned V10 engine from a Williams FW15C, producing 820 horsepower (120hp more than the FW15C!).
The entire car is sculpted from carbon fibre, with extensive weight loss allowing for a top speed of just shy of 200mph. This truly is the craziest machine on the planet, and certainly my favourite concept car ever! What's not to like about a lightning-fast, cool-looking minivan?
Take a look at this quick video to see it in action!
As soon as you see it, you might have been blasted ahead of time. Or, in this case, back to 2003. The futuristic, pretty, fuel cell powered Toyota Fine-S shows how to construct a proper hydrogen car. With a sleek design and sports car performance handling, Toyota's most ambitious concept car shows how versatile fuel cells can be.
In fact, the fuel cells are so adaptable that they can be placed anywhere, fitted in any car, including next to each wheel to drive its four electric motors. The design of the Fine-S is not only creative, it is one of the most innovative concept cars the motoring world has ever seen!