These are the most important concept cars from each decade
Here are some great concept cars that were the most significant of their era
It's great to be back on DriveTribe after a long break, and this time I'm having a look at some of the greatest concept cars from each decade. Whether it be because of their unique design, the new technology showcased, or because the car is just plain cool, here they are...
1930s: Buick Y-Job (1938)
Harley Earl's Y-Job was famous for a reason: this was the automotive industry's first concept car. As well as a sleek, aerodynamic design that set the bar for styling until the 50s, it also featured a whole array of interesting ideas. Like an ordinary Buick, the Y-Job made use of the smooth I-8 engine, but unlike any other vehicle of the time, it had things like power-operated hidden lights, electric windows, and wraparound bumpers. The Buick Y-Job is the car that started it all.
1940s: L'Oeuf Electrique (1942)
World War 2 had a devastating effect on the industry, but this didn't stop Paul Arzens from following his passion. This quirky little machine was immediately christened as 'L'Oeuf', due to its shape resembling an egg, and the car itself was made of Plexiglas on an aluminium frame. L'Oeuf was able to seat two, with the rear-mounted electric motor allowing for a range of 100 kilometres at 37mph. This was the world's first microcar, as well as an electrical innovation.
Credit: Hemmings Motor News
1950s: General Motors Le Sabre (1951)
An inspiration for the majority of American cars in the later 1950s, the Le Sabre was responsible for starting the obsession with aircraft-inspired cars, with its wraparound windscreen and tail fins becoming vital features of production vehicles. It doesn't stop there, however, as this car had a few interesting features up its sleeve. Heated seats, bumper 'dagmars', and a sensor-activated power roof all made sure that Harley Earl's GM Le Sabre wasn't just a show car.
1960s: Pontiac Banshee I (1964)
As the head of Pontiac at the time, John DeLorean came up with the Banshee. This was planned to be a sports coupe to rival the C3 Corvette. DeLorean's new concept weighed over 200kg less than its potential rival whilst maintaining the same power figure. The Banshee is also great to look at as well, with the smooth body complimented by its sharp lines. Inevitably, GM worried that this car would be too great a threat to their Corvette, and so the Banshee was no more.
1970s: Lancia Stratos Zero (1970)
When Lancia needed a rallying replacement for the Fulvia, Bertone began working on a new design. Marcello Gandini, working as a designer for the company, was tasked with building the lowest car possible. He managed to accomplish this with style, incorporating a wedge design that would remain common in the automotive industry until the end of the 1980s. Lancia were very pleased with this design, and, twelve months later, the legendary Stratos was born.
Credit: Car Throttle
1980s: Peugeot Oxia (1988)
Designed to become Peugeot's first performance car for the road, the Oxia used the V6 engine found in Welter Racing's P88 Peugeot. With a combination of aerodynamics and engine, this Le Mans competitor managed to hit an unreal 252mph. That same year, there was this: a 670bhp, AWD beast with an appetite for speed. On top of all this, there were many intriguing features found inside of the Oxia, but a lack of funding meant that this never made it to the public.
Credit: duPont REGISTRY Daily
1990s: Ford GT90 (1995)
As a spiritual successor to the iconic Ford GT40, the GT90 had a lot to live up to. Ditching the classic V8 in favour of a quad-turbo V12 was a bold move, but one that would allow for 720bhp, although the exhaust can get so hot that the car needs ceramic tiles to stay together. Those menacing looks, supported by all the angles and lines, marked the beginning of Ford's 'New Edge' design philosophy. But after it was cancelled, this spaceship successor was no more.
2000s: Audi Rosemeyer (2000)
The rather odd-looking Rosemeyer was inspired by the pre-war race cars of Auto Union. With a combination of Audi's modern style and subtle hints of these racers on the outside, as well as a 16-cylinder engine on the inside, this concept was a true homage to the racing team. Although it was never intended to reach production, some things - like the 8-litre W16, and a few design features - made it to the Veyron, and that makes the Rosemeyer a very special car indeed.
Credit: Motor Authority
2010s: Jaguar C-X75 (2010)
Right away, you can tell that the C-X75 is something special. The concept had 4 electric motors recharged by 2 micro turbines and was able to produce 776bhp. It certainly looks the part, too. When the production car was announced, the turbines were replaced with a twincharged I-4, and although only 2 motors remained, petrol power boosted output to about 890bhp. Despite the love for the C-X75, the economic crisis meant that this incredible car was left as a concept.