The Truth About Cars » concept car The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:33:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » concept car The Holden That Almost Became A Buick Fri, 31 May 2013 15:08:02 +0000 Concept Car Buick XP2000   (2000)

The most famous Holden product to ever wear a Buick badge is the Chinese-market Park Avenue, a car that Buick dealers inexplicably rejected. But back in the mid-1990s, GM apparently planned to use the VT Commodore architecture as the basis for a new Buick sedan, previewed in the XP2000 concept above.

Squint really hard and you can see a resemblance in the basic shapes of the two cars. Since the XP2000 was a concept, it’s likely that the Buick production version would have stuck closer to the Holden design, hardpoints and all. The concept used a 5.0L small-block V8 and GM’s 4-speed transmission, but a smaller displacement V8 was rumored at the time.

The XP2000 had a lot of features that were considering cutting edge for its 1995 debut but are relatively mundane today; a crude version of a lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control  as well as a vehicle key that could automatically adjust things like seat position, mirrors and climate control based on driver preferences. None of these would be earth-shattering today but they were pie-in-the-sky ideas nearly 20 years ago.

The biggest payoff may have been the readiness of the VT chassis to adapt left-hand drive. Without it, we would never have gotten the Pontiac GTO, and other export markets would have missed out on the Chevrolet Lumina.  If anything, the XP2000 is another footnote in the stilted story of GM’s attempts to bring the Holden Commodore to North America.


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Mark Reuss Keeps Pushing For Rear-Drive Small Chevy Mon, 06 May 2013 16:29:59 +0000 Chevrolet Code103R. Photo courtesy Automotive News.

Almost exactly one month after TTAC first broached news of a possible compact rear-drive Chevrolet, TTAC commenter and GM North America vice-president Mark Reuss is still dropping hints about such a product.

Speaking to Automotive News on the prospect of a possible competitor to the Scion FR-S

“A really nice, light, rear-drive car that’s inexpensive — we know that rings a bell, that’d be a huge win for us if we had that.”

While reaction to the Code 130R was reportedly strong, Reuss said that the Code’s styling would not be put into production. Apparently, the Alpha platform would not be used either, echoing earlier comments by Reuss. That would necessitate another compact, rear-drive platform like GM’s former Kappa architecture, and of course, further variants to help make that venture profitable. Bring it on, GM.

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BMW Launches The X4 GranCoupeTurismoMSport Thu, 04 Apr 2013 19:19:38 +0000

Apparently this is a BMW X4, which is an X6-esque version of the not-yet-released 4-Series, which is the coupe version of the 3-Series. I have no idea what’s going on here. This segment is going to be big in the future, it’s an easy way for BMW to make money but I can’t even tell what’s what anymore. And it’s ugly.

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Vellum Venom Vignette: From Here to Eternity Tue, 05 Feb 2013 12:53:41 +0000

Spencer writes:

Dear Sajeev,

Are there any examples of concept cars which, while not representative of the vehicles in the manufacturer’s immediate lineup, actually become something of a reality five or ten years down the line? More specifically, can you provide some images of concept cars that actually look like the cars we have on the road today (Isuzu VehiCROSS and similarly rare instances to be omitted, I suppose). Thanks!

Sajeev answers:

Fantastic question. But 5 or 10 years down the line?  That’s a bit of a stretch, as most concept cars (made by companies that are in business to market something profitable) show a future that’s a bit more readily available.  Now there are plenty of design firms that make pure dream cars, mostly of the Italian variety.  Hence the Giorgio Moroder Love above.

Well, at least in the past: 1970s Italdesign, Ghia, Pininfarina, Bertone, etc foretold of a future with wedgy angles for all of us.  But more palatable futures?  Maybe more like 5-6 years max from the major automakers. That’s far more doable.

And since I am of a certain age, my concept cars will reflect it. Let’s start with my favorite: the Oldsmobile Aurora. When the production model came out, I was shocked to see the product specialist let me on the table to sit in it.  Wait…that’s not a concept car?

Here it is back in 1989, known as the Oldsmobile Tube Car. Horrible name, absolutely lovely machine.


But oh my damn son, the production model had all the same lines and looked almost as radical.  What a lovely car, one that I truly miss as their terrible resale value and headgasket-eating Northstar V8s seal their fate in the scrapyard.

The Nissan Juke concept is pretty insane.  But then again…


The reality is just as bizarre.  And I love it, even if I don’t know I could actually be seen in it.  But that’s for another installment of Vellum Venom.

The Lamborghini Portofino concept (made when owned by Chrysler in 1987, IIRC) was definitely a Dodge Intrepid in the making. The cab-forward greenhouse, the wheels and especially the rear end styling. Just add the Dodge Viper’s nose and…


Whoa momma! The LH cars were absolutely fantastic designs. Well, aside from the crude engines and glassjaw transaxles.  But still, what a wonderful family sedan that we will never see again! Probably.


The Chrysler LHX concept quickly turned into…


The similarly insane, second generation, Chrysler LHS. While I didn’t appreciate this design until the Bentley-Truck Chrysler 300 replaced it (and the Chrysler Concorde from whence it came), they were a well styled piece.  Unless you lived in a state that required a front license plate.  Oops.


The Mercedes F200 concept had the upcoming S-class schnoz, and the body of the CL-class.


Yep. Dat hardtop roofline. Who ever thought Mercedes would bring back insane pillarless styling to the roof?  Impressive…just don’t own one outside of the warranty period: combined with the usual Mercedes component quality of this era (and the obligatory Super Bowl stadium joke), the CL’s hydraulic suspension will put you in the poor house. But it might be worth it.


And since you mentioned the VehiCROSS: who expected this…

…to actually make production!


And the 1986 Pontiac Trans Sport concept was pretty far out there.


If anything, the production model was even crazier. That dustbuster nose fares better in an accident, but the original’s design was a bit more conventional and appealing for your eyeballs…even if your insurance company begs to differ.


Supposedly the original Lexus SC concept car started off as plaster filled balloons in Toyota’s Calty design studio.  They were apparently squeezing and forming this stuff until this concept car came to mind.


Well then!  At least the production car came out frickin’ awesome.

How many times will you now wish that designers had balloons and plaster at their disposal, huh?


On to the cars that got me interested in the styling biz: the 1981 Ford Probe III. The other Probes (up to Probe V) were far more radical, but the III foreshadowed a radical change in mainstream sedans for Europe. It ushered advanced design and cutting edge aerospace technology to people on a Toyota Camry budget.


Yup, that’s the 1982 Ford Sierra: the salesman’s spaceship.  The Jellymould, not to be confused with Lexus’ plaster filled balloons.  While I think the wedge-nose Sierra looked more radical (with the Ghia front end) than the round-nose Probe III, I have my bias: here’s my 1983 Sierra Ghia in Dallas, en route to my garage.


While not nearly as historically relevant as the Sierra/Probe, the Ford Contour concept was just nuts.  While you see a lot of 2006 Honda Civic in the nose, plenty of Prius in the roof, there’s something else going on here.


That’s right: the ovoid nightmare Ford Taurus that nobody liked.  Except me, I thought it was a brilliantly executed design. Far too radical for its time? Yes, but it will age well. Especially as a (timing gear eating) V8 powered Taurus SHO with the Ford Contour concept paint and chrome wheels.  It’s still a stunner, even if you hate it.


And just to make us all feel better about the MKZ, here’s the original Lincoln MKX: The Marque X of 1992.  And what happened one single year later?


BAM SON: the 1993 Lincoln Mark VIII.  Even the insane directional wheels kinda made production.  That Continental-kitted butt with full length tail light? Yup.  The coke bottle profile, buttery smooth lines and some insane V8 motor with 4 cams and 32 valves hidden under concept car plastics that will power the SVT Mustang Cobra in three years?  Indeed. Even the Marque X interior logically made production into the Mark VIII.

Okay, they never made a Mark VIII droptop from the factory, but the disappearing door Mark VIII was proof that this concept car was more than just a pretty face. Don’t believe me?


Here’s my (unverifiable) personal proof: heading to the press preview night at the 2007 Houston Auto Show. A night that inspired a somewhat famous General Motors Deathwatch, I rolled up in my 1995 Mark VIII: factory HID lights blasting and that 4-cam V8 monster rumbling through Kooks headers. The guard at the gate did something I’d never expect.

Let’s go back to that night in 2007:

Guard: There you go. Man, that’s a nice car!

Me: Thanks. (driving off)

Guard: Wait, wait, wait…WAAAAIT!

Me: (stopped) What?

Guard: Remember you gotta enter from the back!

Me: But the show entrance is up front!

Guard: The door for the cars is out back.

Me: Wait…what?

Guard: That’s a show car right?  That’s going in the show…right?

Me: Dude, this was a concept car back in 1992!

Guard: (dumbfounded face and general remarks of genuine disbelief) Man I thought it’d be in the showrooms pretty soon!

Me: Nope! But you can find plenty of them in the junkyards!


Off to you, folks.

92_lexus_sc400_blue (photo courtsey: 92lincoln_marque-x_3 (photo courtsey: 1981-probe-iii  (photo courtsey: 1986_transsport (photo courtsey: 1990_pontiac_trans-sport (photo courtsey: 1991 contour concept (photo courtsey: 1993 dodge intrepid  (photo courtsey: 2000-isuzu-vehicross 2011_nissan_juke  (photo courtsey: 1993 Mark VIII (photo courtsey: ad_aurora_1995 (photo courtsey: GM) auroraconcept (photo courtsey: chrysler_LHX  (photo courtsey: chrysler-lhs-06 (photo courtsey: Have you actually heard pop music these days? (photo courtsey: ford_taurus_sho_1999 (photo courtsey: Ford) Sajeevs Sierra (photo courtsey: Sajeev) lambo_portofino_chrysler_1987 (photo courtsey: lexus_sc_concept (photo courtsey: Mercedes-Benz-CL500_2000 (photo courtsey: Mercedes-Benz-F_200_Concept_1996 (photo courtsey: Mercedes) nissan juke concept (photo courtsey: Nissan) vehicrossconcept (photo courtsey: Isuzu) HID lights (photo courtesy:


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The Honda Concept That Didn’t Debut At Detroit Thu, 17 Jan 2013 15:27:59 +0000

For some unknown reason, Honda decided to debut this new concept, dubbed the GEAR, at the Montreal Auto Show. Honda claims it’s a 21st century interpertation of a subcompact hatch that’s fun to drive, customization and stylish. What do you say, Murilee? Is this a faithful heir to your Civic hatchback?

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Honda’s Small Crossover Is A Good Fit Wed, 12 Dec 2012 13:00:53 +0000

Pardon the awful pun in the title. Honda released this sketch of a new small crossover, presumably based on the next-generation Fit. It will debut at the 2013 North American International Auto Show and have nothing in common with the Brazilian Fit crossover-thingy.

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Lexus Debuts Mystery Coupe Thu, 27 Sep 2012 12:39:48 +0000

Lexus debuted a gorgeous mystery coupe, dubbed the LF-CC, and took all the fun out of it by making it a hybrid. I’ll take an Audi S5, thanks. Does anyone see a hint of Scion FR-S in the rear view of this car?

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Kill It With Fire: Buick Signia Concept, Quite Possibly The Worst Car Ever Wed, 19 Sep 2012 17:27:34 +0000  

Since we can’t have nice things all the time, like images of the production Jaguar F-Type, I present to you what may be the ugliest car I’ve ever seen – surpassing the multitude of Ssangyong Rodius (Rodii?) I saw on my Birthright trip.

First shown in 1998, the Buick Signia was described as

Buick’s new multiple activity concept vehicle that was showcased at the North American International Auto Show yesterday, is evidence of the company’s revived commitment to innovation and versatility, according to company officials.

Based on the architecture of the Park Avenue, the Signia is an upscale family sedan with SUV attributes designed for modern families on the go. Features include a high roof and seats for easy entry, inset rocker panels that prevent slush or mud from dripping on your pants, a removable hatchback for hauling large items, infrared sensors that detect objects in your blind spot and flexible cargo space, including a powered floor that extends 15 inches out the back. While the concept car showcases a number of new technologies, Buick executives say the Signia will not be built as it is.

What in the name of Allah was General Motors thinking? The wood interior with the art deco switchgear? The glass canopy and the swing-out doors? That beak up front? I’ve seen prettier photos of partial-birth abortions. It may be the only automobile in the world to come standard with an extra chromosome. GM even let it rot in a desolate lot, neglecting even to crush it.

Buick-Signia_Concept_1998.Photo courtesy Buick-Signia_Concept_1998.Photo courtesy Buick-Signia_Concept_1998.Photo courtesy Buick-Signia_Concept_1998.Photo courtesy Buick-Signia_Concept_1998.Photo courtesy Buick-Signia_Concept_1998.Photo courtesy Buick Signia. Photo courtesy GM Inside News. ]]> 110
2012 Suzuki S-Cross Concept: This Is The New SX4 Fri, 10 Aug 2012 11:48:54 +0000

What you see above is the S-Cross concept from Suzuki, set to bow at the Paris Auto Show in September. But, this C-segment concept isn’t a new model, instead a replacement for the Suzuki SX4.

The current Suzuki SX4 was a product of a relationship between Suzuki and Fiat. However, this time around, Suzuki has gone it alone, developing the SX4 replacement completely on their own.

Details in addition to the official images are scarce. However, considering Suzuki continues to describe the vehicle as a “C-segment crossover” expect it to have the same all-wheel-drive goodness of the current SX4. Engines will probably vary, as per usual, between Europe, Japan, and the Americas.

The S-Cross is a concept in name only. Whether wearing the S-Cross or SX4 nameplates, the concept will spawn a production model probably for the 2014 model year.

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