Three of the world’s most important auto shows began last week. Since my invitations to the various press events must have been lost in the mail I, like virtually everyone else in the world, followed them over the internet. I’m OK with that, really. I hate fighting the crowds and by the time a show closes high resolution photos of the most important cars are always all over the world-wide-web, anyhow. With the photos are the journalists’ impressions. Some are good and some are bad, but they all make me think. For example, there’s this article from the Top Gear website on the Tokyo motor show that asserts, on the strength of the cars at this year’s show, “Japan is back.” Hold on – Really? (Read More…)
Honda’s successor to the FCX Clarity isn’t set to arrive on our shores until 2015, but those in LA bore witness to what its successor would look like through the eyes of the FCEV Concept.
Forget CVTs in WRXs; Subaru has dropped their Legacy Concept at the 2013 LA Auto Show, illustrating the design direction the Japanese automaker aims to take in the near future.
Not many details have been released so far about the Subaru Cross Sport Design concept, which the company says is a combination of “sport” and “utility” and features “easy seat access, a comfortable interior, and abundant luggage space” and it’s supposed to show the direction forward for urban SUVs. They also could have said that it’s a stretched, jacked up BRZ station wagon, since with a horizontally opposed engine up front driving the back wheels, the Cross Sport Design is based on the sports car platform shared by Toyota/Scion and Subaru. (Read More…)
My, how times have changed. In 2010, Audi teased us with the quattro concept, a tribute to the original quattro that debuted 33 years ago. It was a lightweight, elemental car with a honest-to-god 6-speed manual gearbox and a turbocharged 2.5L 5-cylinder engine making 408 horsepower while weighing just under 2,900 lbs. Three years later, the Sport Quattro concept picks up the mantle, and things have changed for the worse.
1998 Pontiac Rageous
All good things, even obscure and maybe even not so good, must come to an end. You can see previous installments of the Encyclopedia of Obscure Concept and Show Cars here, here, here, and here.
Oldsmobile, Packard, Plymouth. Another dead brand with obscure concept cars in this part of the alphabet is Pontiac. This is their Rageous concept from 1997, another proto-CUV, and what some have called “the Aztek that should have been”. Imagine a four door Trans Am (the rear doors are suicide style like on the RX-8 Mazda) with a hatchback and a flat load floor that will accommodate a 4X8 sheet of plywood. A ’90s vintage LT1 and a Corvette based rear suspension completed the package, which of course had Pontiac’s supernumerary nostrils from that era. Actually, the Rageous isn’t that obscure. Mattel’s Hot Wheels released their own version of it in 1999 and reissued it at least 8 times since then. Like the Jeep Jeepster concept, if you’re a Gen Y’er, or a baby boomer who collects Hot Wheels you may actually remember the Pontiac Rageous. (Read More…)
Mitsubishi HSR III from 1992
It started with a photo of a strange looking Pinto with a targa style roof and it metastasized into an encyclopedia of just about every concept car you never heard about. Part One, Acura to Chevrolet, is here. Part two, Chrysler to Ford, is here. Part three, Honda to Mercury, is here.
Mitsubishi likes three letter acronyms and alphanumerics. Behold, above, the HSR III from 1992, some kind of Eclipse concept, I think. (Read More…)
Continuing with our look at long forgotten (and some not so long forgotten, but forgotten just the same) concept and show cars from the major automobile manufacturers. Part One, Acura to Chevrolet, is here. Part two, Chrysler to Ford, is here.
Sure, once you see it, the Honda SSM (Sports Study Model), first shown at the Tokyo show in 1995 and styled by Pininfarina, was obviously the concept for what became the S2000 roadster. The question is do S2000 fans even remember the SSM? (Read More…)
1954 Chrysler La Comtesse
Part One, Acura to Chevrolet, is here
Yesterday, we started are look through concept and show cars from major car companies that may have slipped your attention by being rather obscure. I delight in the obscure and the unusual, figuring that not everyone needs more pics of ’69 Camaros or ’58 Isettas. We continue with barely known Chrysler, Dodge and Ford concepts. (Read More…)
1973 Ford Pinto Sportiva Concept
Is it a cliche to say that as a writer I try to avoid cliches? Anyway, I do try to avoid the word legendary (see Dash Parr on being special), but some concept and show cars are, well, legendary. Not in the sense, of course, that people tell grand tales about them but because they are remembered, ending up in books and blog posts. Some concept and show cars are, if not the stuff of legends, certainly the stuff of history. Other cars, not so much. For every memorable Cadillac Evoq, Sixteen and Converj, there’s been at least one La Espada or Aurora, cars that never really caught the public or auto enthusiasts’ imagination even if they may have influenced production cars. A concept car can cost an easy million dollars to build, but once that year’s auto show season is over, it’s often forgotten.
Our Chevrolet event coverage comes to us courtesy of Byron Hurd and Speed:Sport:Life. Take it away…
The New York Times has an update on Infiniti’s Essence concept car. Since the sexy little thing’s March coming out party in Geneva, Essence has been on a tour of Louis Vitton stores in high-end shopping malls for VIP visitors and the commoners. “Guests were invited by the automaker and were typically loyal customers, said Kyle Bazemore, an Infiniti spokesman, in an e-mail message. ‘When we partnered with Louis Vuitton stores, it was half and half — their V.I.P. customers, our customers in the area,’ he said.” But the fascinating part of the article is thrown in at the very end: “It is interesting that the Essence has not appeared at an American auto show. Asked if the concept would return to the auto-show stage in Los Angeles in early December, Mr. Bazemore said, ‘Unfortunately, no. It’s been boxed up and is heading to China for the auto show season there. It should be back for the New York auto show, however.’” Yet more evidence for the ever shrinking role of auto shows, and the ever increasing importance of China’s booming auto market. The Beijing and Shanghai auto shows aren’t until next spring. Sorry, L.A., Infiniti just isn’t that into you, she would rather spend the winter in China.