QOTD: What's the Best Auto Show Concept to Never Hit Showrooms?
Brace yourself. Detroit is coming. Car blogs will be bursting with news and hot takes from frosty southeast Michigan as the North American International Auto Show opens on Monday. Every utterance from any executive will be tweeted, every statement will be parsed, and every press release will be copied and pasted.
Naturally, TTAC will be there in force. And while the numerous reveals of production-ready cars will be the highlight for most, I’m personally looking forward to the concepts. The weird, the funky, or even the batshit crazy — those far-from-production ideas are what make the major auto shows great.
Plenty of oddballs have graced show stands over the years, many of which have hinted at future designs, but never sold in their own forms. Very few — the original Viper comes to mind — were remarkably unchanged from their show form, but there are plenty of cars relegated to locked hangars, never to see the light of day.
Those kooky vehicles deserve a place in the sun, so I’m giving them a chance. Which concept, new or old, would you like to see on the road?
My pick: The Dodge Razor — a tiny sports car, co-branded with the maker of those cheap aluminum scooters that were everywhere 15 years ago, and built with a similar mentality. Rear-wheel drive and lightweight — I’ve seen mention of 250 hp and 2,500 pounds — it was also meant to be cheap.
How cheap? $14,500 in 2002, to be precise, which translates to about $19,500 today, is dirt cheap for a legitimate sports car. The 2002 NAIAS was my first Detroit show, and I was spellbound when I stumbled into the Dodge booth. The Neon SRT-4 was there, too, but a real sports car was compelling.
Ford’s GT was revealed at the same show, but it wasn’t on my radar. I could potentially afford the Razor, unlike nearly everything else on the floor.
It wasn’t to be. Chrysler had a few financial crises to weather, and cutting a low-margin, low-volume sports car was obvious even to them. I consoled myself the next summer with an old Miata, which still haunts my garage to this day. It’s a sale that could have gone to a Dodge dealer. Sigh.
So, which concept did you lust over? Which one would you buy if you had the chance?
Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in eBay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, and he's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.
More by Chris Tonn
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Mia Hey there!I recently stumbled upon the Crack Eraser DIY Windshield Repair Kit (check it out here: https://crackeraser.com/collections/diy-windshield-repair-kits) and decided to give it a shot on a small chip in my windshield. I have to say, it worked like a charm! Super easy to use, and it saved me a trip to the professionals. If you're dealing with a similar issue, this kit is definitely worth considering. 😊
- Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
- Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
- 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
- Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.