QOTD: Ahead of Its Time?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
qotd ahead of its time

Being accused of being out of touch is one thing. Ahead of the curve, though? Sometimes that can be equally problematic.

Whether loaded with a host of unbaked tech or saddled with styling that wasn’t quite ready for primetime, what’s your pick for a vehicle that was ahead of its time?

It doesn’t have to be an example of abject failure, either. The Mitsubishi 3000GT (née GTO, née Dodge Stealth) was packed with technology like four-wheel steering, all-wheel drive, adaptive suspension, and active aero bits. It was also heavier than a collapsed sun and extremely difficult to repair.

Speaking of 4WS, that trio of characters in sequence arguably became introduced to the public consciousness via the trunk lid of Honda’s excellent 1987 Prelude. Steering either with or against the front wheels, depending on a few variables, this tech added roughly 10 percent to the car’s price and was arguably hamstrung by the analog era, compared to today’s digital interpretations of the same. I’ll lump GM’s Quadrasteer in here, too.

There’s no shortage of examples. Citroen DS, all the AMC Eagles that foreshadowed the current CUV craze, that OG Honda Insight, even the Pontiac Aztek. Which one makes your list — for better or worse — as a machine that was ahead of its time?

[Image: Murilee Martin]

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  • Erikstrawn Erikstrawn on Jan 29, 2019

    Corvair Chrysler Turbine Car Fuel injected '57 Corvette Tucker Vector Lotus Esprit (lasted until its time)


    OK just shoot me. The final version of the manual Fiero V6; imagine what it could have been if the car started out this way instead of the 2M4 econo-box. Saturn Sky / Pontiac Solstice - saw a coupe on the road this past weekend; if the car had more development time it could have been intriguing.

  • -Nate -Nate on Jan 29, 2019

    I briefly had a Honda Civic Wagovan, the front was pure Civic econobox but the rear widened out to a remarkably large cargo area with BIG square top hinged tail gate for easy and rain proof access . Comfy seats, terrific AC and easy to park/drive, if was gifted to me by a Female friend who died, she was a smoker and it took me quite a while to get the ashes and stink out, SWMBO was surprised I didn't keep it, fold down the rear seat and use it like a shop truck . IMO a very clever little car from Honda . -Nate

  • EquipmentJunkie EquipmentJunkie on Jan 30, 2019

    IH Travelall - arguably more passenger-oriented than the early GM Suburbans '61 Compact vans from GM & Ford - the minivans before minivans BMC Mini - pointed the way for modern subcompact cars AMC Eagle - a practical, car-like AWD people mover Subaru AWD - jumped headfirst into the deep end of the AWD pool Pontiac Aztek - crippled by hideous styling, GM had all the boxes ticked except for appearance. How did that vehicle ever pass focus groups?