By on October 13, 2021

If anybody has a soft spot for wedge designs and the automotive future envisioned during the 1970s, it’s yours truly. While mainstream vehicles being manufactured during the Malaise Era often left a lot to be desired, the concepts were sublime and led to some of the most unique-looking production cars in automotive history. I’m talking about cars like the Lancia Stratos, Lamborghini Countach, Lotus Esprit, BMW M1, De Tomaso Pantera, and DeLorean DMC-12. Toss in the digital dashboards that were gradually appearing in standard passenger cars during the 1980s and you’ve reached the point where I would probably claim automotive styling reached its zenith after a few stiff drinks. But I’ve been told by those who can distinguish fetishization from appreciation that those designs weren’t perfect and kind of look the same when there’s enough squinting is deployed.

Apparently, someone took that premise and used it as a template for a modern prototype intended to help sell shoes. Though the company focused entirely on the basic shape of wedge cars, settling on a vehicle that resembles what a Countach might have looked like in a video game from two decades ago should the assets fail to load. Known as the United Nude Lo-Res Concept Vehicle, it’s probably one of the more-unique automobiles ever built and it’s yours for the taking now that the Petersen Automotive Museum doesn’t want it.  (Read More…)

By on March 30, 2021

It is auto-show season.

Or at least, it would be in a “normal” year.

Normally, we’d be in New York, bringing you all the concepts from the New York International Auto Show, usually held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on Manhattan’s west side.

This year, with the world still mostly on pause, we’re at home, missing the sights and sounds.

(Read More…)

By on October 8, 2020

With Porsche having secured itself an all-electric vehicle, the laws of trickle-down manufacturing dictate that Audi is the next on Volkswagen Group’s docket for performance-focused electrification. Using the J1 performance platform that underpins Porsche’s Taycan, the Ingolstadt-based automaker has reported that its own E-Tron GT is nearing completion  assuring us that it’ll will meet the bar in terms of “quality and progressiveness” in a handful of announcements on Thursday.

Probably the most important of these was that Audi would be ready to commence production at the end of this year at Böllinger Höfe, near Neckarsulm, alongside the R8. However the company leaked a few additional details, including that the E-Tron (which the brand stylizes in all lower-case letters, bleh) will come in an RS variant. (Read More…)

By on September 8, 2020

Today we head deep into the purest sort of Rare Ride: A vehicle which exists as a singularity, a one-off. It’s a two-door convertible version of the first-generation Mercury Sable.

The lightbar will guide our way.

(Read More…)

By on August 3, 2020

Today’s Rare Ride popped up on the Internet recently, hailing from the archive of Long Forgotten Concept Cars. This particular concept happens to be a high-riding off-road cabriolet, created from a Frankenstein-like amalgam of Mercedes-Benz parts and custom fabrications by French alteration firm Heuliez.

Buckle up — it’s gonna get weird.

(Read More…)

By on April 7, 2020

Polestar has released details of its Precept concept, offering a reminder that this will be the vehicle that informs all future models the company produces. Jointly owned by Volvo Cars and Zhejiang Geely Holding, Polestar has morphed from the Swedish manufacturer’s partner in performance engineering into a separate brand specializing in sporting EVs.

We’ve seen the Precept before, bashing it gently in February for being a handsome sedan with a manufacturer that wasted everyone’s time (and its press release) by prattling on endlessly about green tech and sustainability. While we had hoped Polestar would remedy this in its follow-up teaser, powertrain details remain nonexistent. Considering this is a concept car, that’s not an unforgivable sin, but it’s curious a company supposedly focused on performance engineering has twice failed to discuss that aspect of the vehicle. Instead, we’re offered additional details about the model’s design — including some new photographs — as the brand continues to discuss sustainability and high-tech features.

Just enough to keep us interested. The bare minimum.  (Read More…)

By on March 11, 2020

The virus that’s on everyone’s lips is having an incredible economic impact throughout the world. Auto shows have thus far been disrupted by the virus outbreak, too, and I’ve begun wondering: At the end of the day, do they actually matter?

(Read More…)

By on March 4, 2020

While prophecies have a habit of coming true in films and books, they rarely come to pass here in reality. Sadly, this will probably be the case with Hyundai’s new concept EV — appropriately named the Prophecy.

Responding to a voicemail left by the God of Electrification, Hyundai has moved on what is arguably one of the best-looking concept designs since the 1938 Phantom Corsair. Black, minimalist and extremely retro-futuristic, both cars rely almost entirely on the long lines of the respective aerodynamic shells to make an impression, with small details providing additional, attention-grabbing flourishes.

Hyundai says the timeless design was intentional, yet it still manages to adhere to the brand’s “Sensuous Sportiness” design philosophy. Truth be told, we’ve had a difficult time finding a common theme among its latest concepts. Some are all angles (45 Concept) while others are all about smooth curves (Le Fil Rouge Concept). The only real through line seems to be that they all look rather good wherever they’re displayed. (Read More…)

By on February 25, 2020

While many are still under the impression that Chinese automakers will never manage to wrangle the North American automotive market, Geely’s ownership of Volvo Cars and Polestar has already proven them wrong. The Chinese manufacturer purchased Volvo in 2010, with savory bodywork and sumptuous interiors doing much of the heavy lifting with consumers. Performance-focused Polestar wasn’t purchased until a few years later, but the theme remained largely the same — move toward electrification, don’t forget about safety, and try to build the sexiest car possible while maintaining an aura of respectability.

So far, it’s worked rather well. Polestar is now eager to drive that message home via its new Precept concept vehicle. The company claims the car reveals “a vision of the brand’s future direction and a clear expression of intent.” Since we’re fluent in marketing speak, we’re pleased to tell you that sentence is not entirely meaningless.  (Read More…)

By on January 14, 2020

A short-lived Italian experiment, the ASA brand was created by Enzo Ferrari himself. Think of it as a stylish Sixties Scion, if you will.

(Read More…)

By on December 18, 2019

Bizzarrini — a name which conjures images of, well, probably nothing for most people. In the Sixties, Bizzarrini was a short-lived auto manufacturer, but after the company’s demise, the  name popped up once more in the early Nineties.

Let’s find out a little more about this one-of-one BZ 2001.

(Read More…)

By on November 20, 2019

Silly naming convention aside – what’s with the misplace period and the dual z’s/zeds, Volkswagen? – the Volkswagen ID. Space Vizzion Concept is meant to preview something sleek.

A drag coefficient of 0.24 is nothing to sneeze at, indeed. Had my crappy CAD designs gotten that sort of number in eighth grade, perhaps I’ve have earned an A and would be designing cars instead of writing about them.

Ahem.

(Read More…)

By on August 22, 2019

Hyundai is bringing a retro-future concept vehicle to the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. Called the 45, the car appears to be an electrified hatchback and has the stated mission of helping the brand shape future EV designs. While we’ve only seen a single teaser image of the model thus far, we like where this is heading.

The automaker says the 45 was “inspired by looking back at the brand’s first model in the 1970s,” meaning the Ford Cortina is (and probably always was) off the table. The South Korean manufacturer is likely referencing the rear-drive Pony subcompact. It certainly appears to be the correct shape and the taillight location is similar enough for us not to rule it out. However, the total package seems to be more inspired by the DeLorean DMC-12 and 1980s concepts like the Citroën Karin or Ford Maya.  (Read More…)

By on April 17, 2019

Genesis Motors revealed a small city car in The Big Apple this week. However, the model’s debut wasn’t part of the daily goings-on at the New York International Auto Show. Instead, the company decided to unveil the Mint Concept at Hudson Yards, ahead of the trade show’s official press days — utilizing terms like “urban icon” and “reductive versatility” while somehow expecting to be taken seriously.

“As a brand, Genesis embraces progressive design values, and the Mint Concept reinforces this commitment from a previously undiscovered perspective,” Manfred Fitzgerald, Genesis’ executive vice president, said at the vehicle’s introduction. “Mint belongs in the city, and we are proud to introduce our evolution of the ideal city car in New York.”

This is the kind of industrial-grade nonsense your author absolutely despises. However, I am elated Genesis did this, as it’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to be exceptionally critical of a Korean brand. Outside of Hyundai’s Nexo, the country’s been on a hot streak lately. It’s wonderful to be able to prove that I’m still an unpleasant crankshaft without bias.  (Read More…)

By on April 15, 2019

Volkswagen will bring a modified version of the Atlas to the New York Auto Show this week, aimed to appeal to outdoorsy types. VW calls it the Atlas Basecamp Concept, claiming it offers “a go-anywhere attitude to the brand that is already synonymous with road-trip culture.”

That seems like a fair assessment. While the Atlas isn’t the most off-road-friendly vehicle on the market, it rides the line between everyday usefulness and being just capable enough to make it down a gently gnarled trail. Volkswagen is wisely trying to highlight the latter aspect without making outrageous claims about how it can tackle any terrain. It’s only supposed to get you to the base camp, hence its name. The peak is all you.  (Read More…)

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