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5 great cars that never were

Bill Wilson


The world is filled with masterpiece concepts, for one reason or another, never had their moment in the sun. This is as true of automobiles as it is of films, books, and paintings. Here’s a look at five concept cars that should have made it to the mass production phase.

2001 Volkwagen Microbus

VW Microbus

Designed in Simi Valley, CA, this modern take on a classic people-mover made its debut at the 2001 Detroit Auto Show. It combined all that was great about retro styling with the advantages of modern mechanics. Given the immense popularity of the revamped Beetle, we can’t help but feel that the 2001 Microbus was an opportunity lost.

2008 Toyota A-BAT

Toyota A-BAT Concept

Lots of people need a pickup truck every now and then, but many of us shy away from buying one due to the sticker price and fuel costs. Enter the A-BAT, the perfect solution for the budget-conscious driver who still has stuff to haul. This vehicle did what the El Camino tried to do, without…well, without looking like an El Camino. Why Toyota never put this brilliant idea into production is a mystery.

1938 Buick Y Job


Harley Earl is singlehandedly responsible for making auto design the cutting-edge mixture of art and science it is today. The Y Job was one of his greatest creations. With its concealed headlights, low-profile fenders, and sleek overall styling, this early convertible foreshadowed decades of ultra-cool designs to follow. We wish that Buick had put it on the Detroit assembly lines right after WW2 so that we could own one today.

1973 Chevrolet AeroVette

03EyesOnDesign Eyes On Design

In the minds of many, one reason the Corvette still lags behind Porsche and Ferrari is due to its lack of a true mid-engine configuration. That might not be the case today had the AeroVette made it to the production phase. GM initially gave it the green light in the late 70s, only to kill the project at the last minute. That’s too bad, because the AeroVette would have been a helluva ride.

2003 Cadillac Sixteen

Cadillac Sixteen 2

While Caddy deserves credit for its ability to reinvent itself, the automaker has a bad habit of axing some of its best ideas. Case in point: this breathtaking concept car. With its glass roof, V16 engine, 24-inch wheels, and crystal décor elements, the Sixteen was a flawless blending of style and performance. It should have been much more than a one-off, but that’s the way the assembly line turns.