Home » For Years, This Has Been The Greatest Mysterious Unidentified Car On The Internet. Let’s Take A Crack At It

For Years, This Has Been The Greatest Mysterious Unidentified Car On The Internet. Let’s Take A Crack At It

Mysterycar Top
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It’s funny, but I can’t remember the first time I saw this particular photograph, but I know it was a long time ago, and it’s haunted me ever since. Like most unrepentant gearheads, the act of identifying an obscure car in a photo is one of those things that causes a massive burst of satisfactitonin or pleasurisol or whatever those endorphins are called that make you feel good. And in those times when you can’t identify a given car, when the identification slides away and eludes you, like trying to grab a mayonnaise-slathered eel, it can drive you mad. You can feel the identification just there on the tip of your brain, just out of reach, as the details of the car fecklessly light up neurons tagged with neurons that recognize a piece of a Lancia or Panhard or Vauxhall, but just not quite. It hurts. And, by that metric, this picture has caused more of that sort of pain to car-lovers than any other. Behold, the most-unidentified car on the Internet.

I was reminded of this photograph again because it was tweeted out recently, re-kindling the part of my brain that stays in a holding pattern until this car is identified, definitively.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Here’s the tweet:

And, of course, the car in question is that blue sports car in the foreground there. There’s something about this particular car that almost feels like some AI-generated thing, as it’s an uncanny mix of forms and shapes and details that almost fit with a surprising number of cars, mostly British, mid-century sports cars: Sunbeam Alpines, Reliant Sabres/Sabras, Mini Marcoses, Unipower GTs, Triumphs, and on and on. And yet somehow this thing has defied identification for years.

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The original photo came from a 1968 book called Buses, Trolleys & Trams but there’s no way to know when the mystery car was first identified as a mystery. I’m about certain some late-’60s gearhead spent hours puzzling over that image, and maybe showed it to friends who found it equally confounding, but records of the mystery only really exist in the internet era.

Though there’s plenty of those! This car has been discussed a hell of a lot, all over the place. Sometimes in obsessive detail, with people having built entire 3D models of the car:

Mysterycar 3d

Holy crap! All I did was a quick sketch of what it might look like behind the people blocking it:

Mysterycar Sketch

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There’s so many distinctive details on this thing: that wraparound windshield! The odd door cutlines! That little air-exhaust vent at the rear! Those chrome bumperlets! I feel like I’ve seen these elements on a number of other cars, but all together, like this?

My best guess is it’s likely a one-off, based on, well, something, maybe an Alpine, maybe a Triumph, a Reliant, who knows. The bodywork is likely custom. But that’s kind of a copout answer, isn’t it?

For as long as this car has been posted online, the one thing I can definitively say is that it has never been posted to this audience, the Autopian Brain Trust, and that seems wrong. A wrong that we’re going to correct, right now. I think this particular, spectacular, obsessive group of car-weirdos may be the best collective entity to once and for all figure out what the hell this car is.

Everyone up to give it a try? Speculate, research, and discuss? I feel like by doing so we’re continuing a glorious automotive tradition, one that needs to be kept going, perhaps forever, as maybe this is one of those cases where the search is the real reward?

Either that or we need to pool our resources and build a time machine to go back to this time and place in London and just yank that door open and ask whomever is inside just what the hell this thing is.

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And after that we can swing by and kill baby Hitler before we head home, maybe after we go back a bit and see what dodo tasted like.

Okay! Everyone ready to get driven crazy by this thing? Off we go!

 

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Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
8 months ago

Looks like a Sunbeam Alpine and a TVR Griffith 400 had a wild night together.

3WiperB
3WiperB
8 months ago

Quick, some Velour member with a December birthday, request 1962 blue mystery sportscar from Oxford Street. Torch has that drawing almost ready for you… he just needs to change the color.

Seebeexee
Seebeexee
8 months ago

My first thought was a Kellison, but the vertical door line in the picture has a notch by the rear wheel and the Kellison is straight, and the nose tip and C-pillar are wrong…

Last edited 8 months ago by Seebeexee
Ottomottopean
Ottomottopean
8 months ago

The area of the C pillar looks different than anything I can find but I’m gonna go with some version of the Unipower GT.

https://images.postwarclassic.com/pics/r2w-1200×800-products/35411/_1472558338_resized_schermafbeelding_2016-08-30_om_13.57.13.png

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
8 months ago

England in the early 60s was peak kit car era so this is probably a very obscure kit body or more likely a home made body or prototype on a common small car.

Scott Sullivan
Scott Sullivan
8 months ago

Close to a Glas GT. Hood is wrong

CatMan
CatMan
8 months ago

I’m just going to sit back and wait for Adrian’s guess. Let him do the heavy lifting

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
8 months ago
Reply to  CatMan

I know exactly what it is.

Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
8 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Now that’s just evil. Funny, but evil.

Parsko
Parsko
8 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND???????????????

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
8 months ago
Reply to  Parsko

Actually I might have been fooled. It came up on Twitter a few weeks ago and someone identified it as a Sunbeam Tiger TS4 concept. However that seems to only exists as a 3D render someone made from this photograph.

Abdominal Snoman
Abdominal Snoman
8 months ago

So how much is it to upgrade to “dodo” tier membership?

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
8 months ago

There were so many little cottage industry fiberglass body builders around in Britain back then, it could be the garden shed-built prototype for a venture that never got off the ground, or something somebody just hacked together taking inspiration from what everyone else was doing

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
8 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

This.

BubbaMT
BubbaMT
8 months ago

It looks like it is left hand drive, meaning that it probably is not British?? Also it looks like they were “copying” Mercedes SL’s and those are gull wing doors??

Last edited 8 months ago by BubbaMT
BubbaMT
BubbaMT
8 months ago
Reply to  BubbaMT

The windshield resembles the rear window of a late 50’s Hillman Minx, I have a friend whose parents had two.

Harmanx
Harmanx
8 months ago

It’s facing a very reflective hubcap on a car driving in front of it. I think if we just say “enhance” a few times, we might be able to decipher its front plate, and then check records.

SX-70
SX-70
8 months ago

so the windscreen is almost certainly the rear window of something else -it has a bit if a Sunbeam Rapier series 1 look to me. The side windows look like Ford Anglia items, in fact I would bet one small bag of clam chowder that’s where they’re from. The wheel covers are Ace wheel discs, a popular-ish aftermarket cover that was also an option on the Mk. 1 MG Midget and Mk.2 Austin Healey Sprite. The person sitting in the car is positioned just about where the seats are on a Spridget, and the proportions and comparison to the pedestrians behind it are just about right as well. And finally you can see that the front end is one piece, much like a Mk. 1 Sprite, and I would not be surprised to discover that the whole thing is hinged at the base of the windshield that’s really a backlight.

Therefore I believe this is an obscure kit or one off based on an Austin Healey Sprite, probably a bugeye.

Large Marge
Large Marge
8 months ago
Reply to  SX-70

Proportions are very similar to the WSM Sprites, so I think you are right.

Industrial_design_guy
Industrial_design_guy
8 months ago

I found this link on the interwebs:
https://m.facebook.com/story.php/?id=100063806478752&story_fbid=2084043795037701

Sunbeam Alpine fastback concept?? Looks like someone made a pretty good model of it. Still a mystery…

Last edited 8 months ago by Industrial_design_guy
UnseenCat
UnseenCat
8 months ago

That looks very much like it. When I looked at the profile of the slight tailfin, my brain immediately went straight to “Sunbeam!”

Last edited 8 months ago by UnseenCat
Stinger
Stinger
8 months ago

This is the answer. Everything lines up including that very unique windshield and the body line at the front of the windshield that isn’t the door seam. Same goes for the quarter “vent”, forward slanted body next to the headlights, and the unique quarter panel shape.

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
8 months ago

Yups, but that model was also made from that same photo (even shown in the background) just like Jason’s drawing, so we’re not really further in our investigation. And someone one the internet just chose to name it…

Industrial_design_guy
Industrial_design_guy
8 months ago

Yep, sadly you are correct

Utherjorge
Utherjorge
8 months ago

chicken dinner right here

Gary Lynch
Gary Lynch
8 months ago

Kinda looks like an early Saab Sonnett

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
8 months ago
Reply to  Gary Lynch

I thought it look Sonnett-ish too, but I searched some photos to refresh my memory and… nope.

Voeltzwagen
Voeltzwagen
8 months ago

Pretty sure that’s a Lambo, Dude.

Last edited 8 months ago by Voeltzwagen
Ottomadiq
Ottomadiq
8 months ago

https://www.conceptcarz.com/images/Sunbeam/61_Sunbeam_Harrington_Alpine_DV_05_Amelia_05.jpg whatever it is, its almost certainly based off of the Sunbeam Alpine

Zed_Patrol
Zed_Patrol
8 months ago

It’s gotta be an alpine with some weird custom body kit. Somebody needs to go the that neighborhood and talk to the old-timers around, I bet some eccentric guy made this in the 60s with some fiberglass parts.

SX-70
SX-70
8 months ago
Reply to  Zed_Patrol

It’s far too small to be an Alpine, judging from the people standing behind it.

Noahwayout
Noahwayout
8 months ago
Reply to  SX-70

Alpines are the same length as an NA Miata. They are very small.

SX-70
SX-70
8 months ago
Reply to  Noahwayout

I’m very familiar with the Alpine as well as NA Miata. This is clearly smaller than either of those, or else the people walking behind it are eight feet tall!

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
8 months ago
Reply to  Zed_Patrol

Yeah, the mystery will only be solved by someone who participated in its construction or who knew someone who did. Its been out there unsolved for long enough that its safe to conclude that if it was some regular production, commercially available body, it would have been identified already.

Ottomadiq
Ottomadiq
8 months ago

Has elements of the Ashley kit cars of the period, but theres a lot that still doesnt line up

Jimmy7
Jimmy7
8 months ago

It’s weird, it’s British, it looks like a bunch of other things that are weird and British, therefore it is a TVR.

Nlpnt
Nlpnt
8 months ago

The size of those wheels under their pie-plate aftermarket covers points me to a Ford Anglia E494A/Popular 103E chassis. A prewar car made up until 1959 with a chassis layout dating back to the Model T, they were body-on-frame and would’ve been cheap, plentiful kit-car donors by then.

Ford_Anglia_E93A_3.jpeg (800×600) (squarespace-cdn.com)

Wheelbase looks about right too, the stock steering column probably was angled back quite a bit to get the driver’s seat low and far back enough.

Last edited 8 months ago by Nlpnt
Mike Smith
Mike Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  Nlpnt

Yep, I was thinking something similar, though I was going down an Austin 7 based kit car rabbit hole. The large-ish diameter skinny wheels and very short wheelbase all point to ‘tiny old car’ as the basis of it.
As others have mentioned, it could also be French in origin, so maybe Alpine. I was also reminded of a Saab Sonett.
The thing that I can’t match from any car is the extreme wraparound of the windshield. British roadsters and coupes of that time all have pretty flat glass (which took TVR out of the running, for instance, as well as the Sabra GT).

Jimmy7
Jimmy7
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

I would bet the windshield is sourced from a rear window from a small coupe.

Jonee Eisen
Jonee Eisen
8 months ago
Reply to  Nlpnt

Yes. And there were many companies that made fiberglass bodies for rusted out Anglia chassis. Here is one from Peel, the illustrious manufacturers of the P50:

https://www.undiscoveredclassics.com/forgotten-fiberglass/canadas-campbell-sports-car-company-a-buckler-special-using-peel-body/

Peel even had a couple others that were much less primitive although I don’t think the mystery car was a Peel kit. This car could have been a prototype body that never made it to market.

Stephen Bierce
Stephen Bierce
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonee Eisen

https://dailyturismo.com/tag/caribbean/ <- Another possibility is the Falcon Caribbean, though this one only checks off some of the boxes.

Jonee Eisen
Jonee Eisen
8 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Bierce

Ah, yeah. Same general shape. And folks often got creative with kits. If someone knew how to work fiberglass, they could have added their own flourishes to something like that.

Angel "the Cobra" Martin
Angel "the Cobra" Martin
8 months ago

It looks like a Sunbeam with an bunch of custom bodywork. But I don’t know. The pic at top looks like something out of a Bulldog Drummond movie. If you’ve never seen it, watch Deadlier than the male on Youtube. A not so bad 60’s movie.

Last edited 8 months ago by Angel "the Cobra" Martin
Tony D
Tony D
8 months ago

I’m going to say it is an Aston Martin and call it a day.

OSpazX
OSpazX
8 months ago
Reply to  Tony D

Thank you.

My first thought was also that it looks like an Aston. Glad to see I’m not the only one. Either that, or we both are crazy and need new glasses. Could be either.

10001010
10001010
8 months ago
  • This is a question about a car
  • It’s long established that Miata Is Always The Answer
  • Ergo, it’s a Miata
RustyBritmobile
RustyBritmobile
8 months ago

Almost a Sabra GT.

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