Home » Which Concept Car Should’ve Been Built?

Which Concept Car Should’ve Been Built?

Autopian Asks Concept Car Lamborghini Estoque
ADVERTISEMENT

The term concept car has taken on many meanings over the past few decades. Sometimes they’re thinly-veiled previews of upcoming production cars, but the original intent was to showcase a dream, a direction, an intent. These cars weren’t actually meant to be built, but they preview the future of an automaker’s regular cars, or a possible future of the industry itself. However, not all of these latter examples should’ve stayed on auto show floors. Today we want to ask which concept car you think should’ve been built for public consumption.

While there are many magnificent concept cars we’d love to see grace the roads, one stands out in my heart as not just special enough to make the hairs on your neck stand right up, but actually viable. I’m talking about the magnificent, beguiling, razor wire-sharp sculpture of four-door excellence that is the Lamborghini Estoque.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Powered by a front-mounted 5.2-liter naturally-aspirated V10, it would’ve been a god among ultra-sedans, a weapon to surpass the soaring highs of the fifth-generation Maserati Quattroporte, which isn’t to be confused with the Dodge Dart switchgear-sharing exercise in parts bin buffoonery known as the sixth-generation Quattroporte. Sadly, the Estoque was not to be. In 2008, one particular story was dominating the headlines, and it would’ve been a bit crass to launch a four-door Lamborghini while people were losing their shirts. Instead, we eventually got the Urus, which as far as I can work out, is basically a Porsche Cayenne for people with irritatingly expensive hoodies and rehearsed lines on how cryptocurrency is “totally not a pyramid scheme, bro.”

Lamborghini Estoque 1

So, what concept car do you think should’ve been built? Whether it’s something fast like the Volkswagen Golf W12 or something practical like the Toyota A-BAT, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

ADVERTISEMENT

(Photo credits: Lamborghini)

Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.

Relatedbar

Got a hot tip? Send it to us here. Or check out the stories on our homepage.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
224 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Russell Thornburg
Russell Thornburg
19 days ago

I’ll say the Cadillac Voyage from the late ’80s or early ’90s. 2002 Lincoln Continental concept. Buick Avista concept. Cadillac elMiraj concept… Just off the top of my head.

AceRimmer
AceRimmer
19 days ago

ME412

Ford_Timelord
Ford_Timelord
23 days ago

Toyota Cruiser TJ. Practical hybrid 4wd wagon. Ugly as sin. The bastard offspring of a Tercel 4wd with a FJ Cruiser.

Barry Allen
Barry Allen
23 days ago

Jeep Jeepster (1998). It’s honestly a little ugly, but the idea of a sporty all wheel drive jeep that could lower or raise for on road or off road fun did things to my brain.

FleetwoodBro
FleetwoodBro
23 days ago

Coming in late. 1962 Ford Allegro II

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
23 days ago

Late to the party, but here’s a not-comprehensive list, and in no particular order:

Mazda RX-Vision (2015): this would still look amazing today. The Iconic SP Concept (2023) indicates the overall style isn’t dead and bears production possibility.

Mazda Vision Coupe (2017): Mazda’s vision for what their E-class and 5-series competitor could be. Some details were made to work with the Mazda6, which still looks great, but just not the same. Not a coupe, though.

Jaguar C-X75 (2010): so close!

Jaguar XK180 (1998) and F-Type (2000): an F-Type for the early 2000s. We were robbed by Ford not properly managing Jaguar and Aston Martin’s respective portfolios. Yes, it gave us the Vantage, which is great, but Jaaaaaaag deserved this car.

Ford GT90 (1995): I still adore this design. Ford was riding high in the ’90s, and this could have and should have been the halo car for the decade. Maybe some compromises to make it production-feasible (cooler exhaust that didn’t require ceramic tiles to prevent the body from melting, for instance) and an interior in a color other than all-blue, for instance.

Ford 021C (1999) and 24.7 (2000): Fun quirky small vehicles. What’s not to love, presuming they made production-ready changes (dashboard, exterior lights, trunk-shelf-thing, etc.)?

Ford Desert Excursion (1999): Super Duty but would have competed against the chevy avalanche 2500. See also: Himalaya Expedition (1999) to go against 1500-based avalanches.

Ford Forty-Nine (2001): Could have ridden the retro wave that was ongoing while being more practical than the Thunderbird, and offering the Crown Victoria an earlier exit (except for government duty while it was slowly phased out).

Ford SVT Lightning (2003): Easily the most comprehensive and best-looking of the ICE-powered Lightning pickups. It still bugs me that Ford didn’t make this a reality.

Ford Bronco (2004): Some details were clearly not production-ready, but Ford shouldn’t have conceded the off-road space to Jeep for so long. Just no PowerShift, please! If they could have made it a diesel hybrid that could have been quite the trendsetter.

Ford Shelby Cobra (2004) and Shelby GR-1 (2005): Ford’s Viper and corvette fighters that didn’t get past a functional concept stage. The V10 was overkill, but would have made it even more competitive with the Viper.

Ford Interceptor (2007) – yes some cues were used for the Fusion and Taurus (and Flex), but seeing how relatively successful the Charger/300 were, Ford shouldn’t have given up the full-size RWD realm so easily. Would have succeeded the Forty-Nine as Ford’s full-size RWD-based sedan.

Chrysler ME4-12 (2004): This could have done for Chrysler what the reborn 2005 Ford GT did for Ford. Just needed a name, not a model number that looked ribbed from an office printer.

Lincoln Sentinel (1996): Better semi-Brutalist design than cadillac years before they debuted their “art & science” design theme, with excellent presence and details. The PotUS’s limo should look like one (or, rather, an updated one at this point), not some parts bin cadillac bits on a TopKick chassis. I’m actually surprised that it took as long for Lincoln to incorporate a lot of the designs from the concept, most notably on the MKT & MKS, at least for the front end. Though I also prefer the design they used for the Zephyr/MKZ and MKX, the Sentinel could have been the kick in the pants Lincoln needed to be seen as a potential competitor to Bentley and Rolls-Royce once again.

Lincoln C Concept (2009): Smaller luxury crossover, a predecessor to the successful Corsair we have now. Coach doors! Airy cabin! Nice dimensions that are parking-friendly!

Volvo Concept Estate and XC Coupe (2014): Yes, we got the Polestar 1, the Volvo V60, XC40, and C40, but the Concept Estate (not an estate) and XC Coupe (not a coupe) are both 3-doors in a lovely style that would have served as great entries to the brand especially for “TINK” (Two Incomes, No Kids) buyers who don’t need 4+ doors.

Italdesign/Lamborghini Cala (1995): such a looker, and would have eased the future reception of the Gallardo.

Those are just the ones off the top of my head. There’s likely more, but most did make production in some form or another, so I didn’t include those.

Last edited 23 days ago by Box Rocket
Box Rocket
Box Rocket
22 days ago
Reply to  Box Rocket

I knew I forgot a couple. Lincoln Mark X (2004) (fancy Thunderbird) and MKR (2007) (fancy Mustang but with 4 doors). MKR was a better overall design than the Mark X.

Honorable mention to the Lincoln Navicross (2003), as the tall sedan looked cool, but Lincoln probably wouldn’t have been the best pioneer for that vehicle type.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
22 days ago
Reply to  Box Rocket

I somehow deleted my paragraph about the Lincoln Continental (2002). Love that concept, and it would have bridged the gap between the production Sentinel and MKR.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
22 days ago
Reply to  Box Rocket

I KNEW I forgot another. Ford 427 (2003). Bridge between the Forty-Nine and the Interceptor, much like the Mark X would have been. Somehow I blanked on Ford/Lincoln sedans from those years, derp.

Robert Sachs
Robert Sachs
23 days ago

I’ve got two:

  • Lotus Etna (for those who have a thing for ’90s modern)
  • Mazda Vision Concept (possibly the most beautiful car ever built, with the most beautiful paint job I’ve ever seen)
pizzaman09
pizzaman09
23 days ago

Nissan IDx
I practically begged the folks at the Detroit Auto show the year they showed the concept to build it.

Pisco Sour
Pisco Sour
23 days ago
Reply to  pizzaman09

This one is probably my number one because it’s the one concept I thought was awesome AND I would be actually able to purchase at the time it was discussed.

Autojunkie
Autojunkie
23 days ago

Chrysler’s 2006 Imperial Concept

Based on the recently-introduced LX platform, it was on track to make production. I had access to the engineering database at the time, which had all the production drawings and specifications showing that it was intended for production. However, like many other Mopar products of the time that had production intent, it was cancelled as part of the sweeping cost cuts from Daimler.
Possibly a bit dated by now, I imagine that the car would have possibly been updated with similar content found today in the Grand Wagoneer with coach doors, of course.

MikuhlBrian
MikuhlBrian
23 days ago
Reply to  Autojunkie

As much as I am a fan of Mopar (i’ve had several including three in my current fleet), this is one I would have to disagree with. Chrysler/Dodge/etc all had some pretty fantastic concepts in the 90s and 00s, but to me this one was one of the let downs. For me it was the proportions. It was so big and huge, it looked like an SUV with the back cut off to make a trunk. I know they were trying to go for a Rolls on a budget from the look and scale, but it just didn’t sit right with me. When I think Imperial, i think low and long. And extended wheelbase sedan would have been more Imperial for me.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
22 days ago
Reply to  MikuhlBrian

I quite agree. The Imperial suffered the same problem the new wagoneer has: too much vertical height at all normal angles, without the gravitas and presence to back it up (though the Imperial does it slightly better). It should long, low, and lean, not tall and bolt-upright (like a vehicular meerkat or groundhog, if that makes sense).
That Imperial concept looks like a submission for the PotUS limo (sedan-like body on a medium-duty chassis), but in regular-wheelbase form. If it were limo-length I’d like it better than what we got, though by the same token I don’t think it’s quite right for one company to be used so blatantly for that vehicular position.

MikuhlBrian
MikuhlBrian
22 days ago
Reply to  Box Rocket

That is a good way to describe that Imperial concept. It’s like the Cadillac “BEAST”…. a “sedan” on a medium duty truck chassis. It has the same (minus the wheelbase) proportions.

Steve Jones
Steve Jones
23 days ago

The Holden Efijy. Terrible name – loved the design. Of course it is beyond me to add a picture, and I have yet to scroll through 200 comments to see and like a comment about this car. Your own brand new lead sled – with a warranty!

Jim Stock
Jim Stock
23 days ago

See David’s history of Jeep concepts. All of them? For sure the Aftica and the Mighty FC

Elhigh
Elhigh
23 days ago

SAAB EV-1.
https://www.saabplanet.com/wp-content/uploads/1985-SAAB-EV-1_01.jpg

It’s gorgeous, made good power, was Swedish. All good things.

John Metcalf
John Metcalf
23 days ago
Reply to  Elhigh

This. All day, this. ????

65tux
65tux
23 days ago
Tinibone
Tinibone
24 days ago

Surprised that none of the Aussies have mentioned the Torana GTR-X yet: https://www.whichcar.com.au/news/rare-holden-torana-gtr-x-for-sale

And for my rotary lovers the Mazda Furai would have been very cool to see a road going version.
https://www.topgear.com/car-news/concept/concepts-time-forgot-mazda-furai

США! США! США!
США! США! США!
24 days ago

MINI Superleggera Vision
https://www.touringsuperleggera.eu/en/concepts/mini-superleggera-vision/

I honestly assumed it was going to happen because it was just so good.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
24 days ago
224
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x