Concept Cars We're Glad Remained Concepts 

Justin Cupler
Updated June 14, 2019 10.7k votes 1k voters 92.8k views 23 items

Auto shows present a great opportunity for automakers to reveal their new line of cars to the public, but they also pave the way to infamy for car companies who debut ridiculous concept cars. Concept vehicles usually showcase future designs and upcoming technology, but sometimes they just make us wonder what these car designers have been smoking on the weekends. Do they really think these far out designs will appeal to humans with two functioning eyes?  

Consumers determine whether or not a concept car makes it to the production line. If the public determines a concept vehicle is hideous, chances are the automakers will scrap it and eat the millions of dollars it spent on design and engineering. (Of course, there are always a few Pontiac Aztecs that slip through the cracks). 

Over the years, radical concept cars (read: ugly cars) have graced the floors of both small and large showrooms, like the Detroit Auto Show and the New York Auto Show. Some of these concepts are long forgotten while others still haunt our nightmares. In either case, we thank our lucky stars that they never made it to production. Let's have a look at the 23 concept cars that we're glad remained concepts.




1957 Aurora Safety Car
1957 Aurora Safety Car ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Concept Cars We're Glad Remained Concepts
Photo: Metaweb/CC-BY
No, this wasn't the inspiration for Benny the Cab from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. This is the 1957 Aurora Safety car, a concept that was equal parts terrifying and innovative. Many of its features, such as its collapsible steering column, shock-absorbing bumpers, and seat belts, eventually became standard safety features in all cars after its debut. Luckily, its design was never standardized.
Would this be a disaster?
1957 Studebaker-Packard Astral
1957 Studebaker-Packard ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Concept Cars We're Glad Remained Concepts
Photo: Metaweb/CC-BY
The 1957 Studebaker-Packard Astral was a car that looked less suited for the roads of America and more for the skyways of The Jetsons. Actually, this spaceship-like "car" featured a revolutionary concept with its nuclear-power source, which means it was only a flux capacitor away from traveling to 1955. Or the future. Your pick.
Would this be a disaster?
Ford Nucleon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Concept Cars We're Glad Remained Concepts
Photo: Metaweb/GNU Free Documentation License

We can only imagine how this conversation got started. "You know what would be a genius idea? Inserting a small nuclear reactor into the back of a car."  

Yeah... that sounds safe.  

Ford actually had this "unique" idea back in 1958 and it built a scale model to see if it was even feasible. Despite its zero-emissions status (well, except for the potential of a mushroom cloud), buyers for some reason never became comfortable with the idea of a nuclear plant strapped to their car. Wonder why?
Would this be a disaster?
2008 Assystem City Car
2008 Assystem City Car ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Concept Cars We're Glad Remained Concepts
Photo: flickr/CC0
What happens when you mix a baseball helmet, a McLaren, and a shoe? You get the ridiculous Assystem City Car. Franco Sbarro designed this concept car to be an intelligent city car, but it looks like Mr. Sbarro forgot his brain somewhere downtown as he came up with this abomination.
Would this be a disaster?