Are These the Craziest Cars Ever Designed?Are These the Craziest Cars Ever Designed?
With the recent Geneva Motor Show showing off some incredible looking concept cars, we thought we would take a look at some of the craziest cars to ever make it into production.
- Brooke Swan Car
The 1910 Brooke Swan Car – which in its day cost three times as much as a Rolls-Royce; not only looks like the bird, but also shoots boiling water out of its beak to clear the road ahead. However, it does have some rather upmarket features, including Indian silk upholstery, glowing eyes, gold leaf accents, and brushes to keep the wheels clean while it moves. And if this wasn’t all crazy enough it also deposits simulated excrement from the rear – great for pesky tailgaters!
- BMW GINA
The 2001 BMW GINA Light Visionary Model concept came from BMW design director Chris Bangle, famous for upsetting the German auto-maker’s design standbys with hard geometry and chunky body parts. Here, he covered the car’s exterior in polyurethane-coated spandex that would shift according to the car’s aerodynamic needs at the time, which also allowed the driver to change its shape at will. Access to the engine bay can be accessed through a slit that can open in the middle of the bonnet.
Sitting at just 46cm tall, the Flatmobile’s is based on a 1963 Hilman Imp and powered by the Imp’s standard 875cc engine. But because in standard form that means it struggles to shoot fire from its exhaust, the car’s creator decided to install a jet engine built from a turbocharger off a Volvo truck.
- Rinspeed Squba
Inspired by James Bond’s Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me, the Rinspeed Squba is a Lotus Elise Submarine. Since it would be nearly impossible to the make a British sports car completely watertight anyway, Rinspeed went all out with the open-top Squba, which in submarine mode fills with water and requires occupants to breathe through scuba-style diving regulators. It is said that this was a safety feature that allowed the occupants to escape easily in case of an emergency.
Underwater the electric-powered Squba has three motors and can travel at up to 3km/h, and on the road its top speed is 120km/h.
- Reliant Robin
It’s almost impossible to drive a Robin around a corner without rolling over. With just one front wheel dealing with the weight of the engine and direction changes the laws of physics simply don’t allow the Robin to turn successfully. Despite this, a 2011 survey reported that Reliant Robin drivers were actually Britain’s safest drivers — presumably because almost all of their cars had crashed and been taken off the roads long before the survey was done.
- 1955 Chrysler Streamline X Gilda
The 1955 Chrysler (Ghia) Streamline X “Gilda” got its name from a 1946 Rita Hayworth movie. After foregoing a planned deafening jet turbine engine, Italian firm Ghia outfitted the Gilda with a more simplified 1.5-litre engine made for more long-distance driving. Although the design sadly never made it to production, it is a predecessor to a short run of Chrysler turbine cars, and the fins tell you it’s from the 1950s.
- Citroen/Michelin PLR
In the 1970s Michelin needed a vehicle to test its development truck tyres. But rather than simply purchasing a truck, Michelin decided to enlist the services of Citroen, and the pair came up with this monster. It’s got ten wheels, four-wheel-steering, two 5.7-litre V8s, and it weighs more than ten tonness. One V8 is used to power the rear six wheels, and the other is used to spin and, ultimately destroy, the test tyre
- General Motors Firebird
To describe today’s supercars, we fall back on likening the Koenigseggs and Paganis of the world to jet fighters. The 1953 General Motors Firebird I XP-21 was an actual jet fighter, with four wheels, a tail fin, and a bubble cockpit. The turbine engine spun at up to 26,000 rpm to generate a whopping (for the time) 370 horsepower.
- 1948 Tusco
The 1948 Tasco was made under a short-lived brand called The American Sports Car Company — the car’s name is an acronym for the manufacturer. Gordon Buehrig, formerly of Duesenberg, took design inspiration from World War II fighter planes. The fiberglass covering the front wheels moved with the steering input.