5 Amazing Concept Cars You Forgot About

5 Amazing Concept Cars You Forgot About 19 photos
Photo: autoevolution collage
Rolls-Royce 100EXRolls-Royce 100EXRolls-Royce 100EXGM Hy-WireGM Hy-WireGM Hy-WireMazda FuraiMazda FuraiMazda FuraiMazda FuraiMazda FuraiFord VisosFord VisosFord VisosLamborghini EstoqueLamborghini EstoqueLamborghini EstoqueLamborghini Estoque
The life of an automobile enthusiast was simpler before automakers started to fight over who had the best systems in place to slowly make the driver irrelevant and who put the biggest battery in their vehicles. While there’s still no true autonomous passenger production car on the road today, EVs are certainly poised to take over. But let’s stop for a minute and think about some post-2000 forward-looking concepts and what they previewed. Get ready for a shot of nostalgia!
All we get to hear today is a lot of big talk about partial or total electrification, charging networks, hydrogen plays, carbon footprints, and shy geopolitical clashes over who has those precious rare-earth elements.

Some days may come with news about another sedan or hatchback being axed and replaced by a quirky crossover or a controversial attempt at replacing it with an SUV, while other announcements may include controversial statements about the future of the internal combustion engine (ICE). Then, some other entities sprinkle a couple of details about how progress in the autonomous driving sector is very, very important.

So, let’s decompress for a little while by diving into a couple of cars introduced in the past two decades. All this talk about the future, the constant changes, the challenges put forward by regulations, and the never-ending pursuit of driverless vehicles might make any enthusiast question where a car lover will end up in a continuously changing automotive landscape.

Rolls\-Royce 100EX
Photo: Arround the world on YouTube

Rolls-Royce 100EX

The luxury marque said it will never manufacture a convertible version of the brand’s jewel of the crown – the Phantom. However, the 100EX previewed an imposing convertible and came as a… slight surprise, so to say. But Ferrari too said it won’t make an SUV, and today we enjoy learning more about the lifted and improved four-door GTC4Lusso called Purosangue.

The German-owned British brand’s concept which was supposed to look like a “posh motorboat in motion” didn’t remain just an idea. It eventually got turned into a real thing – the 2004 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe. So, the British manufacturer kept its promise about not making a convertible. It gave the world a four-seater with a folding soft top and sloping rear end. The company remained true to its nature, just like Ferrari did with its determination to add “FUV” to the vehicle type description abbreviation mix.

The 18.6-foot-long experimental vehicle featured some cool manufacturing novelties like the dual-tone hood made from a single sheet of aluminum and the Spirit of Ecstasy made entirely from silver. But what hid under the hood was truly eye-catching – a turbocharged 9.0-liter V16 engine. Now, if you’re a BMW fan, then you might get inspired at this point because the 7 Series nicknamed “Goldfisch” – a crazy Bavarian project from the ‘80s – also featured a V16 (albeit of a smaller displacement) and some absurdly large rear-side air intakes.

If you’re ready to make a jump into the future, Rolls-Royce made the 103EX concept, which was supposed to preview another car they won’t make. But until that vision reaches reality, we can all wait and see how the world’s most luxurious automaker will enter the all-electric era with the Spectre. It’s going to be a major test for the British entity.

GM Hy\-Wire
Photo: Arround the world on YouTube

GM Hy-wire

Today, the yoke steering wheel is all the hype among Tesla Model S and Model X fans and prospective Lexus RZ 450e owners. Most people don’t necessarily like it, but they want to feel innovation in their hands even though it may come with a need for some mandatory adjusting to new holding techniques. But wait, there’s more! Toyota’s hydrogen-powered Mirai is also not a big novelty. General Motors toyed around with this idea and the yoke steering well before any of these cars started roaming our roads.

The Hy-wire debuted a courageous design language for the American automotive behemoth. It looked quirky, out of the ordinary, almost like a coupe-styled minivan, and it did not need any fossil fuels because it ran on hydrogen. Being a fuel-cell car, all that came out of its “leaking pipe” was water.

It got its name from some school children who were asked to give this unique-looking vehicle a proper denomination. Considering it debuted a complicated drive-by-wire system that introduced electronic controls all around and because it ran on hydrogen, the name suggestion was considered good enough to be adopted.

GM's courageous concept weighed 4,000 lb (1,814 kg). The Hy-wire made use of three highly-pressurized hydrogen tanks and one 94-kW (126-hp/128-ps) electric motor to reach its top speed of 100 mph (161 kph) thanks to the wonders of electrolysis.

After opening the rear-hinged door, the driver and the rear passengers were invited into a futuristic cabin. If you didn’t want to drive, then all you had to do is just send the steering wheel to the other front passenger with the help of the side-to-side sliding mechanism – which looked eerily similar to Volvo’s patent from last year.

Mazda Furai
Photo: Artemis Drives on YouTube

Mazda Furai

There was a time when the Japanese brand wasn’t trying to become a discount BMW manufacturer. Back when Tesla’s current chief designer was working for the brand that gave us the Spinning Dorito engine, Mazda was on a roll. The Furai concept encompassed that feeling of Japanese success. It came with a specific and very loud rotary engine sound for a reason – it celebrated four decades of existence for the engine that has a triangular rotating mass inside an assembly, hence the “Spinning Dorito” nickname.

Even though the Furai was a concept, it did not behave like one. The vehicle was fully functional and was allowed to stretch its legs on circuits albeit not in official events. Weighing just 1,488 lb (675 kg), the 450 hp (456 ps) coming from the two-seater’s two-liter tri-rotary Wankel engine was enough to make it feel like a slight land rocket.

Unfortunately, the Furai didn’t get to enjoy a long life. It burned down while Top Gear was filming a segment with it. From then on, it vanished. Nobody knows where the rest of it is. There were some rumors about it being in California, but nothing was confirmed in this respect.

So, the spiritual successor of the highly acclaimed Mazda 787B didn’t get its chance at enjoying Le Mans endurance racing.

Ford Visos
Photo: Arround the world on YouTube

Ford Visos

Back when automakers weren’t trying to get rid of hatchbacks and sedans, the Visos concept was perceived as the vehicle that might revive the famous Capri. When it was first introduced to the public at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the two-door futuristic-looking fastback caused quite a commotion because journalists and fans thought another big name was going to return to production.

Two decades ago, the brand’s representatives even dared to talk about possible starting prices for the four-seater. They were estimating around $16,000 (around $25,000 in today’s money). It was such an important concept that a Ford Europe executive argued back then that it could enter production by 2005. Other company officials even said the vehicle was debuting technologies that were going to be found on other of the brand’s models by 2008.

The car envisioned a cabin that could comfortably accommodate four adults and had a lot of Sony LCD screens. It also had a smart aerodynamic system deployable at speeds of over 56 mph (90 kph) and a couple of nifty camera-based safety systems.

Appealing to enthusiasts and comfort-oriented car buyers, the Visos offered many adjustability options and an advanced OBD2 port that showed, via a screen, many settings that could be adjusted manually. With a 345-hp (350-ps) bi-turbo six-cylinder engine under the hood that was connected to a six-speed manual and all-wheel drive, the concept had the potential to conquer the wallets of money.

Unfortunately, the Visos did not preview any production fastback that could have continued Capri’s legacy. Today, Ford even gave up on almost all of its sedans and hatchbacks. It only kept the Mustang and currently focuses on pickup trucks, SUVs, and crossovers.

Lamborghini Estoque
Photo: JustinsSupercars on YouTube

Lamborghini Estoque

What would a Porsche Panamera made by Lamborghini look like? If that’s something you thought about, then I’ll have you know that the Estoque came before the Porsche sedan. Lamborghini one-upped the German marque in 2008, but, in the end, the Panamera entered production after being launched in 2009, while the Estoque remained a one-off.

It was the Italian brand’s first attempt at making a four-door vehicle after the well-known LM002 was taken out of production. However, the marque did not want to make this vehicle, as it kept focusing on the V12s (Murcielago), V10s (Gallardo), and other special units it used people around the world with. It wasn’t until the Urus came that Lamborghini put four doors on a vehicle.

The Estoque kept the same design language that immediately helped almost anyone identify it as a four-door supercar coming from the brand with the raging bull as a logo. This only meant one thing – it looked bewilderingly beautiful with its strong stance, wide arches, creases, angles everywhere, and an overall luxurious aspect.

It is a tiny bit sad that the world didn’t get to enjoy a four-door Lamborghini before SUVs with V8 under the hood took over. But, in the grand scheme of things, the V10-powered Estoque will remain one of the most beautiful concept cars ever made and proof that the Italians were able to do much more than they let everybody know at the time.

Finally, don’t hesitate to share with us your idea of a post-2000 concept that should not be forgotten as we slowly yet surely move onto a fossil fuel-free world.
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About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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