10 of the Most Important Concept Cars of All Time

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Concept cars give automakers the opportunity to go berserk and put into practice all kinds of crazy ideas. Just look at what Ford has done over the years. Or what Jeep has recently revealed. Anyway, most of the concept cars never end up seeing production, but some of them do. They are here to serve all kinds of different purposes. Whether it’s the introduction of the new technology, some new detail in design or even overall new design, or simply need to do something flashy; carmakers simply have to keep producing concepts in order to remain competitive and ahead of time.

This time we’re digging deep and bringing you the list of 10 concept cars that can be rightfully considered some of the most important concept cars of all time. Although not all of them have made production, every single one of them has had some kind of an impact on the automotive industry during its time. Some of them have influenced iconic cars, while others have practically revolutionized the market. Whether by introducing the radical new styling or technology to move the car industry forward. Here they are.

1. Buick Y-Job (Year: 1938)

You’ll agree that the best place to start with most important concept cars of all time as, well, the beginning. Buick Y-Job concept was the first concept car ever made, and although it never made production, its influence is everlasting. Waterfall grille still adorns modern Buicks today. Not only that, but most of Buick models used Y-Job’s styling cues until the fifties. At the time, Y-Job featured contemporary equipment like the hidden headlamps, power windows and power top that went completely out of sight below the car’s tonneau. It didn’t make production, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t move around. It was driven by none other than GM design chief Harley Earl. He loved it so much that he only replaced it with even more radical LeSabre concept in 1951.

2. Rolls Royce Silver Ghost (Year: 1907)

There were 4 Rolls Royce Silver Ghosts produced for promotional purposes in 1906, and two of them weren’t even complete (40/50 hp models). It was in 1907, though that the company produced the first Silver Ghost which would give 40/50 hp models their new name. It was the 12th 40/50 hp model produced, so it wasn’t exactly the concept car. Still, it was the only Rolls Royce 40/50 hp to get its own nickname, and the car that single handedly established Rolls Royce as prominent and highly reliable automaker. It achieved that by trekking then treacherous Scottish roads and traveling between London and Glasgow 27 times in succession. That’s 15,000 miles total over horrendous roads from 100 years ago with the press aboard. Risk certainly paid off as aluminum-painted, silent (hence the name Silver Ghost) Rolls Royce broke all the records.

3. Lamborghini Marzal (Year: 1967)

Lambo Marzal is the grandfather of wedge-shaped cars. If being the first wedge ever produced doesn’t justify its appearance on the most important concepts list, then I don’t know what does. And we have then 29 years old Marcello Gandini of Bertone to thank for it. You know, the designer of Miura, Countach, and Diablo among other things. Marzal was introduced at 1967 Geneva Auto Show and it featured fully transparent gullwing doors and louvered rear window. 175 horsepower from 2.0L in-line six engine wasn’t all that much by Lamborghini’s standards, but that didn’t really matter for a one-off car. Design would later be used in Lamborghini Espada which was produced between 1968 and 1978, and was also designed by Gandini.

4. Porsche 695 and 901 (Years: 1961 and 1963 respectively)

1961 Porsche 695

1963 Porsche 901

Porsche 911 is one of the most famous cars ever made, and it’s unique for having two separate concepts. Porsche 695 (T7 prototype) was introduced in 1961, and one can see the resemblance at first sight. Well, at least up front. Problem was the rear end, and German automaker resorted to making the new concept dubbed Porsche 901. That was also the name it was supposed to have, but Peugeot had the rights of using three digit nomenclature with the zero in the middle, so the Germans simply replaced the zero with one, and the rest is history. However, they didn’t do it soon enough for the first 82 models sold which already wore the 901 badge.

5. Lincoln Futura (Year: 1954)

Lincoln Futura was one costly Ford-designed and Ghia-built prototype which never directly influenced a successor. So, why is this 250,000 (approximately $2.2 million in today’s money) convertible so important? Why, for being the Batmobile, of course. Before becoming the sixties series Adam West’s Batmobile, Futura also appeared in 1959 It Started with a Kiss – a film directed by George Marshall, and starred by Glenn Ford and Debbie Reynolds. Although not having a direct successor, Futura did influence Lincoln’s future generation of cars by giving them the flashy headlight design. Moreover, it also had a large impact on the second generation Ford Thunderbird. Futura ended up being sold at 2013 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction for $4,620,000.

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