We’ve gone into the archives and dug up 10 crazy concept cars that have debuted at past New York Auto Shows, and some of them are downright wacky. We only wish that this year’s auto show gives us something as interesting and unique as some of these weirdos.
ALSO SEE: Full 2016 New York Auto Show Coverage
The Bob Reisner Bathtub (1969)
This is exactly what you think it is: a product from a time when people didn’t care about safety or fuel emissions. The Bathtub is a V8-powered hot rod concept car that used the very items found in our bathrooms. The driver sits on a toilet seat and hauls around two French bathtubs. And, of course, it’s powered by a supercharged V8 HEMI engine. Either the late ’60s were a very creative time, or car builders were high on some seriously powerful stuff…
Buick Century Cruiser (1969)
The late ‘60s had really cool space/future-inspired design motifs. The Buick Century Cruiser was a car designed with the mindset that technology was going to make driving easier and we’ll all cruise in luxury and style. This cruiser has swivel chairs, a TV, fridge and an autonomous driving program that was programmed by punch cards. The roof also operates like a canopy and slides off the car for easy entry and exit.
Mitsubishi-Boyd Aluma Coupe Concept (1992)
Let’s role play for a moment: You’re Mitsubishi in the mid ‘90s and super stoked about your two sports cars: the 3000GT and the Eclipse. How do you top those two and bring more attention to your auto show booth? By making a hot rod that’s powered by the same new turbocharged four-cylinder engine, of course! Made with Boyd Coddington and Larry Erickson, the Aluma Coupe Concept was originally supposed to feature an American V8 until Mitsubishi stepped in and offered its new engine to make a big splash at the New York Auto Show.
Ford Powerstroke Concept (1994)
Sorry about your eyes. But now that you’ve rinsed them out, let’s explain the Ford Powerstroke Concept. A vision of what the future of pickup trucks would be like, this jelly-bean-turned-truck sports a bi-turbo diesel engine under the hood and was even featured in the Ford Racing 2 video game.
Isuzu VX-O2 Concept (1999)
The Isuzu VehiCROSS was already a funky car, and its two-door design and aggressive AWD setup made it kind of neat, but then the company lopped off the roof and called it the VX-02 Concept. Obviously, that’s a silly idea, and Isuzu never made the car, but it clearly inspired a new generation of radical SUVs like the Range Rover Evoque Convertible and Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet. Those will surely be a success in a way Isuzu never envisioned … not.
Kia Rio SV concept (2000)
This should have been called the Rio Zzzz concept. Just one look at this awkward subcompact sedan concept and you’d be surprised to learn that Kia continued to sell cars afterward. Of course, the production Rio that followed this concept was far more refined looking and the modern Rio even looks a bit high-class by subcompact standards.
Toyota Roxy Echo (2001)
Apparently, Toyota wanted to market the boring subcompact Echo to hip, outdoor adventure types and thought the best way to do that was to team up with the Roxy brand. It turned out that Roxy, a brand that specializes in women’s activewear doesn’t mix well with the Toyota Echo, a car that’s known for being slow, small, cheap and not fun in any way possible. But just look at that exciting blue wave decal!
Nissan Chappo (2001)
Designed from the inside out, the Nissan Chappo was an asymmetrical compact concept car that was hoping to be a living room on wheels. The interior was multi-purpose and could be arranged in different ways, catering to those who would spend a lot of time in their car, watching TV or browsing the web. The driver seats folds all the way back to form what looks like a sectional style sofa. While the Chappo is full of strange ideas, the design seems to have translated to the Nissan Cube, as seen with the wrap-around rear window, and overall boxy design.
Lincoln MK9 (2001)
The media nowadays has been trying to goad Lincoln into making a rear-wheel-drive luxury coupe based on the Mustang, but Lincoln did something very similar back in the day. The MK9 was a large coupe concept car with several call-backs to the old days of great American luxury and design. There have also been a few cues in the MK9 that we see in modern Lincolns, like the flowing design of the center stack.
Hyundai Nuvis (2009)
Hyundai tried its hand at a two-door crossover with the Nuvis concept. When the Nuvis debuted in 2009, the company was firing on all cylinders, especially in terms of design. Having its own dedicated design studio in California certainly helped. This hybrid crossover featured unique gullwing-style doors that Hyundai still haven’t put into production, and now Tesla has beat them to the punch with its own Falcon doors for the Model X!