Jump to content

Interesting Concept Cars from Yesteryear

Recommended Posts

Starting this thread to share and discuss about some nice concept cars, that may or may not have make it to production. This car left me a deep impression, so much so that I can still remember it after nearly a quarter century...:want::want:

Why buy four cars when you just need one, but with four different body styles?

1995 Mercedes-Benz VRC Concept



Basic Module















Basic Informations
Vehicle: Mercedes-Benz Vario Research Car
Introduced in: 1995
Where: Geneva Motor Show
Goals: Variable vehicle concepts, ergonomics
Powertrain: Front-wheel drive, continuously variable automatic transmission

Technical highlights
- Swap bodies: saloon, estate, convertible and pickup on one and the same chassis, exchanged within 15 minutes
- Light and sturdy bodies made of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP)
- Active Body Control (ABC) [Production launch in the Mercedes-Benz CL (1999, C 215 series)]
- Colour display [Production launch in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (1998, W 220 series)]
- Central rotary control for the electronic functions [Production launch in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (2005, W 221 series)]
- Navigation system [Production launch in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (1995, W 140 series)]
- Safety display coupled to traffic sign evaluating function and distance warning radar

One car, four vehicles – variability is the emphasis of the design of the Vario Research Car (VRC) by Mercedes-Benz, which attracted great attention at its premiere at the 1995 Geneva Motor Show. For in just a few minutes, the VRC can be converted into a different car. Whatever trip you plan, you will not need more than one car thanks to the variability of the body of the Vario Research Car. On weekdays it’s a saloon. For longer journeys, the load capacity of an estate is available. In the summer the sun invites you to take an open-top ride in a convertible. And for heavy loads, there’s the pickup with its open cargo space.

Mercedes-Benz solved the problem with a compact two-door car. It features a single-piece body consisting of roof, side walls and rear section; the body can be lifted off and exchanged for another variant. Doing it calls for a few simple operations and only about 15 minutes’ time. The Vario Research Car was combined with a vision: customers do not own the bodies themselves but drive up to a rental station. While they drink a cup of coffee, service technicians switch the body. A few minutes later, customers are back on the road again. How long they use a particular body variant is up to them, because the rental system is just as flexible as the car itself.

One car for different activities
Futurology provided the impetus for the Vario Research Car. The prediction is that people will have more leisure time which they will employ for different activities. For these activities, and for everyday use, they would like to choose a vehicle to fit their purpose. But having one’s own little fleet would not be economical. The Vario Research Car from Mercedes-Benz offers the solution.

On top of that, the VRC illustrates clearly that research vehicles demand a dialogue with the public: Mercedes-Benz requests drivers to state their opinions about each new concept. In the case of the Vario Research Car, the response has been particularly extensive and unusually diversified. From this response, Mercedes-Benz obtained numerous valuable suggestions for future production models.

This research car too features a number of forward-looking technical solutions. The body change should be easy to accomplish. Only the interplay of several components can make this possible. The service technicians place the roof structure on the chassis; electric motors pull it into its final position, where special locking mechanisms hold it at eight anchorage points. To release it, it suffices to actuate levers on the door pillars and the upper windshield frame. The rest is again done by the servomotors which undo the locks and slightly raise the body so that it can easily be lifted off.

For the electric connections in the rear, which differ for each body, there is a central terminal which automatically recognises the type of body. If, for example, an estate body is mounted, the rear-screen wiper/washer will be supplied with current. In the saloon, the heated rear screen and trunk lights have to be connected to the electric system. In the convertible, the electric drive for the soft-top requires energy and has to be controlled.

Bodywork made of new materials
The bodies are light and sturdy – a result of the new materials tested by the engineers. They are made of the high-tech material CFRP – carbon-fibre reinforced plastic. Compared to aluminum, CFRP is 25 per cent lighter and, what is more, features high strength. The bodies weigh only 30 to 50 kilograms each and, despite their lightweight design, afford a high level of stability and crashworthiness. The Vario Research Car served to further test front-wheel drive in a Mercedes-Benz, which was combined with continuously variable automatic transmission as well as active suspension (Active Body Control, ABC) for improving handling safety and comfort.

The cockpit contains a colour display which shows the driver all the required information. On the centre console a rotary actuator is installed with which the driver can selectively control the entire menu. It includes not only rev counter, trip computer and trip odometer, but also the route recommendations of the onboard navigation system. A special feature is the safety display in combination with a traffic sign evaluating system. If the driver keeps to the official speed limit, it shows a green circle. If he or she drives faster or does not keep a proper distance from the vehicle ahead, the colour and shape of the symbol change – the circle turns into a yellow ellipse or a red triangle depending on how much the driver exceeds the speed limit or falls below the safe distance. For this function, the onboard electronics are coupled with distance radar and traction control.

The upper part of the centre console accommodates a second display where, among other things, information on the settings of the air conditioning and navigation system are shown. When the driver stops to refuel, he or she is also told whether the tyre pressure, the levels of engine oil, coolant and wash water, and the light system are okay. While on the go, drivers are prevented from choosing additional functions, so as not to distract their attention from traffic, while front passengers have unimpeded access to all secondary information. To tell the difference, the rotary control “senses” whether it is being touched by the left hand (front passenger) or right hand (driver).

First-time use of drive-by-wire for steering and brakes
The Vario Research Car was the first research car from Mercedes-Benz featuring drive-by-wire technology, in which the steering and the brakes, for example, are actuated electrically with no mechanical linkages existing to the steering hands and braking feet. But the testing of this technology was not the main purpose of the VRC – the variability of the body was the principal concern. With the Vario Research Car, Mercedes-Benz underpinned its forte, the holistic design of new vehicles – and its ability to put them on wheels in fully operational condition.

↡ Advertisement
  • Praise 8

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

actually wouldn't mind a merc ute like that last photo.. with that generation's 55 AMG engine. it'd be sick!

  • Praise 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

What catches my attention is the see through A-pillar, glass roof as well as the near full glass hatch, which really helps in improving overall visibility (I sat in the physical car before, and can feel it for myself). Sad to say all these features (including the practical 5 door design), did not make it to the production Volvo C30.

2001 Volvo SCC







Volvo Safety Concept Car makes driving that much safer

The main theme of the Volvo Safety Concept Car (SCC) is "superior vision". However, the car also employs a variety of technologies that enhance personal security and improve passive safety systems. SCC thus points the way to a new dimension in the research and development of car safety.

The Volvo Safety Concept Car is a vision of the developments in safety that car buyers can enjoy in the future. It is also evidence that Volvo Cars and the Ford Motor Company are at the leading edge of the development of technology for safer driving.

"With the quick pace of technological development, we are constantly gaining access to smaller yet more powerful computers, new sensors and so on. Volvo’s approach is to utilise the breakthroughs in an intelligent and sensible way. We combine advanced electronics with new materials and new mechanical design solutions to create customer benefits. One example of this is the Volvo SCC and its unique enhanced all-round visibility," says Hans Gustavsson, head of research and development at Volvo Cars.

"More than 90 per cent of all important information to the driver comes in the form of visual input through the windows and windscreen of the car. If we improve the quality of this visual information, we will also improve the driver’s ability to make the right decisions in difficult situations, thereby avoiding collisions."

Built for the eye

That is why the forward-thinking Volvo Safety Concept Car is built for the eye. Not merely in terms of aesthetic appearances and lines pleasing to the eye, but rather because the car has been designed around the driver’s eyes to ensure better vision and visibility.

When the driver gets into the seat, a sensor identifies the location of his or her eyes. The seat then automatically adjusts to suit the position of the eyes so that the driver obtains the best possible field of vision. Once this is done, the floor, pedals, steering wheel and centre console, including the gear lever, all move to ensure that all the controls are within convenient reach.

The driver thus enjoys the best overview of what is happening both outside the car and on the instrument panel.

Number one in safety

The Volvo SCC is the result of close collaboration between Volvo Cars and its parent company, the Ford Motor Company. The car, which was designed at the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center in California, demonstrates advances in several research and development projects in the fields of safety and security. It clearly highlights the cutting-edge skills and resources the company has at its disposal.

Curved B-pillars

The Volvo SCC has a number of additional functions that improve visibility. The driver can see through the supporting pillars of the windscreen – the A-pillars – as a result of a metal box construction combined with see-through Plexiglass. The B-pillars – the pillars between the front and rear doors – curve inwards following the contours of the seat frame to offer an unobstructed field of vision to the offset rear.

A sensor located in the outer rear-view mirrors detects the approaching vehicle and alerts the driver to vehicles in the offset rear "blind spot". In addition, rearward-facing cameras integrated into the door mirrors can show the driver what is in the blind spot.

The headlight beams adapt to the road and the speed – by directing the beam in the direction that the driver is turning at a crossroads or on a corner, for example. An infrared light enhancer boosts night-time vision beyond the reach of the headlights.

A forward-facing camera monitors the position of the car on the road and alerts the driver if there is any tendency to veer off course.

Increased crash safety and personal security

In addition, the Volvo SCC features a number of exciting features in the areas of active driving safety, crash protection and personal security. Together with the B-pillars, the front seat frames form a safety cage that is at least as effective in roll-over accidents and side-impact collisions as conventional B-pillars.

The car has two different types of four-point safety belt, the X4 CrissCross Belt and the V4 Centre Buckle belt. The X4 is based on a conventional three-point belt that is supplemented with an additional diagonal chest belt. The V4 Centre Buckle Belt is a new four-point safety harness that has a centrally positioned buckle and shoulder straps that form a "V" across the chest.

The rear seat has two adjustable seat cushions whose height can be steplessly altered to give children the most comfortable and the safest seating position, irrespective of their height.

The remote control unit becomes a communication centre

The remote control unit has been developed into the Volvo Personal Communicator (VPC) and it has a number of new features. A fingerprint sensor personalises the remote control unit. The driver only has to grasp the door handle to unlock the door – and the car can be started without a key.

The VPC transmits the driver’s personal setting parameters to the car, which automatically makes the necessary adjustments to the driver’s seat, steering wheel, pedals and so on. The system can even be pre-programmed with a number of destinations so that the navigation instrument is preset at the same time as the driver unlocks the door.

A heartbeat sensor registers both human and animal heartbeats when the car is parked. The sensor is activated if anyone breaks into the car and hides inside it – or if a child or pet is left inside by mistake.

If the driver is more than 100 metres from the car, the VPC can still transmit this information – via a cell phone. It is also possible to transfer information from a PC or hand-held computer.

  • Praise 5

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, I know someone is going to ask: "Why no Skoda, since you are one of it biggest fan?"

1935 Škoda 935 Dynamic Prototype

















ŠKODA 935: The Drop-shaped Pioneer

It looked like a car from the future, with its aerodynamic bodywork and futuristic rear-mounted boxer engine. The ŠKODA 935 was a pioneer of the new era.

In 1935, most cars were boxy, much closer in appearance to old horse-drawn coaches than to modern cars. They ploughed through the air rather than slicing through it. Although people already knew about aerodynamics and were using it on airplanes, only a few daring pioneers were trying to apply it to making cars.

After many failed attempts, Chrysler and Tatra came up with first mass-produced streamlined cars in 1934. Their efforts, the Airflow and T77, are well-known, and regarded as game-changers in the industry. While the Airflow kept the traditional layout with a front-engine and rear-wheel drive, Tatra went much further and chose a more radical solution, with an air-cooled V8 engine in the back, an innovative backbone frame and swing axles.

While Airflow failed commercially due to its unorthodox looks, the Tatra became a legend. Until recently, however, hardly anyone knew there was another Czech car with a similarly bold layout and futuristic design. It was called the ŠKODA 935 and it made its debut at the Prague car show in April 1935.

Its most striking feature was, of course, the streamlined bodywork. Its shape was based on the aerodynamic principles laid out by Paul Jaray – a former designer of Zeppelin airships and assistant at the Prague Technical Univesity, who influenced the design of Tatra’s streamlined cars.

There was more to the 935 than aerodynamics, though. Its low, sleek body wasn’t supported by a ladder frame, like most cars of its era. It had a backbone tube frame that was also used to house the 40 litre petrol tank. This design allowed the experimental ŠKODA to be much lower and more aerodynamic than most cars of the era.

The innovations didn’t end there. The 935 was fitted with independent suspension of all four wheels, using swing axles. That was something you could find in Tatras as well, but ŠKODA’s solutions were cleverer. For example, the flat-four engine was placed not behind the rear axle, but in front of it. This allowed for excellent weight distribution, improving the car’s handling and stability.

Together with the streamlined shape, this meant that the 935 was able to drive comfortably at 130 – 140 km/h, making it exceptionally fast for its era. It was a precursor to the kind of fast highway travel which only existed as an idea at the time. It was no cramped sportscar, either. At almost 5 metres in length, it offered a spacious interior for up to five adults plus 300 litres of luggage in the front compartment. There was also a horizontally mounted spare wheel that acted rather like a second bumper.

Also remarkable is the fact that all it took to propel such a large car to highway speeds was a two-litre, flat-four engine with an output of just 55 hp (40.5 kW). Such efficiency is a testament to the vehicle’s aerodynamics.

Unfortunately, we don’t know whether any more of these unique cars were ever manufactured. What we do know is that the prototype introduced at the Prague car show was sold to a private buyer in the summer of 1939. Later, it cruised around the Slovak roads in the hands of a local farmer, who finally offered it to the newly founded ŠKODA Museum in 1968.

The car spent decades in storage before the time finally came to restore it. It took 6 years of painstaking, passionate labour to return it to its former glory. Thankfully, the car was remained almost completely in its original condition, with only the paint and dashboard differing from the 1935 original. A bit of original paint on the inner side of one pillar helped to match the proper shade of grey, while the dashboard and other parts of the car were restored using period photos.

Today, the 935 is one of the most cherished exhibits of the ŠKODA Museum and a reminder that ŠKODA was already innovative and daring decades ago.

↡ Advertisement
  • Praise 5

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Can run on Highway ? later kana ticket for hogging :grin:

  • Praise 3

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Carbon82 said:

OK, I know someone is going to ask: "Why no Skoda, since you are one of it biggest fan?"

1935 Škoda 935 Dynamic Prototype




what a beauty....... you should drive bring one in   (make sure @Angcheek) not sitting inside , he belly  strawbelly .... need AC , need stereo 😁

  • Praise 2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Supposedly a model to counter the Porsche Panemera, but did not materialize till date. Lamborghini was torn between producing a 4 door sport sedan and a 4 door crossover, and no prize for guessing what is the final outcome. This one look better than panny, imo.

2008 Lamborghini Estoque







As with majority of the Lamborghini models, the Estoque derives its name from the sport and tradition of bullfighting: An estoque is a type of sword traditionally used by matadors.

The Estoque was introduced at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. The Estoque is the first front-engine vehicle to be introduced by Lamborghini since the LM002 utility vehicle. It was described as a "concept for a $230,000 four-door sedan". It had a 5.2 litre V10 engine shared with the Gallardo, although there had been speculation that this would be replaced by a V12, V8, or possibly even a hybrid or a turbo-diesel engine, as suggested by the then Lamborghini Brand Director, Manfred Fitzgerald.


The Estoque concept car is a four-door super sports car that enhances the tradition of the brand with totally new versatility. Suited for daily driving, it is the perfect match for a multi-faceted lifestyle. Conceptually speaking, the Estoque expresses the idea of a Lamborghini which is both a top-class super sports car and a highly practical GT.


The Estoque is a car with unique, unmistakable style. A long wheelbase, wide track and oversize wheels - combined with a low silhouette and a bold appearance - express the typical creativity of the Lamborghini style applied to a groundbreaking concept sedan.


Engine:                5.2 L FSI V10
Transmission:    7-Speed Dual-clutch transmission
Dimensions:       5,150 mm (L) x 1,990 mm (W) x 1,350 mm (H)
Wheelbase:         3,010 mm
Curb weight:       1,665 kg

  • Praise 5

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

A Porsche that doesn't look like one, in anyway. In fact, it scream Lada / Tata / Dacia to me...

So is the "C" in the C88 for China, or Cheap, you make the guess...

1995 Porsche C88 Concept





The C88 was a prototype family car designed for the Chinese market in 1994 by Porsche in response to the Chinese government's invitation to a number of international automotive manufacturers for a new range of cars. It was completed in four months by Porsche engineers and was displayed to the public at the 1994 Beijing Auto Show. The prototype is now on display in the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.

The four-door compact saloon body was unlike any other Porsche, and did not feature the Porsche badge anywhere. It was designed with only one child seat--reflecting Chinese population control policy--and the prototype was presented by CEO Wendelin Wiedeking himself, who learned his speech in Mandarin. According to Porsche Museum director Dieter Landenberger, "The Chinese government said thank you very much and took the ideas for free, and if you look at Chinese cars now, you can see many details of our C88 in them."

The C88 was intended to broaden the market for Porsche designs to India, where it was also unsuccessful.

Quick Specifications

Dimensions: 4,000mm (L) x 1,635mm(W)

Weight: 980Kg

Engine: 1.1L Inline 4 16V

Horsepower: 67hp

Torque: 105Nm

Gearbox: 5 Speed manual

0 - 100Km/h: 16sec

Top Speed: 165Km/h

Fuel Consumption: 5.8L/100Km


  • Praise 4

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Am surprised that this one never make it to production...

2013 Toyota FT-86 Open Concept









The FT-86 Open concept makes its World Debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show.

Following the global success of the exhilarating, entirely driver-oriented GT86, the FT-86 Open concept has been created to gauge customer reaction to the possible launch of a convertible version of Toyota's remarkable, front 'boxer' engined, rear-wheel drive, compact 2+2 sports car.

The FT-86 Open concept is designed to combine all the lively, accessible performance and highly engaging, readily exploitable dynamic abilities of the GT86 with the even greater levels of driving pleasure derived from open-topped motoring.

4,240 mm long, 1,775 mm wide, 1,270 mm high and with a wheelbase of 2,570 mm, the FT-86 Open concept features a multi-layered fabric roof construction with a glass rear screen.

The concept vehicle retains the GT86's 2+2 seating format, the roof being stowed behind fixed rear seats with minimal impact on luggage capacity.

↡ Advertisement
  • Praise 4

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now