Vintage Concept Cars Exhibition — Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas

L’Oeuf électrique,1942.
Designed and fabricated by Paul Arzens.
Courtesy Musée des Arts et Métiers, Paris, France.
Photo by Michel Zumbrunn and Urs Schmid.

AtlantaDesign

100mph in Reverse

Looking back at the best concept cars (n)ever produced...

I know I can’t be alone in saying that the best – and most frustrating – thing about motor shows is the concept cars. Those crazy flights of fancy from the designers’ drawing boards, cooked up after a boozy lunch, knock the socks off anything that is actually for sale. Because the concept cars rarely are. Whether it’s because there are too few potential customers, the cars would be too expensive to produce, or maybe because the wheels can’t turn more than five degrees without hitting the wheel arches, they are destined to remain un-fulfilled, largely forgotten in the corner of a warehouse somewhere.

Forgotten no longer, as 17 of the best from the 1930s onwards have been dusted off for a second run-out at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia. Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas brings together cars by famous European sports car marques – as “makes” is spelled when the price becomes astronomical – including Ferrari, Bugatti and Porsche, as well as examples from the General Motors brands. Although the cars rarely make it into the showroom in their concept form, the legacy of their design can be seen years later in those that do; the Lancia Stratos HF Zero by Marcello Gandini, for example, may strike the supercar enthusiast as a forerunner of a few famous Lamborghinis, for whom Gandini also designed. Chrysler’s futuristic Streamline X from 1955 presses all the space-race buttons like a cross between George Jetson’s runabout and the Batmobile, while I, personally, am torn between the chiselled 2001 BMW GINA Light Visionary and the vintage style of the Bugatti Type 57S of 1935. Decisions, decisions. Make your choice at the gallery before 7 September.

@HighMuseumofArt

Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas — Vintage Concept Cars Exhibition

Ferrari (Pininfarina) 512 S Modulo, 1970.
Designed by Paolo Martin.
Courtesy of Pininfarina S.p.A., Cambiano, Turino, Italy.
Photo by Michel Zumbrunn.

Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas — Vintage Concept Cars Exhibition

BMW GINA Light Visionary Model, 2001.
Designed by Christopher Bangle.
Courtesy of BMW.
Photo © BMW AG

Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas — Vintage Concept Cars Exhibition

Lancia (Bertone) Stratos HF Zero, 1970.
Designed by Marcello Gandini.
Courtesy XJ Wang Collection.
Photo by Michael Furman.

Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas — Vintage Concept Cars Exhibition

Bugatti Type 57S Compétition Coupé Aerolithe recreation, 1935.
Designed by Jean Bugatti and Joseph Walter;
made by The Guild of Automotive Restorers.
Courtesy of Christopher Ohrstrom.
Photo by Joe Wiecha.

Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas — Vintage Concept Cars Exhibition

Stout Scarab, 1936.
Designed by William B. Stout.
Courtesy of Larry Smith.
Photo by Michael Furman.

Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas — Vintage Concept Cars Exhibition

Wayne Cherry (American, born 1937),
“Runabout” Design Concept, ca. 1964,
gouache on paper, 19 × 30 inches.
Brett Snyder Collection.
Photo by Mike Jensen.

Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas — Vintage Concept Cars Exhibition

Wayne Cherry (American, born 1937),
“Runabout” Design Concept, ca. 1964,
gouache on paper, 19 × 30 inches.
Brett Snyder Collection.
Photo by Mike Jensen.

Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas — Vintage Concept Cars Exhibition

Tasco, 1948.
Designed by Gordon M. Buehrig.
Courtesy of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, Auburn, Indiana.
Photo by Peter Harholdt.

Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas — Vintage Concept Cars Exhibition

Chrysler (Ghia) Streamline X “Gilda,” 1955.
Designed by Giovanni Savonuzzi and Virgil Exner.
Courtesy of Scott Grundfor and Kathleen Redmond.
Photo by Michael Furman.

Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas — Vintage Concept Cars Exhibition

Syd Mead (American, born 1933),
Gyroscopically Stabilized Two-Wheel Car, ca. 1960,
gouache on paper; 29 × 40 1/2 inches.
Brett Snyder Collection.
Photo by Mike Jensen.

Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas — Vintage Concept Cars Exhibition

Porsche 918 Spyder Concept Car, 2010.
Designed by Michael Maurer and Porsche Design Studio.
Courtesy of Porsche.
Photo © Porsche

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