Concept Flashback – 2011 Unimog 60th Anniversary Design Concept

While we’re in the Unimog mood, here is a fun look back to the recent past for the 60 Years design concept. This sought to strip the Unimog to its core, function-required elements. Enhancing the insane wheel travel and semi-flexible chassis with showy red springs visible easily through the giant front fender/hood combination. Deconstruction and modernization are the clearest themes visible in this design. The bodywork is pared to the bare minimum, while the roll cage for the passenger cell becomes the only structural element of the open-air cabin. Similarly flowing new frame rails swoop upward around the rear suspension …

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Concept Flashback – 1990 Renault Laguna Roadster

Concept cars serve a variety of purposes in the auto business.  They can be helpful as a grand pronouncement of new ideas — even if those are years away from the showrooms of real life.  They can also be a grand distraction.  Or a grand way to bring halo hotness to a dull lineup. And most of all, they are perfect as blank canvasses for designers to express themselves.  Take a simple idea, like a two-seat cabrio, and take it to its wildest brainstorm conclusion.  In the case of the ultra-curvy Laguna concept, this meant a mid-engine turbo four driving …

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Concept Flashback – 2006 Renault Nepta

You can always count on the French manufacturers to bring some real concept heat.  Perhaps it is the rotation between Frankfurt and Paris.  Whenever it is back in Paris, the brands really go all-out to pack the house. These concepts generally run the gamut of production-unlikliness.  From never-ever to never in a million years. So with no limits but the need to define a next-gen surface language and design theme, what kind of car would you use?  A grand cabriolet, of course! Four giant seats but just two butterfly doors.  These bring the entire bodyside up from central hinges on …

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Concept Flashback - 1978 JAGUAR XJ Spider by Pininfarina 3

Concept Flashback – 1978 Jaguar XJ Spider by Pininfarina

How advanced is this Pininfarina concept for Jaguar? It is hard to believe there is an XK under these swoopy panels, which predated anything else curvy by more than eight years. Of course, Jaguar had been rocking serious curves since the 1940s.  This Pininfarina exercise re-introduced a swoopy, flowing shape that was markedly different from the boxy production XK. Very, very impressive level of production value for a 1978 concept.  Although not adapted for sale, some vindication for the designers came when this basic surfacing template was a huge hit for the Aston Martin DB7 and even the Jaguar XK …

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Renault Espace F1 September 1994 (8) copy

Concept Flashback – 1994 Renault Espace F1 [38 Photos]

The coolest minivan of all time? A rolling, four-seat example of an F1 team doing their work joyfully? And an eclipse wall of yellow metallic …. coming in fast! The visuals of a van but the sound and speed of an F1 car do not register right in the brain.  It is cognitive dissonance at its best. Play ten seconds of the below and tell me you disagree!       Here are 38 remastered photos of the Espace F1 from its launch in 1994. 1994 Renault Espace F1

Concept Flashback - 1999 SEAT Formula Roadster 3

Concept Flashback – 1999 SEAT Formula Roadster

The 1999 SEAT Formula helped transition the brand into a new-millenium design mood. This was actually a really exciting time for the brand: the Leon Cupra was starting the earn buyers from previous GTI and Focus devotees as a five-door sportscar, while the Toledo and Ibiza were quite popular as well. This Formula concept was a mid-engined chassis layout with an alloy spaceframe chassis and bodywork, ensuring with the aim of delivering Boxster-like thrills on the road, but at prices below the Audi TT. The design themes shown on this car its main production impact, however, for the SEAT brand.   …

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2000 Lancia Stratos S81 Stola 3

Concept Flashback – 2000 Lancia STRATOS S81 by Stola

  We have a couple really cool concepts in the pipe from CES for later tonight and tomorrow, but a bit of a lull at moment. What better time to showcase a very influential concept car from Stola for Lancia at the Turin motorshow of the year 2000. Dubbed the Stratos S81, the machine updated the original proportions and design elements of the Lancia Stratos rally hero — but three decades later. WHat really strikes you about the S81 in 2016 is how influential is details ended up being, albeit long after its retirement. Most cloned details?  The boomerrang of …

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Concept Flashback - 2009 RINSPEED iChange 34

Concept Flashback – 2009 RINSPEED iChange

How about an awesome Rinspeed concept to help forget the X-Trem from 1999? Flash forward ten years later, and we have the 2009 iChange — an ultra-low, sleek and sexy single-seat sports car — with a twist. At the touch of a button, the track-attack looks and functionality of the iChange into a chic three-seater with bubble glass canopy.  How?  The entire glasshouse shifts upward and forward, with its rear section base extending a few inches upward to give more headroom in back.   (It is subtle)  Very subtle.  So the name is iChange, but might be better billed as the …

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Concept Flashback - 2001 BMW X Coupe 4

Concept Flashback – 2001 BMW X Coupe

A design so unfeasible, we all thought, that it didn’t matter how unviable. An SUV Coupe?  Ruthlessly absurd! How wrong we were!  Car enthusiasts obviously recognize this compact crossover shape from more than three dozen new or upcoming road cars. The chopped roof, the bluff face and 1-series-previewing headlamps?  Z4 Coupe backlight, with the high rump of the X6? It all came true! Like a wild wet dream for gravel drifters… the X Coupe came well ahead of its time in 2001. Concept Flashback – 2001 BMW X Coupe