Cars come in all different shapes and sizes at the best of times, but here are some of the most unique and enterprising models ever designed:
- BMW Isetta
The prestige German manufacturer BMW is perhaps best known for its luxury and sporting designs. So the single-cylinder Isetta rather bucked that trend when it came out. The German version of an Italian microcar, the tiny model sold over 160,000 vehicles during six years of production.
- Peel P50
This British three-wheeler (two at the front, one at the rear) was so small that it seated only the driver and had no room for a reverse gear mechanism. The tiniest of all the microcars, any of the 27 ever produced will now fetch a six-figure sum at auctions from collectors and hobbyists.
- Ouef Électrique
Which means, literally, “electric egg” – which is precisely was this little 1942 French model looked like. Way ahead of its time as an electric vehicle, it weighed just 770 pounds and could travel for 63 miles between charges.
- General Motors Firebird I XP-21
This awesome 1953 single-seater looked just like a fighter plane on four wheels, complete with “wings” and glass cockpit. It moved like one as well, reaching speeds in excess of 200 mph.
General Motors Firebird I XP-21
- Chrysler (Ghia) Streamline X “Gilda”
This exquisite 1955 American model was originally to be fitted with a gas turbine engine before Chrysler decide to use a conventional motor instead. Looking like a cross between a conventional fifties Oldsmobile and something from a Thunderbirds movie, the streamlined and “winged” beauty must have been a delight to be seen in.
Chrysler (Ghia) Streamline X “Gilda”
- Amphicar Model 770
Only one person has ever successfully managed to walk on it for any length of time but the Amphicar 770, which looked not unlike a small Triumph from a distance, had the ability to actually drive across water. Ahead of its time or what?
Amphicar Model 770
Designed by Christian Susana, this strange looking vehicle detaches into two separate units, one of them a two-seater car which can operate independently of its “shell”, which itself becomes a static camper vehicle with all the mod-cons for the perfect holiday on wheels.
- Venturi Eclectic
The world’s first energy-autonomous car, the Eclectic uses solar panels and a wind turbine to function. However as these sources cannot provide enough energy to power it for a whole day this unique $31,500 creation can also utilise conventional electric power.
- Mattrack Truck
Unlike some of the other cars listed here this 4×4 does not look out of the ordinary – except for the fact that in place of wheels it has Mattrack belts, enabling it to climb up snow-covered slopes and other terrain which would defy any conventional wheeled vehicle.
- Thrust SSC
SSC stands for SuperSonic Car – which is what this British purpose-built powerhouse was, having set the world land speed record in 1997 when it reached a cool 763 mph and officially broke the sound barrier. This Rolls Royce powered car is now on display at the Coventry Transport Museum.