Concept cars and modified vehicles are wildly popular amongst car aficionados. Every year, millions of people trek to the thousands of car shows around the world to check out the newest, most innovative automobiles. There are always companies trying to push the boundaries of aesthetics, environmental concerns, and technological achievements.
And then there are those few special modelers who craft truly unique, bizarre, and often-ridiculous concept vehicles to show off. Usually built just to garner attention and turn heads, these crazy cars often become the focal point of many showrooms.
When it comes to creating a unique car, the sky is the limit (as many of these designers show) and many of these automobiles could be considered works of art. Sometimes concept cars are built to promote something, such as Oscar Meyer’s Wienermobile, while other times they are just the brainchild of eccentric designers, who build the machines simply because they can, while blatantly disregarding trivialities such as ‘because they should.’ Here are 15 of the most ridiculous concept cars ever built.
15. The High-Heeled Shoe Car
There have been countless inventions that imitate the stiletto/high-heeled shoe shape, from chairs to bikes to lamps, but perhaps one of the strangest iterations is the high-heeled shoe concept car. It is supposed to be built for women, or for men to drive their woman around in, but we still believe a classic Ferrari or Aston Martin might be a little more appealing.
To be honest, the car is really more of a high-heeled three-wheeled motorcycle, as the backend looks to be built out of the rear of a Harley (holding up the “heel”).
14. The Pig Car
There are numerous styles of Pig Cars in the world, but the most iconic would probably be this revamped diesel Mercedes, complete with pink finish, a snout grille, and pink pig ears sprouting from the windows. The company Greenpeace uses the car to cruise around Europe and Germany to campaign against air and climate pollution, and to advocate for animal rights.
13. The Fat Car
The Fat Car was designed by the world-renowned Austrian sculptor Erwin Wurm, who has been pushing the envelope of sculpture since the 1980s. The Fat Car was designed by taking the frame of a Porsche and imbuing it with polyurethane foam, fiberglass, and styrofoam covered with lacquer.
Wurm first exhibited the car in 2005 at Xavier Hufkens, in an attempt to challenge the “link between power, wealth, and body weighty.” The concept car was depicted as a “puffy, obese, life-size sculpture that bulge like overfilled sacks.”
12. The Funny Car
The Funny Car is traditionally a type of drag racing vehicle that’s used in specific racing classes. They are characterized by having tilt-up bodies over custom, fabricated chassis, and they’re very popular in showrooms around the world.
The designer of this “funny” car took the term to a different level, by crafting a bright orange, open-mouthed car that resembles a cartoon character. The driver and passengers sit on the “tongue” of the car, in between the jaw and “roof” of the mouth.
11. The Phone Car
The Volkswagen Beetle is one of the most modified car types in the world amongst aficionados, but perhaps one of the strangest creations was created by Howard Davis, who took a ’75 Beetle and made it into a large, old red phone on wheels. It was originally created to help promote Davis’s telephone company, Datel Communications, and it even has its own Facebook page.
Davis has recently been seen driving it around the US, not for promotion, but just to turn heads and make people smile. The car’s coolest feature? Instead of the horn honking, it rings!
10. Youabian Puma
The Youabian Puma has a self-proclaimed tag line, that it was created with one goal in mind: to standout and be unique! Well, mission accomplished, but probably not in the way that designers intended. What makes th car so high on this ‘ridiculous’ list is that the ugly, blue monstrosity is $1.1 million!
The Youabian Puma was created by Dr. Kambiz Youabian, and was first showcased at the 2013 LA Auto Show. And get this, the doctor was so angry that so many people called the car ugly that he threatened to sue. But sue who? Well, apparently every journalist who called his car ugly.
9. The UFO Car
The UFO Car, or Flying Saucer Volkswagen Art Car is another modified Volkswagen Beetle, usually taken to show off at art shows and conventions, such as the popular week-long extravaganza Burning Man, in Black Rock City, Nevada (where it fits right in).
When Beetles first came out, they must have seemed like UFOs to many car owners, and this strange, saucer-like model simply pushed that idea to the extreme. What’s even funnier is that every year a swarm of Beetles swarm New Mexico for the Annual Roswell New Beetle “2k Car Show Weekend” during the month of June.
8. Cadillac TAG Function Car
The bizarre car designer Franco Sbarro revealed his newest concept car in Switzerland in 1978. The Cadillac TAG Function Car – built together with Technique d’Avant – is a huge-bodied automobile resting on the chassis of a Cadillac Eldorado.
The car is supposed to serve as a mobile office, is over 20 feet long, and is powered 8.2 liter V8 engine. 23 of the 25 copies made were sold to customers. The car features four armchairs, two telephones, a huge CRT television, a refrigerator, fold-out desks, and wood paneling.
7. The Rocket Ship Car
No, this isn’t the rocket car that broke landspeed records many years ago. Rather, this is the brainchild of Ohio resident Ron Heitman, who combined his passion for custom vehicles and rocket ships into this crazy contraption. The car was built from the parts of old rocket ships from a Cleveland amusement park, on top of a 1973 Oldsmobile Toronado drive train and sub-frame.
The car is 28 feet long, can seat 10 adults or 15 kids, and has a confirmed top speed of 136 MPH. The Rocket Car can be seen driving around Northeastern Ohio, and is available for events such as birthdays, reunions, block parties, parades, weddings, and other attractions.
6. The Banana Car
Like the infamous Wienermobile, foods are often the most inspiring subjects for car creators. Case in point, the Banana Car (perhaps it promotes healthier living than the Oscar Meyer promoting Wienermobile?)
The Banana Car was built by eccentric Englishman Steve Braithwaite, who spent $25,000 to modify a 1993 Ford F-150 pick up truck into the big yellow car. As their website states, “The Big Banana Car is a fully street legal motorized banana.” Braithwaite got the inspiration after stopping into a gas station, seeing a bowl of fruit, and realizing that the shape was perfect for a car.
5. Sbarro Autobau
Another masterful creation (read: sarcasm) by the eccentric car designer Franco Sbarro, the Sbarro Autobau has both been called “ugliest car we’ve ever seen” and, more colorfully, “the illegitimate lovechild of a doorstop and a 12-blade Gillette razor” .
The car was designed to be a tribute to the Swiss racing driver Fredy Lienhard, but the term “tribute” can be used loosely in this sense. The car was revealed at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. Along with a completely flat, strangely-rising front windshield/door apparatus, the Lamborghini Gallardo-designed, 500hp Ferrari V12-engined car takes the worst of both classic supercars and melds them into one gigantic mess.
4. Honda Fuya-Jo
The Honda Fuya-Jo (“sleepless city”) was apparently designed to take partiers clubbing, or as Honda’s PR team described, it was designed to transport “party animals who demand the full excitement of night life,” and is equipped with lots of speakers, a turntable-dash, and seating for four. To us, however, it looks like it was designed by an ’80s cocaine magnate who never escaped the Disco Era.
This clothes-ironer-on-wheels was shown at the 1999 Tokyo Auto Show, and was immediately ridiculed for its box-like, alienesque appearance. It’s crazy to think, that despite its chastisement, many of the aesthetics used to build this concept car are being used in production by companies like Scion and Toyota.
3. Tang Hua Detroit Fish
For years, car companies have tried to execute the perfect boat/car hybrid. This isn’t the answer. Tang Hua missed the mark on the “Detroit Fish” (how about that name?), first revealed at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. Rather than resembling a fish, this amphibious crossover looks more like a short, ugly version of The Magic School Bus, The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, or a foodless version of the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile. But, hey, it floats, so there’s that.
2. Rinspeed X-Trem
Rinspeed has always been innovative in their concept car creation. Most recently, they crafted a concept car based on a BMW i3 that could switch steering wheels from one side of the car to the other; they’ve built a Lotus that drove in the water like a submarine, and the Splash, which had fins to help it rise above water.
But in 1999 the Swiss company built the bizarre X-Trem Concept. Basically, they attached a hovercraft to an already strangely-designed car, as well as a functional crane for loading/unloading the craft. The X-Trem is built on a Mercedes G-wagen chassis, has room for two people despite having no doors, and is equipped with a 5.5-liter V8 engine. Needless to say, the car is very strange to look at.
1. The Trojan Horse Car
This might be either the weirdest or coolest car ever built. The car was a world champion funny car owned by Larry Fullerton from the late ’60s until his death in 1981. It won the 1972 NHRA world championship, which set a world record at the time. More recent adaptations of the car have taken the concept title literally, by attaching a wooden horse reminiscent of the same one that helped Greece invade Troy. The soldiers, er, passengers, fit into the hull of the horse, just like Odysseus originally intended.