We all read about concept cars: the ones that Detroit rolls out to show off its stuff. But what happens to those cars after the auto shows are wrapped up and they’re no longer needed? Usually, they’re packed off to the crusher. Not all of them, though. Here are five that actually were sold, although driving them (and getting car insurance for them) might be a bit difficult.
#1) The GM Futurliner
This bus (yes, it’s a bus) was built in the 1950s. It was intended for road shows, where Detroit would take cars from city to city, debuting the new models and showing off “the future.” The Futurliner was designed to be, well, the future; a stage folded out from the side. You even got into the jet cockpit by climbing in through a door on the front.
Of the twelve Futurliners that GM produced, only three are still out there, making them a rare collectible and one of the few buses that auto collectors lust after.
#2) The Pontiac “Ghost Car”
You’re not missing something: that car does indeed have an entirely clear body, which allows you to see every single working part. This was actually built by Pontiac for a World’s Fair display in 1939. Pontiac never intended this car to be on the road; although the Plexiglass body is surprisingly durable and has held up for more than seventy years, it doesn’t do well on crash tests. That’s probably why this car has only been driven 87 miles, according to its odometer. That’s a little more than a mile a year … maybe they can get a good insurance discount.
#3) The Ghia Manx
This odd duck comes from concepts invented during the 1970s oil crisis. Built by Ford, the idea behind the Manx was that it would sip gasoline instead of burn through it, while being used exclusively in cities. As tiny and funny-looking as it is, it does at least have enough room for four passengers on a short trip. Ultimately, the Smart Car would fill this niche … and be a lot less ugly while doing it.
#4) The Dodge Tomahawk
We know what you’re thinking: that’s a “concept car?” And they sold it? And people bought it? Yes, indeed they did. The Tomahawk is technically a car in that there are four wheels touching the ground. That engine you see is a Viper engine, running 500 horsepower. Five “replicas” were sold through Neiman Marcus at a cost of $555,000 apiece. We call them “replicas” because this can’t be driven on any public road under the law. That’s how powerful it is.
#5) Oldmobile F-88
Yes, Oldsmobile had a concept sports car. And yes, it had the fins, and the chrome, and the whole boat one looks for with an Olds. So why was it never put into production? Nobody knows. The car itself, though, lucked out: it currently holds the record for highest price paid at auction for a concept car, with over $3 million cash laid down to buy it. That’s one enthusiastic car collector!