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!
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As you drive down the road and see an obscenely expensive car pass by, you can quash your envy by remembering two things: A) its owner is paying exorbitant auto insurance rates, and B) if it is involved in an accident, it will cost a lot of money to fix it.
Case in point: a multi-car fender bender which happened last month. The accident occurred in Monte Carlo, so you know that some high-dollar vehicles were involved. Specifically, a Bentley Azure (sticker price: $363,000) apparently smashed into a Mercedes Benz S-Class ($93,000), a Ferrari F430 ($186,000), an Aston Martin Rapide ($228,000), and a Porsche 911 (a steal at $77,000).
None of the cars appeared to be totaled, but it's still going to be a hefty repair bill for the driver of the Bentley if she is held responsible for all of the damages. In fact, it might turn out to be the costliest fender bender in history. Here are 7 others which may give it a run for its money (dollar amounts based on sticker prices).
In order, as shown in the video:
7. Bugatti EB 110
This $500,000 vehicle somehow slid off the road and took out a utility pole. If totaled, the blue Bugatti owner will be singing the blues for awhile.
6. Pagani Zonda C12 S
The fire hydrant never had a chance when it was flattened by this $650,000 sports car. But its owner certainly took a bath after paying for repairs.
5. Mercedes Benz SL 300
It's a tale of two eras: a $750,000 vintage Benz meeting a modern pickup truck. Guess who won that battle?
4. Jaguar XJ220
Jaguars are known for being expensive to repair. If this Jag is totaled, the owner will be out a cool million dollars.
3. McLaren F1
You know Rowan Atkinson? The actor known for playing goofy, haphazard characters? He wrecked this beautiful $1.25 million automobile. Time to make another movie!
2. Ferrari Enzo
This roadster sold for a steep $1.3 million, and its owner doesn't even get the back part of the car back. Maybe he will only be charged half-price for repairs!
1. Ferrari 250 GT Spyder
How do you ruin a $10 million automotive work of art? Plow into a sand dune, that's how. That will certainly ruin a day at the beach.
So if you ever trade paint with another motorist and start worrying about repair costs, just be thankful that you aren't filthy rich. After all, unremarkable fender benders don't get posted on the Internet for others to laugh at.
Tags: safeauto, safe auto, fender bender, accident, expensive accident
It seems like everyone wants to hear about "the best selling vehicle of the year." Which isn't too shocking; after all, everybody loves a winner, right?
But what about the other end of the spectrum? You know, the "lonesome losers" of the automotive industry? Don't the unwanted cars deserve love (and auto insurance) too?
With that in mind, here are the seven worst-selling cars of 2011 (figures shown are year-to-date sales figures through July).
7. Audi R8 - Units Sold: 682
Granted, this is a luxury sports car, which is designed to be affordable only to a very small percentage of the car-buying population. But it doesn't help that two of the R8 Spyder models are being recalled due to a fire hazard associated with the vehicle's fuel line.
6. Mazda RX-8 - Units Sold: 544
The slow sales of this year's RX-8 is not too surprising, given that Mazda had previously stated that 2011 will be the last model year it will be sold. Car buyers tend to shy away from the final edition of a vehicle in favor of holding out for the following year's "next big thing."
5. Mercedes Benz CL class - Units Sold: 532
This may be a symptom of the sales problems that the German automaker is having as a whole. July sales of the CL plummeted over 75% from the figures reported in July of 2010.
4. Mercedes Benz R class - Units Sold: 397
Like its CL sibling, the R class has seen a dramatic year-over-year plunge in July sales. This year, it’s a whopping 82.2%. (In July of 2010, Mercedes sold 314 R Class vehicles, which is 85 fewer than the entire sales output for this year!) Plus, it's a crossover vehicle -- which is probably not the type of Mercedes that most car lovers are looking for.
3. Chevrolet Caprice - Units Sold: 155
This year's cellar-dweller bronze medalist was once a very popular sedan. But today, it's not even being marketed to consumers. Most of the sales of Caprices are to government agencies, like police departments.
2. Lexus LFA - Units Sold: 36
The reason this Lexus is the 2011 runner-up is simple: it's really, really, really expensive. A brand new LFA will set you back almost half a million dollars. Most American consumers don't have that kind of scratch lying around
1. Saab 9-4X - Units Sold: 17
This crossover wins the sales futility award for now -- but there's a really good reason for that. The 9-4Xs didn't arrive in American showrooms until after Independence Day (and Saab still sold 10 more of them in July than Lexus did its LFAs). It doesn't help matters that Saab has been struggling financially all year long, and has been dealing with problems related to cash flow, production, and suppliers throughout 2011.
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Image credits: getonlinecar.com, otokiralamar10seoogle.blogspot.com, autonews-focus.info, automobilez-review.info, fallingpixel.com, egmcartech.com, saabautosite.com.
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