8 Awesome Cars They Won't Let You Buy

Every year automakers build concept cars: radically designed automobiles meant mostly to look cool at car shows. Most of them are ridiculous and impractical, and make you wonder why they even bothered.

But every once in a while, they whip out something that's so cool it's a crime they never bothered to build it. These are the dream cars that automakers ultimately decided were just too awesome for us.

#8. GM Firebird III

Why is it Awesome?

Jets were still new to the world in the 1950s, and GM's Firebird III was intended to address the big question on everyone's mind: How can we strap a jet engine into a family sedan?

Thus, the Firebird III housed a Whirlfire turbine engine. If you're not sure how exactly a turbine engine works, just focus on the word "Whirlfire," and you'll get a sense of it. And if it's got what is essentially a jet engine inside it, it might as well look like a jet, right?

Damn right.

Along with the obligatory tail fins, nose fins and sharply contoured hood, the car included two separate, clear plastic, bubble canopies. Nothing seems quite as cool as rocketing down the highway of tomorrow with your head peeking out of a plastic bubble, eyes sharply honed on the bogeys/cars around you.

The best part of the Firebird III, though, is that there is no steering wheel. Because really, what kind of jet has a steering wheel? Instead, all control of the car is down to a single, disc-shaped joystick. Push the stick side to side to steer, forward to accelerate, back to brake and twist to change gears, just like a real-live airplane!

We'd definitely ask for the extra feature where pushing down on the joystick fires twin .50 caliber machine guns.

"Why can't I buy one?!?"

Despite the turbine engine's inherent coolness and bevy of advantages over a piston driven engine, including the fact that it can run on almost anything that's combustible (including tequila!), it has always been an impractical option for powering a car.


But... but look at it.

Gasoline powered turbine engines produce nitrous oxide in large amounts, a major greenhouse gas that eventually forms acid rain, making ozone killing carbon emissions seem tame. Also, a turbine engine sounds more like a loud, high pitched vacuum cleaner than the iconic, rumbling purr of an American V8.

Oh, and there was a small additional problem where failing to follow the correct start-up procedure while in a drunken haze could wreck the engine in seconds and render it useless. Oops.

#7. Nissan Pivo 2 (With Robot Co-Pilot)

Why is it Awesome?

Okay, we admit the thing looks ridiculous. But we're pretty sure this is what cars are going to look like in the future no matter what we do. And it comes with a robot co-pilot.

The Nissan Pivo 2M is an odd little car that still brilliantly solves many problems that have been plaguing motorists since time immemorial. Instead of one, big, polluting, gasoline powered engine, the Pivo 2 has four small electric motors, one in each wheel. This allows each wheel to move independently, turning sideways for those who have trouble parallel parking, sliding closer to the car while turning for smoother cornering and even moving back and forth when accelerating or braking to make sure those in the cabin always have a velvety, G-force free ride.

The entire pod itself can rotate 360-degrees so that reversing is no longer necessary, and getting into the solitary door at the front of the car is a breeze for everyone, no matter how elderly or drunk your passengers are.

Oh, and it has a robot. The ever-vigilant Robotic Assistant who does many things, not least of which monitors your mood while driving and attempts to cheer you up if you're feeling a bit grumpy; as depressed or angry drivers have been proven to be more dangerous, and more likely to be douchebags. He's like a combination R2-D2 and KITT. You would inevitably become friends and fight crime together.

We'd like to imagine he'd also refuse to open the car door by stating, "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that" if you're a little too cheerful and sound like you need a good scare.

"Why can't I buy one?!?"

As awesome as it would be to have your very own, personal droid to nag you every time you frowned, apparently that technology, along with all of the other innovations on the car, would put the car in the price range of a private jet. Maybe your kids will get to drive something like it.

#6. Phantom Corsair

Why is it Awesome?

Holy shit, look at that badass. If Batman had been fighting crime in the 40s, that's what the freaking Batmobile would have looked like. Hell, we wouldn't complain if the Batmobile looked like that now.

The Phantom Corsair was the brain child and dream car of Rust Heinz, the son and heir of the Heinz food empire. The Corsair was created in 1938, and set a standard for pimpness that no car has ever matched.

Technologically ahead of it's time, the doors opened via electronic buttons rather than primitive handles, and the dashboard included a compass and altimeter (the latter presumably for when you inevitably have to ramp it off the top of a parking garage in pursuit of the Joker).

The best feature of the Corsair was in the back. This feature was so important to Rust Heinz that the relative comfort of the car was sacrificed to provide enough room by reversing the normal seat layout to sit 4 people in the front, and 2 people in the back. What was so important to facilitate such a change? Airbags? Crumple zones? Spare tire?

Nope. A beverage cabinet. Seriously.

We're going to guess they only went with Phantom Corsair because somebody else already had the trademark on PussyMobile.

"Why Can't I Buy One?!?"

The Corsair was projected to cost around $14,700 in 1939, which is equivalent to over $200,000 in today's money, a sum which was unaffordable to pretty much everyone who wasn't a ketchup magnate during the Great Depression. Not only that, but the car was made almost entirely out of aluminum, a commodity which went almost entirely to the war effort that also started in 1939.

Sadly and ironically, Heinz died in a car accident and his dream car died with him. Still, we like to think that when he got to Heaven, God's first words to him were, "Good, you're here. Build me one of those cars."

#5. Honda Unibox

Why is it Awesome?

Yes, the Nissan Pivo was only the second-dorkiest looking vehicle on this list. But by this point, that should only indicate how many redeeming values its got up its sleeve.

The Honda Unibox looks like just a boring, clear box set on six wheels, but upon looking a little deeper, she reveals her sexy secrets, like a naughty librarian undoing her hair bun and whipping off her glasses.

First, the thing is set up like some kind of GI Joe vehicle come to life (the Unibox Mobile Command Center!). It has cameras to view the exterior. The dashboard displays are all projected onto the windshield. It even has a freaking radar. The interior is a room like a mobile office (or headquarters).

Oh, did we mention the hidden motorcycles?

Yes, two small Honda motorcycles are compactly stored within the car's door frames, ready to be launched out at a moment's notice. We're assuming they can be jettisoned while flying down the highway, landing perfectly on their wheels while the riders start peppering trailing bad guys with machine gun fire.

"Why Can't I Buy One?!?"

Unfortunately, there still isn't much demand for wacky Japanese concepts like this one. As cool and packed with features as it is, you're still driving a large, clear plastic box that would be about as much fun to drive as, a translucent armored car, except without the perk of having bags of cash in the back.

If you want an idea of what kind of doubts they have about the maneuverability of this thing, it comes with an airbag on the outside of the car for if--or when--you hit a pedestrian.

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