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Nominations for Concepts that shouldn't have been left on the shelf

Drew Dowdell

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If you could turn back time...... what concepts were left on the shelf that should have been productionized. You nominate vehicles in two ways.

  1. A concept that was close to production ready, but never made it into production
  2. A concept that was close to production ready, but the production version watered the concept down too much and lost all of the appeal the concept had.
  3. Any year, Any brand, as many nominations you want.

If we get enough nominations in both 1 and 2, we may split the voting into both of those categories. Try and provide a short write up of why you think the concept is a compelling nomination... if you have a favorite picture of the concept car, include that too... otherwise I'll hunt one down when I write up the article.

Have fun!

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My G8ST.


Unlike any other category 1 nominee, the G8 ST was actually announced for production. In fact, GM even ran the "Tame the Name" contest to name the new model. The top prize was the G8 ST itself. In an extraordinary reversal, the G8 ST was cancelled just ahead of the entire Pontiac brand. The contest winner had to choose his prize from among other Pontiacs.

The Holden Ute on which it was based remains in production, and sells in several markets around the world.

Here in the US, a genuine niche market exists for this entry as a re-born Chevy El Camino. In fact, it took some effort to understand why GM didn't plan to offer the Ute as a Chevy from the start. The notion was a that an expanded G8 family of bodystyles would strengthen the brand - after some serious thought, I accepted that it was a valid strategy.

In an era of lackluster offerings among compact trucks, and a real fear of fuel costs, this excellent Zeta variant is still something GM should be selling. The federal testing is already done, and capacity exists at Holden to make it happen. It would be the ideal companion model to the rumored Chevy Zeta SS sedan badged as El Camino.

It's a no-brainer, and more than "shovel-ready", so what's taking so long, GM?

Edited by Camino LS6
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My nomination:

Cadillac Sixteen


The car just says "F#@k you! I'm a Cadillac! You cannot afford me." Cadillac should have made 500 of them per year and priced them so that only the most elite could afford them. It would have lifted the brand's prestige tremendously. Cadillac should have offered them painted in any color the customer wanted with any type of material on the interior that the customer wanted. The engine specs should have remained close to the concept.

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The Kappa Nomad concept


The Hummer HX


This was GM's bonifide Wrangler killer, a package that was innovative and exciting. A real opportunity to both save the Hummer brand and trounce the venerable Jeep was lost when Hummer was axed. This no-nonsense concept was on the fast track to production and a bright future vs. Wrangler when diaster struck. Like the G8 ST, the Hummer HX is too good to waste and would be a natural under the GMC nameplate. Imagine this sitting next to a productionized Sierra All-Terrain HD in a GMC showroom circa 2012.

For a refresher on the HX see this thread:

The Converj


The Converj is the necessary proof that green and clean need not be boring and ugly. As a Cadillac, style could trump function a bit without the constraints that prevented the Volt concept from taking on that role. This car simply needs to happen for Voltec technology to reach a transparent acceptance beyond its technical fascinations.

The G6 concept


The 1999 Dodge Charger concept


This concept is one of the finest examples of melding heritage and contemporary design. It evoked the look of the classic Chargers without being retro. It maintained brand identity in the age of the Intrepid. It ran on clean fuel. It disguised its extra set of doors better than any other design ever has. And, it was drop-dead gorgeous in its own right. This car should have been greenlighted the day after its debut.

The Plymouth Howler


The Howler was a unique take on the production Prowler with classic T-bucket styling, but that isn't whereits greatest strength lay. What this concept did, more than anything else, was to correct the two major complaints against the production Prowler. The hideous plastic front bumpers were removed, and a powerplant worthy of the Prowler's styling was placed under the hood. Those two changes alone were worth implementation.

The Chrysler Hemi-C convertible


Long, low, sleek, and production-ready is how I would describe the Hemi-C. I simply have never seen such a production level execution on any other showcar. All this car lacked was management willing to pull the trigger.

The Ford Interceptor


An obvious platform mate to the Lincoln Continental concept, this car was even more of a no-brainer as a replacement for the ancient Crown Vic than the Continental was for the Towncar. On both cars the styling has a timeless appeal and the business case had a built in base. Ford dropped the ball on both.

The Ford Bronco concept


Read my endorsement for the Hummer HX and substitute the name Bronco for HX and you have the reasons to build this one. In this case, a further justification can be found in this concept's brilliant update of a Classic Ford design. I don't think that the mass appeal of this Bronco and the HX can be overstated. Both concepts are aimed squarely at a sliver of the market that has been ignored for way too long, and at a competitor that has little fresh appeal. Ford should do this now.

The Cadillac Cien


This one speaks for itself. But just imagine a world in which the Cien and the Ford GT competed side-by-side.

Edited by Camino LS6
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The 94/96 El Camino SS


In yet another near-miss, this El Camino almost made production back when Chevy was looking at exapnding its B-body lineup. The raging demand for the Tahoe sealed its fate, along with the rest of GM's B-body cars, as the plant that built them was needed for the SUV craze.

Too bad.

Edited by Camino LS6
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Another Nomination:

The Ford Super Chief:


At least in look, this should have made it into production. It is far more attractive than the current Super Duty, but the concept car "flair" like the swinging tailgate with integrated tail lights could have been left behind.

The Lincoln Continental Concept


Built on the Lincoln LS platform, this one seemed like such a "no-brainer" to me. It would have made an excellent Lincoln flagship.... but instead we got 7 more years of Towncar.

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It's hard to nominate any more since Camino hit on a lot of the ones I could think of :P

However, here's one he didn't mention and is one concept that was very close to production but got "lost in translation"

1955 GMC L'Universelle (1955 Motorama Show Vehicle)


Very futuristic for its time, being the first front-wheel drive truck produced GMC with a low center of gravity and offering more space than in the conventional panel trucks of the day. However, it's custom frame, drive system, and other unique features made the '55 GMC L'Universelle too expensive to consider for production in the '50s.

However, when GM finally committed the money to this project it came out watered down as this:


From High Performance Pontiac: http://www.highperformancepontiac.com/features/hppp_0309_1955_gmc_l_universelle/index.html

Though nearly half a century has passed since GMC's L'Universelle graced a Motorama turntable, it accurately predicted the dimensions, layout and packaging of the minivans that have become a staple of American life. Closer to its own era, it also influenced the design of Chevy's rear-engined Series 95 trucks, the Corvair Rampside and Loadside pickups, Greenbrier vans, and Corvans. It's really too bad that this is yet another dream machine that disappeared without a trace.
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Well, try and put a reason why you think they should have been built......

I'm not Santa Claus ya know....

For example... the Mercury Messenger, while neat looking, would have done what for the only brand with a higher average buyer age than Buick?

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I'll pick the Nomad, G6, and Denali XT:

  1. Nomad would have been a trend setter considering it had utility, sports, and uniqueness. It would have allowed GM to diversify kappa and given it more legs to make profit. Furthermore, with Chevy's dealership reach it would have had a good market capitalization, if priced right. And the plus - no competitors.
  2. The G6 design might have actually saved Pontiac. The design would have showed what GM designers and engineers were capable of doing rather than the beancounters having their final say. While it is difficult to predict whether it would have ended up being less of a rental fleet, the design would have certainly prevented GM to dump them in fleets and actually sell them at decent profit in retail market.
  3. Denali XT - again a trend setter, innovative and downright gorgeous truck. Its base on Zeta was main reason it should have been given green light. Again GM could have spread Zeta's costs. While it would not have broke the sales charts, its uniqueness and unibody would have certainly given an option for people who did not need BOF capabilities while providing a decent bump in fuel economy.

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I don't know about that, most of these are confined to fairly recent times. And, the automotive world would be a better place with most of them in it as production cars.

Some (like the '88 Banshee) are more in the Dream Car category, but most were good candidates for production in a form close to the showcars.

There are only a handful that I wouldn't vote for in the poll.

Still, we need more text supporting the choices - I agree there.

I'll add some for my nominees if no one else does, but I know some of these are near and dear to certain members, so I'll hold off for now.

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Holden Efijy yet.


Then again, it's not really production feasible, not on a large scale anyway. A limited run could be done if GM had a coach builder like Pininfarina do the work. It would be expensive, but IMO it would be worth it.

Chrysler 200C


This is the car that could help turn Chrysler around, bring it upmarket, and make it more than just a reskinned/rebadged Dodge brand. A very handsome, RWD midsize premium sedan. Being based on a shortened version of the LX platform, it wasn't some pie-in-the-sky dream machine, it's very production feasible.

Chrysler FirePower



The FirePower would have made for an excellent GT halo car for the Chrysler brand. It would also have made good on the extra capacity at the Viper plant, and let Chrysler get more mileage out of the Viper's expensive platform. At the same time, the unique sheetmetal, 6.1L V8, and beautiful interior would have made it nothing like the hardcore snake.

Chrysler Chrysler ME-412


Not only should this have been built, but this Mid-engine, SLR slaying supercar almost was. There were even prepoduction prototypes, but Daimler pulled the plug on it, because they didn't want the Americans showing up the much more costly German flagship. Americans are inferior after all. A mid-engine supercar from Detroit. How cool would that have been?

Infiniti Essence


One of the most beautiful and flowing designs to come from anywhere, let alone Japan. Nissan actually has a RWD platform or two they could build it off of, and would make a much better flagship than what they have now, which is nothing.

Ford Interceptor


Need I say more? It could be production feasible if Ford redesigned the next Mustang platform to be more flexible. Then again, Ford could build it off a RWD Lincoln platform to help spread cost while pushing Lincoln upmarket.

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XP-39, the '55 L'Universelle is really interesting- making a cargo vehicle both glamorous, innovative and very capable. Mid-engined with unique scissor-lift doors at the pass side & rear. Love the design of it. It very well may have popularized the van right off the bat and help keep it from being shoehorned into the 'red-headed stepchild' image. I'd put that in my top 10 easy.


Edited by balthazar
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