Classic car magazines, shows, and auctions tend to showcase the same types of cars over and over again. However, the history of automotive design is riddled with bold attempts to create vehicles that push the limits of design, both in how they look and how they work.
If you’re tired of seeing the same old classics, this will be a treat. Here are some of our favourite vintage car oddities.
Norman Timbs Special (1947)
Mechanical engineer Norman E. Timbs spent over two years creating this dramatic streamliner. An Indy racing engineer, he employed the aerodynamic principles of Grand Prix cars. The aluminum body, hand-formed by Emil Diedt, is characterised by sweeping curves leading to a raindrop tail. The chassis was constructed from aircraft tubing, with the 1948 Buick straight 8 engine residing behind the driver.
A one-off sports car designed by Gordon Buehrig, the Tasco – an acronym for its manufacturer, The American Sports Car Company – was inspired by World War II fighter planes and featured airplane inspired controls. The fibreglass front fenders moved with the steering input. The Tasco was the first car in the world with a T-top roof.
Pininfarina X (1960)
Inspired by the space race, the Pininfarina X was a concept 50 years ahead of its time. Pininfarina recognized that aerodynamics would be a key design aspect of the next generation of cars and enlisted Alberto Morelli, an Italian aerodynamics expert, to help with the family car’s creation. Morelli redesigned the layout of the wheels, the new configuration, leaving a large, open cavity with plenty of space for four people.
Peel P50 (1962-65)
Originally manufactured in the 1960s on the Isle of Man, the P50 held the Guinness Book of World Records’ title of World’s Smallest Production Car for over 50 years. P50’s inventor and Peel Engineering Company’s owner Cyril Cannell envisioned an exceptionally small commuter car capable of attaining 40 mph while comfortably seating a driver carrying a briefcase. The design has become a symbol of automotive minimalism.
Dodge Deora (1967)
Dodge Deora was designed by two brothers from Detroit and unveiled at the city’s Autorama in 1967. The front hatch, which was taken from the back of a 1960 station wagon, had to be lifted to allow drivers and passengers to get in. The futuristic looking pickup won several awards, including the prestigious Ridler award, and was part of the original Hot Wheels line of toy cars in 1968.