Special Report

History's Strangest Car Designs

Automakers are always coming up with new designs and concepts. Though at first some designs may seem strange, it’s the test of time that eventually determines if they become the accepted new norm or remain too strange. For the following 17 vehicles, designers either packed too many concepts into one car, conceived vehicles that were ahead of their time, or simply fashioned too ugly a car.

Take, for example, the Lincoln Blackwood, marketed as a luxury pickup truck. Let that oxymoron sink in. Other models piled on concept upon concept, like the 1996 Suzuki X90 that smashed together a two-door convertible and a small SUV. It was a car Amercans had no interest in buying, After Suzuki sold only 7,200 models in the U.S. market, it stopped production on the model after just two years.

In some instances, the car itself was innovative. The Tucker 48 featured disc brakes and four-wheel independent suspension, but as an upstart going against Detroit’s Big Three car makers, the Tucker couldn’t get into gear.

Some of the cars on this list may have failed, but still percolate in the public’s memory. The Ford Edsel will be forever be known as a marketing nightmare for its parent company.

The problem with other vehicles on this list is that there were simply unattractive. The Pontiac Aztek looked like its back end had been sawed off, and the AMC Pacer was a fishbowl on wheels. Then there were cars that were dangerous. The Ford Pinto’s rear fuel tank exploded whenever it was rear-ended, leading to numerous deaths. The Pinto is known as one of the deadliest cars in American history.

Probably the best quality these cars exemplify is the willingness of auto manufacturers to try anything — and their willingness to cut their losses quickly.

Click here to see history’s strangest car designs

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