Dreams and nightmares

Dream cars. Concepts. Show cars. Pull-aheads. Whatever they’re called, gearheads have a fascination with them. Here’s a big photo gallery featuring the rare, the weird, and the wonderful in prototype automobiles. 

 

What is it about dream cars? There’s a powerful mystique in an automobile when we know it’s one of one, unique in all the world. Even when we know that in reality, the dream was more of a nightmare, we’re still drawn to these special vehicles.

Readers of Mac’s Motor City Garage.com include some of the sharpest, most hardcore car people around, so it’s not likely we’re going to surprise you with many of the vehicles in the gallery below. There are some familiar favorites here and some relative oddballs as well. How many can you recognize? Score yourself at home.

Do you have a personal favorite or two among these cars? Are there others that make your eyes hurt? As always, comments, corrections, and additions are encouraged.

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1965 AMC AMX I

1965 AMC AMX I

1955 Cadillac LaSalle II Sedan Motorama Dream Car

1955 Cadillac LaSalle II Sedan Motorama Dream Car

1959 Scimitar Station Wagon Brooks Stevens

1959 Scimitar Station Wagon Brooks Stevens

1964 Ford Cougar II

1964 Ford Cougar II

1964 GM Runabout concept1964 New York World's Fair

1964 GM Runabout concept1964 New York World's Fair

1968 AMC AMX GT Concept

1968 AMC AMX GT Concept

1946 Willys-Overland 6-66 prototype

1946 Willys-Overland 6-66 prototype

1956 Buick Centurion LF

1956 Buick Centurion LF

1953 Pontiac Parisienne

1953 Pontiac Parisienne

1953 Buick Wildcat rear

1953 Buick Wildcat rear

1952 Packard Pan-American with designer Richard Arbib

1952 Packard Pan-American with designer Richard Arbib

1961 Dodge Flight Wing by Ghia

1961 Dodge Flight Wing by Ghia

1964 Mercury Aurora Concept Station Wagon

1964 Mercury Aurora Concept Station Wagon

1960 Ford Levacar Mach I

1960 Ford Levacar Mach I

1966 Ford Mach 2

1966 Ford Mach 2

1951 Chrysler K-310 Coupe

1951 Chrysler K-310 Coupe

1965 Allegro roadster

1965 Allegro roadster

1946 Beechcraft Plainsman

1946 Beechcraft Plainsman

1955 Ford Mystere Dearborn Proving Grounds

1955 Ford Mystere Dearborn Proving Grounds

1953 Cadillac Le Mans

1953 Cadillac Le Mans

1955 Packard Request

1955 Packard Request

1967 Ford Galaxie 500 Magic Cruiser II hartop-wagon transformable

1967 Ford Galaxie 500 Magic Cruiser II hartop-wagon transformable

1961 Chrysler Turbo Flite Ghia left rear with roof lifted

1961 Chrysler Turbo Flite Ghia left rear with roof lifted

1959 Cadillac Cyclone

1959 Cadillac Cyclone

1955 GMC L'Universelle

1955 GMC L'Universelle

1954 Packard Panther Daytona

1954 Packard Panther Daytona

1955 Oldsmobile Delta

1955 Oldsmobile Delta

1960 Plymouth XNR

1960 Plymouth XNR

1956 Chrysler Plainsman station wagon

1956 Chrysler Plainsman station wagon

1955 Chrysler Falcon

1955 Chrysler Falcon

1970 Jeep XJ001 Concept

1970 Jeep XJ001 Concept

1957 Ford X-2000 Concept by Alex Tremulis

1957 Ford X-2000 Concept by Alex Tremulis

1950 Nash NXI prototype

1950 Nash NXI prototype

1964 AMC Rambler Tarpon

1964 AMC Rambler Tarpon

1958 Willys FC prototype passenger van

1958 Willys FC prototype passenger van

1958 Plymouth Cabana Station Wagon

1958 Plymouth Cabana Station Wagon

1954 Ford Atmos

1954 Ford Atmos

1960 AMC Metropolitan Station Wagon Concept

1960 AMC Metropolitan Station Wagon Concept

1962 Ford Cougar

1962 Ford Cougar

1954 Buick Wildcat II left rear

1954 Buick Wildcat II left rear

1954 Cadillac El Camino

1954 Cadillac El Camino

1956 Packard Predictor

1956 Packard Predictor

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9 thoughts on “Dreams and nightmares

  1. I think that in most cases they made the right decision by not producing these cars. Several of the Fords/Mercurys look like they would have been very nice though. That Jeep concept would have been fun in the ’70s but it likely wouldn’t have stayed in production beyond four years. For some reason, that AMX/Gremlin hybrid really appeals to me.

  2. Wow, another great post at the Garage! All of these cars light my fire but the Scimitar (I’d prefer the two-door), the Chrylser Plainsman and FC Van are my favorites. The FC Van in particular could have been a very successful production vehicle. Did I mention that it was designed by Brooks Stevens? For that matter, so was the Scimitar.

  3. I wish my Rambler Marlin had kept the proportions of that Tarpon. That Buick Centurion, tho…it’s always on the highlight reel for Chuck Jordan’s stuff and I always go “ugh, someone should have dialed that back two or three notches.”

  4. The Caddy Lemans looks suspicously like my old ’56 Caddy DeVille convert, made by whacking 16″ out of the rear doors of Sedan DeVille, pruning the top off, and chopping the windshield 3″. I’d never seen this particular car before, thanks for the memories!

  5. I should follow up by saying that I was inspired by the ’50′s “dream-cars” I remember so well, and that as hacked up as it sounds, the Caddy really looked nice. I foolishly traded it for a Harley Panhead, and when I sold that, though briefly about getting another early ’50′s Cad and doing the same thing. Ended up with the Diamond T instead, but, what might have been…

    Brian

  6. That Ford Cougar II looks like the kind of car-of-the-future that I used to draw on the cover of my notebooks in 6th grade. I coulda been a contender!

  7. A lot of those cars did arrive in some way. So were real cars and at least in part practical. Some are comic book concepts and some are dream cars that could be made.

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