Car companies build concept cars to test new ideas with the public. The best are displayed in museums. The worst, now hidden away or crushed, are recalled here.
There have been plenty of crazy one-off car designs over the years, like the Dymaxion and the Aurora Safety Car. But the definition of a concept car used here is one that’s been designed, built, and displayed by an established automaker. The reason for this specific definition is that for a car manufacturer (rather than an individual or small group) to display a horrendous concept meant that an entire design department had to approve the concept, then various other departments provided their okay before being signed-off by some executives at a very high level. We’re talking dozens of individuals with collective decades of experience in auto industry approving what any 8 year old could see was a hideous mistake. Let’s take a look at how millions of dollars have been squandered.
1998 Buick Signia
If this was the winner in the internal Buick design contest, can you image what the losers looked like? General Motors’ press release at the Detroit Auto Show (sorry, NAIAS) describes it as “Based on the architecture of the Park Avenue, the Signia is an upscale family sedan with SUV attributes designed for modern families on the go.
Features include a high roof and seats for easy entry, inset rocker panels that prevent slush or mud from dripping on your pants, a removable hatchback for hauling large items, infrared sensors that detect objects in your blind spot and flexible cargo space, including a powered floor that extends 15 inches out the back. While the concept car showcases a number of new technologies, Buick executives say the Signia will not be built as it is.” Thank goodness.