Cars that you do not see every day.

The cars of today look very similar to each other as it has become very easy to mistake one car for another at a first glance and that is why I miss the long curvy lines that automobiles used to have. There was a time when you could tell what someone was driving from a long way off due to the silhouette of the car or the sound of it’s engine. If you love cars that definitely have some lines of their own or are slightly out of the ordinary, then this list of some of the most unique looking cars is for you.
Norman E. Timbs was an influential engineer during 1940s who worked with Tucker automobiles. At that time, he took a project in his hands that would take over 3 years to get completed. The target was to build a vehicle which would be later known as Norman Timbs special.
This car is one of the more elegant, streamlined and swooping custom cars ever created. The long front nose and slimmed down design without doors of any kind, make it one of most unique looking cars ever created. 

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Norman Timbs Special

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Another car on my list of the most unique looking cars is the Stout Scarab. This very unique vehicle was designed by William Bushnell Stout in 1932 and marked as the world’s first minivan (the Chrysler Corporation did not create the minivan). This traveling vehicle was envisioned by its creator to be an office on wheels. Unlike other cars of that era, Stout Scarab features a small nose and a long wheelbase to maximize the accessible space. The unfortunate thing is that this weird yet amazing vehicle didn’t go into mass production and only about a dozen cars were made. It is reported that only up to five Scarabs are surviving today. I am grateful to all those folks that keep automobiles like this in operational condition as it would be a shame to forever loose a car like this.

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Stout Scarab

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Usually when we hear the name Bugatti a supercar like the Veyron enters our mind. While that maybe true, did you know that Bugatti has manufactured hundreds of different car models? Some of their automobiles can be considered extremely unique and even weird looking. Such is the case of Bugatti type 57s. They made several cars with the name “Type 57”, such as 57t, 57c and 57c tank, but this incarnation named 57s Aérolithe was the most outlandish of them all. I know some collectors that find this car to be rather ugly but I find it to be a true work of art as I appreciate all the metal fabrication that went into a car like this.

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Bugatti Type 57s Aerolithe

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The GM LeSabre concept car was revealed in 1951 with an aircraft inspired design. This unique concept offered a wrap-around windshield and tail fins and even had a brake light in the jet engine flume designed trunk (now you know where the first center mounted additional brake light came from). What you need to keep in mind is that in 1951 this LeSabre was considered to be extremely desirable and many of the “General’s” designs for the pending “Big Finned” cars actually came from this car. Unfortunately, the world is not the same today and an automobiles design is based upon improved gas mileage by utilizing the least amount of aerodynamic drag as possible. There would be some people today that might consider this car to be extremely unique and yes, even rather weird, but I am glad that I have been collecting enough cars over the years to appreciate it’s looks.
Now here is a question for you……. Do you know where the front headlights are on this car? If you do then you are definitely Car Savvy. 

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GM LeSabre

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The unusual look of the 1932 Ford speedster that was actually designed by Henry Ford makes it a one of a kind. That is why this rather unique automobile was Sold for $770,000 at 2016 RM Auctions. The Speedster was given a downward, unconventionally pointed, split-post windshield with a body that appeared rather short and stocky when viewed from the side. Initially, this design didn’t make sense to anybody and I will admit that it does have a profile that I have not seen on any other car. This just proves that a car with the correct pedigree, no matter how it looks, will always demand a premium at an auction. Cars like this are why it is good to be Car Savvy. 

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1932 Ford Speedster

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The Peel P50 was a three-wheeled micro-car which was originally manufactured by the Peel company from 1962 to 1965. It holds the Guinness World Records of the smallest production car ever made. This thing is so small that if you want to put anything in it, say like groceries or books, you have to use the optional trailer as a trunk. Now, that is a small car! While this car is definitely something that you will not see everyday, I would also say that I would not want to be passed by a 18-wheeler because it would probably blow this little thing off the highway.

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Peel P50

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Designed by Gorden Buehrig, the 1948 Tasco is one of the most unique vehicles that I have ever seen. Tasco (which is an abbreviation for The American Sportscar Company) featured airplane inspired controls, front fenders that moved when the tires were turned and it was also the first car in the world with a T-top roof.  Buehrig patented the T-top roof concept and successfully sued General Motors for using this roof style in the 1968 Corvette but can you see another feature on this car that may have found its way to the 1964 Corvette? The initial motivation behind this car was to inspire a contract with the Beech Aircraft Company for production of an aviation-styled automobile. While I appreciate the inspiration for this concept car I am grateful that the Beech Aircraft Company decided to stay within the aviation business.

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1948 Tasco

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When you think of a “Firebird,” you probably think of the Pontiac pony car that first hit the scene in 1967.  Well, did you know that just over a decade before Pontiac made the Firebird name famous GM created a series of jet-powered concept cars that looked like they escaped from a Lockheed Martin lab. Here are three very unique cars that I have written about before as they are part of the GM Heritage collection. The first of three fighter-jet inspired, turbine-powered concept cars from GM, the Firebird XP-21 (otherwise known as “Firebird” I) debuted in 1953 looking like it came from a hundred years in the future. Powered by a 370-horsepower Whirlfire Turbo Power turbine, the Firebird concept car’s fiberglass body looked more like a space shuttle fuselage than a road-going machine.

The Firebird concept was spearheaded by General Motors head designer Harley Earl, the man who ushered in the tailfin era of car design. Compared to the excesses of the latter half of the decade, the 1953 Firebird concept’s design looks somewhat restrained. The car’s wings and fin are purely nonfunctional, but they look extremely jet-age.

The Firebird project spawned a second, four-seat vehicle in 1956, and a third in 1959 with no fewer than seven wing-like appendages. They were all equally wild, predicting technologies like cruise control, anti-lock brakes, and autonomous driving modes. But the original 1953 concept is still my favorite. The first aeronautical automobile concept was the Tasco and then came these Firebirds.  Would there be any more jet airplane inspired automobiles to make it to the concept stages of automobile design? Well, just scroll down to find out.

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Firebird I

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Firebird II

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Firebird III

There are some people that might say that the 1955 Chrysler (Ghia) Streamline X Coupe is one of the coolest cars ever made but I will tell you that this turbine driven automobile represents the epitome of the aeronautical designed concept car craze of the ’50’s. Built at the request of Chrysler executive Virgil Exner, the Gilda was an exercise in extreme styling and ambitious performance. It was created by Ghia and debuted as a showcar at the Salone di Torino of 1955, later touring around Europe, then the USA.

The fabrication of the Gilda was completed to the same standards of other Ghia coachwork for Italian chassis such as Ferrari and Maserati but unlike the cars produced for wealthy clients, the Steamline’s shape was one of Ghia’s most spectacular. This car seems to be inspired by some kind of spaceship but the real reason for the appearance of this car was in order for it to achieve better aerodynamics.

The initial idea for this car was to power it with a gas-turbine engine that could run on kerosene, gasoline, diesel or and combustible fuel, unfortunately that never happened.    Ghia released a theoretical top speed figure of 140 mph (225 kph), but it went untested probably due to the engine choice.  Since this automobile was never intended for production, the car had no rear suspension and was never driven.

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1955 Chrysler (Ghia) Streamline X Coupe

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Can you believe that this is an actual Ferrari? Well, when I first saw this thing it was hard for me to believe that it was true but, in all reality, this Ferrari 512S Modulo concept car that was designed by Paolo Martin was actually unveiled at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show.

A car like this ultimately came to be due to the increasing popularity of the unitary chassis in the 1950s and 1960s. The demand for custom coach-building started to decrease, especially in the high-end segment such as Ferrari, and many coach builders were incorporated by the car manufacturers they had traditionally worked for such as Mulliner, Ghia and Scaglietti. Other designers opted to turn into independent design studios that penned production and concept cars for others. The creativity previously used for lavish one-offs was now put to use for show cars such as this.

One of the most prominent of these independent design studios is the Italian Pininfarina. The Turin based company has been responsible for most of Ferrari production cars of the last fifty years, but have also debuted some stunning concepts on a wide variety of chassis. In the second half of the 1960s Alfa Romeo and Ferrari mid-engined racing car chassis formed the basis of some of their finest work. Show cars like the Alfa Romeo 33 Pininfarina Speciale and the Ferrari P5 showcased that the relatively new mid-engined layout allowed for very aggressive, yet elegant designs.

The 1970 Geneve Motorshow was the location in which Ferrari/Pininfarina unveiled the last of the series of mid-engined studies. Dubbed the Modulo, it was based on one of the 25 512 S racers Ferrari built for homologation purposes. Over this racing chassis Pininfarina very tightly draped a squarish and ultra-low body. All wheels were partly covered, which made it impossible to turn the front wheels. One of the most unique features is the canopy style roof that slides forward to allow access to the cabin. The 550 bhp V12 engine could be admired through 24 big holes in the engine cover but all of that power means nothing if you can not turn the wheels.

This is definitely a car that you will not see everyday and I am very glad that this thing never made it past the concept stages.

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1970 Modulo

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Well, that wraps up this blog on some cars that you will not see everyday.  I hope you enjoyed what I had to share and remember to check back again for more information on the cars and trucks that you like best.  It is good to be part of the Car Savvy World.  😀

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