Three Road Ready Concept Cars that Never Reached the Assembly Line

Abstract: Each year, automakers roll out futuristic looking experimental cars at auto shows and at other public events. This article briefly discusses 3 concept cars that were road tested but which never made it into general production.

Chrysler turbine (1)
In an annual rite of passage, automakers roll out futuristic looking vehicles at auto shows and at other public events. Like the designer clothes displayed during fashion shows, most of these concept cars are never mass produced. In many cases, that is a good thing; the automobiles might look nice, but they are not ready for the open road. However, over the years, automakers have designed a few concept cars that were tested on the roadways but not put into general production. Here are 3 of these automobiles.

Buick Y-Job (1938)

The Y-Job was the first experimental automobile to be showcased to the public and was the brainchild of GM executive, Harley Earl and his staff. The Y-Job's name is indicative of its experimental design. In those days, concept cars were tagged with the letter, "X," and the word, "job;" Earl decided to change things up a bit by substituting the "X" with a "Y." The car was ahead of its time. It had power-operated, hidden headlights, "electric doors and windows," and a power-operated "electric convertible top." Just as important, Earl's staff relied on advanced design techniques, such as horizontal radiator grilles, to ensure that the Y-Job's body was much more streamlined than most other models from that era.

The Y-Job was road ready. In fact, Harley Earl used it as his personal vehicle. However, General Motors never mass produced the Y-Job. Rather the company exhibited the car at auto shows and at other events to gauge public reaction to its revolutionary design features and ultramodern accessories, which were then incorporated into other GM models.

Chrysler Turbine (1963)

Chrysler introduced the Turbine to the world in 1963. The car was revolutionary in that it "was powered by a gas turbine." It was also ahead of its time in being able to utilize gas, diesel, or kerosene. Chrysler tested 50 of the vehicles on the open road. While the car was durable, it had significant issues with overheating while idling and with "poor throttle response." Another drawback was that its exhaust fumes reached exceedingly high temperatures (up to 1750 degrees Fahrenheit). Chrysler may have taken these problems into account when it decided not to mass produce the Turbine.

Cadillac Sixteen (2003)

In 2003, General Motors' Cadillac division produced a beast of a concept car. The Cadillac Sixteen was named after its 16-cylinder, 1000 horsepower engine. The automobile was designed with luxury in mind; it came with "silk carpets, a crystal Bulgari clock, smoked-glass roof and a chilled-champagne compartment." The vehicle was certainly powerful; however, it was also a gas guzzler. GM apparently decided that even wealthy buyers might not want to purchase a vehicle with such a large carbon footprint, as the Sixteen never went into mass production.

All 3 of these concept cars were good enough to be successfully tested on the open road. However, for one reason or another, the companies which designed these automobiles opted not to mass produce them.


Albert Mroz, "Why the 'Y-Job' -- Harley Earl and the Buick Dream Car."
David Booth, "Concept Cars that Were Never Produced." MSN.
Joann Muller, "The Coolest Cars Detroit Never Built." Forbes.

1. Photographer: Karrmann
    Date: August 15, 2007
    Title/Description: 1963 Chrysler Turbine Car at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum
    Location/Permission: Wikimedia Commons - GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
    (click on the title or caption to see the photo, credits, and permissions).

-- Anthony Hopper

#history #autos #cars #antiques #antiquecars #Americanhistory

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