Strangest Cars Ever Made
Rev up your engines for the strangest cars ever made!Weird
Humans have invented a lot of crazy things to get from point A to point B. We tied little boxes to horses and put them on wheels, shot ourselves down rails in metal tubes, and pedalled about on oversized bicycles, before eventually inventing the car.
Since the first motorcar graced the roads back in 1886, certain people have had some unique ideas about how to improve the concept. From flying cars to double-wide limousines, we’re about to take a look at some of the funniest and craziest cars ever made!
When BMW heard the phrase “personal transportation” in the 1950s, they must have taken it very literally, if the Isetta is anything to go by! Measuring in at just 7.4 by 4.5 feet, the Isetta is one of the most minuscule cars ever built.
You might not be surprised to learn the Isetta was originally made by a company called Iso which designed scooters and refrigerators, seeing as it looks like a cross between the two.
BMW eagerly bought the design and license from them, as German regulations at the time allowed people to drive smaller cars with only a motorcycle driver’s license. To make the Isetta as small as possible, the car has no trunk and only one door, which the steering wheel is attached to.
The Isetta could only hold about five gallons of gas, but was surprisingly economical, and was the first car to ever achieve a fuel consumption rate of 78 miles to the gallon. Though, as you might guess it wasn’t very powerful, having a top speed of 53mph and just 12 horsepower to play with – which is less than most lawnmowers do today.
Still, people loved the little Isetta, and it was the best-selling single-cylinder car in the world upon release. It cost $1048, or about $10,366 today. Sadly, the little engine fell out of style in the early 60s, proving to be more of a fun fad than the future of transportation!
Though the little-engine-that-could fell out of style in the 60's, Swiss company Micro Mobility are giving it a reboot with their tiny, electric, two-seat MicroLino car, which will be available soon. Being cramped is about to be back in style!
What is the future of travel? High-speed, international rail? Flying cars? Commercial space travel? According to Toyota, it’s a weird little pod that changes color when you’re hungry.
The vehicle is Toyota’s vision of the future: the FV2, and no, it isn’t an unused vehicle from Tron, or a sci-fi Isetta redesign. The name sounds like it stands for something cool like "Future Variant," but apparently, it’s "Fun Vehicle."
The pod fits a single passenger and is driven by simply shifting your body weight… so, it’s more like a segway than a car! Although this super-segway comes with super-strange features. For starters, the FV2 is able to change colors depending on the mood of the driver.
If you’re struggling to think of any way that could ever be useful, just you wait, because the FV2 can be driven standing up. However, Toyota has never actually explained this strange decision.
Maybe it’s so you can stretch your legs or get some air? Definitely more effective than just rolling a window down.
The pod was first shown off in 2013, but as far as we know there are no plans to make it commercially available anytime soon. It’s speculated that if it went on the market tomorrow, it could go for up to $45,000.
Need For Speed
In 1998, British car manufacturer TVR had a dream; they wanted to win Le Mans, the prestigious 24-hour race held near the French town of the same name. To do this, they created the Cerbera Speed 12, an absolute demon of a car. It was powered by a 7.7-liter V12 engine, made by frankensteining two previous Cerbera engines together.
To further stretch that engine’s power, the car weighed only 2200 pounds. For perspective, NASCAR requires all their cars to weigh at least 3300 pounds. Despite being limited to an impressive 675 brake horsepower, the car could reportedly hit 60mph in less than three seconds.
Unfortunately, the Speed 12 was never allowed to race in Le Mans, as some last-minute rule-changes meant the car couldn’t compete. So, TVR made the logical decision to make the Speed 12 commercially available.
Instead of modifying it to make it road safe, they made it even faster. The modified Speed 12 had a brake horsepower between 800 and 960. And in a test environment, it reached speeds greater than the McLaren F1 - the fastest car in the world at the time - with a top speed of 231mph.
To put that in perspective, the best-selling car in the US in 1998 was the Toyota Camry, with a top speed of 124mph. So why wasn’t this death-car made available to the public? Well, one day Peter Wheeler, the head of TVR, took his own creation for a spin.
His thoughts when he got back? Basically: holy crap, we can’t let people drive this thing, it’s too dangerous! You heard that right: a car company CEO actually made a decision for the common good over pure profit.
It’s been a long, stressful day at work. You’re driving home, coming up on a bridge, when you’re greeted by the unholiest traffic jam you’ve ever seen. Well, why not turn your car into a boat and drive across the water? Because that’s just not possible, right?
Well, tell that to the Quandt Group, who in 1961 created the water-faring Amphicar! Though unassuming from the front, if you peeked behind the Amphicar you’d see two propellers in addition to the car’s usual exhaust pipe, allowing it to sail with ease.
While it’s impressive the Amphicar worked at all, it was plagued with issues. After forking over up to $28,660 in today’s money, you’d have to insure the vehicle twice: once as a car, and once as a boat.
You’d need that insurance, too, because the Amphicar was delicate. It’d fill with water if you didn’t pull a lever to make the doors water-tight, and even then it needed to be serviced after every float.
Additionally, you’d be the laughingstock of car and boat-owners alike, because the Amphicar was slow. It had a top speed of just 70mph on land, and 7 knots in the water.
Assuming conditions weren’t choppy, that’s about three times walking speed. This is why the Amphicar was sometimes called “the fastest boat on land and the fastest car in the water”. It was discontinued in 1967.
But we’ve come a long way with our water wheels since then; such as the Dobbertin Surface Orbiter! This bizarre rocket-looking vehicle was built by Rick Dobbertin over the course of four years, using his entire life savings and an old milk tanker.
Rick spared no expense as the Orbiter was equipped with a 250-horsepower engine, an ocean navigation system, and separate steering wheels for both land and sea. He built the Orbiter so he and his wife Karen could go on a unique, romantic journey around the world.
Unfortunately for Rick, being in a cramped, shaky tube in the middle of the ocean didn’t do wonders for his marriage. When they departed on their grand journey in 1993, Karen quickly became seasick, and the two argued constantly.
The Dobbertin’s divorced not long after returning home. When asked, his wife said that, despite everything, she would gladly attempt the voyage on the Orbiter again… but not with Rick. Ouch!
AVTR2 the Future
There was a time not too long ago when James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ was everywhere. It was the highest-grossing film of all time, had some videogame adaptations, and even earned a $400 million theme park. Although, the film’s weirdest legacy must be the AVTR; one of the coolest concept cars ever built.
For starters, Mercedes-Benz’ AVTR is equipped with slick glowing wheels that can be used to indicate, even from the side. These weird wheels aren’t just for show, though, because the AVTR is able to move sideways like a crab! Imagine never having to parallel park ever again!
The Avatar-theming of the car comes from its most distinctive feature: its skin. These little panels on the back of the car tilt and turn in response to the environment and look like little hair follicles. They are employed to alter the cars aerodynamics and increase its braking power.
Undoubtedly, the most baffling element of the AVTR is the fact that it has no steering wheel. It’s entirely controlled by what could be called a car mouse – a weird pad you rest your palm on and tilt to control the vehicle.
The AVTR has a top speed of 223mph and a 469-horsepower engine – so even though it’s based on science fiction, it has some real performance power. Though no release date has been set for the car, it’s speculated pricing will start around $39,000 when it does. Who knows whether we’ll see it or the Avatar sequel first?
Though it might sound hard to believe, people only put wheels on suitcases in 1961. That means it took humanity the same amount of time to make a rolly-bag as it did to launch a man into space.
Crazier still is the fact that just 30 years later, some fruitcake at Mazda decided to attach a motor and steering wheel to that rolly-bag.
The Mazda Suitcase car was the winner of Mazda’s 1991 “Fantasyard” competition. The goal of the event was for employees to create the most unique and innovative mode of transport they could – and I think you’ll agree, the Suitcase car is - at the very least - unique.
The vehicle was made from a Samsonite suitcase which could be opened and folded into a miniscule, drivable car.
Despite its tiny size, the suitcase car could reach speeds of up to 18 miles per hour, and on a full tank of fuel could drive for two hours. If it didn’t look ridiculous, this might have made it a decent form of inner-city travel!
In the end, Mazda only commissioned a few prototypes before deeming it an unprofitable venture, and today only one survives.
This must have been sad news for its inventors, who apparently wanted to make airport navigation easier. It turns out most people found driving a tiny car at 18 miles per hour through airport traffic a little more stressful than just calling a cab.
So far, we’ve discussed some pretty cool future-car designs, but there’s something a little soulless about them. Well, here’s a more wholesome vision of the future - introducing the Pivo 2!
This adorable, entirely electric egg of a car was designed by Nissan in 2007, and at the very least, presented a bold and unique conceptualization of the future.
An update of their original 2005 Pivo concept, the Pivo 2, prioritized convenience over flashiness. The wheels of the Pivo 2 each had their own motor and were in little pods detached from its main body. This meant they could rotate, allowing the car to move in any direction.
The body could also swivel around 360 degrees, so it could be entered or exited from any point! The Pivo 2’s greatest feature, however, has to be its talking robot head. This little dude would operate as your Satnav, cheerily giving you directions, information, and even compliments.
But that’s not all! It would also detect what mood the driver was in and try to cheer them up if they were sad.
In 2011 Nissan demonstrated the Pivo 3, which is – sadly - lamer in every way. It lacked the handling of the Pivo 2 and, most importantly, ditched the robot head. Annoyingly, that was the last we heard from the Pivo line. I know the AVTR and FV2 are cool and all, but I’d much rather live in the cute singing robot car future.
Jay Ohrberg is a magical mechanic. He’s responsible for movie vehicles such as the Flintstones’ car, KITT from Knightrider, the 1989 batmobile, and Back to the Future’s classic DeLorean.
With such an impressive rap sheet, it’s hard to believe the man’s zaniest car creations were off screen! Ohrberg has dedicated his free time to creating the craziest limos you’ve ever seen.
For example, his Wide Limo. Powered by two Cadillac FWD engines, this broad boy is 30 feet long and two-and-a-half times the width of a regular limo. That gives it a girth of nearly 15 feet, which is enough room to plop a King-sized bed down in the middle!
The crown jewel of his collection must be though: the American Dream. This beast cost $4 million to make and is the world’s longest car according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Measuring in at a mind-boggling 100 feet long, the American dream features 26 wheels, a king-sized waterbed, a helipad, and even a swimming pool! Talk about an impressive collection!
Being that long, the American Dream could only travel at very slow speeds, and obviously, it couldn’t handle corners well. It had a hinge in the middle that helped it navigate tight turns, but it needed two drivers in separate compartments to make that happen.
Put it in H
The students at Pforzheim University partnered with German car manufacturer Opel and created an offbeat vision of the future. Meet the Opel H!
Unlike the AVTR or FV2, the Opel H is designed around the concept of long-distance autonomous travel. As such, it places emphasis on comfort over everything else. As the car is completely autonomous, there’s no need for a steering wheel so there’s more space for legroom.
The seats in the rear of the car also face backwards, enjoying a similar amount of room. The space between the front and rear seats is used for storage, as opposed to a void between the passengers and driver.
The front and back of the car is also entirely transparent, allowing you to really soak in the miles and miles of autobahn. The Opel H is still a mere concept for now.
Is it a bike? Is it a car? No! It’s the Peugeot 20Cup! This amazing automobile almost looks like someone started building the back end of the car and just suddenly gave up – but there’s actually a term for this wacky vehicle!
The Peugeot 20Cup is technically a reverse trike with a tadpole set-up. What this means practically is that the front half is your standard car, but the back half features only one wheel behind the driver’s seat. Something like a car-bike!
The 20cup was built to test and show off the then-new motor for the 2005 Mini Cooper. Despite its small size, the engine was a fairly powerful collaborative effort between BMW and PSA. The four-cylinder engine generates up to 170 brake horsepower, which is significantly more than most commercially available cars at 120 bhp.
While the 20Cup’s top speed was never recorded, the 2005 Cooper reaches up to 143mph. The 20Cup can go from nought-to-sixty in under five seconds, which is faster than the Cooper at 6.6 seconds.
It might surprise you, but people were designing strange future-cars before most folks had even seen a car. M.O. Reeves, for example, in 1911 looked at the still-new car and thought you could stick way more wheels on that thing. This is the Octo-Auto, and no prizes for figuring out where its name comes from.
To be fair to Reeves, his eight-wheeler idea did make some sense; in the 1910s, roads were bumpier and car tires weren’t as tough, so they didn’t last as long as they do today. Inspired by train cars, Reeves understood that adding more wheels would mean a more even weight distribution in an automobile, and so less wear on each individual tire.
The design worked incredibly well, handling bumps and potholes much better than other cars of the era, but the Octo-Auto was just too expensive to catch on. In order to make a profit, the Octo-Auto needed to be sold for $3200, or over $93,000 in today’s money. It’s a real shame it didn’t catch on, too – can you imagine how modern cars would look today if it had?
For some reason, ever since its invention, people have been looking at cars, which are clearly-designed-for-road-transportation and thinking “but what if it could fly”? One such individual was Stefan Klein, who’s spent the last 20 years of his life making that dream a reality.
Founding Klein Vision in 2017, he worked tirelessly with scientists and engineers around the world to bring his sci-fi vision to life. After intense simulations were carried out at Brno University of Technology, Slovak company SKMODEL produced special composite materials for the project, and vigorous test drives were conducted in Shanghai, China.
After four years and untold sums of money later, Klein’s AirCar successfully completed an inter-city flight in 2021. The vehicle’s wings are foldable and retractable, so it can transition easily from driving to flight-mode.
The AirCar’s aerodynamic fuselage has enough room for one driver and one passenger, both of which are equipped with parachutes in case of emergency.
Information on the Air Car’s design is protected by dozens of patents, so nothing is known about its speed, fuel consumption, or cost. Still, if this is the future, it is exciting to imagine what high speed police chases are gonna look like!
Remember in old cartoons when cars would go really fast, their tires would catch fire? While this next car’s wheels aren’t literally on fire, they’re still a red-hot blast-from-the-past.
The 1958 Golden Sahara got its name from the fact that its wheels glow a bright, fiery orange. According to creator Jim “street” Skonzakes, these were supposed to make it extra-visible in the dark.
Developed by Goodyear – of blimp fame – these tires were made of neothane; a synthetic, translucent rubber that was filled with internal lighting.
Though obviously cool, the Sahara was also way ahead of its time in more practical ways. A sensor beneath the car would hit the brakes if it detected something move in front of it, and the Sahara could be partially controlled through a small remote control.
Though exact specs aren’t known, the Golden Sahara likely utilized a Capri Lincoln V-8 engine that produced 225 horsepower.
As you might imagine, this bold and futuristic car was not cheap. At the time it was claimed to be worth $75,000 – or $635,000 today. The only known Golden Sahara in existence was bought at auction in 2018 for $350,000 and was restored to its former glory in 2019. Talk about a hot-rod!
Make it Wumbo
Volkswagen’s cute, compact little Beetle has charmed the world for decades. Sordid past aside, Richard Tupper and his son took one look at the tiny car and decided they liked it, but that they’d like it better bigger. That’s why they built the Huge Bug; a fully functional 1959 Volkswagen Beetle that’s 40% larger than the original.
The creation of this mockery of Volkswagen engineering was no easy task, however. Tupper and son had to scan every single part of the original Beetle, increase its size by 40% in 3D editing software, and then go about building the juiced-up part themselves.
Their efforts paid off, though, as they claim the Huge Bug cost them three years and $15,000 to make but is now worth an estimated $1.25 million. An 840% return ain’t bad.
But in case you’re wondering, as big as the Huge Bug is, it isn’t the largest upscaling of a car on record. That honor goes to the unbelievable behemoth commissioned by the eccentric billionaire Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, colorfully nicknamed the Rainbow Sheikh.
This 1950s Dodge Power Wagon is sixty-four times larger than the truck it’s based on, stands around 20 feet tall, and weighs a whopping 55 tons.
The interior is apparently a fully livable house, complete with a bedroom and bathroom. What’s more, the truck isn’t just for show, it’s actually drivable – though it only has a 300-horsepower engine. So, not really a Power Wagon!
Finally, we arrive at what must be one of the strangest, fugliest, and most thoroughly baffling cars ever built. This is the RoAcH CoAcH, and yes, its name is indeed spelt with alternating caps.
Now this entry might be cheating a little bit, as the 1978 Roach Coach was a show car – i.e., it was never meant to be driven, just shown off. If you can believe it, that thing was considered decorative.
Designed by Ed Newton and built by Dan Brooks and Dan Woods, the car was supposedly constructed just to impress crowds and get their company, RoAcH Inc, some attention. I mean, it worked, because they’re still around today!
The three were evidently quite proud of their abomination, as there are dozens of pictures of embarrassed models trying their best to pose next to it.
Some may look at the two large cockpit bulbs and see a pair of eyes, but most people can’t help but see something else.
If you were amazed at the strangest cards ever made, you might want to read this article about the most luxurious cars in the world.