By: ELOISE WALTON
EACH YEAR, the new range of concept cars which are showcased by manufacturers at the world’s largest international motor shows generate widespread media attention because of their uniqueness and beauty.
Some though are heavily criticised for being very ugly indeed. Concept cars, prototypes made to showcase quirky futuristic designs are designer’s party pieces, usually shown at motor shows for manufacturers to assess reactions and appeal to new designs, construction materials and technology, which may or may not have a chance of being produced.
The creation of concept cars is largely accredited to Harley Earl, a designer for General Motors who popularised them through the travelling Motorama shows of the 1950s.
Sadly, many concept cars never actually get past being computer designed drawings or scale models because of their impracticality and high manufacturing costs. When they are made though, they are made to wow!
Mazda unveiled its latest concept car this year, the Furai, meaning sound of the wind in Japanese. It is the fifth and final instalment of a concept design series based on Japanese philosophy and natural flow.
Designed by a team led by chief Dutch designer Laurens van den Acker, the Furai is like nothing seen before. It uses the Courage C65 LMP2 chassis, which was used successfully two seasons ago by Mazda in the American Le Mans Series, combined with a 450 bhp rotary engine which runs on 100 per cent ethanol. The design for this car is both stunning and as a bonus, it actually works, as well as using a non petroleum fuel source.
Other concept cars unveiled recently have not been met with such excitement, in fact, quite the opposite. One example is the Hako concept unveiled by Toyota’s US-brand the Scion, at the New York Auto show which was met with disapproval for looking like a box shaped orange.
According to Scion’s Vice-President, Jack Hollis, the Hako is the sporty version of a box. Surely he must be joking? The interior is quite dodgy too, designed to be young and cool, it has urethane and rubber like seating, for easy cleaning apparently. Yuk!
Concept cars never go into production as they are which is what makes them so special, they are the stuff of designer’s dreams; posters and toy models to adorn bedrooms around the world.
If the car or any part of its design is a huge success it will first undergo several modifications, usually toning them down and making them practical, safe and cost effective to be sold to the public.
Do you have a view on this story? Email: [email protected]