Concept cars are a great way for manufacturers to test public reaction to ideas, without risking the massive investment needed to start production. If new styling cues go unnoticed at a major show, that’s probably the last you’ll see of it. If the press and public rave over it, there’s a good chance it will make production. Sometimes. Here are a few concept cars that should have become street cars.
This 1999 concept was a radical departure from GM’s mediocre cars of the late 1990s. Unlike the 2004 production GTO, this car featured styling based on the famous ’68-’69 GTO. It was cool and retro, before retro performance (SSR, Mustang, Challenger) showed up. The profile and rear still look modern, and almost look Cadillac-ish. The hood tach and scoops are right on, and the massive retro inspired wheels are perfect. While that front end would never make production due to potholes, it was certainly better than the production GTO. GM cheaped-out, put a different nose and badges on a Holden Monaro, and no one bought it. Ten years after this concept car didn’t make it, Pontiac got the axe.