Cars of the future (from the past) – how much did we get right?
From flying cars to driverless ones, we’ve seen plenty of weird concept cars in our time, but a few of the more outlandish ideas can actually be seen on the roads today – here are our favourites.
Back in 1957 we thought that roads of the future would be glorified living rooms, where we could chill out and have a round of dominoes on your way to see the grandparents, while the self-driving car would chauffer you all the way.
So we’re not at the level of such luxury yet, but Google’s self-driving car has been making headlines for the last few years and in early October, Tesla released an over-the-air software update to their Model S including an autopilot feature.
Yeah, this concept sat nav from the 80s did look pretty cool.
But now, thanks largely to the success of the Tom Tom, most of us have one of these stuck to our windows (or built into the dashboard for those lucky enough to have a newer car).
Is there anything more iconic than the gull-wing doors on the De Lorean?
Sadly, winged wonders never caught the public’s imagination (other than in Back to the Future) but the new Tesla Model X has tried to breathe new life into the old bird with Falcon Wing doors, which adjust to the optimal opening arc so that you can get into your car in even the tightest spaces.
Alas, the ConVairCar Model 118 flying car never went into mass production. Although given the fact it looks like a car with wings stuck on top, we’re not too sure that’s necessarily a bad thing.
So flying cars haven’t really taken off (excuse the pun), but there are definitely some cool looking concepts out there, like this Terrafugia ‘Flying Car’.
You have to travel back to 1935 to drive in this experimental streamlined car, designed by Hungarian-born German aerodynamicist Paul Jaray, whose best-known work was on the aerodynamics of Germany’s Zeppelin airships.
Toyota Motor came closest to such daring design with their i-Road, which Car and Driver magazine describe as “something of a cross between a car, a motorcycle, and a fancy golf cart”. Admittedly this is still a concept but if you do want to ride around town in a bizarre looking vehicle you could always pick up a Renault Twizy.
Given the boot space appears to have been traded for a lifting roof, this electric car doesn’t look particularly useful. Look, there’s not even enough room for this suave 70s gentleman to give his wife a lift home with the shopping.
Electric cars are now officially a thing, with more than 20,000 registered in the UK alone in 2015, with the Nissan Leaf proving particularly popular.
In the swinging 60s, some thought we’d be freewheeling down Carnaby Street in a ‘cube car’ designed for towns and cities.
Can’t say we’re disappointed about not having to park a cube car in a tight spot. No, the undisputed king of inner city driving is the Smart Car by Mercedes-Benz.
And what about time travel? Well we’ll just have to watch this space…