Five cars we wish made it into production

James Foxall
Written by: James Foxall
Posted on: 28 July 2016

Every year, car manufacturers reveal the sorts of dream machines they think we might one day want to buy.

Some of the vehicles make it into showrooms, some don’t - usually because they were built as headline-grabbing publicity stunts to set tongues wagging.

Here are a handful of the most exciting cars that didn’t make it into production… but we kind of wish they had.

1. Ford Transit Supervan 3

Ford Supervan

Ford Supervan

So, the White Van Man has just cut you up. You pull up next to him at the lights to ‘have a word’, but as they change to green the van drives off at earth-shattering speed. Or at least that’s what would happen if the van in question were the 1995 Ford Supervan 3.

Beneath that bodywork, Supervan is a 1980s Ford Le Mans racing car. The engine, sat behind the driver as in all the best performance cars, is a 3.5-litre Ford V8 – the same sort that Grand Prix legend Ayrton Senna used to win races. The result is a machine that will hit 60mph in less than three seconds on its way to a top speed of more than 150mph. Imagine seeing a fleet of those in the motorway fast lane.

2. Covini C6W

Covini

Covini

Four is good… but six is even better. That’s what car manufacturer Ferruccio Covini fervently believes. Since the 1970s, the Italian has been trying to convince the world that a six-wheel supercar is the way forward.

The thinking is that the four wheels at the front give more grip for better cornering and increased braking power. The engine is a 500hp 4.2-litre Audi V8 so there’s no shortage of power. Carmakers remain to be convinced. And that’s a sad thing because it would be far cooler driving one of these than your regular four-wheel supercar – until you had to pay for replacement tyres.

3. Renault Espace F1

Renault Espace F1

Renault Espace F1

With brakes that enabled it to go from standstill to 168mph and back to standstill again in 600 metres, as well as the ability to hit 124mph in less time that most hot hatches manage 60, the weekly shopping trip would never be the same again in this Renault Espace.

Created to celebrate the French car firm’s involvement in Formula One racing, it used a 3.5-litre 800hp F1 engine that was fitted behind the driver and powered the rear wheels. Despite its awesomeness, slick racing car tyres and the need for a team of F1 boffins just to start the engine don’t make it very practical as a daily driver.

4. VW Microbus

Volkswagen_Microbus

Volkswagen_Microbus

Along with the Beetle, the Volkswagen camper van is an iconic shape on our roads. Back in the early part of the 21st century when their new Beetle had found a following, VW bosses thought there was room for a remake of the camper.

The Microbus was the result. A modern take on the classic design, it was welcomed so warmly that VW revealed production would start in 2003. The project seemed perfectly credible because it was to be built around the mechanicals of the successful Transporter commercial vehicle. Hippies rejoiced the world over. Then in 2005, VW backtracked, saying it wouldn’t be producing the Microbus. The world - and festivals – are a worse place for it.

5. Chrysler Atlantic

Chrysler Atlantic

Chrysler Atlantic

Back in the 1990s, American company Chrysler was on a bit of a roll. It had a strong image and people wanted to buy its cars. This was helped by a series of concept cars built specifically to snatch attention at motor shows.

The Atlantic was just such a car. Designed to ape ultra-rare, ever lovely and eye-wateringly expensive 1930s classics such as the Bugatti Atlantic, the Chrysler did indeed get its fair share of glowing reviews. But rather than building it, Chrysler opted to make the Neon, a model that redefined bland. The Atlantic was consigned to the company’s museum.

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