Hooniverse Asks- What's Your Favorite Thinly-Veiled Production Show Car

Yesterday I asked you which auto show car you most jonesed to drive, but never would. Today we’re going to do a Rockford move and ask which show car that you eventually could drive, you would most want to. Got it? There seems to be two types of car show spotlight hogs – those like yesterday’s focus, that’ll never set tire to tarmac due to their outlandish and unrealistic design elements, and those which are basically next year’s production models with the wipers pulled off.
Car companies may seem like they’re cheating when they foist an obvious production model on the car show patronizing public – differentiating it only with some lame video rearview mirrors or upholstery made out of recycled AOL CDs. But that’s not always the case. Displaying a show car that’s just nothing more than what you’ll be able to buy off the lot a couple months hence creates a tangible sense of intrigue around the model, a bond between show car and the buyer who thinks he’s getting something  from the future.
The rest of us know that’s not the case, and that the production versions of these sort of not ready for prime time players have had all the cool stuff – the console mounted pony keg, vulcan mind control climate control, or GPS navigator with every Waffle House in its database – ripped out like the car has suddenly gone from bachelor to married  schmuck. It’s not really that bad, although I do miss the Peruvian Ironwood instrument needles I once saw on a show car, but then mysteriously vanished from the production Ford Tempo. Despite that disappointment there’ve been lots of show cars that when you strip off the Pearlescent paint and hand-carved tire tread, are as mainstream as you and me. And I want to know which of those is your favorite?
Image source:[get1car.com]

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  1. OA5599 Avatar

    Production Mustang II's didn't look much like the concept.
    <img src="http://www.tocmp.com/pix/Ford/images/1975%20Ford%20Mustang-II%20Models%20art_jpg.jpg"&gt;

  2. $kaycog Avatar

    A Mark III, based on the 1958 Lincoln, replaced the Mark II. Thankfully, the tail lamps and humped trunk lid were wisely discarded from this Mark III concept. It's not that I'd most want to drive this, but I've never seen this image before and found it interesting.
    <img src="http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/1958-lincoln-mark-2-concept-car-2.jpg"width="500"/&gt;

    1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

      I kinda like the taillights, especially if there's some lighting wizardry going on in that giant rear grille. You're sure right about that hump though. Looks like it needs to be lanced or something.

      1. $kaycog Avatar

        To me, it looks like the taillights were an afterthought, as if they forgot to put any on the car. When the car was completed, somebody noticed that it didn't have taillights, and they just added them to the back of the fins. It would be cool if the back grill was the taillights.

        1. topdeadcentre Avatar

          For 1960, Cadillac was moving taillights into the fins, so this may have been a Lincoln experiment trying the same thing.
          If you've ever been around a '58-'60 Continental, the mass of chrome around the back end of the car is staggering. The size of these vehicles is stupefying. Here's a photo of my Volvo V70R (which is not what I'd consider a particularly small car) hiding behind a '59 factory-built limousine that I found parked at a gas station. I lined up the B-pillars and took a picture; you can just see the tail-light and the spoiler at the top of the rear door of my wagon:
          <img src="http://world.peace.net/%7Ejoelll/markIV.jpg&quot; alt="Mark IV limousine" title="That's no moon… it's a space station!" width="650">

          1. $kaycog Avatar

            It really is huge! I've seen a few of them at car shows, but have forgotten that they're that long. Thanks for the comparison with your Volvo.

  3. Feds_II Avatar

    <img src="http://img88.imageshack.us/img88/3792/kappa104mk.jpg&quot; width=500>
    Oh wait, nevermind.

  4. Alff Avatar

    I hope GM carries the proposed 2013 Monte Carlo to production…
    <DIV style="OVERFLOW: auto"><img src="http://images.hemmings.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/Volmonter1.jpg"&gt;

    1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

      So my 740 has a broken grille anyway… and look at this concept! Over two decades ahead of its time (I feel like this example is a '91, unless it's had a new windshield, and it has to be an '88 or newer).

  5. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    <img src="http://www.tanshanomi.com/temp/95RiveraAd.jpg"&gt;
    GM tried to position the '95 Rivera as an auto show concept car that you could buy:
    "The concept is simple: Design an innovative concept car — like the ones you see at auto shows — then make it available to everyone…."
    It had a passing resemblance to some Buick's previous show cars, but I didn't buy it. Did you?

  6. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    If only the production Charger had looked like this…
    <img src="http://www.allpar.com/photos/concept-cars/dodge/charger/charger-concept.jpg&quot; width="500">

  7. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    The fact that this ended up as the production Gremlin is…is…(give me a minute)…
    <img src="http://www.offroaders.com/tech/jeep/images/amxgt3.jpg"&gt;

  8. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    I'm still waiting to find out if this is "nothing more than what you’ll be able to buy off the lot a couple months hence."
    <img src="http://www.examiner.com/images/blog/EXID1017/images/1_1_chevrolet_aveo_concept.jpg&quot; width="500">
    <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2011/01/sonicz-spec001-1294704874.jpg&quot; width="500">

    1. JayP Avatar

      That 'boy-racer' 'production Spark was on the stand at the Dallas auto show. It was the whole kit… Brembo brake package, tuned suspension, seats with holes in them.
      My son was immediately attracted to the car, asking the spokesbabe if this was a real production car. Her answer was that all the stuff on the car was "available as add-ons". The spokesbabe was hot.

  9. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    Not my favorite, but the original FJ Cruiser concept was strikingly close to the eventual production version:
    <img src="http://www.toyotaoffroad.com/Articles/Toyota/FJ_Concept/images/FJ_Exterior4.jpg&quot; width="500">

    1. facelvega Avatar

      mesmerizing tires.

      1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

        Some poor sucker intern got to spend a lot of time with a treadcutter, methinks.

        1. facelvega Avatar

          Poor suckers. These days my grad students have gigantic laser cutters, 3d printers, and various robotic mills that could make a set of those tires about forty minutes after they had the idea, and five minutes after they stopped arguing about which tread pattern looked coolest (without ever worrying about which pattern might actually work well). But back when that concept came out they would have had to do it all longhand with a treadcutter, as you say, though they might have been able to fake up a little model of it.

  10. P161911 Avatar

    The LM 001 became the LM 002. The engine changed from an AMC V-8 to a Lambo V-12 and moved from back to front.
    <img src="http://www.timpelen.com/images/cars/lm_001_img02.jpg"width=500&gt;

  11. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    I thought the creased edges at the top of the fenders were weird.

    1. facelvega Avatar

      That's the best part. The last Riv and the Reatta: the only mildly collectible Buicks since the Grand National.

  12. Maymar Avatar

    What is a hot rod-appropriate powerplant though? As far as I'm concerned, there's a certain junkyard ethos to hotrodding, where you work with what you've got. Granted, the notion of a factory hot rod like the Prowler flies against that, but in using that V6 (to decent effect too, 1/4 mile times were in the mid 14's) doesn't. I suppose they could've gone for the comparatively antiquated 5.9, or the slightly less antiquated 4.7, but I suspect they were more interested in showcasing the relatively new engine.

    1. OA5599 Avatar

      4.7 wasn't "slightly less antiquated" when the Prowler came out; it was brand new for 1999 model vehicles and the production Prowler was first released as a 1997 model (there was no 1998 model, and the series resumed for 1999). The LH-derived 3.5 that went into the Prowler was already a few years old by then.
      Jeep dealers offered an over the counter supercharger kit for 4.7 Grand Cherokees. A supercharged v8 is always an appropriate powerplant for a hot rod. The 3.5 with a blower or turbo would have been an acceptable alternative.

  13. OA5599 Avatar

    >pony poof<

  14. dragon951 Avatar

    Porsche Carrera GT

  15. Smells_Homeless Avatar

    Hey, that Nitro's not bad at all. Probably aren't enough flower shops to justify production though. Shame.

  16. ptschett Avatar

    Obvious ptschett is obvious…
    <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2007/04/122×6581.jpg&quot; width="500">
    <img src="http://i847.photobucket.com/albums/ab40/ptschett/Challenger/DSC03892.jpg&quot; width="500">
    (1st image from Autoblog)

    1. Brett MacPherson Avatar
      Brett MacPherson

      To my eyes, the production car is more attractive. It lost the cross-hairs and headlights on the prototype look a little bug-eyed to me. A very attractive car…

      1. Lotte Avatar

        Mine, too. It seems like they've also smoothed out the slightly pouty 'mouth' for the production car.
        Thing is, though, the sills are higher, the cowl is higher, and the doors less tucked in. So the whole thing's out of proportion compared to the old one. But dammit! it's always being compared to the old Challenger, which this isn't. It looks great! Until the old one rolls in for the shot. Then the new one lands in the uncanny valley. Unfair!

  17. OA5599 Avatar

    This probably isn't an answer to the exact Hooniverse Asks question, but it's quite impressive that the Avanti went from a clean sheet of paper to a show prototype in less than a month and a half. Production orders were taken based on the auto show appearance and Granatelli speed records, and the same basic design was produced by various companies over nearly three decades.
    <img src="http://billstudepage.homestead.com/files/jjsbproto3.jpg&quot; width=500>

  18. Lotte Avatar

    <img src="http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs48/f/2009/202/3/2/Frazer_Nash_Namir_by_smevcars.jpg&quot; width="500/">
    I think this fits here better than yesterday's post since it's got wipers, working doors, a powertrain; as a car, it works. But really, I'm just hoping this is what electric supercars would look like in the future. It's yellow! It's pointy! It's got a chevron/arrowhead-shaped windscreen! It just screams electric. It's a clear departure from classic sports cars (I'm thinking Miura, C3 Vette) with their sensual, smooth curves and I think that the imminent radical changeover to electric warrants bold new looks. And hopefully, we will see similar things in the future. (Nevermind that this car had been a concept since what, 2008?)

  19. Møbius Avatar

    I saw one of those (production, obv) in China last summer, and I had to pick my jaw up. A Prowler is jaw-dropping enough, but to see one in China totally scrambled my brain.