You'd be forgiven for thinking cars are pretty boring in 2016. Four wheels, petrol, diesel or electric motors, seats – they all use a similar recipe. But it hasn't always been like that.
We've collected some of the weirdest cars ever made, from a beach buggy with a built in hovercraft, to a car that can fit in a suitcase, to a people carrier almost suffocating its occupants with fumes.
We'd love to see Elon Musk pick up some of these ideas... and maybe leave some alone.
1. Chrysler Turbine Car
Image Credit: Cruise In
If you’ve ever thought internal combustion piston engines are boring (and let’s face it, who hasn’t thought that before?), enter the Chrysler Turbine Car, which, as the name suggests, runs a gas turbine engine.
Now, the big question is, why?
Well, according to Chrysler the engines last longer and require less maintenance, plus they require 80 per cent fewer parts, and they’re easier to start when cold; instant interior heat is available in winter, there’s no risk of stalling, there’s less vibration, and, it can run on pretty much anything.
And when we say anything, that includes Chanel No. 5, vegetable oil, and even tequila.
Five prototypes and 50 ‘production’ vehicles were made; these production vehicles racked up 1.1 million miles during the consumer tests, but once the trial period was complete, Chrysler decided to shelve the project and then destroyed all by nine of the vehicles.
It also sounded like a vacuum cleaner.
2. Alfa Romeo Aerodinamica
Image Credit: Unusual Cars
In 1914, Count Ricotti commissioned the Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Castagna to build a car. Castagna was said to be in awe of the fashionable airships of that period, and, well, you can see the results in this stunning aluminium Alfa Romeo Aerodinamica.
Now, this design did have its drawbacks, such as the engine being located INSIDE the cabin, which resulted in fumes filling up the passenger area. Still, it doesn’t really matter if the car looks this good, right?
3. Davis D-2 Divan
Image Credit: Car Styling
The Davis is a three-wheeled vehicle which seats four people… in a row. And you thought the Reliant Robin was bad!
Gary Davis raised $1,200,000 (£875k) through the sale of 350 dealerships, but the Davis Motorcar Company failed to deliver cars to its prospective dealers... or pay its employees. The company was sued, and liquidated, while Gary Davis was convicted of fraud.
Only 13 Divans were ever built.
4. Ford Gyron
Image Credit: Bold Ride
The Ford Gyron is a futuristic concept from 1961. It was unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show, and features one wheel at the front and another wheel at the rear, like a motorcycle. The car stabilised itself using gyroscopes, and when the vehicle was stationary two little legs extended from the sides to support it.
The prototype was destroyed in a fire, and Ford never planned to put it into production.
5. Rinspeed X-Trem
I have often thought that not enough cars come with a deployable hovercraft, and looking at the Rinspeed X-Trem, it’s hard to see why. This thing just screams sex appeal.
Under the bright yellow paint is the 5.5-litre V8 from a Mercedes, producing 347 hp. AND there’s even a little crane to load and unload the hovercraft.
Sadly the X-Trem is only a prototype and was never intended to hit the showroom floor.
Image Credit: Serious Wheels
Oh, and Rinspeed also made this amphibious beauty taking inspiration from Bond’s legendary Lotus. This convertible sub requires the driver to wear a scuba mask if they don’t want to drown.
The sQuba is also an electric vehicle – water and electricity doesn't sound like a good mix to me.
6. General Motors Firebird XP-21
Image Credit: GM Heritage Centre
This car looks like a fighter jet! It’s the vehicular equivalent of a children’s bed shaped like a car.
The Firebird prototype was developed in 1953. It was the first gas turbine powered car in the US, and is, well, a tad impractical really.
The body is made entirely of fibreglass. It has wings, for some reason, and even a vertical tail fin. The turbine produced 370 hp, and expelled exhaust fumes at 677-degrees celsius, so err… don’t walk behind it.
7. Tang Hua Detroit Fish
Image Credit: Kimball stuck
I’m not sure what's weirder...this amphibious vehicle from Chinese manufacturer Tang Hua, or its name, Detroit Fish… Mmmm, tasty.
8. Mazda Suitcase Car
Image Credit: Banovsky
Seriously, why isn’t this still a thing? Why isn’t everyone walking around with a car in their suitcase?
The suitcase car was designed and built in 1991. It can be unfolded in 15-20 seconds, and it even has headlights if you’re brave enough to drive this at night.
It’s powered by a small 40cc two-stroke engine and can run for around two hours on a full tank of fuel.
9. Peel P50
Image Credit: P50 Cars
It’s a teeny weenie little car! Officially the world’s smallest production car, the Peel P50 found recent fame when Clarkson drove it around the BBC HQ in Top Gear.
In 1963 the Peel P50 would cost you £199 and had enough space for “one adult and a shopping bag”.
10. Terrafugia Transition
Image Credit: Terrafugia
Flying cars are surely the future, right? Wrong! They’re reality now!
The Terrafugia is a fully legal street vehicle which can convert from plane-mode to car-mode in less than sixty-seconds. It’ll even fit in a garage.