December 6, 2008

The Con of Concepts

Do concept cars drive you wild? Asks SpaceTM's Mark...

The blend of bleeding-edge design and technology in concept cars has always pumped me full of excitement and optimism. For decades they have given me dilated pupils – from the Pantone pen, speed-streaked, airbrush-glossed illustrations in my teens to the photo-realistic CGI monsters of today.

Millions are spent by automotive designers, technologists and engineers to show-off and create these glimpses of the future, but it's a future that never seems to arrive. Where are they?

Now, even as a designer, I am not so unrealistic as to think that every family with children could use this Pininfarina Concept. But look at the roads. Nothing even approaches those old illustrations from my teens. Even this Pininfarina Concept is five years old. Surely, after decades of promise, the percentage of cars that give us even a hint of these optimistic creations should be higher. One Lamborghini per millions of boxes on wheels is not enough.

Concept cars drive me wild. But now they are starting to drive me wild with disappointment. I am realising that they are just automotive porn and feel foolish that I was so optimistic as to believe the future could be so full of excitement and so full of beauty.

But my disappointment with the makers of these concepts is the strongest. If they are so passionate as to be involved in creating these deceptions, why let them only be deceptions? If they can't actually realise their dreams then ours will never be realised either.

Pininfarina 75th Birdcage Concept, 2005


  1. Do bits of concept cars end up in models that ARE produced?

  2. I love the piningarina concept!!!

  3. Bits do end up in production models. I would just like to see much bigger bits...

  4. Talking of concept cars, check out this one launched last month by Honda:
    It's called the FC Sport and it's hydrogen powered. Rather sexy I thought...
    SpaceTM's Joe