Cars come in all shapes and sizes, but some models catch our attention for all the wrong reasons. We’re here to take a jab at those vehicles that, despite their creators’ best intentions, ended up a little weird.

From design misfires to conceptual overreaches, these are the cars that make us scratch our heads.

Fiat 600 Multipla

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The Fiat 600 Multipla tackled the challenge of space efficiency with a bizarre solution: cramming six seats into a compact frame, effectively eliminating the hood. This design choice resulted in a car that confronted oncoming traffic with nothing but its windshield, a concept that seems absurd (and dangerous) by modern standards.

Zündapp Janus

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Named after the two-faced Roman god, the Zündapp Janus was a microcar that turned heads in 1958 with its symmetrical design and back-to-back seating layout. Born from the minds at the Dornier airplane company, its unconventional layout included doors at the front and back rather than the sides.

While the Janus was a testament to innovative thinking, its market appeal was limited, leading to a brief production life.

Trossi Monaco

By Brian Snelson – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3473184

The Trossi Monaco, a Grand Prix race car from 1935, was an audacious project with its front-wheel drive and 16-cylinder radial engine. This vehicle was a huge deviation from the racing norms of its time. However, the leap proved too ambitious, as its practical challenges led to its quick retirement from the racing scene.

Trojan

By DeFacto – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64856157

The Trojan, hitting the roads in the late 1920s, was a lesson in the practical yet strange. With its under-seat engine and solid rubber tires, it was a beacon of economy and reliability.

However, these odd features also made it a bit of a misfit. The Trojan’s durability was commendable, but its design choices kept it from becoming a mainstream success.

Saab 92

By Lukasz19930915 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41268661

The Saab 92, born from the Swedish Airplane Company, flew onto the scene with its aerodynamic flair, a hint at its aeronautical roots. The car’s design, characterized by small rear windows and the absence of a trunk lid, made for a rigid structure but also a somewhat impractical vehicle.

Despite its weird looks, the 92 remained Saab’s primary model until the 99’s debut in 1968.

Stout Scarab

By Jim Evans – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=67467183

The Stout Scarab ventured into uncharted territory in the 1930s, with features like flush glass and hidden door handles. Touted as the precursor to the modern minivan, it offered a vision of future travel with its spacious interior. However, its avant-garde design didn’t translate into widespread production.

Renault Sport Spider

By FaceMePLS from The Hague, The Netherlands – Renault Sport Spider, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19310332

In the 1990s, Renault took everyone by surprise with the Sport Spider, veering drastically from its usual practical vehicles. This high-performance car, with its aluminum chassis and composite body, seemed like a fantasy compared to Renault’s conventional lineup.

While it drew comparisons to the Lotus Elise, the Sport Spider stood out as a strange experiment for Renault, showing a side of the brand that few expected.

Lohner-Porsche

By Dr. Bernd Gross – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47000924

The Lohner-Porsche, an early 1900s creation by Ferdinand Porsche, was a weird blend of ambition and premature technology. As one of the first to explore hybrid propulsion, combining electric motors with a gasoline generator, it ventured into uncharted territory.

Sadly, this approach was a bit too forward-thinking, and the market wasn’t ready for such a leap.

Nash Metropolitan

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The Nash Metropolitan was an anomaly in the American automotive scene of the 1950s, shrinking the typical car size to fit into urban landscapes. Designed by Austin for the U.S. market, its diminutive stature stood in stark contrast to the dominant large American cars of its time.

Despite its small frame, the Metropolitan found a niche, lasting eight years in production and demonstrating a burgeoning American appetite for compact vehicles.

Ford Consul Classic

By Vauxford – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=81604196

The Ford Consul Classic’s dramatic flair aimed high but missed the mark, leading to underwhelming sales and a swift discontinuation. Replaced by the more subdued Corsair, the Consul Classic, and its even more extravagant sibling, the Consul Capri coupe, became shorthand for the dangers of design overreach.

Isuzu VehiCROSS

By IFCAR – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1569379

The Isuzu VehiCROSS was a bold departure from the company’s typically reserved designs, featuring an exterior that could be described as aggressively futuristic. Launched into production with its concept car aesthetics largely intact, the VehiCROSS was a strange blend of off-road power and stylistic experimentation.

Its distinctive look and V6 engine positioned it as a standout in the SUV category, yet its unconventional appearance polarized opinions.

Citroën DS

By Klaus Nahr – https://www.flickr.com/photos/klausnahr/17902583919/in/dateposted/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41696182

Launched in 1955, the Citroën DS looked like it had been beamed down from an advanced alien civilization, with its shape and tech. Featuring things like hydraulic systems and swiveling headlights, the DS was a marvel that left other cars looking outdated.

However, its avant-garde design also positioned it as a peculiar spectacle, making it more of an acquired taste.

BMW Z1

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The BMW Z1 turned heads, not for its speed or luxury, but for its peculiar retractable doors that sank into the car’s body. This strange feature made it an oddity in the car world, overshadowing other aspects of its design. Although it tried to set a new trend, it’s safe to say it failed.

Citroën 2CV

By Lothar Spurzem – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42902787

The Citroën 2CV was designed as a budget-friendly vehicle, prioritizing practicality and fuel efficiency over flair or speed. Despite its humble intentions, it somehow rose to iconic status, becoming a beloved classic for its minimalist design and surprising versatility. Its enduring production run signifies a triumph of function over form.

Alfa Romeo Disco Volante

By Albins – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33003940

In the 1950s, the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante was a standout, with its design focused on slicing through the air, unlike most cars of its time. Its name, meaning “flying saucer,” hints at its unique aerodynamic shape, which was unusual and forward-thinking back then.

Alfa Romeo took a leap with this design, pushing the boundaries of what was expected in car manufacturing. The 2012 revival of the Disco Volante attempted to recapture the original’s pioneering spirit but fell short of reigniting the same excitement.

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Author: Abbie Clark

Title: Co-Founder

Expertise: Automotive Industry, Electric Vehicles, DIY Car Repairs

Bio:

Abbie Clark is a writer, blog, and founder of RideRambler, Hey She Thrives, and The Bearded Bunch.

From clever car cleaning tricks to the freshest car features and reviews, Abbie loves sharing her knowledge on everything automotive. Outside of her time writing for her websites, you’ll find her fishing with her husband, deciphering her toddler’s babbling, or baking up something sweet.

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