Sometimes a car company gets an idea that it truly believes will help advance the motor industry. Nine times out of 10, they're right. Yoav Gilad takes a look at those ones left behind. Or, at least, the ones that should've been.

Over the years there have been many wild ideas that have propelled the car industry forward, improving everything from the driving experience to the build quality or environmental impact. You won’t find any of those ideas on this list. No, instead this is a roundup of those automotive experiments that prove that just because something is technically possible, doesn’t mean it's a good idea.

Despite what your teacher may have told you back in school, there is such a thing as a stupid question. Here are 10 ridiculous answers.

Honda Fuya-Jo (1999)

“Hey guys! Anyone want to go for a ride in my vacuum cleaner?!” The concept here was a small, urban runabout designed to keep the party going. Lots of powerful speakers, a late-1990s turntable-inspired dash, and seating for four ensured that the Fuya-Jo (“sleepless city”) would be the go-to vehicle when cruising to the clubs. When it was first revealed, the crusty, old elite of automotive journalism mocked the Fuya-Jo for its looks and aspiration. But today, some of those ideas are in mainstream production. Ridiculous? Certainly, but perhaps not for the reasons they first thought.

Sbarro Chrono (1990)

A two-seat roadster that was capable of accelerating from zero to 60mph in three-and-a-half seconds sounds great, doesn’t it? Until you realize that this car also has a central hinge that allows it to fold nearly in half for easier access to the engine. I wonder if they expect it to break down a lot, because there is no other reason that this should be a necessary feature. If you were wondering how to make your car less rigid, more complex, and more expensive for your bi-yearly oil change, this is the answer.

Honda HP-X(1984)

Compared to the HP-X, the Ferrari Testarossa looks conservative. Italian design firm Pininfarina designed them both, and apparently were inspired by the same sci-fi cheese grater on multiple occasions. What makes this car so ridiculous is that Pininfarina debuted it the same year the Testarossa production car came out. It’s as though they had one theme and were simply going to slap it on every sports car they designed. At least this one eventually became the Honda NSX.

Isuzu Nagisa (1991)

Throughout automotive history people have tried to marry boats and cars, mostly unsuccessfully. It’s simply a question of acceptible sacrifice; you have to give up wayy too much for a car to have a properly shaped hull, or for a boat to have wheels. Still, that hasn’t stopped countless people from trying, and perhaps the best/worst attempt ever was the Nagisa. It’s basically a cabin-cruiser with sports car rims and the frontal area of a barn. The only things that could have made this more ridiculous were a helipad and a hot tub.

Cadillac TAG Function Car (1978)

The future’s here for the busy business executive! Featuring four large armchairs, two telephones, a massive CRT television, refrigerator, fold-out desks, and extensive wood paneling, the ironically named “Function Car” was the brainchild of designer Franco Sbarro and an on-the-go, wealthy Saudi businessman. They planned a limited run of 25 units, but somehow didn’t even manage to sell one! Hard to believe, huh? The idea gets a ten, but the execution… a big fat zero.

IAMAUTO (2012)  

Ugh. Where to begin? The major issue with success is that some people believe that attaining it in one arena means they can automatically try anything and reap equally incredible results. This car, designed and produced by Will.I.Am, should leave little doubt otherwise.

First off, it looks like a cheap, off-brand DeLorean knock-off made entirely out of Lego pieces. That Jay Leno commented that it was “cool” when Will surprised him with it on air only underscores Leno’s commitment to professionalism in the face of complete astonishment. The design checks almost every car cliché imaginable: wheels that are too large? Check. Unnecessary gullwing doors? Yup. Body cladding? Of course. I wonder if they actually hired a designer to pen the IAMAUTO, or if Will.I.Am just flipped through a JC Whitney catalog and bought one of everything?

Sbarro Autobau (2010)

This is basically the Homermobile of supercars. Yes, it has a 500hp V12 engine, is a two-seater and is very low. Unfortunately, it also looks like the illegitimate lovechild of a doorstop and a 12-blade Gillette razor. We’re not sure what Sbarro was trying to accomplish by designing, and then actually building, this thing, but it did help to remind us that company-founder Franco hasn’t lost a drop of his signature absurdity after decades in the auto industry.

Rinspeed X-Trem (1999)

Built on an extended Mercedes-Benz G-wagen chassis, the X-Trem (or Multi-Utility Vehicle, as they sometimes called it) is a two-seat pick-up truck without doors. Instead of doors, it comes equipped with a hovercraft and a functional crane for loading and unloading said hovercraft, of course. This thing would have trouble looking at home in the movie Cars, which says a lot. In fact, looking at it, one gets the impression it was designed by children – or, at very least, a bunch of adults who never grew up. It probably comes with a juice box holder.

Tang Hua Detroit Fish (2008)

As previously mentioned, a small number of car companies have refused to give up on the dream of the perfect car/boat hybrid. And, while the Nagisa was an absurd, but seamlessly executed,  amphibious vehicle, the four-err–“door” Detroit Fish (yes, that’s really its name) looks like a lumpy school bus designed to drown children. Or maybe it’s the Oscar Meyer Puffer-mobile? China, we’ve all tried the boat-car-thing before. Please, just stop, before someone gets hurt.

Youabian Puma (2013)

The Puma’s website proudly states that it was created with one goal in mind: to standout and be unique. Well, mission accomplished guys! To the detriment of almost everything else, it would seem…

Not only is this car a visual monstrosity—it costs about one million dollars. Seriously. Viewed from the front it looks like a 1996 Chevy Cavalier pumped full of botox, with odd, melty potato chip ears and a smiley expression that’s secretly thinking “kill me”. From the side… is that a car, sinking into a larger, mushier car? And from the rear, well, you know those photos of women with large posteriors riding sport bikes? There you go. The best part is that it isn’t even built from scratch. The Puma is actually a molested Volvo C70. Poor, poor C70.

For a whole different kind of ridiculous, check out our guide to the 30 Supercars Everyone Should Know

Written by Yoav Gilad for

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