Home » Hooniverse Asks » Currently Reading:

Hooniverse Asks- What’s The Most Tragic Almost Was?

Robert Emslie April 17, 2013 Hooniverse Asks 105 Comments


Everyone has a dream. For most that dream may be just a few beers and some hot wings at Hooters on a Friday night, but for a select few it’s realizing in metal and rubber their vision of automotive perfection. Take the Momo Mirage above for example. It represents the vision of Alfred Momo, former team manager for Briggs Cuningham, and Peter Kalikow, who sought Momo’s advice after finding the handling of his initially desired Aston Martin to be underwhelming.  The two entered into partnership to build this remarkably clean and powerful touring car, but as is frequently the case, financial difficulties squelched their plans. Such a shame.

It isn’t just individuals with delusions of grandeur that come close to capturing that elusive gold ring. Back in the sixties, Pontiac developed a SOHC straight six with the intent of appearing an automotive technological leader. They also wanted to have a sports car in which to show the engine off, and built the Banshee as its star stage. Unfortunately Chevy caught wind of the project and, feeling it would take sales and hence profits away from the Corvette, got the GM overlords to kill it. So close.

That’s a couple of examples of cars that almost were, which had they been, could possibly have also been great, and maybe still could be. Got that? What do you think, what are some other cars that came within a hair’s breadth of production, and who’s failure to do so you lament? What, in your mind, is the most tragic almost was? 

Image source: SportscarDigest

Currently there are 105 comments on this article:

  1. Maymar says:

    Getting this out of the way early;

    <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2009/08/pontiacg8st_red_630.jpg&quot; /img>

    Don't get me wrong, it would've flopped horribly, but been awesome while doing so.

    I also don't know why I think of this now, but Chrysler was mulling the possibility of an AWD LH car (since it would've been a relatively easy conversion with the longitudinal layout) – it's a shame that never saw production. And the Mahindra pickup, at least for North American consumption (which, seems to be mired in importation hell).

  2. don fehlio says:

    I really wanted Fisker to work; the cars were a neat idea, just poorly executed. They looked fantastic, but nobody had any way of predicting how unreliable the tech would be, especially since I haven't heard nearly as many complaints about the mechanically very similar Volt. It's a shame.

    <img src="http://media.caranddriver.com/images/11q1/379496/2012-fisker-karma-review-car-and-driver-photo-386473-s-429×262.jpg&quot; width="600">

  3. muthalovin says:

    I dont know how close this was to almost, but it would have been awesome if it made it to market:

    <img src="http://www.carstyling.ru/Static/SIMG/420_0_I_MC_jpg_W/resources/concept/1977_AMC_Concept_AM_Van.jpg?7D0FD7B58942FFEA2AEAB32549A49A8E&quot; width=550>

  4. JayP2112 says:

    VW GX3.
    Sub-$20k price, near supercar performance, track day special.
    <img src="http://www.seriouswheels.com/pics-2006/2006-Volkswagen-GX3-FA-1024×768.jpg&quot; width="600">

  5. OA5599 says:

    <img src="http://farm2.staticflickr.com/1217/1254395487_39a8a3b83f_z.jpg?zz=1&quot; width=500>

    My answer today is a near-miss because the car did indeed reach production, but the factory burned down before they could make enough cars for homologation. The Bill Thomas Cheetah.

  6. Vavon says:

    Peugeot 106 Spider, a great FWD car without a roof and 2 seats… Sadly it wasn't to be!

    <img src="http://images.forum-auto.com/mesimages/830994/CarDatabaseNetPhotoID00051735.jpg&quot; width=670>

  7. OA5599 says:

    The Bosley Mark I wasn't intended as a production vehicle, but is a stunning example of what a 19-year-old (when he started) kid with no formal automotive training can design and build himself. Hemi engine with 6 carbs and a 5-speed transmission (in the days when 3 forward gears was the norm) meant 160 MPH was attainable.

    <img src="http://www.gatsbyonline.com/Users/8/Images/GatsbyAutomobileDesign/1955_BosleyMk1_01.jpg&quot; width=500>

  8. Syrax says:

    Eternally the 989 for me. Even more now, given how the Panamera looks.
    <img src="http://www.looksfeelsworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/989.jpg&quot; width="500//">

  9. LTDScott says:

    I'm going with the '89 Fiero. By '88, the Fiero was actually a pretty damn decent car, but unfortunately its early reputation preceded it, not to mention the fact that GM had a habit of killing cars just as they got them right (probably because it cost them too much to get there).

    <img src="http://jsears.cz28.com/images/89fiero.jpg"&gt;

  10. Number_Six says:

    Lotus Etna: in 1984 this would have shoved Lotus into the ranks of proper big-boy supercar manufacturer. It had a drag coefficient of 0.29, which was way beyond anything else in production at the time, plus what would have been the first active suspension.
    <img src="http://www.carstyling.ru/resources/studio/large/84id_lotus_etna_01.jpg&quot; width="500" />

  11. Tanshanomi says:

    By the way, I'll now be thinking Pontiac OHC Six all day.
    Or Thanks.


    <img src="http://www.tanshanomi.com/temp/Pontiac-OHC-six.png"&gt;

  12. Garland137 says:

    I'd say Tucker Torpedo, but that saw very limited production, so it doesn't really count.
    <img src="http://www.shorey.net/Auto/American/Tucker/1948%20Tucker%20Torpedo%20f3q%20B&W.jpg&quot; width="600">

    I'm gonna have to say the Saab 9-3 Phoenix:
    <img src="http://stblogs.automotive.com/files/2013/02/Saab-9-3-Phoenix-623×389.jpg&quot; width="600">
    There was also supposed to be a Sonett IV, but I don't think it had a final design yet.

  13. Number_Six says:

    Two-wheel Tuesday answer: Yamaha GTS 1000. It was actually produced from 1993 to 1999 but the "might-have-been" part of it is that Yamaha gave up on some cool technology. The GTS 1000 was a decade ahead of its time, with ABS, catalytic converter built into the exhaust, and the incredible parallel-arm suspension that gave it far superior stability and ride to its competitors. Even today it feels like a modern bike.
    <img src="http://z1000.riderdestination.com/albums/museum/normal_Yamaha%20GTS1000.jpg&quot; width="500" />

  14. Tanshanomi says:

    I don't know how seriously the Cadillac Sixteen was considered for production, but it is worth mentioning here, because…well, because One Thousand Horsepower.

    <img src="http://images.askmen.com/top_10/cars/1247842564_top-10-cars-gm-should-have-produced_4.jpg"&gt;

  15. RichardKopf says:

    Two cars for your consideration:
    For starters, we have a RWD turbo Reatta, and for the coup de grâce, a GNX-powered Electra Estate. It's hard to see in this article, but 0-60 in five seconds with &frac14; mile times in the 13s.
    <img src="http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j129/hoopd87/PrototypeReatta01_zps11026f47.jpg&quot; width=500>
    <img src="http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j129/hoopd87/PrototypeReatta02_zps41297611.jpg&quot; width=500>

  16. quattrovalvole says:

    The 9-5 were supposed to be one of the new cars that can save Saab, but the plug was pulled too early. I really like the new 9-5 (although I haven't got the chance to get in one), and they've made some production pilot wagons before the doors were closed. Shame…

    <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2011/03/saab-9-5-sportcombi.jpg"&gt;

    Also, the E34 M5 convertible. BMW was afraid that this car would cannibalize the sales of the 3-series convertible, so they decided to cancel it. I imagine this would've been a great grand tourer to cover massive distance in speed & comfort.

    <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2009/10/e34m5c00-1256843174.jpg"&gt;

  17. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq says:

    <img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8240/8573352846_6328a72640.jpg&quot; width="480" alt="SD1 Estate"> I'm having a hard time deciding. <img src="http://protauta45.republika.pl/warsz210syr110.jpg&quot; alt="Warszawa 210"> Woah a prototype of the FSO still exists! And there was a kombi (Polish for wagon/estate) 1:1 scale clay model even! <img src="http://retrostalowawola.republika.pl/210kombi.jpg"&gt;

  18. Irishzombieman☆ says:

    Chevy Corvette Astro II concept.

    I mean, c'mon, look at it!

    But Chevy was trying to keep up time-wise with Ford's street legal version of the GT40 and concept Mach 2. To do so, Chevy used an off-the-shelf TWO-speed transaxle off a 63 Tempest for this car–vs Ford's race-developed and -proven gearbox. No quick solution to that one, so no mid-engine 60s Vette.

    Dang. Dang for us all.

    <img src="http://images.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/Corvette-XP880.jpg&quot; width=400>

  19. Guest says:

    I'm feeling sentimental for cars that didn't exist, or did in precious few numbers.

    There's no cure for this is there?

    • Devin says:

      No, but it is possible for the disease to progress to the point where you buy something that was produced in precious few numbers, provided you have the bank.

      When this happens you can potentially become super cool though, depending on what you're obsession is, so it's not all bad.

    • Tanshanomi says:

      I think that is the initial stimulus that eventually leads lots of otherwise sane guys to to build their own one-off custom somethingorother.

  20. Devin says:

    I kind of doubt that this was that close to production, but the SHOstar could have been very entertaining if they actually made it.

    <img src="http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/jalopnik/2008/11/10-Mini-ShoSTar_01.jpg"&gt;

    And the Dodge Demon roadster was pretty cool, and supposedly close to production before getting the axe.

    <img src="http://www.dodgepedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/dodge_demon_fr-thumb.jpg"&gt;

  21. Tanshanomi says:

    The Carousel was tragic mostly for Ford. They could've scooped the Voyager/Caravan by 12 years.

    <img src="http://images.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/ford-carousel.png"&gt;

  22. Tanshanomi says:

    One more two-wheeled answer. Not because of the myth that it would've saved the British motorcycle industry, (it wouldn't have), but because it was so close. All the production tooling was in place, and 26,000 piston and con rods were already in stock. In the end, only five pre-production examples were built.

    <img src="http://hooniverse.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/triumph-bandit-thennow.png"&gt;

  23. mdharrell says:

    <img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2558/3700844322_3102b96cd8.jpg&quot; width="500">

    I'll say the Type 252. Sadly, Roland Bugatti couldn't quite hold together the family business.

  24. Mad_Science says:

    Jeep Concepts:
    Dakar, because it might've prevented the Liberty.
    <img src="https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRMBVx6rzpD9iGbDzFpdiV7TlpikFaPGXxqXehfLfdcpf667n1x&quot; width=400>

    Rescue, because shaming the H2 would've been awesome:
    <img src="http://www.seriouswheels.com/pics-2004/2004-Jeep-Rescue-Concept-FA-1600×1200.jpg&quot; width=400>

    Gladiator, because, well, of course:
    <img src="http://www.jeep.com/shared/autoshow/concept_vehicles/images/gladiator_static.jpg&quot; width=400>

  25. Garland137 says:

    I also have to mention the Chrysler Firepower:
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a8/Chrysler_Firepower_Concept_-_fvl.jpg/1024px-Chrysler_Firepower_Concept_-_fvl.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Basically a Viper with a Crossfire body. I remember they made a big deal about the concept being production ready, and that it might actually be built. Then. . . nothing.

  26. Tomsk says:

    The VW EA128, a German Corvair fighter that utilized the Porsche 911's suspension, steering and engine (albeit detuned). Both a sedan and a wagon prototype were built.

    <img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5237/5864892876_2f068e6a11_o.jpg&quot; width="500" />

    <img src="http://images.thesamba.com/vw/gallery/pix/236754.jpg&quot; />

    Runner up would be Oldsmobile's 32-valve hemi 455.

    <img src="http://www.streetlegaltv.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/10/files/2011/06/Hemi455Olds.jpg&quot; width="500" />

  27. njhoon says:

    Saddest question of the day ever…

  28. wisc47 says:

    The Chrysler ME Four-Twelve because…well look at it.
    <img src="http://files.conceptcarz.com/img/Chrysler/chrysler_ME412_slvr-manu-04_024-800.jpg&quot; width="600">

  29. P161911 says:

    The Porsche 542 AKA the Studebaker Z-87
    <img src="http://imageshack.us/scaled/landing/682/1954studebaker542bypors.png"width=500&gt;
    "Porsche built a car for Studebaker in August, 1952 with a 120-degree V-6 engine . This was the Porsche Type 542, also known as the Z-87 car at Studebaker. Though it was looked at then, it didn't get serious review until 1956 when Studebaker's director of experimental engineering tested the car and reported on it. The director's name: John Z. DeLorean, who later went on to other cars and other activities. He didn't like the Porsche effort and compared it unfavorably to the comfort and ride of the 1956 Champion and Commander."

  30. TurboBrick says:

    PRV V8. Everyone's favorite frog motor from hell started out with eight cylinders but ended up getting downsized due to the oil crisis. Had the original plan proceeded, we would have ended up with things like Volvo 284 and Talbot Tagora V8.

    • Devin says:

      The Talbot Tagora V8, be still my beating heart.

    • Tiller188 says:

      First thought: "The DeLorean coulda had a V-8!"

      Second thought: "…although maybe increasing both power and polar moment at the same time wouldn't have been such a great idea…"

  31. Van_Sarockin says:

    Peugeot 908 coupe.

  32. guest says:

    My heart sank when the VW Microbus Concept got nixed. Just give me enough power to get up mountains without slowing down this time…

    <img src="http://bmaparts.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/2001_volkswagen_microbus_concept.jpg"&gt;

  33. Mad_Hungarian says:

    GM's woulda-coulda-shoulda minivan, the L'Universelle:<img src="http://www.carstyling.ru/resources/concept/1955_GMC_L-Universelle_Concept_Truck_05.jpg&quot; width="600">

  34. sporty88au says:

    Holden Torana GTR-X – 3.3 litre inline six with triple carburettors, 190bhp, 210 km/h (130 mph) top speed, weighed slightly less than a Datsun 240Z, had room under the hood for the Holden V8 which was being developed at the time, prototype was shown in 1970 and could have been production ready by 1972 – Holden even went to the trouble of producing brochures as below. Now imagine it as a potential replacement for the Buick Opel GT.
    <img src="http://www.cartype.com/pics/4226/full/holden_gtr-x_sr1_70.jpg&quot; width="600">
    <img src="http://www.canberratoranaclub.com/images/gtrx/Holden_GTR-X_Concept_1970_011.jpg"&gt;

  35. Rover 1 says:

    The Rover P8 and Rover P9. Sure they would have tanked in America http://www.aronline.co.uk/blogs/concepts/concepts… but how big a market would there have been for a mid engine V8 sportscar in the mid 70s http://www.aronline.co.uk/blogs/concepts/concepts

    Still, we got the Range Rover.

  36. Online dating gives one the chance to brgin enjoying what God endowed inn thee

    Garden of Eden. Thhe first thing I did was search ffor the “online dating website” on Google.

    One of the top rated social search engines iis Social Mention.

Comment on this Article:

Leave a Reply


Hooniverse Marketplace

Featuring Top 2/3 of vehicles Available in Marketplace

Read more

Subscribe via RSS