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Hooniverse Asks- What Car From the Past Really Looked Like it was From the Future?


I don’t know about you, but my planning usually doesn’t extend much further than about 72 hours down the road. If you ascribe to the commonly held tenets of Chaos Theory© as a mechanism for describing the dynamic system that is our existence, I think you would agree with me that there’s little point in setting milestones any further.

Still that hasn’t stopped many futurists from hypothesizing about lies ahead, and in the automotive world that has resulted in a number of cars that, laughably in hindsight, supposed to predict what a future generation’s transportation options might be like. Usually they got it wrong, but some cars – both show cars and certain production models are eerily prescient.

What I want from you today are those cars of yore that appear to have come from a generation hence. Maybe their styling was accidentally a precursor of things to come, or they featured a technology that, while obscure and unappreciated at the time would later become commonplace. What do you think were examples of cars from the past that seemed to really look like they were from the future?

Image source: Hemmings

Currently there are "87 comments" on this Article:

    • Alff says:

      It did (and still does) look futuristic. Unfortunately, few cars that came along later followed its lead.

    • Irishzombieman☆ says:

      I've always thought the DS sorta existed outside of time.
      There was nothing like it.
      There will never be anything like it.

  1. IronBallsMcG says:

    I was behind an SVX Sunday and I was surprised how much it blended in from that angle. So, I guess a vehicle that's been out of production since 1996 and blends in (from one angle) today is my answer.

    • Irishzombieman☆ says:


      Mighty futuristic steering wheel, also.

      <img src="http://www.carlustblog.com/images/2008/03/14/subaruxt3.jpg"&gt;

    • Tanshanomi says:

      Actually, not so much. IMHO, it's the exact opposite — the XT perfectly embodies the zeitgeist of the '80s. The super harsh creases, hidden headlights and arrow-straight lines were supposed to be futuristic, but that wedge-y style actually went away pretty quickly thereafter.

      Don't get me wrong, I dearly love the car and think the look is kick-ass, but it doesn't look like much that came later.

  2. pedaltothemetal says:

    [youtube UFzqZxGcNHI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFzqZxGcNHI youtube]

    • Tanshanomi says:

      Can't decide about this one. It has some very forward styling, but the separate bolt-on fenders and running boards, as well as the length-to-wheelbase proportions are very much of its time.

    • Wiremaster says:

      I would rock that like it's 1914. Oh, man. Can you imagine driving a one-hundred-year-old blimp-shaped car?

  3. Irishzombieman☆ says:

    The Lancia Stratos concept.

    This things got nothing on to the later monster of the same name, but it still looks like something from some Buck Rogers version of tomorrow.

    <img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-EDiYl6HMQ74/UXqaWjL0OdI/AAAAAAAAFcA/Jk21v_ZLnZM/w506-h337-o/Lancia%2BStratos%2B0.jpg&quot; width=400>

  4. Tanshanomi says:

    <img src="http://s1.cdn.autoevolution.com/images/gallery/HONDAPrelude-3093_5.jpg&quot; width="500">
    It continues to utterly floor me whenever I realize that this design is now 17 years old.

    • pj134 says:

      Yes, I had that moment a few weeks ago. The styling is much closer to the year it ended than anything available the year it started.

  5. JayP2112 says:

    I'll be hitting the Lane Motor Museum next week.
    I always get a kick out of seeing the Citroën BX4TC.
    <img src="http://www.lanemotormuseum.org/images/cars/citroen_bx4tc_1986_web/citroen_bx4tc_1986_web1.jpg&quot; width="600">

    • mallthus says:

      Ever driven one?

      It's eleven on the scary scale. Drove one belonging to my father's friend in Los Montañas de Europa in España. Wow. I nearly pee'd myself.

      • JayP2112 says:

        I've only ever seen this one car.
        The museum gets a few cars out for drives, but I doubt they'd allow any hooning.

  6. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq says:

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/58/PontiacMera1987.jpg"&gt; In '87, Pontiac proved it was the Ferrari 308.

  7. OA5599 says:

    Admittedly low-hanging fruit because of the movies, but even before the BTTF series was written, the Delorean looked pretty futuristic.

    <img src="http://images5.fanpop.com/image/photos/26500000/Back-To-The-Future-Trilogy-back-to-the-future-26581615-1014-574.jpg&quot; width=500>

  8. Devin says:

    Theory: The GM EV1 got way more attention than contemporary EVs, and GM got more stick when the program was canned and copies destroyed than everyone else, because the EV1 actually looked like something from the future while something like the Honda EV Plus did not.

    <img src="http://insideevs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/gm-ev1.jpg"&gt;

  9. Neen85 says:

    <img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v173/MoOnLiTe5hAdOw/slicktopz32/DSC08014.jpg&quot; width="600">

    "Yes I'm of legal drinking age."

  10. Tanshanomi says:

    <img src="http://www.motorcyclespecs.co.za/Gallery%20C/Yamaha%20FZR400%2086.jpg"&gt;
    The two wheeled answer: '86 FZR400. The first first modern use of a spar frame (a year before the Hurricane) and dual headlights (first introduced only the previous year on the GSX-R750), plus hollow three-spokes, which would be popular for the next decade and beyond.

  11. Mad_Science says:

    I'm an engineer, so I see things based on the chassis and spec sheet.

    Unibody Chassis
    4-wheel independent suspension
    Turbocharged aluminum V8
    Rear-mounted transaxle

    Ok…not all in the same car, but on the same platform: 1960-1964 GM Y-Body Platform
    <img src="http://images.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/Tempest-pop-sci.png&quot; width=600>

    • Mad_Science says:

      I can't leave that comment without pointing to this excellent writeup from long agon on TTAC. Seriously, go read it: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/curbside

    • b mar says:

      I had one of the cars based on this configuration that I drove in 1978. Unfortunately, it was too unique. One little, usually common, easy to replace part in the transmission broke and it wouldn't let me shift out of 1st gear. At the time, I lived about 15 miles out of town and had to drive all the way back and forth revving it up in first gear then gliding down hills in neutral. It took so long for the part to get in that by the time it was delivered, my transmission was toast.

  12. Mad_Science says:

    Though it looks dated today, the Bricklin SV-1 is worth noting.
    <img src="http://hooniverse.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Bricklin_SV-1-open-doors-1024×753.jpg&quot; width=500>

    It looks totally 80s, but debuted in '74.

    Oddly enough, from our first post ever.

  13. Rust-MyEnemy says:

    There's a strong possibility that the Phantom Corsair actually did come from the future.

    <img src="http://www.remarkablecars.com/photos/1938-heinz-phantom-11571.jpg&quot; width="500/">

    1938! Geez.

    • Sjalabais says:

      Amazing car, but it seems to confirm that people who buy whitewalls have no sense for the overall picture.

  14. Mekarooch says:

    The Avanti was publicly introduced on April 26, 1962

  15. VolvoNut says:

    I find it hard to believe that nobody mentioned the Reatta.

    <img src="http://raleigh-nc.com/auto/1991_Buick_Reatta_%5B5%5D.JPG"&gt;
    Image shamelessly stolen from here. <a href="http://raleigh-nc.com/auto/Reatta-videos.htm” target=”_blank”>http://raleigh-nc.com/auto/Reatta-videos.htm

  16. Maymar says:

    [youtube Qkw-EAGllNQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qkw-EAGllNQ youtube]

    I'll just say this – Bruno Sacco is my homeboy.

    <img src="http://automobilesdeluxe.tv/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/1980s-mercedes-benz-lineup.jpg&quot; width=500 /img>

    • Rover1 says:

      They still look current now, and IMHO better than any of the current range. Why Peter Schreyer ended up at Kia is beyond me.

  17. frankthecat says:

    The Alfa Romeo 159
    <img src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2c/Alfa_159_grey.jpg&quot; width="600">

    This design is going on 10 years old.

  18. Mad_Hungarian says:

    The real Avanti, not that, umm, thing pictured above, was the most prominent of several "retro-future" cars appearing in the film Gattaca. Others included a couple of different Rovers, a Citroen DS and, of all things, a 1956-67 Continental Mark II.<img src="http://www.theavanti.net/media/tunnel.jpg"&gt;

  19. HTWHLS says:

    Or the fail..

  20. Forethought says:

    What about the Cord 810/812? IMHO, it looks far more futuristic for its time than the '48 Tucker. The Cord previewed many styling and engineering trends that became mainstream including front wheel drive, lower ride height, no running boards, concealed headlamps and even a steering wheel mounted hor ring! Gordon Beuhring showed his true genius when he was allowed free reign.

    <img src="http://flameroad.com/pics/Cord/49/89/6085_Cord-Beverly-Sedan_3.jpg&quot; width="600">

    <img src="http://ayay.co.uk/backgrounds/transport/cars/1937-Cord-812.jpg&quot; width="600">

    <img src="http://www.barthworks.com/cars/cussler/photos/1937cord812sch.jpg&quot; width="600">

    <img src="http://www.free-desktop-backgrounds.net/free-desktop-wallpapers-backgrounds/free-hd-desktop-wallpapers-backgrounds/173635154.jpg&quot; width="600">

  21. marmer01 says:

    1917 Woods Dual Power, a hybrid with regenerative braking.

    <img src="http://www.louwmanmuseum.nl/img/auto_foto_groot/IMG_1319.jpg&quot; width="700">

    1951 Federal Styleliner, looked current ten years later.

    <img src="http://www.garyalannelson.com/images/large/VT-09-62-FE.jpg"&gt;

  22. bookdaddy says:

    The Bugatti Veyron tries a little too hard to be futuristic – extraterrestrial. But still …
    <img src="http://www.netcarshow.com/bugatti/2009-veyron_centenaire/800×600/wallpaper_01.htm&quot; width="600">

    Meanwhile, the 1939 Bugatti Type 57 looks like it's come from some alternative, art-deco, Bladerunner future.
    <img src="http://www.fravahr.org/IMG/jpg/ShahBugatti57.jpg&quot; width="600">

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