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

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87 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- What Car From the Past Really Looked Like it was From the Future?”

  1. Vavon Avatar

    Next question!
    <img src="http://www.bruwaservices.nl/Restauratie%20DS%20126.jpg&quot; width=660>

    1. Alff Avatar

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

    2. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

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

      1. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
        ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

        I thought it was from another planet and female.

        1. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

          You're half right. Here's a picture of Jor-El launching Superman the hell off of Krypton while General Zod's cronies look on sullenly.
          Funny how about-to-explode Krypton look so much like 1960s France.
          <img src="http://pictures.topspeed.com/IMG/crop/201004/this-citroen-ds-make_600x0w.jpg&quot; width=400>

          1. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
            ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

            That's how you unveil a car without a veil! Here's why I'm convinced it's female: déesse. I think Jim M over at the trib came-up with that in an article that I read as a young one, stuck with me all these years.

          2. Vavon Avatar

            Déesse means goddess!

          3. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
            ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

            I know right!! It's this close to how one pronounces DS in English. It just HAS to have been intentional.

          4. Distraxi Avatar

            It's EXACTLY how one pronounces D S in French: it was intentional. And the cheaper ID version comes out as "idee" = idea.

        2. Ate Up WIth Motor Avatar
          Ate Up WIth Motor

          I've seen it in several science fiction movies and TV shows, so apparently you weren't the only one.

  2. IronBallsMcG Avatar

    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.

    1. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

      Mighty futuristic steering wheel, also.
      <img src="http://www.carlustblog.com/images/2008/03/14/subaruxt3.jpg"&gt;

    2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      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.

  3. Maymar Avatar
    1. Slow_Joe_Crow Avatar

      By that standard, this is also the car of the future:
      <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/62/Landrovers2a.jpg"&gt;

  4. pedaltothemetal Avatar

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

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      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.

      1. Alff Avatar

        Oh, come on. It's almost as if they knew they'd make the PT Cruiser 60 years later.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Pininfarina's Ro 80-based Concept car contained nearly every popular '80s styling cue…in 1971.
      <img src="http://iedei.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/ro80_pininfarina.jpeg&quot; width="560">

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        It's the first time I see this – stunning! I want to hug it, take it home, and never let it out of sight.

      2. Vairship Avatar

        Except it doesn't have decals with TURBO!!!!! all over it.

    2. MJMCG Avatar

      In the flesh, the glasshouse area of the Ro 80 is really slick and streamlined, in fact, the entire car looks like it could be a late 90's , early 00's jelly-mould car,
      A real classic

    3. mallthus Avatar

      The Ro80 is the answer to most questions.
      Most advanced car of the 60's? Check.
      Best car to kill an automaker? Check.
      Most beautiful mass market sedan? Check.
      First "real" Wankel car to market? Check.
      Best car no one but car geeks knows about? Check.

      1. Vairship Avatar

        And the Ro 80 is also the best car to resurface in 1982 as a "revolutionary car", but under a new name: <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0b/Audi_100_C3_front_20080212.jpg/800px-Audi_100_C3_front_20080212.jpg&quot; width="500">
        Source: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audi_100” target=”_blank”>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audi_100

    1. Wiremaster Avatar

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

  5. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

    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>

      1. Plecostomous Avatar

        as long as the Stratos Zero doesn't turn into Michael Jackson, I'm with you.

      2. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

        Doh! Forgot that.
        And since we're talking futures from the past, here's the Stratos Zero's interior.
        Not sure I'd've bought in to a future with no cupholders.
        <img src="http://files.conceptcarz.com/img/Lancia/1970_Lancia-Stratos-HF_Zero-RM_i01.jpg&quot; width="400/">

        1. Alcology Avatar

          I bet every driver in this would be wearing a seatbelt.

        2. Vairship Avatar

          As far as being able to see out of it, especially to the sides and rear, the Stratos Zero pretty much foretold today's cars (I'm lloking at you, Camaro) 😉
          Then again, the relative beltline height of the production Stratos is bang up to date too.

    1. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

      And even the production Stratos looks lost in time. By normal sensibilities, the proportions are all wrong–too tall for its length, wheels too close together, windshield to close to a front end that's entirely too skinny for the fat back end.
      But sometimes a whole bunch of wrongs *do* make a right, and this car is righter than anyone could've expected it to be.
      <img src="http://img2.netcarshow.com/Lancia-Stratos_1973_800x600_wallpaper_01.jpg&quot; width=400>

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi
        1. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

          I've never seen these before. I am intrigued. . . .

          1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
            Peter Tanshanomi

            First is the Toyota Sports 800.
            Second is one of the Simca-Gordini Berlinette racers, I believe that one is 20S.

    1. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

      Piers Morgan
      <img src="http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01423/flame2_1423510c.jpg"&gt;

    2. Devin Avatar

      I think the Morgan is a car from the past, rather than from the future.

    3. Rover1 Avatar

      And the factory Morgan team won their class at Le Mans on the weekend, 7th overall !

  6. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    <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.

    1. pj134 Avatar

      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.

  7. JayP2112 Avatar

    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">

    1. mallthus Avatar

      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.

      1. JayP2112 Avatar

        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.

  8. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
    ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

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

  9. OA5599 Avatar

    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>

    1. engineerd Avatar

      Came for the Delorean, leaving satisfied.

    2. vwminispeedster Avatar

      Even in the future Citroen DSs were used as taxis (BTTF2)

    3. Sjalabais Avatar

      Can't believe the obvious answer took so long. Stainless steel ftw!

  10. Devin Avatar

    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;

    1. HTWHLS Avatar

      These were truly …ugly cars. A Reatta with a fat ass and a ugly nose. Surprisingly, that nose made it onto the late 90's/early 00's Camaro.

    2. Vairship Avatar

      Yes, the EV1 was a typical GM-missed-opportunity. Can you imagine this thing (and the four door version) being fitted with a hybrid drivetrain and competing against the first generation dumpy Prius <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/be/1st_Toyota_Prius_–_01-13-2010.jpg/800px-1st_Toyota_Prius_–_01-13-2010.jpg&quot; width="500">?
      Along similar lines though, the O.G. Honda Insight: <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c9/HondaInsight.jpg/800px-HondaInsight.jpg&quot; width="500"> and it's spiritual successor the CR-Z.

  11. Neen85 Avatar

    <img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v173/MoOnLiTe5hAdOw/slicktopz32/DSC08014.jpg&quot; width="600">
    "Yes I'm of legal drinking age."

  12. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    <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.

    1. onrails Avatar

      <img src="http://www.diseno-art.com/images/Ducati_916_123.jpg&quot; width="600">
      8 years later than the Yamaha… but really looked modern when it arrived.

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        Good one! Still being largely copied and imitated.

    2. mallthus Avatar

      Sorry. This is the two wheeled answer.
      <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/82/Honda_PC_800.jpg/640px-Honda_PC_800.jpg&quot; width=600>

  13. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    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>

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      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

    2. b mar Avatar
      b mar

      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.

  14. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    Though it looks dated today, the Bricklin SV-1 is worth noting.
    <img src="http://hooniverse.info/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.

    1. muthalovin Avatar

      Epic: "So why open with a Bricklin? Now we’ve got nowhere to go but up."

  15. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    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.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

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

  16. Mekarooch Avatar

    The Avanti was publicly introduced on April 26, 1962

  17. VolvoNut Avatar

    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

  18. Maymar Avatar

    [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>

    1. Rover1 Avatar

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

  19. frankthecat Avatar

    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.

  20. Mad_Hungarian Avatar

    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;

    1. HTWHLS Avatar

      Why do bad guys in lots of fims always dress like businessmen from the late 50's/early 60's??

      1. VolvoNut Avatar

        Because "The Grey Man" is terrifying. Anonymous, blends in with any crowd, and is just scary.

  21. HTWHLS Avatar

    Or the fail..

  22. Forethought Avatar

    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">

  23. marmer01 Avatar

    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;

  24. bookdaddy Avatar

    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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