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

Studebaker

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

87 Comments

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

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

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

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

  1. 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. 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.

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

    1. 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

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

        1. 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. 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. 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.

    1. 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. 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.

    1. 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. 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.

    1. 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.

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

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

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

  2. 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">

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