The humble car is a powerful symbol of freedom and movement, and the deeper you get into car culture, the more you shun social norms. This had lead to a never-ending cycle of bigger and sometimes bizarre modifications, with practicality taking a backseat to originality.
Many people see their car as kind of a blank canvas or a foundation upon which to build something that embodies their true personality. Some of these creations bear little resemblance to their original form. Even some cars built by manufacturing heavyweights can miss the mark by quite a long way, becoming timeless classics in the process.
Once you realize that anything in the automotive world is entirely possible, the avenues for creativity multiply endlessly, leading to the following spectacular results.
20 Hyundai Elevate
If you thought Hyundai only made boring cars, you could not be more wrong. Nobody could have ever imagined they would come out and build a walking car. Before you settle into your dream of having your own All Terrain Tactical Enforcer – Star Wars Style, it’s worth pointing out these are being made for emergency first responders who need to cross difficult terrain to provide assistance quickly.
19 Oversized Shopping Trolley
Need a car with more storage space? How about this wild shopping trolley? Large enough for the biggest shopping addict and powered by a Chevrolet 350 so you’ll never miss a sale. The chassis looks like it came from a T-bucket and the vehicle was built to promote the opening of two new Detroit stores.
18 Automodule Rhomboid
This functional steampunk looking spherical car looks like it came straight out of a science fiction movie but was designed way back in 1970. It was put together to feature in an advertising campaign and can actually drive, pop wheelies, rotate and raise and lower itself. It’s powered by a very meek 2-cylinder engine which is probably for the best.
17 Skull T-Bucket
Maybe driving a t-bucket isn’t quite attention-grabbing enough. If you can relate to this problem, this skull-themed hot rod might be the perfect solution. The eyes glow red, perfect for checking the clearance of low bridges and scaring small children. We can assume handling would be terrible but who cares when your ride looks this freaking cool!
This unusual looking vehicle has a fully aluminum body this is symmetrically shaped. It seats four people back-to-back and a very unusual driveline. Wheels are placed in a diamond pattern with two wheels sharing an axle in the middle of the vehicle and one at each end, one of which is used for steering and the other used to stabilize the vehicle.
15 Mechanical Rhino
Every year, thousands of people unplug from the real world and head deep into the Nevada desert for 9 days of freedom and debauchery. Of course, you need cars to get around the desert so these handmade mutant vehicles can be seen slowly crawling their way across the barren landscape.
14 Honda Unibox
The Unibox started with a man who had a dream of a car that could be used for absolutely any function in the world, ever. Looking like an office building on wheels, the interior was able to be configured into any layout you liked. The ‘car’ housed smaller electric shopping carts and mobility scooters. Inside was a giant LCD screen that displayed everything on the road. The Honda Unibox was the lifestyle accessory we never knew we needed.
When you’re trying to sell a car made of bamboo there are two things that you hope are never bought up. The first is that although bamboo is strong, it’s not that strong vs 3,000 lb of metal heading in the opposite direction. The second is that hungry pandas love eating it. Thankfully the BamGoo was limited to a production run of 1.
Forget Jeremy Clarkson’s antics in the 3 wheels Reliant Robin, this 2 wheeled self-balancing vehicle was designed by a couple who used to make guided missiles during World War II. For some unknown reason, they were convinced that in the future, all cars would be gyroscopically balanced and started their own company. The narrow design was supposed to enable roads to handle twice as many cars while reducing congestion.
While Elon Musk noodles around trying to attach cold air thrusters to a Tesla so it can fly, somebody should tell him that a company has been making flying cars since 2018. The vehicle is at heart, a cross between a car, a motorcycle and a gyrocopter and be become airborne in just 5 minutes. Once in the air, it has a top speed of 112 mph. Take that, Elon.
10 Flaming Octopus
If a skull-shaped T-bucket isn’t quite Lovecraftian enough, how about this fire-breathing octopus from Burning Man 2015? Despite the obvious safety hazard, it was successfully licensed by the Department Of Mutant Vehicles (DMV) for Playa use. Instead of an odometer, it has a counter that measures the number of souls consumed.
9 Lancia Stratos
This disco spaceship is straight out of the 1970s as is as much an attention grabber now as when it was first unveiled. The car was never intended to go into production so designers were free to pack it full of good ideas, such as making it too short to fit doors to, so people had to enter through the hinged windscreen.
8 Chaparral 2J
It’s hard to believe that this car with all the aerodynamics of an Amazon package is a racecar. You’d be surprised when we tell you it’s so fast around the corners that later models were banned from competition. It replies on two giant fans on the back to suck air from under the vehicle, creating a vacuum. Ugly to look at, but insanely fast.
7 Ferrari Pickup
What do you do when your favorite supercar manufacturer won’t make a pickup? You take an angle grinder to your Ferrari and get cutting. This 1989 Ferrari 412 has been turned into possibly the ultimate pickup with a step-down style bed and heavy-duty rear suspension to cope with carrying heavy loads.
6 United Nude Lo-Res Car
United Nude, a fashion house, desired a car made of simple polygons. It’s based on the chassis of a Lamborghini Countach, which was polygon-shaped, to begin with. The Lo Res car is fully electric and has a top speed of 31 mph. To get into the driver's seat, the top of the car swings upwards using a giant lift and the occupants climb over the chassis, making it slow AND impractical.
5 Sbarro 4x4+2
Somewhere underneath this hot mess is a Porsche Cayenne. There isn’t a lot of information about it besides it being designed by some students in France. We know the extra wheels aren’t powered but they do drop down part of the way – not all of the way. What purpose these are supposed to fill isn’t known. We do know it’s seriously ugly though.
4 Brütsch Mopetta
Originally 14 of these microcars were made with only five have survived. Opel originally approached the car maker wanting to buy 140,000 of them but in the 1950s the trend was for big tailfins and bigger engines and production was cut short. It has handlebars instead of a steering wheel and starts to get pretty sketchy after 30 mph.
Apparently, the story behind the Helicon is that propellors help move planes through the air so they must have a similar effect on cars. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. What it does, however, is turn anything in front of the car into mush, like insects and birds, and spit them out all over the driver.
2 Upsidedown Bus
This fusion of school buses started off as an art project but was turned into a driveable, working vehicle along the way. It’s supposed to make a statement about the federal government and their upside-down budget priorities, with military spending given priority over health care and education, although you’d be forgiven for thinking that may not be obvious from looking at this modified bus.
Some of the weirdest cars in the world are still on the drawing board, such as this 1920s flying Rolls Royce. Currently, it’s still in the design phase but a representative from Lazzarini Design said they are aiming for a top speed of more than 342 mph. The 1920s Rolls Royce was chosen because of its futuristic lines although they may have to lighten it if they’re hoping to get it airborne.
Sources: Retro Mobile, Motor Trend, and Reddit.