12 of the Strangest Vehicles ever Designed

by Neha Bansal2 years ago

7 1953 General Motors Firebird 1 XP-21
1953 General Motors Firebird 1 XP-21
Image Credit: Karrmann/Wikimedia

Looks like the Firebird 1 XP-21 was designed by someone obsessed with airplanes! Before the Chrysler turbine cars hit the streets, the Firebird 1 XP-21 was launched in 1953 to test turbine-powered engineering and design on the road. The car was shaped like a jet fighter aircraft and had wings only to resemble a fighter jet.

The car was powered by its “Whirlfire Turbo-Power” power plant running at 13,000 rpm and producing 370 horsepower. This power generated was channeled to the rear wheels. The car also had a fighter-like tail cone just for looks.  This mean machine was designed by Harley Earl, a legendary car designer of General Motors.

Functional or not, this one indeed caught eyeballs when it went wheeling across the streets. (Source)


8 Peel P50

Peel P50
Image credit: GalinaBahlyk/Shutterstock.com

The mere sight of this car is hilarious! This world-record-breaker car is listed in the 2010 Guinness Book of World Records as the smallest functional car ever made. It is a three-wheeled microcar manufactured by the Peel Engineering Company on the Isle of Man.

Peel P50 was in production only for three years from 1962 to 1965. It was the perfect size car to fit a single adult and a shopping bag! The car had no room for a partner or kids! There was just one left-hand side door and one headlight. The car had no reverse gear and had to be maneuvered physically to reverse it using the handle given at the car’s rear. Only 50 Peel P50 was actually made. 

This car resembles a kid’s toy car that can be maneuvered physically with a steering wheel and runs on batteries. (1, 2, 3)


9 La Jamais Contente

 La Jamais Contente
Image credit: Thesupermat/Wikimedia

La Jamais Contente can be translated as “The Never Contented.” This one was the first-ever road vehicle to reach a milestone of 100km per hour. Designed in 1899, La Jamais Contente was a Belgian electric vehicle with a torpedo-shaped body designed in platinum alloy and functioning on batteries. But, the exposed framework underneath and the elevated seating of the driver dampened the aerodynamics of the vehicle.

It was designed by Belgian driver Camille Jenatzy who was an engineer with an interest in electric-traction automobiles. He wanted to carve a place in the futuristic Parisian electric carriage market. But later, the same technology was to be used in the coming gasoline engines. His design paved a way for the future, gasoline-fueled combustion engines. 

This vehicle is now on display at the automobile museum in Compiegne, France. (Source)


10 Uno Dicycle

Uno Dicycle
Image Credit: BGP Motors/ Barcroft Media via dailymail.co.uk

The mere look of this one-wheeled bike seems uncomfortable, but wait until you actually understand its dynamics! The Uno Dicycle, although not a conventional motorcycle, is actually a cycle with two wheels at both ends, rather than one in front of the other.

Designed by a Canadian teenager in 2006, the vehicle is quite self-balancing and easy to drive. It speeds up when the driver leans forward and slows down when they lean back. The steering can be controlled by moving from side to side. The vehicle senses this shift in motion and raises one of the two wheels to let the vehicle tilt in the required direction.

The Uno Dicycle has a successor too, the Duo III. It comes with a third wheel giving it a more stable look. Moreover, the Duo III has some different features for maneuvering. It uses a hand throttle for acceleration and braking.

Whether stable or not, this one does look scary to ride! (Source)


11 1961 Amphicar Model 770

1961 Amphicar Model 770
Image Credit: Art Konovalov/Shutterstock.com

The Amphicar is the first-of-its-kind amphibian vehicle that can travel both on water and land. It was designed by German designer Hans Trippel in 1959. It is a four-seater convertible vehicle with rear wheels that drive on land and two propellers for water travel. The car can go forward and reverse both on land and in water.

The front wheels of the car steer the car forward and act as rudders when underwater. This car was quite a hit with almost 3,878 units manufactured. The car successfully traveled through the Yukon River in Alaska in 1965 and then crossed the English Channel again in the same year.

Wonder why this amusing car’s production came to a halt? It seems too cool to be taken off the market. (Source)


12 Reliant Robin

Reliant Robin
Image Credit- James Hime/Shutterstock.com

Easily one of the ugliest cars ever made, the Reliant Robin seems like the car is ruptured and broken with one of the wheels removed. In reality, the car only features three wheels – one at the front and two at the back! Who would think of a design like that now? Furthermore, the Reliant Robin was the second-most popular fiberglass car of its time, sold by the second biggest UK car manufacturers of that time.

This car was quite a hit in those days, and the company manufactured Reliant Robin for over 30 years in several different versions. The Reliant three-wheelers have today become the butt of jokes in British culture and the car is nicknamed “The Plastic Pig” because of its unique shape. Also, the most famous Reliant Robin is the iconic yellow-colored van used by Delboy Trotter in the sitcom, Only Fools, and Horses. 

Although funny and strange, the Reliant Robin was a very successful car in its time! (Source) 

Also Read:
10 Inventions That Were Developed Earlier Than You Think

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