XM Turnpike Cruiser Concept Car

1956 Mercury XM Turnpike Cruiser Concept Car

Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 4-15, 2022

Photo – Mecum

This poorly photographed mid-century concept car is a pretty wild thing. First of all, it’s built on a 1954 Ford F-250 chassis, and it was designed by Mercury yet actually built by Ghia in Italy. Which seems backward of how it is supposed to have been done. Power is from a 4.8-liter V8.

But let’s talk styling. First off, we have split dual-Dagmar front bumpers. The exhaust has dual tips sticking through each quarter panel, and the fins have a weird rotated-3D look to them that are surrounded by a flat rear deck and vertical tail panel. The C-pillar buttresses are actually glass, and brake lights are also located at the rear top base of the roof. The four-seat interior is full-on jet age, too.

It toured around the show circuit in 1956 and was used as a pace car in Daytona in 1957. From there, it sat parked outside at Ford HQ, deteriorating. The owner restored it between 2017 and 2022. It’s as fresh now as it’s ever been.

It’s actually been a while since a good 1950s concept car came up for sale. And this is one that hasn’t been seen in a long time. Click here for more info.

AMC AM Van Concept

1977 AMC AM Van Concept

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Highland Park, Illinois | June 1, 2022

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Well look at AMC, predicting the minivan yet somehow also treating their futuristic minivan prototype with all of the gaudiness of late-1970s van life culture. This thing is kind of like an inflated Pacer, with some styling cues definitely carried over.

There’s no engine – never was – but it has “Turbo” and “4×4” badging, so they were definitely thinking outside of the box. The body is fiberglass, and those turbine wheels look great with white-letter BFG tires. Oh, and side pipes! On a van!

Too bad it never made it past this prototype roller stage. It’s been part of a concept car collection for the last 35 years. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.

Ford Shelby Cobra Concept

2004 Ford Shelby Cobra Concept

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 12-14, 2021

Photo – Mecum

This is a pretty iconic concept car from the 2000s. Or really from any time period. In 2004, retro-inspired design was all the rage, and Ford was hitting it hard with the likes of the 2005 Mustang and the GT revival. Although Ford was not the original manufacturer of the Shelby Cobra, they decided to reimagine the Cobra for the 21st century anyway. And that said, it did supply the engines and had a close relationship with Carroll Shelby himself.

Carroll Shelby was also involved with this project, although to what degree I do not know. The styling does look vaguely Cobra-ish. The aluminum chassis was derived from that of the GT, and power is from a 6.4-liter V10 rated at 645 horsepower. Ford only produced four of these engines. So don’t break it.

The car is said to be capable of 207 mph but is limited to 100 mph. It was 100% intended for production. In fact, this car was so ready to go that this, the only prototype built, is plated for the street. It was purchased by its current owner, a former Ford VP of product development, in 2017. No pre-sale estimate is available, but this should be one of the stars of the show at Mecum Monterey. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $2,640,000.

Citroen Berlingo Calao

1998 Citroen Berlingo Calao by Sbarro

Offered by Aguttes | Sochaux, France | September 20, 2020

Photo – Aguttes

At first, I thought that, after PSA’s acquisition of Opel, the company was shedding itself of part of its heritage collection. Brightwells is selling off part of Vauxhall’s heritage collection, and now we have this sale of Citroen and Peugeot prototypes and old cars, all from Peugeot’s Museee de l’Aventure. That collection houses over 450 vehicles, with just 130 on display. So it appears that they are just thinning the herd.

We’ve actually featured one of Sbarro’s Berlingo-based creations before. This is another. Whatever is under the hood is not stated, but it’s almost certainly an inline-four of between 1.4 and 2.0 liters in displacement.

This prototype is described as a leisure vehicle for windsurfers. Which is a very specific demographic. The interior is bizarre, it has no roof, and it has no doors. Remember when companies made concept cars with no relevant production details? This car carries a pre-sale estimate of $16,500-$21,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $26,256.

Superdart

1957 Ghia 400 Superdart Concept

For Sale by Dragone Classic Motorcars | Orange, Connecticut

Photo – Dragone Classic Motorcars

This is a car with quite a few names. I’ll start at the beginning, and you can draw your own conclusions as to what it should be called (I just went with what the dealership selling the car calls it). The Ghia and Chrysler connection of the 1950s is well documented. Chrysler spent a lot of money designing fanciful show cars in the ’50s, with styling done by Ghia (well, styling by Exner, execution by Ghia).

Ghia showed a prototype dubbed “Gilda” in 1955. Then there was Dart concept was styled by Exner in 1956, and a second version called the Diablo also appeared in ’56. Then, in 1957, Ghia showed another evolution, called the Superdart. It was reportedly created for Chrysler, but there doesn’t appear to be any Chrysler badging on this car.

Power is from a 400 horsepower Hemi V8, and the car rides on a Chrysler 300C chassis. It debuted at the 1957 Turin Motor Show and later ended up in the U.S., where it was purchased by Dual Motors, who showed the car as a Dual-Ghia prototype. Most of the internet seems to just call this car a 1958 Dual-Ghia Prototype. Which is what it was last shown as. But it’s not what it was called originally.

A private owner purchased it shortly after Dual-Ghia’s 1958 New York show appearance and actually put nearly 40,000 miles on it over nearly two decades. It’s said to be original and unrestored. Be it a Chrysler, a Ghia, or a Dual-Ghia, it remains as a fantastic piece of ’50s styling excellence. It’s for sale in Connecticut with no price listed. Click here for more info.

Dodge Firearrow IV

1954 Dodge Firearrow IV Concept

For Sale by Mecum

Photo – Mecum

Here’s another classic Dodge concept car from the mid-1950s. This was the final car in the Firearrow series. To recap, the first Firearrow was a mockup, the second was a beautiful convertible, the third was a coupe, and this, the fourth, was a production-ready car that Chrysler decided not to move forward with.

It’s powered by a 150 horsepower, 3.9-liter Red Ram Hemi V8. Like the Firearrow II, it was styled by Virgil Exner and produced in Turin by Ghia. It has a black-and-white checkered interior, which is fantastic. Imagine if Dodge had actually built this and given themselves a legitimate, stylish Thunderbird and Corvette fighter.

This car has changed hands before (it sold for $1.1 million at Barrett-Jackson in 2007) and has been in the Blackhawk Collection for years. And now Mecum appears to be offering it on their behalf. Click here for more info.

Dodge Firearrow II

1954 Dodge Firearrow II Concept

For Sale by Mecum

Photo – Mecum

Dodge debuted a series of Firearrow concept cars in the 1950s that showcased their Hemi V8s and their relationship with Ghia in Italy. Only two of the four Firearrow cars were convertibles, including this one.

It’s powered by a 150 horsepower 3.9-liter Red Ram Hemi V8. Not the most powerful thing in the world, but proof that Dodge was trying to move into a more performance-oriented territory.

Styling is by Virgil Exner, and the body was built in Turin by Ghia. The car was shown all over the U.S. in 1954, and it marked the first running, driving Firearrow, as this car’s predecessor was just a static model. This Jet Age concept car is fully usable, and it is for sale by Mecum/the Blackhawk Collection. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold, RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2021, $1,050,000.

Dodge Firebomb

1955 Dodge Firebomb Concept

For Sale by Mecum

Photo – Mecum

Does this look like a Dual-Ghia to you? Well if it does, that’s because it essentially is. Chrysler had a relationship with Ghia during the 1950s that led to some fantastic concept cars, including this. But Chrysler passed on putting this one into production.

So in stepped Gene Casaroll, a Detroit-area businessman, who arranged to put it into production as the Dual-Ghia. The Firebomb remained a one-off Chrysler concept powered by a 270 horsepower, 5.1-liter V8. This car is also the reason some people refer to the Dual-Ghia as the “Dual-Ghia Firebomb,” which is not accurate.

The car has been hanging around the Blackhawk Collection for years and is now offered for sale as part of Mecum’s “Gallery,” alongside quite a few other Blackhawk cars. You can see more about it here.

Zagato Raptor

1996 Zagato Raptor Concept

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. | November 30, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Sometimes design houses will build concept cars on behalf of a manufacturer. ItalDesign used to do it, along with Pininfarina and even Zagato, as was the case here. It was built in conjunction with Lamborghini and was ultimately intended to slot in Lambo’s model lineup below the Diablo.

Only one functional prototype was built (this car), and it borrows the Diablo VT‘s chassis and all-wheel-drive system. Power is from a 5.7-liter V12, and the car weighed significantly less than the one it was based on, thanks to carbon-fiber bodywork and a lack of doors. That’s right, the entire front section, windshield included, flips forward to allow entrance to the two-seat cabin.

It debuted at the 1996 Geneva Motor Show and was acquired by its current owner in 2000. The car was last shown and driven in 2008. You can see more about it here, and see more from RM here.

Update: Sold $1,086,250.

Rover Scout Concept

1991 Rover Scout Concept

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | November 27, 2019

Photo – Brightwells

This Rover concept car was a little ahead of its time. Where it to be introduced today, they would sell quite a lot of them. It’s basically a Rover Metro five-door hatchback with some lower body cladding, headlight guards, roof rails, and sporty graphics. In today’s word, that means it is a crossover. It’s off-road-ready!*

Power is from a 1.4-liter inline-four. The Scout was one of six “lifestyle” concepts based on the Metro that were built around this time. Land Rover would ultimately enter the space that this was intended to fill with the Rover 200-based Freelander.

This car has covered just over 1,000 miles since new and is coming from a private collection without a pre-sale estimate or a reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

*Not really.

Update: Sold $3,307.