In the auto industry, nothing is certain about a car until it begins rolling off the assembly line. Take Tesla’s upcoming Model 3 for example: Company founder Elon Musk said late last year that we wouldn’t see the full car at its unveiling in March. Then, company reps told the assembled press that the cars on display were near production-ready prototypes. Since then, we’ve learned that everything from the rear trunk opening to the interior design is likely to change before it arrives late next year.
And that’s a mild example. There are dozens of cars throughout history that were supposed to do everything from revolutionize the way we drive to add depth to a brand that were well on their way — until they weren’t.
While this list could go on forever, here are eight of our favorite “what-ifs” that disappeared somewhere between concept and production, and were never heard from again.
1. Tucker 48
If Preston Tucker had his way, the Tucker 48 would’ve had crumple zones, a safety cage, padded dashboard, full-independent suspension, disc brakes, and fuel injection standard on a car in 1948. Things didn’t turn out quite that way, but then, things didn’t exactly turn out for Tucker at all. The 48 was unveiled to great fanfare in the years following World War II, and promised to revolutionize the auto industry, but cash flow problems doomed the company almost from the beginning. By 1950, the company was long gone, and with just 51 cars built, it remains one of the greatest automotive what-ifs in history.