Volume VIII, Number 2

Should they have built them?
European Concept Cars in Small Scale
By Doug Breithaupt

The creation of concept cars is now expected of every automotive manufacturer. These models provide a test of new design and engineering ideas and often provide clues to future production models. Often these concept cars would not be practical for production and most remain a one-off design study that circulates through the auto shows. Many are broken up after their show days are done. Some survive in the collections of manufacturers of private parties.

Toy car makers have the luxury of putting these concept cars into production and many are remembered primarily as a result of their fame in miniature. The following models all represent European and British concept cars. From my collection, I have selected one car per manufacturer as an example of what might have been. Concept cars that actual reached production, like the VW Concept 1, have not been included. Next month we will consider concept cars from the United States and Japan.

Alfa Romeo Canguro - Penny
Many regret that the Canguro never reached production. What lovely lines it has.

Audi Avus Quattro - Matchbox
Can you see the origins of the Audi TT in this concept car? It was presented in buffed metal.

BMC Pininfarina - Matchbox
BMC did not pursue this shape for ten years but Citroen liked it for their CX model.

BMW Spicup - Playart
This was intended to be a new version of the 507, finally realized in the Z8 Roadster.

Citroen Camargue - Majorette
This car could have been a new SM but Peugeot and the gas crisis decided otherwise.

Ferrari Berlinetta GT - Husky
This concept car provided ideas for the 250LM and Dino models that reached production.

Fiat Abarth - Ertl
This radical look was never a serious consideration for Fiat or Abarth's racing program.

Jaguar XJ13 - Hot Wheels
Perhaps the ultimate evolution of Malcolm Sayers 'C', D', and 'E' type designs, XJ13 proved unlucky.

Lamborghini Marzal - Matchbox
The Marzal did lead to the Espada but the lines of the production car are less graceful.

Lotus Elise 340R - Hot Wheels
Lotus did plan to produce the 340R but economic realities resulted in just a few examples.

Marcos XP - Corgi
Perhaps it is better that the XP remained a concept car as few would call it handsome.

Maserati Boomerang - Siku
This design shared some ideas with the Marzal and was produced on a Bora chassis.

Mercedes-Benz C111 - Ertl
Mercedes-Benz considered this mid-engine sports car but decided otherwise.

NSU Bertone Trapeze - Buby
The Trapeze was based on an NSU but it ended up influencing the future Lancia Stratos.

Opel Frogster - Matchbox
The name alone might have killed this concept. Would you want a Frogster?

Peugeot RC - Norev
An exotic supercar from Peugeot seems a bit odd but then so did an SUV from Porsche.

Porsche-VW Tapiro - Faie
Based on the Porsche 914 with it's VW power-plant, the Tapiro actually led to the DeLorean.