Concept Cars. The words conjure up images of scantily clad girls fawning over gleaming polished icons of style, performance, luxury, and the future. Well, at least they to do me, you may have a different fantasies, er, I mean opinions. American car makers kicked off the whole trend for concept cars, but the rest of the world followed as fast as they could.
Thing is, concept cars often depend on the words “conjure up” more than they do on the style, performance, luxury, and the future part. The end result, more often than not, is some of the most hideous, useless, impractical machines to ever be put before the public.
But they’re fun. I mean, who can resist laughing when they see such things as the Dodge Neon Expresso? It’s hard to describe the full horror of this monstrosity on a web page without having to put a parental guidance warning on it.
Dodge started with a Neon. A NEON! Can you imagine? Which one of those words style, performance, luxury, and the future come to mind when you think of the Dodge Neon? The only one that hits me is future, as in I hope it’s not in mine. Dodge actually said (wait for it) the Expresso was based on the “fun to drive Neon.” Fun to drive? What were these guys smoking? As soon as a manufacture says “fun to drive” you know that’s trade speak for crap.
Anyway, they started with a Neon. Now clearly they had to amp up the Neon. In this case they must have “amped” it up with a Jimmy Hendrix distortion pedal on maximum overdrive (and with some of those chemicals that were popular at the time). It had bubble shapes everywhere, oval windows, weird wing mirrors, and curves so bad it makes you wonder if the designer did it all freehand. Wrap the whole thing up in the brightest yellow in the known universe and you’ve got something that rivals NASA’s Vomit Comet for effect.
All this was, presumably, to make the “fun to drive Neon” into something that was, well, more fun. Unfortunately, the only “fun” aspect I can see with this car is the fun people would have taking the *&^%! out of you for being stupid enough to hand over money for it. Even Mr Magoo would have thought twice about it. He might even have got out his good specs.
All in all I’m well pleased this pile got consigned to the scrap heap. The only thing that would make me happier is knowing they had chopped it up and burnt it first. Sadly, I doubt anyone is going to confess to association with this automotive disaster, so that burning it first fantasy will probably just have to remain that way.
Thankfully none of the features of the “fun to drive Neon” (that still makes me laugh) or its eyeball-watering Expresso derivative left a lasting impression on car design. Their owners probably weren’t so lucky. Were you one? Are you still suffering? And is there a self help group nearby?