Cars that could have been:

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Kalvan, Apr 16, 2014.

  1. Kalvan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    We all have heard of stories of car models that nearly happened, but for whatever reason were shelved. Sometimes this is a bullet dodged, like the Mazda MX-6-based Ford Mustang that became the Ford Probe, or the GM W-Body front drive Camaro/Firebird.

    This is not that post. This post, and hopefully the thread it starts, will talk about cars that woulda-sohoulda-coulda been, if only corporate courage had allowed them:

    1971 Corvette C4: this potential model featured a mid-engine configuration, and an optional four-rotor Wankel rotary engine. Shelved after a corporate shake-up caused its sponsors to bolt to Ford, or in the case of Malcolm Bricklin, to strike off on their own.

    1973 Ford Mustang/Porsche 924/6/8: The 1971 351 Mustang was a stopgap. This model was a joint venture between Ford and Porsche to replace both the original generation of Mustang, and the 911. It was to have featured a DOHC V8, an independent double wishbone rear suspension, and Bosch mechanical fuel injection. It was killed by the Oil Crisis at Ford, which went with the Pinto-based Mustang II instead. Porsche spent four more years to get it into production and was forced to raise its price to recoup development costs, but in the meantime, Porsche was forced to turbocharge the 911, destroying the purpose of the highest trim models.

    Had it gone into production, it is highly probable that Porsche today would have entry-level models cheaper than the OTL Boxster.

    1983 Chevrolet Nova Z16/SS: Based on the rear drive AE86 Toyota Corolla GTS, and to be built at NUMMI. Would have featured a turbocharged four-cylinder engine based on Suzuki racing bike engines at the time. Axed by bean-counters at GM due to insurance cost concerns. The plan was resurrected in 1987, this time to use the newly developed Quad 4 engine, then axed again.

    1986 Dodge Charger: Was going to be used on a version of the Mitsubishi Starion with the four-cylinder engine ripped out and replaced with a 318 Max Wedge engine. It was axed due to CAFE concerns and handling problems because of weight distribution issues from the truck-based iron block. However, this resulted in Chrysler taking a version of its successor the 3000GT as the Dodge Stealth.

    1988 Pontiac Grand Prix GTO: Based on the then all-new W-body Pontiac Grand Prix, was to feature all wheel drive based on that of the Pontiac 6000, and either the Buick Turbo 3800 V8 from the Grand National, or a turbo-charged version of the 3.4 liter Twin Dual Cam V6. It was axed by Bean Counters.

    1989 Mercury Capri: Ford's original plan was to base this car on either the Mazda Miata or the Mazda Autozam AZ-1. It was axed in favor of the version from Australia when it became obvious that even if a left-hand-drive version could have been made, it wouldn't have been able to pass North American Crash Standards.

    1990 Ford Mustang/Mazda RX-7: Was to have been a joint venture between Mazda and Ford, featuring a common rear drive platform with independent rear suspension, ABS, and limited-slip differential. The Ford version would have featured a V8 with rotary-valve heads, while the Mazda version would have featured a twin-turbo, triple rotary Wankel, and both would have featured optional AWD. Due to mixed signals, Ford bowed out in favor of SN-95, while Mazda moved to a lighter, more purist sports car vision (although it did release its version of the model in Japan only as the Mazda Cosmo).

    1991 Chevrolet Panther/ Pontiac Banshee: Was meant to replace the Camaro/Firebird, so as to go head-to-head against the Dodge Stealth and Mitsubishi 3000GT. Featured a 6 speed manual transmission, 4.0 liter Desmodronic DOHC V8 pumping out 320 horsepower, four wheel double wishbone independent suspension, and a limited-slip differential. Axed for being too close in performance to the Corvette, and by the engineers for the Chevrolet Small Block because the V8 was going to go into several racing programs (ranging from DTW {Opel}, to Formula 1 (Cadillac), to CART and IROC(Pontiac). The only thing that carried over to the 1993 F-Body was the Borg Warner six speed transmission.

    1995 Pontiac Grand Am GTO: based on the 3.4 liter pushrod engine and a cold-air intake. Axed by Bean Counters.

    1996 Dodge Venom: Based on a rear drive version of the LH body, it would have gone head-to-head with the Mustang and Firebird/Camaro, but for nearly 1000 lbs lighter. But then the Daimler-Chrysler fiasco happened...

    1997 Pontiac Grand Prix GTO: Once again based on the GM W Body. Would have featured a GM LS-1 V8 mounted transversely, using the AWD system of the Pontiac Montana minivan. Never given the time of day by GM Brass and stayed a SEMA show special for three years, but it did inspire the Holden Monaro-based Pontiac GTO of the 2000s.
     
    SwampTiger likes this.
  2. Delta Force Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    What if the General Motors Rotary Combustion Engine entered production? It was the original powerplant choice for the AMC Pacer, but they had to switch to a straight-six when GM abandoned Wankel engine development.

    Turbine cars also had potential, at least in racing.
     
  3. Laqueesha The Right Honourable and Quasi-Learned Laq'

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2010
    Location:
    Placentashire, Placentaland, Placenta Kingdom
    The Oldsmobile O4! Shame what happened to ol' Olds. :(

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  4. Riain Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    Straya
    The Phase 4 Falcon and V8 XU1 Torana would have been nice to see.
     
  5. AdA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2011
    Location:
    Portugal
    The reborn Lancia Fulvia that was shown as a concept car in 2003, and rumoured to be produced in 2007/8, then forgoten as part of the terrible mess that was Fiat handling of it's associated brands.
    I, for sure, would have bought one, preferably in a HF version...

    lancia_fulvia_concept_01.jpg
     
  6. Deerwrecker2015 Kicked

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    There was other Cars that could have been that have not materialized due to many concerns here is some examples and not all of them are performance models.

    1982 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am - When Pontiac was preparing it's redesigned Firebird/Trans Am line for it's 1982 model year launch they had every intention to put their 301 Turbo V8 into the 1982 Trans Am which would have given it performance superiority. Unfortunately it was axed due to Pontiac's V8 Engines being discontinued and due to GM not wanting anything offered by it's divisions to be faster than the Corvette.

    Had it actually made it into production for the Turbo Trans Am would given the even the European competitors at the time a run for it's money.

    1989 Eagle Allure - It was planned 2 Door Coupe version that was based on the AMC/Renault developed Eagle Premier (Which was intended to be sold as a Renault before the AMC sale to Chrysler changed that) it was ready to go for a 1989 or early 1990 model year launch but instead it was axed by Chrysler for unknown reasons (Which would not likely be surprising since the automotive market conditions we're changing).

    1993 Plymouth Accolade - This proposed model that would have built on Chrysler's then newly developed LH Platform was planned to be a base model below the Dodge Intrepid it almost made it into production but it was axed instead.

    Possible Mid to Late 1980's Front Wheel Drive Ford Thunderbird and Mercury Cougar - What very few people might have likely know that in the 1980's Ford might have been considering developing a Front Wheel Drive version it's Ford Thunderbird and Mercury Cougar models to replace the respective Fox platform versions these versions it we're developed would have used Ford's then recently developed D186 Platform which had underpinned the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable (Prior to 2008) respectively but in the end Ford decided settle on developing the MN12 Platform for the Thunderbird and Cougar instead.

    1989 Mercury Sable LTS - A planned Luxury sports version of the Mercury Sable which was to use the Chassis, Interior and Suspension from the Ford Taurus SHO but not it's Engine. Axed in favor of focusing on the Taurus SHO instead and fears of the planned Sable model cutting into the SHO models sales. A Sable LTS model did arrive in mid 1994 but it ended up being a highly optioned LS instead.

    1998 Eagle Vision - A planned Second Generation Eagle Vision that was planned then Chrysler decided to discontinue the Eagle division after the 1998 model year. The planned model ended up going into production for the 1999 model year as the Chrysler 300M instead.

    Regarding one of the dodged bullets mentioned at the start of this thread.

    Regarding the planned but never materialized Front Wheel Drive Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird - These proposed Front Wheel Drive models would have not been built on the W platform but a designed from the ground up platform which was known as the GM80 program these models we're to have utilized a spaceframe design with plastic body panels like the Pontiac Fiero and we're planned for a 1989 or 1990 model year introduction but Cost overruns, The vehicles missing their weight targets, Under performing in Crash tests, The vehicles being likely projected to lose money and lack of sufficient funds at GM lead Roger Smith to personally axe this project. Had the vehicles actually made it into production GM would have ended up losing serious money, Would have missed the Sales projections, Their headquarters would have been extremely bombarded with tons of angry letters from customers that would have preferred the vehicles to remain Rear Wheel Drive, The Camaro and Firebird's days would have been completely numbered with both models likely being unceremoniously discontinued after 1993 or 1994 and it would ended up being remembered as one of the biggest Automotive Clusterfucks in history.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  7. Ramontxo Believes San Mames is Heaven Donor

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2014
    Location:
    San Sebastian Donostia
    12-03-01-autostadtr-by-RalfR-25_6_7_8_9_fused_edit.jpg High performance "open top" Citroen DS aimed for the American market and therefore free from the high taxes for high horsepower engines. My uncle had one Tiburon and I loved it a lot
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 15, 2019
    Electric Monk, iani and SwampTiger like this.
  8. SwampTiger Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2016
    [​IMG]
    Dodge Copperhead
     
  9. SwampTiger Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2016
    thaddeus and Scott_B like this.
  10. Deerwrecker2015 Kicked

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Here are some more additional vehicles that could have became reality if Corporate Courage had allowed it.

    Performance Vehicles

    Ford SVE Thunderbird - This model was definitely a planned successor to the Thunderbird Super Coupe that was done up by Ford's Special Vehicle Engineering (SVE) Division it featured a Supercharged 4.6 DOHC V8 mated to a Tremec T45 5 Speed Manual Transmission with the Disc Brakes and the 17 Inch Wheels being sourced from the Mustang Cobra R along other improvements (Prominent cowl hood, Rear Spoiler, Larger dual exhaust tips among the additions) but sadly before it could possibly enter production this planned High Performance Thunderbird was axed when Ford decided to kill off the entire Thunderbird and Cougar line after the 1997 model year (Although the Cougar reappeared as a downsized Front Wheel Drive Sport Compact for the 1999 model year lasting until the end of the 2002 model year when it was discontinued for good).

    Ford SVT V8 Ranger - This was a High Performance version of the Ranger that was done up in 1996 utilizing components that Ford's Special Vehicle Team had grabbed from the Explorer and Mustang GT's parts bin. This vehicle utilized the Front end from the then current Explorer that was grafted on, The 5.0 Liter OHV Cobra V8 pulled from a pre-94 Mustang, The 17 inch wheels from the Mustang Cobra R, The 4 Wheel Disc Brakes and Anti-Lock Braking system found on the Explorer among the examples. This one-off model never materialized into a production model.

    Non-Performance Vehicles

    Ford Carrousel (Also known as Carousel) - This was a planned Garageable Mid-Size van that was based on the Redesigned Body-On-Frame 1975 Econoline Van and was to be slotted above the Country Squire wagon and below the Club Wagon which was the passenger version of the Econoline van. Henry Ford II had supported the vehicle as well as numerous others although there was others at Ford had feared that it would take away sales from the Country Squire and the Mercury Colony Park wagon models. It was axed due to the first Energy crisis (Caused from the 1973 Oil Embargo) and the mid 1970's recession that followed caused Ford to cut back on new vehicle development and the Carrousel was not a direct replacement for any existing Ford model at the time.

    The Carrousel could have been put into production (Although replacing the 460 Cubic Inch V8 with a much smaller displacement V8 would had made sense) and if it did go into production in 1975 or 1976 as planned it would have achieved success and could have opened the door for Ford to possibly develop a true Front Wheel Drive Minivan sometime in the 1980's (Likely assuming that Lee Iaccoca still ends up at Chrysler and the company still actually develops and launches it's Minivans as per OTL).

    GM W-Body Station Wagons - When the GM10 Program (Development of GM's W Platform) was started in the early 1980's Station Wagon versions of the planned models were intended (Alongside the Sedan and Coupe versions) but it was stupidly axed due to a "Economy Drive" at GM instead of axing the Coupe versions which they should have done instead (This mistake was a serious contributor to GM's botching of the GM10 Program).

    Had GM decided to scrap the Coupe versions instead of the Station Wagon versions the wagon versions would have likely been better received as Coupe sales were definitely in a Terminal Decline by the end of the 1980's.
     
  11. Driftless Geezer

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2011
    Location:
    Out in the Driftless Area
    The AM Van looks like it might have been loosely based on the Pacer. The Cavalier reminds me of the Corvair. Is that the case? (truth be told: I owned a '75 Pacer for a number of years and really liked it. )
     
  12. snassni2 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2015
    That van concept would probably work today with an electric engine.
     
  13. Masked Grizzly Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    Interested to know what the sources are for a number of proposals above.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
  14. Mach1013 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2019
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow me to introduce y'all to this:
    [​IMG]

    The FSM Beskid.
    A paradoxical endeavour of a car, this was conceived in Communist Poland during the prolonged economic collapse everyone else called the 1980s as the next standard-issue family car to replace the Fiat 126 in the future(TM). It was a leap forward compared to that car (not especially difficult, given that its basic architecture dated back to the 1950s), sporting a unique, aerodynamic one-box body that now looks like a ripoff Renault Twingo. Furthermore, it had a 25% increase in the amount of seats, and a 100% increase in the boot capacity (to 200L mind). As for the drivetrain, the thing sported a 600cc engine producing an insane 21HP and boasted a remarkably good fuel economy of 71mpg married to a four speed manual gearbox. Additionally, with a floorplan of dimensions 3.2m by 1.5m, the car would've been primed to compete in the city car market segment in the unlikely event this actually met European safety standards. Unfortunately, the car never entered production on account of the entire PRL falling apart both economically, and politically, relegating it to the status of a historical oddity mostly forgotten about except for people still miffed that the Twingo looked very similar, and was actually good.

    As for the issue of whether or not it would be any good, no. Of course not. If you believe that the Communists had it in them to make a good car, here's Donut Media to set you straight. That said, it would've likely been a hit in Poland, and the rest of the Eastern Bloc. As for the question of if it could've helped keep the Polish motor industry afloat and if it could've convinced someone to invest in FSM, probably, and no. Just no. Still, it's fun to speculate.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
  15. Masked Grizzly Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    Apparently other prototypes also made use of a 1116cc Fiat 128 SOHC engine, which suggests a production version could have potentially made use of the 899cc Fiat Cinquecento/Seicento engines and possibly even the Fiat FIRE units. - http://autohistories.org/beskid/index.html
     
  16. Masked Grizzly Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    One car that comes to mind could be best described as a larger inline-6 sibling to the Fiat 125, since the latter utilized the mechanicals of the Fiat 1300/1500 where the latter's engine also formed the basis of the 6-cylinder Fiat 1800/2100 and Fiat 2300. However this inline-6 car like its 4-cylinder Fiat 125 sibling would make use of a 6-cylinder version of the Fiat Twin-Cam engine.

    It could have also formed the basis of an inline-6 SEAT variant (slotting above the SEAT 1500) as well as a 6-cylinder Polski Fiat / FSO built sibling to the Fiat 125p, which happened to carry over the Fiat 1300/1500 engines that formed the basis of the Fiat 1800/2100/2300 inline-6 engines.

    Additionally the later FSO Polonez used a 87 hp 1600cc version of the 1300/1500 engine that could have allowed for not only an earlier 2400cc inline-6 for the 6-cylinder FSO 125p-based variant and Polonez-derived successor (which would have been IMHO an adequate alternative to the 1960 Ford Falcon derived FSO Warszawa 210 prototype - which used a copied Ford Straight-6 and cut-down 4-cylinder prior to its deal with Fiat), but have also been used by Fiat themselves for a 1600 version of the Fiat 1300/1500 and 2400 version of the Fiat 1800/2100/2400 respectively.

    Another interesting tidbit would be pages 217-234 in Dante Giacosa's PDF (plus pages 201-216 for the 1800), along with the proposed 2-door coupe version of the Fiat 1300/1500 as well as on page 230 on Dante Giacosa's idea of standardizing the chassis of what became the Fiat 1300/1500 with the then upcoming Simca 1300/1500 (with the models being differentiated only in their engines and coachwork - possibly allowing for the latter to make use of 6-cylinder versions of Simca's own Fiat-derived 1300/1500 engines or even an inline-6 version of the Poissy engine). It was also him who originally brought up the idea of an inline-6 sibling to the Fiat 125 on page 321 (see Model 125 Auto and above). - https://www.fcagroup.com/en-US/grou...Giacosa_-_Forty_Years_of_Design_with_Fiat.pdf
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
    Mach1013 likes this.
  17. MatthewB Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2019
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Last edited: May 20, 2019 at 12:31 AM
  18. SwampTiger Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2016
    I don't know if the Pacer was the basis. It would be a good start. The Pacer suspension was partly based on the Matador. Thus, the Pacer was capable of handling a heavier vehicle. Indeed, two wheel drive Pacers competed in the Baja 1000. AMC needed a source for front wheel drive power trains with substantial power. They did not have the funds after the sales failures of the 70's.

    The Cavalier was a design study of a truly economical design. Front and rear door panels, hood and trunk lid, as well as the front and rear fenders were interchangeable. The resemblance to the Corvair was accidental.

    AMC failed to realize the potential of the old Buick V6. It designed a fine straight six for 1965, then bought an equally good, but lighter, vee-six in 1967 when it acquired Jeep. The old Fireball/Dauntless was the basis of a family of Buick engines from 1975 through 2008. This should have been the engine in the Pacer. AMC negotiated with Buick, expecting to share the engine. However, they allowed Buick to take sole possession.
     
    Driftless likes this.
  19. Chris Triangle Triangulator

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    I always hoped that Ford would produce a Mercury version of any of the modern Ford mustangs and call it the Cougar. The car could have had most of the fun of the mustang but in a slightly more refined car with less aggressive, more sophisticated styling. Unfortunately, throughout Mercury's long history, Ford was rarely willing to produce anything other than an exact clone of the blue oval version and when they axed the brand, barely anyone even noticed.

    I would love to have seen a product inspired by the gorgeous Messenger concept, but nothing came of it.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
  20. Chris Triangle Triangulator

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    And of course that viper Jr reminds me of their next crack at an affordable roadster: the sharp-looking Dodge Demon concept.

    [​IMG]

    I've always thought that "Demon", alliterative though it was a lesser fitting name for this car than the almost perfect "Copperhead" as the vehicle, like the snake itself, is a tamer, more agreeable member of the viper family. Screw ZZ Top for ruining that.

    Anyway, by all accounts, Dodge's would-be Miata rival was very close to production and the design looks the part; it is quite polished for a concept. But it is also hard to blame Chrysler for not taking the risk either. Few companies have had success in this tiny segment and Chrysler had much more pressing concerns at the time.

    And then there's the adorable little Dodge Slingshot, which, had it been produced, would have filled a niche that's been vacant in the USA since the MG Midget left.
    [​IMG]

    Too bad Chyrsler had to pigeon hole Dodge as the macho redneck brand. They could have at least kept Plymouth around if they were going to do this.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
    SwampTiger likes this.