Strange Vehicles You Won't Catch People Driving

Not every car follows the normal shape and form we've come to expect. Some, like the following, are so insane, seeing them on the highway would probably cause distracted driving accidents.

OSI Silver Fox

The OSI Silver Fox was designed, first and foremost, with aerodynamics in mind. Instead of using a normal car layout, the Italians at OSI designed their speedster with twin hulls and a passenger compartment suspended in between, like a World War II fighter plane.

The design actually had big advantages over conventional cars. The twin hull layout allowed OSI to fit the Silver Fox with three spoilers, giving it tremendous downforce and a top speed of 155 mph, an amazing feat in 1967. Financial difficulties doomed the project, but the prototype still exists, ready for another great drive.

Firebird 1 XP-21

Having seen how successful jet engines were in airplanes, General Motors experimented with jet turbines in cars. Their first foray was the XP-21, essentially a fighter plane with wheels. Twin nose intakes fed air into the turbine but, unlike a jet fighter, the exhaust didn't provide the main thrust. Instead, it drove the rear wheels. The wings had flaps for slowing down like an airplane, but even then, to nobody's surprise, the car was ridiculously dangerous to drive. It never reached production, even though GM tried to make a family version, their most insane idea of all.

BMW Lovos

This isn't a screenshot from an upcoming Transformers movie — it's a concept car developed by Anne Forschner for BMW. Lovos stands for "Lifestyle of Voluntary Simplicity," and it's not made it to full-scale production yet, with only scale models so far built. The exterior of the car is made out of the same metal panel recurring 260 times. Each little panel is a photo-voltaic cell and is hinged, so the whole car can act as an air-brake at high speed. If the Lovos concept ever enters production, this could be what the car of the future looks like. Lucky us.

Elie Aghnides's Rhino

As the Cold War heated up, inventor Elie Aghnides realized that no vehicle could defend the Arctic terrain of Alaska and Canada. To protect the Great White North, Aghnides designed the Rhino. The chief feature of the weird vehicle was its hemispherical front wheels, designed to give traction in terrible terrain while allowing the Rhino to tip 75 degrees on its side. Unfortunately, the wheels were also the Rhino's weakness, providing giant, puncturable targets for Soviet gunfire. Not wanting to doom the Canadian army to getting stranded in the forest, the North American militaries passed on the Rhino.

Italcorsca/Tarf II

As if the twin hull design of the Silver Fox wasn't weird enough, this Italian design from 1951 was even stranger and smaller. The driver sat in the right-hand fuselage cockpit, which was too narrow to fit a steering wheel inside. Instead, the driver used two levers to control the car. Nicknamed the "Twin Torpedo," the tiny car had an oversized engine in it that let it get up to 185 mph in a straight line. The twin hull design looked awesome, and was so small you could probably high-jump over it.

BMW 4219 Eli

Designed to fulfill the childhood wish of a four-year old BMW fan, this supercar design uses the innocent child logic of "more wheels = better car." With 19 Porsche engines driving 42 wheels, the Eli is an exercise in excess, but BMW was passionate about the design. Engineering considerations were taken seriously, and one day the Eli might take to the streets. But for now, it's just a concept, born out of a child's imagination. It even has a toy trunk in the back big enough for a child to play in!

Curtiss-Wright Model 2500

During the Cold War, nearly every hair-brained idea got military funding. The 2500 floating car travelled on a cushion of air created by twin ducted fan engines. Army planners wanted to use the 2500 during amphibious assaults, and you can see why. Floating around at 15 inches above the ground, the 2500 was the closest we came to a Star Wars landspeeder, but it never was practical enough for military operations. Curtiss-Wright also tried to develop a civilian version, but those never made it off the drawing board. Zipping around Dune Seas will have to wait for the future.

1932 Dynasphere

A few decades after the first cars hit the road, maverick engineers were already trying to improve them. Dr. J. A. Purves invented the Dynasphere in 1932, advertising his spherical monstrosity as the transportation of the future. Purves eventually planned for larger versions of the Dynasphere, but the project never proceeded past his 25 mph-capable prototype. Unlike other cars in this article, the Dynasphere actually worked really well, and was poised to revolutionize road travel, despite its visibility issues and ridiculous appearance. The fact that we don't see them today probably is because people don't like getting used to new things.

Helicron No.1

An odd cross between an airplane and a car, this French design was made possible by World War I. After the war, a ton of surplus fighter plane engines hit the market and got snatched up by engineers and inventors. Somebody built the Helicron in the 1930s, but it remained locked away in a barn until 2000. When rediscovered, a new motor replaced the missing airplane engine, and the Helicron passed French road safety inspections, meaning the owners of the Helicron can legally drive it on French roads!

Hafner Rotobuggy

At the beginning of World War II, the British scrambled to find any super-weapon to use against Hitler. In a stroke of mad genius, Raoul Hafner came up with the idea for the Rotobuggy — a jeep with an attached helicopter rotor. Theoretically, this would give the airborne forces mobile vehicles for assaults. The rotor spun freely, letting the Rotobuggy glide majestically to the ground.

New airplanes powerful enough to lift vehicles rendered the Rotobuggy obsolete before tests completed, but initial tests were "highly satisfactory," no doubt earning Hafner a few pints at the local pub.

Zombie Proof Maybach

As if the Maybach Exelero wasn't impressive enough, maverick car designer Khaled Alkayed decided that, when the zombie apocalypse comes, rich people should fight it out in a stylish armored Maybach. Alkayed kept survival in mind when designing his armored concept car. Complete with tank treads for off-road travel, a V-12 engine delivering 700 horsepower and an arsenal of machine guns and rocket launchers, this Maybach prototype is something you'll only see if the zombie apocalypse hits us, and the top 1 percent decides to flaunt their wealth over a pile of undead corpses.