NZ Classic Driver

Yesterday’s Future: Concept Cars of the 1960s (Porter Press Internatio­nal)


Richard Heseltine ISBN 978 1 913089 34 4 Reviewer’s own copy

I love the flights of fancy that various manufactur­ers, designers and carrosseri­e have produced over the years – and the 1960s saw a real blossoming of concept, or ‘dream’ cars. This new book from Porter Press shows a couple of hundred of them, from the 1960 Pininfarin­a X to the GM XP-833 of 1969. Many of the cars featured acted as a sort of market tester, a few pointed the way to new trends or directions in motoring, some were simply in the realm of fantasy while others were intended to showcase the skills of a particular coachbuild­er. Some went on the Motor Show circuit, a few ended up in private hands and others have vanished without trace. A few of the cars featured are reasonably well known (the Pininfarin­a Sigma ‘safety car’, turbine-powered Chrysler and Corvette Mako Shark for instance), while others are quite unexpected, from the elegant rebodied D-Type Jaguar by Michelotti to a Ghia body on an early 1950s Bugatti 101 chassis, and some attractive small sports cars for the likes of Daihatsu and Toyota when Japanese marques were looking for ways into the European market. I wouldn’t say that ‘every one’s a gem’ but at their best the cars in this excellent book are a visual treat, from my all-time favourite (a Bertone-bodied Ferrari 250GT) to the Alfa Romeo Canguro and Vauxhall’s surprising VXR. The bizarre ones truly are just that, from a needle-nosed ‘F1 car’ with a jet plane cockpit (Vignale New Star Jet) and the two-wheeled Ford Gyron, which supposedly was stabilised by a gyroscope! With 240 very large pages and a brilliant selection of photos, this book is a delight and I’m pleased to note the intention to produce similar volumes for other decades of concept cars. $140 | Review by Mark Holman

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