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12 One Off Car Designs

These fantastic cars are unique - in the very literal sense of the word. Only one example of each was manufactured, which makes them seem even more remarkable in this era of mass production and consumer-focused design. Some were experimental concept cars, some were made to prove a point, others were manufactured at the whim of an inventor or collector - but they all share a very special trait in common. Not only are they beautiful in their own right, but each of these cars is truly 'one-of-a-kind'.

1. Delahaye 175S Saoutchik Roadster

One Off Cars
Image: favcars.com

The Delahaye 175 S Saoutchik Roaster is considered by many enthusiasts to be the most beautiful collector's car of all time. Its design was the brainchild of the supremely talented coachbuilder and car designer Jacques Saoutchik, who was responsible for its unique exterior, which combined 1930s style curves with baroque design touches. Further beauty lies in its details, such as the chrome accents and grill, as well as the peculiar nose and two-tone interior. The car was once owned by legendary movie start Diana Dors and was last sold for a massive $3 million back in 2010. 


2. Jaguar XJ13 

One Off Cars
Image: topcarrating.com

Jaguar has made countless beautiful cars, but the XJ13 pushes the best Jaguar designs close when it comes to beauty and performance. It was built as a prototype racing car in 1966 and shares a lot in common with the E-Type, including similar front suspension wishbones and the use of drive shafts as upper transverse links. The development of the X13 was considered important, but was never a priority for Jaguar bosses, despite test driver and design consultant David Hobbs driving it to an unofficial UK closed lap record that was to stand for 32 years. However, by the time the prototype was complete, the 5.0L XJ13 had been usurped by Ford's 7.0L GT40, meaning no further versions of this beautiful car were ever made.


3. Lancia Stratos Zero

One Off Cars
Image: odometer.com

The cheese-wedge shaped Lancia Stratos Zero (built in 1970) is one of the most famous concept cars of all time. Loved by enthusiasts, it was a true product of an era where 'spaceship' shapes extended increasing influence over car design concepts. It was a fully functioning prototype, which included virtually horizontal seats and a glass-encased instrument panel inside, and an extending triangular hood housing the car's Fulvia 1.6 HF engine to the rear. The much loved car was used in the 1988 film Moonwalker starring Michael Jackson, and sold for $915,000 in 2011, a relative steal for a unique car of this ilk.


4. Lamborghini Egoista

One Off Cars
Image: caranddriver.com

The Lamborghini Egoista was unveiled by the legendary sports car manufacturer as part of their 50th anniversary celebration. It features a 5.2L V10 engine capable of 600hp, a one seat cockpit and a unique, angular exterior intended to look like a raging bull if viewed from the right angle. The unique concept also featured adaptable panels to the exterior, capable of moving up or down for optimum downforce stability. As you might guess, 'egoista' relates to the word 'ego' and directly translates as 'selfish' in English - an appropriate name for a vehicle designed to represent the height of decadence.

5. Norman Timbs Special

One Off Cars
Image: jalopyjournal.com

If the Lamborghini Egoista is a representation of angular hedonism, then the Norman Timbs Special sits in stark contrast as the epitome of classic, soft curves and beauty. Timbs was a mechanical car engineer from Los Angeles with experience in building cars from scratch, and he built his one-off special for around $10,000, taking inspiration from the Auto Union racers of the 1930's. The heavily streamlined car uses a 1948 Buick straight-8 engine, and is reportedly capable of 120mph. It was left to rot in the desert before being discovered in 2002, and restored to its glorious best.


6. The Orbitron

Image: justacarguy.blogspot.com.mt

The Orbitron is another one-off car that was built by an enthusiastic inventor and engineer. It was created in 1964 by Ed Roth, a cartoonist and artist who also came up with the Hot Rod character Rat Fink, and was powered by a 1956 Chevrolet V8 engine. The body was made from fiberglass underpinned by extensive chrome to the chassis and the cockpit sat in the rear, enclosed in an extreme glass bubble. However, the most unique feature of all was the distinctive, asymmetrical front end with separate red, green and blue lighted lamps.


7. Rolls Royce 102EX

One Off Cars
Image: gtspirit.com

The Rolls Royce 102EX was an experimental design, intended to encourage discussion around the concept of electric plug-in (and other alternative energy source) vehicles. Also known as the Phantom Experimental Electric, it was designed to be the first 'luxury' electric vehicle and replaced the standard Rolls Royce 6.75L V12 engine with a gigantic battery pack weighing more than 640kg. The car was sent on tour in 2011, and the manufacturer actively sought feedback, but plans to mass produce the car were eventually shelved, leaving the fully functioning prototype as the only example in existence.


8. Porsche 914/8

One Off Cars
Image: cartype.com

There were actually two version of the Porsche 914/8 constructed, although both featured unique touches that set them apart of each other. The orange version pictured was the first to be made in 1969 at the behest of Ferdinand Piech, the head of the company's racing department, to prove that a standard 914 could conceivably be powered by a flat-eight engine. The car was extremely light and would have been difficult to drive at speed, which may partly explain the reason why it never made the transition from concept to production. A second version, produced in silver and given to Ferry Porsche for his 60th birthday, was closer to being a production model that may have worked, but the cars were only ever tested and now sit in a museum.


9. Maybach Exelero

One Off Cars
Image: Flickr user Don Merwin

The unique Maybach Exelero does not come cheap - it was valued at $8 million when new, perhaps explaining why the company struggled to sell it for six years following its original unveiling in 2005. The two-seater coupé features a body design inspired by the company's streamline sports cars of the 1930s, and houses a twin-turbo V12 engine capable of propelling the heavy, 2.6 ton car from 0-60mph in just 4.4 seconds. 

10. Blastocene Special

One Off Cars
Image: Flickr user Rex Gray

The Blastocene Special is also known as the 'Tank Car' and was designed and built by American engineer Randy Gribb in 2001. Its nickname originates from the use of a Continental AV1790-5B engine to power the car; an engine previously used in 51 ton M47 Patton Tanks. The car is currently owned by famous American comedian and presenter Jay Leno, who has made a number of modifications to ensure that the car is more road-friendly including new rear brakes, a new gear box, a new electrical system and engine upgrades. Leno regularly drives the Blastocene and exhibits it at car shows in the USA, at which its aluminum exterior attracts plenty of attention.


11. Dodge Viper Diamondback by ASC

One Off Cars
Image: autoblog.com

This one-of-a-kind Dodge Viper tuned by McLaren via American Specialty Cars (a company with a long history of producing innovative vehicle prototypes) cost $750,000 to produce and was sold for just $250,000, which adds another unique touch to its story. McLaren Performance Technologies developed the car's 615 horsepower engine which is super light and incredibly fast, while other unique features include custom carbon-fiber body panels throughout and an in-hood trumpeted air intake system. 


12. The Monkeemobile

One Off Cars
Image: thecaveboard.yuku.com

The Monkeemobile was designed and built specifically for the pop-rock band The Monkees, who used it in their hugely successful television series. The car is actually a modified Pontiac GTO featuring a split windshield, retractable roof, elongated tail lamps, and a special third row 'bench' in place of a hood. The car was taken on tour and was eventually purchased by custom car designer George Barris, who was happy to display it at all sorts of events across the United States. Barris sold the Monkeemobile to a private purchaser in Arizona for the pricey sum of $360,000 in 2008. Numerous replicas have been created over the years, but nothing beats the original!



H/T: www.odometer.com

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