Cars are a very functional part of our lives—many of us rely on them to get to our jobs, to do our jobs, to take our kids to school, pick up groceries, go on trips. As much as they’re a tool, they’re also a part of our identity, with a personal connection for a lot of people.
Taken to the extreme, cars can be a form of artistic expression, a way to show wealth, and the ultimate status symbol. Here are a few of the most beautiful, interesting, and outlandish examples of custom and one-of-a-kind automobiles that have caught our attention.
1956 Buick Centurion concept
The 1956 Buick Centurion concept car would definitely be George Jetson’s choice… in fact, this design predated the Jetsons by 6 years. Its most notable feature was its all-glass roof—quite a feat of engineering, especially in those days. It was also ahead of its time in offering bucket seats (for all four passengers), and headrests on those seats, and automatic front seats—all of which were virtually unheard of in that era.
You might notice that the centurion doesn’t have a rearview or sideview mirrors—and that’s because it had the first backup camera. It was rudimentary, but the system actually included a television camera in the rear of the car to transmit images to a screen in the front.
If you want to buy a Ferrari, but the almost impossible-to-get current models aren’t exclusive enough for you (and money is no object), you might want to commission a one-off Ferrari of your very own. That’s what this owner—whom we know only as ‘a discerning European client, because Ferrari is nothing if not discreet—did. It took two years from design to final production to build the Omologata, and even the ‘7’ livery (which must mean something to the owner) is painted in a custom-created color. Ferrari is keeping the price, like the buyer’s identity, under wraps, but it’s a safe bet that it was in the seven figures.
The Speedster is based on the Jaguar E-Type (aka XKE), which is a remarkable car in its own right (Enzo Ferrari himself pronounced it ‘the most beautiful car ever made’)… but when Eagle works their magic and creates a custom build (which typically takes 4,000 hours and starts at 600k) they bring the car’s performance, safety, and reliability up to the level of its superb looks. (The E-Type has been notorious in automotive lore for its mechanical idiosyncrasies, to put it politely).
After one futuristic and a couple of supremely beautiful cars, let’s mix it up and throw in one that kind of makes you go, ‘What the hell is that thing?’
Meet the ETV, which stands for ‘Extra Terrestrial Vehicle’. In this case, that doesn’t mean ET as in not of this world, like the lovable alien, but more that it simply looks like it’s from some other planet. A custom car builder in Florida built it, and it’s the only of its kind currently known to man. (Which is okay with us!)
4-door Porsche 911
For about ten years now, we’ve had the Porsche Panamera, the first non-SUV Porsche 4-door. But before that, Porsche’s sports cars only had two doors. Except that one time, back in 1967…
An eccentric Texan—who also happened to be a Porsche dealer—named Dr. William Dick (we’re not sure what type of doctor; we were curious too and tried to look it up, to no avail) wanted a more practical 911 for his wife. Tragically, among his collection of Porsches, Ferraris, and Rolls Royces, there was not a single four-door vehicle. So Dr. Dick sent a dealership representative to Italy to find a coachbuilder to create a design to adapt a 911 into a longer wheelbase, with four doors. They all turned down the request, except one.
When the plans arrived in the US, Troutman-Barnes (famed racecar builders) built the mythical beast. They extended the 911’s wheelbase, removed and switched the doors to opposite sides (they became the new rear doors, suicide-style), and fabricated new front doors. They also built out a new interior. Ironically, for what it cost to do this to a perfectly good Carrera, the good doctor could have bought his wife a 4-door Rolls Royce. But where would the fun have been in that?
The whereabouts of this Frankenporsche is currently unknown.
If any of these unusual creations caught your eye, and sparked an interest in finding a more unique ride of your own, you might have to look outside of your own area. Check out our article on safely buying a car from out of state, to make sure you know how to protect yourself in a long-distance transaction.