Every car company in the world tries its best to be as recognizable as possible. The specific design language, signature technical solutions, engines, model names or features all matter. They are important for a company to preserve its name, reputation, and market position. For example, if you see a VW Golf on the street, you might not be able to tell what exact model year it is. But, you will immediately recognize it as a Golf due to its signature styling, familiar proportions, and details.
But, sometimes manufacturers present strange cars that don’t resemble the rest of the lineup and stand out from the crowd. They are the models that look, feel and drive different and traditionalists find them hard to accept. These are the true automotive black sheep that are remembered in car history either as flops or misunderstood visionary cars they introduced at the wrong time.
Here are the top 20 most interesting automotive black sheep models. These are the misfit cars that come from well-known brands, but just didn’t fit the company profile just right. Sometimes, these cars looked different and sometimes they were completely different concepts or technology. Either way, it’s important to remember the interesting, unsuccessful attempts to introduce something new and fresh.
Rolls Royce Camargue
The Rolls Royce, which is the world’s most luxurious brand, always came with the signature elegant yet formal design and massive dimensions. They usually had a recognizable front end dominated by a big grille with the “Spirit of Ecstasy” figurine. They invented this formula in the early 20th century and it has remained the same 100 years later.
However, in 1975, Rolls decided to introduce a luxury coupe under the name Camargue. They built it on a regular model chassis, but with a more elegant and stylish body, designed by Italy’s Pininfarina design studio. The combination of a British gentleman dressed in an Italian suit should’ve worked perfectly, but somehow, the Camargue wasn’t as attractive as Rolls hoped it would be.
The big proportions, chrome grille and other details were present. But, as a whole, the car just wasn’t convincing enough. That is why Rolls made only 571 of them during the 11 production years.