Home Cars 20 Unique Cars From Ordinary Car Companies

20 Unique Cars From Ordinary Car Companies

Vukasin Herbez March 8, 2019

In the modern car industry, car brands are predictable. For example, you can expect that Dodge will build Ram trucks, Mercedes will build luxury sedans and Ferrari will produce sports cars. There is no real surprise in their lineup. However, every once in a while, an ordinary manufacturer decides to break the mold. They introduce something totally different, unique and cool.

So, here are 20 surprising cars from the world’s most popular brands. Cars that, at first, didn’t fit the profile of the company. But later, they become popular, helping to establish the brand. So read on to learn about some interesting machines that took engineering knowledge, but also a lot of courage and money to build. Some of them may not be successful in terms of sales figures, but they left a mark on the industry and in car history.

1. Audi R8

The sports car world was surprised when Audi presented the first generation R8. Nobody expected such a bold move from Audi or such a great sports car. In fact, the current Audi R8 is a supercar with its mid-mounted V10 engine and design.

Better still, Audi offers it at sports car prices that are making it available to a wider audience. The engine itself is a true piece of art. It’s a naturally aspirated 5.2 liter V10 with dual-injection intake and 610 HP.

2. Plymouth Prowler

The hot rod culture is one of the key ingredients of the American automotive landscape. However, no company ever dared to present a factory-built hot rod until 1997 when Plymouth presented the Prowler. It is a retro-futuristic roadster with a V6 engine and fantastic looks.

Plymouth imagined it to be a follow-up of the Viper. The Prowler was the hit on the show circuit, so Chrysler wanted to capitalize on that. Despite having some initial success, the car proved to be a failure. And that is because the customers expected V8, not V6 power under the hood.

3. Aston Martin Cygnet

When you hear the name, “Aston Martin” the first and only thing that pops in your mind are those luxury GT sports cars from England. However, Aston had produced the total opposite of that in the form of a subcompact economy car they call the Cygnet. In fact, the Cygnet is a rebadged Toyota IQ/Scion IQ with the signature Aston front grille and leather interior.

They built the car to meet the average fleet emissions standards proposed by the European Union. They presented the car in 2011 but unfortunately discontinued it in 2013 after just two years of production.

4. Rolls Royce Cullinan

In the modern car industry, everybody is building SUVs. However, nobody expected that Rolls Royce would do the same. But, they did when they presented the Cullinan. It’s a magnificent vehicle of gargantuan size with the ultimate luxury and a big price tag.

It is the proper Rolls Royce for the new millennia and for SUV-crazed buyers all over the world. With its 6.7-liter V12 engine, 563 HP and a top speed electronically limited to 155 mph, the Cullinan is not only super luxurious but also quite fast.

5. Ferrari FF

In 2011, Ferrari did the unimaginable. They introduced a shooting brake model with all-wheel drive and a hatchback rear door. They named it the FF and it is a Gran Turismo four-seater model. It has the capacity to jump continents at high speeds with the safety of an all-wheel drivetrain.

Of course, it still possesses the signature Ferrari features like a high-revving V12 in the front that delivers a brutal performance. Best yet, it has a bespoke interior and unique styling.

6. Kia Stinger

One of the biggest surprises in 2018 was the new Kia Stinger, and car enthusiasts are crazy about it. Most people probably wonder how it is even possible for a boring brand like Kia to generate such hype. But in fact, it looks like the Korean brand has introduced a genuinely good-looking, fast, powerful and affordable sports sedan.

Basically, Kia has made the perfect BMW, since BMW has moved on to more luxurious, heavier and much more expensive models. The Stinger has rear-wheel drive and an optional all-wheel drive that is new for Kia’s non-SUV models. Under the hood, there are two engines, a turbocharged four-cylinder delivering 255 HP and a twin-turbo V6 that can pump out 365 HP.

7. Cadillac CTS-V Wagon

For years, Cadillac was without the proper performance series they needed to compete with BMW or Mercedes. But finally, the V-Series was born. It was all that Cadillac lovers dreamed of with its powerful engine and world-class handling. Also, it has an updated suspension setup and an exclusive production schedule.

But arguably, the most successful was the second generation CTS-V model Cadillac produced between 2008 and 2014. Under the hood was a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 producing 556 HP, making the CTS-V the most powerful performance sedan in the market. Cadillac produced three body styles, so the CTS-V comes as a sedan, a coupe, and interestingly, as a wagon, too.

The rarest of the three is the CTS-V Wagon, which shares all its mechanical components with the rest of the V-Series models. However, the wagon body style was something Cadillac buyers didn’t expect. Even though the wagon is a blast to drive and extremely fast, most Cadillac customers turned to the CTS-V sedans or coupes. In fact, some buyers weren’t even aware that the wagon existed.

8. Lexus LF-A

Lexus needed something to draw the attention of hardcore car enthusiasts, so a supercar was just the thing they needed. And that is how the LFA was born. The heart of the super-capable sports car is the 4.3-liter V10 engine that develops 560 HP.

It sends the power to the rear axle over a special six-speed robotized automatic transmission that shifts fast and accurately. The rest of the car is equally advanced with innovative materials, bespoke components and perfect craftsmanship throughout.

9. Dodge Viper RT/10

Dodge presented this legendary sports muscle car in 1992 and immediately, it became an American icon. It has a monster of a V10 engine in the front with a sleek, aggressive body style. With its rear-wheel drive, there’s not much to protect you from being killed by the sheer power and wild nature of this car.

The amount of driving excitement is enormous. But although the first-generation Viper had its share of flaws, it was a glorious and monstrous sports car with loads of character. Nobody expected this car from Dodge, and that’s why it took the car world by storm.

10. Honda NSX

When the NSX first appeared in 1989, it revolutionized the supercar market. Basically, car buyers got a Ferrari performance and look for supermarket prices, along with Honda`s signature reliability and maintenance costs. The heart of the NSX is a 3.0-liter V6 with 274 HP.

But later Honda equipped it with a 3.2-liter V6 producing 290 HP. Since the car is light, the 0 to 60 mph time was a lightning-quick five seconds. Incredibly, it reaches a top speed of over 170 mph.

11. Lamborghini LM002

To be honest, the LM002 is somewhere between a truck and an SUV since it has four doors and a truck bed behind. This crazy creation debuted in the mid-80s as Lamborghini’s attempt to entering the world of luxury SUVs to widen its appeal. The LM002 uses a special chassis and suspension and Lamborghini’s famous V12 engine.

Interestingly, the 5.2-liter unit with 400 HP is what you would find in the legendary Countach. But for those buyers who think that 400 HP is not enough, the factory can supply the LM002 with a 7.3-liter monster V12 engine from a racing boat.

12. Porsche Cayenne

Ever since the first Cayenne appeared in the early 2000s, the market for quick luxury SUVs was born. This Porsche with four doors, a raised body and all-wheel drive may have offended a lot of brand purists.

But it also brought a lot to the segment in terms of driving dynamics, performance and prestige. Up until that point, Porsche only made two-door sports cars. However, with the Cayenne, it became a force in the SUV market, as well.

13. Subaru SVX

Back in the early 90s, Subaru wanted to enter the sports car market to promote its biggest assets, all-wheel drive and flat-six engines. So, the company hired Italdesign to design a sleek and modern coupe. In 1991, the SVX debuted with strange styling and a complicated side window, but it had sublime handling and a great performance.

Under the hood was a 3.3-liter flat-six that propelled this rare car from 0 to 60 in just 7.3 seconds. They only sold approximately 14,000 in America until 1996.

14. BMW i3

BMW`s mission to build clean vehicles is well-known throughout the industry, but nobody expected the i3. It is a small hybrid vehicle with a high price tag, but also with advanced technology and lively performance. Still, it is a true BMW with all their signature characteristics, but it is still a strange one. Somehow, it is quite popular in urban areas, although it is pricy and has a limited range.

15. Sale en S7

Infamous as the Mustang tuner and racer, the Saleen company was one of the major forces in cup racing in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. However, in the early 2000s, Steve Saleen decided to branch out and enter the supercar market with the S7 model.

It is a fast, good-looking and powerful exotic car featuring the latest technology and proven V8 power. The result was the 550 HP Saleen S7 they introduced in 2000. And it immediately drew the attention of the supercar crowd.

16. Ford GT40

Every Ford GT 40 was an utter surprise to the motoring world. But the first one they introduced in late 1965 was the biggest. Ford was always an economy manufacturer with a wide range of affordable cars and trucks. However, never has a company like that built a world-class supercar capable of beating all those European exotics.

In fact, it won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race four times in a row. But that is exactly what Ford did and what made the GT40 such a legendary and important car.

17. GMC Syclone

No one knows who came up with the idea to take a plebian Chevrolet S10 compact truck and turn it into Ferrari-killer. But GM took an ordinary S10 body shell and installed a 4.3-liter V6 engine with a turbocharger good for 280 HP. Next, they added a special four-speed automatic they sourced from a Corvette with a performance-based all-wheel drive.

The power figures don’t sound much these days, but the Syclone was able to sprint to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds, which made it faster than its contemporary Ferraris. The key was its low weight, small dimensions and lots of torque from that turbocharged engine.

18. Chevrolet SSR

In the middle of the mid-2000s retro craze, the Chevrolet development team came up with the crazy idea to produce a nostalgic two-seater convertible pickup with muscle car performance. The result was the SSR, a vehicle that looked unlike any other car on the market, but not necessarily in a good way. The 1950s-inspired design didn’t work well, so the SSR looked just plain odd.

Despite many efforts to make the SSR appealing to their intended audience, Chevrolet managed to sell just around 24,000 of these oddballs. However, it served as their painful realization they needed much more than a wild imagination to make the concept work.

19. Renault Avantime

Enjoying the success of the Espace minivan gave the Renault the chance to explore the concept. They wanted to try something new and interesting in the typical French way. So, they thought of a unique minivan coupe they named the Avantime, which they introduced in 2001. The Avantime was the answer to the question nobody asked, so it was received with mixed reviews.

It was also expensive and came with only the most powerful engines and a high level of standard equipment. Although the Avantime was a chic and interesting car, it failed to attract customers. So Renault discontinued the model after only two years, producing a little over 8,000 examples.

20. Ford F-150 Lightning

The Ford F-150 Lightning is a legendary truck. Although it wasn’t the first Ford limited edition truck, it was the best because it was extremely well executed. And all that made the first generation, which they sold from 1993 to 1995, a true automotive icon. The basic idea was to make a muscle truck using a regular F-150. Then they would transform it into a Lightning model with more power, better components, and an updated suspension.

Ford put a lot of effort into designing and producing the first-generation F-150 Lightning. First, there was the engine, a 5.8-liter V8 unit with GT40 heads and a special camshaft. Second, they added a lot of unique internals. The output was modest by today`s standards with 240 HP and 340 lb-ft of torque, but it was enough for a vivid performance.

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