America has been producing cars for well over a century. The mass production of the automobile started in this country, with Henry Ford spearheading one of the most successful ventures in business history. Couple that with the experience that GM, Chrysler, and other manufacturers have brought to the table, and you would think that most cars produced in America would be highly refined and less flawed compared to other countries, save for a couple of German machines.

But that’s not entirely the case. Especially in the past, American car manufacturers loved to experiment with crazy designs and weird new features they believed to be innovative. To give credit where credit is due, without the following 10 weird cars, the industry probably wouldn't have been where it is today. Yet, looking back at some of their features is sure to make anyone burst out laughing.

10 1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt – Train-like Shape

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Looking at the 1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt from the front, it is almost impossible to see the tires. That’s because of its streamlined frame. That shape was designed on purpose since the Thunderbolt was supposed to take the shape of a train.

RELATED: 10 Things We Just Learned About Chrysler And Its Cars


The uniqueness of the Thunderbolt was not limited to the frame alone. It had windows powered by a hydraulic motor, which was something incredibly rare for a car built in the early 1940s. On top of that, the car also had button-operated pop-open headlights and doors that were also operated by a button.

9 1980 AMC Eagle – Crossover Looks

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The 1980 AMC Eagle has been described by many as a strange hybrid of a car. The car was graced with wood panels which were quite popular in the ‘80s. However, the marque had a more modern appearance.

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The most interesting bit of the Eagle was how it looked like a crossover before crossovers had become a thing. It had a lifted suspension and four-wheel drive. This was done in an attempt to woo buyers who were interested in off-roading but didn’t want to drive something rugged-looking like the Jeep. Sadly, the concept was way ahead of its time.

8 1948 Tucker Torpedo – Swiveling Headlights

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The 1948 Tucker Torpedo was a rather conventional-looking car for anything built in the ’40s. However, compared to other productions, it was one of the most innovative.

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Many of the unique features that the Torpedo bragged about are the standard safety features we find in cars today. The center headlight, for instance, swiveled with the steering wheel, giving the driver better vision at night. The marque also boasted of a full-perimeter frame and a roll bar that was placed in the car to protect the driver and passengers in case of a crash. It was also the first car to incorporate a padded dashboard and instrument pad.

7 1956 Buick Centurion – Bubble Top

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The 1956 Buick Centurion was a rather unique ride, mostly thanks to its very distinct styling. It had a red and white fiberglass body with a bubble top. Its exterior airplane-like looks were further amplified in the interior. However, thanks to the bubble top, no rearview mirror was necessary for this marque.

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To overcome this rather odd problem, the designers at Buick fitted the Centurion with a backup camera. Back in the ‘50s, this was an odd inclusion to a car. However, despite looking revolutionary, the backup camera was never actually tested to know whether it functioned.

6 1982 Dodge Rampage – Flatbed half

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The 1982 Dodge Rampage had a very short production run. It had a very weird flatbed half that and few got to understand why the designers at Dodge thought it would be appealing to the average buyer. Somehow, this atrocity remained in production for two years between 1982 and 1984.

RELATED: Here's How Much A 1982 Dodge Rampage Costs Today


Yet, naturally, the car never turned out to be successful. Much fewer were sold than Dodge expected. However, in a move of resilience, Dodge brought their weird creation back to life in 2006. This was at the Chicago Auto Show where they displayed a concept.

5 1935 Stout Scarab – First Minivan

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The minivan is not a rare sight on American roads. You can hardly go over a mile without passing one or being passed by one. However, the journey to get to this nationwide acceptance was not easy.

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The history of the minivan dates back to 1935 when the Stout Scarab was launched. It was a rear-wheel-drive rear-engine mini-van that could accommodate six people. The exterior styling provided plenty of space for the six occupants, which solidified the general design language of the minivan moving forward. In addition to carrying this much space, the Stout Scarab came equipped with a card table and wicker headliner.

4 1953 General Motors Firebird 1 XP-21 – Turbine Powered

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The 1953 General Motors Firebird 1 XP-21 was a groundbreaking machine. It was one of the few

turbine-powered cars of the ‘50s. The designers were also going for a unique design, trying to pen a car that looked a lot like a jet fighter.

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The XP-21 did end up looking a lot like a jet fighter. But that doesn’t mean that the attributes that make a good jetfighter make a good car. The XP-21 was rear-wheel-drive with a 370-hp Whirlfire Turbo-Power engine releasing hot exhaust at the rear. Despite being a very interesting concept, it never caught on.

3 1959 Cadillac Cyclone – Rocket Ship Design

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The 1959 Cadillac Cyclone was also a very wild design. The aesthetics were intended to mimic a rocketship. But surprisingly, the Cyclone still had a lot of advantages over other cars that were being sold in the‘50s.


The 1959 Cadillac Cyclone donned a bubble canopy with the driver having a 360-degree view of other cars that were on the road. The downside to this “panoramic” view was that the driver could get bombarded by the sun constantly, especially over summer. The car’s doors also slid down to the side instead of swinging outward as they do in conventional cars.

2 Daimler SP250 – Fish-Like Front Fascia

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This was one of the rarest cars on American roads, despite being produced in America. That’s because only 2645 examples were ever made. Under the hood, the Daimler SP250 ran on a 2.5-liter V8 with 140 hp.

RELATED: Daimler Recalls Thousands Of Vehicles By Order Of German Government

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That engine allowed the rather unattractive Daimler SP250 to pack a ton of torque that could accelerate the SP250 from 0-60 mph in just 9.5 seconds. The marque could hit a top speed of 125 mph. Despite trying to look very exclusive, the looks of the Daimler SP250 were termed rather absurd. The front fascia resembled a huge fish with the grill making the car look like it had a broken jaw.

1 1974 Vanguard-Sebring CitiCar – First Modern Electric Car

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The 1974 Vanguard Sebring CitiCar was more than a weird car. It was the first electric car ever produced in the U.S. Yes, the CitiCar was an impressive piece of engineering. It packed a battery pack and an electric motor that gave it the mobility it needed to move around the city. However, while doing this, the marque didn’t pay much consideration to safety.

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Via-Charlotte Sun Newspapers

Apart from not guaranteeing a safe drive around town, the Sebring CitiCar also had a laughable power output of 3.5 hp. That was too small for even a scooter. However, for an electric car launched at the time, it had an impressive range of 40 miles.

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