You are currently viewing Petrolhead Corner – Some of the Wildest Automotive Obscurities

Petrolhead Corner – Some of the Wildest Automotive Obscurities

The automotive world, very similar to the watch trade, is an ever-fascinating factor. Because the delivery of the automobile, numerous visionaries, dreamers, industrialists, opportunists and madmen have been concerned in shaping the trade into what it’s at the moment. However all through these 135 years for the reason that Benz Patent-Motorwagen, considered the primary manufacturing automobile ever, are all types of obscure concepts that will or might not have caught the creativeness of the general public. A nearly limitless “supply of inspiration” are one-offs, idea automobiles and {custom} creations, typically a person’s interpretation of the dream cellular. After which there are the possibility encounters resulting in some obscure creation. With that in thoughts, at the moment’s Petrolhead Nook goes above and past to collect a few of the automotive world’s most obscure autos ever made.

On this episode, you will note some actually wild creations, and we’ve acquired a lot extra in retailer for future instalments as nicely. As I stated, the historical past books are filled with these bizarre machines and thru the magic of the web, we will get pleasure from them as soon as extra. Even when the automobile in query is sort of 100 years outdated, if it has survived, the web would be the place to search out out about it.

A Jeep-Ferrari hybrid, or Jerrari?

To kick issues off, we check out maybe the earliest efficiency “SUV” ever made. This contraption is definitely a merger between a Jeep Wagoneer and a Ferrari 365 GT. It appears equal components mad and genius on the identical time, because the swooping Ferrari entrance appears completely aligned with the boxy Jeep Wagoneer’s physique.

The automobile is called the “Jerrari”, and it takes little creativeness how that happened. It was constructed for a on line casino boss and automobile collector by the identify of Invoice Harrah. The story goes considered one of his mechanics crashed the Ferrari 365 GT 2+2, which spared an concept to transform it right into a sensible station wagon and use four-wheel drive. He took the concept to Enzo Ferrari, who stated “no”. Not deterred by the rejection, Harrah purchased a brand-new Jeep Wagoneer and had the 2 automobiles moulded collectively.

This course of resulted in a V12 powered automobile, with a three-speed computerized transmission and drive to all wheels. In a while, the engine was changed with a Chevrolet V8 and the automobile was painted darkish inexperienced as an alternative of the unique white. One of many quirky little particulars is the {custom} badge on the Ferrari-nose, with a picture of Eugene the Jeep, a Popeye comedian guide character.

It was not too long ago listed on the market after a full restoration, nonetheless fitted with that Chevy-V8. has extra particulars on this peculiar automobile.

Stout Scarab

The Stout Scarab might be a bit higher recognized amongst fans around the globe however continues to be a really particular machine. It’s the product of William Stout’s imaginative and prescient for a sensible, on a regular basis automobile. William Stout was an aeronautical engineer with a reasonably spectacular resume. His improvements included an internally braced wing, for extra rigidity, and to make use of metals for the outside of a aircraft as an alternative of material stretched over a wooden body. This additionally places it into perspective what period we’re speaking about, because the Stout Scarab was constructed within the early Nineteen Thirties.

The concept was to construct a sensible car with loads of room and make use of intelligent options. This included a really aerodynamic physique to cut back drag and an at-the-time unconventional rear-mounted Ford V8. Drive went to the rear wheels solely, eliminating a protracted, intrusive draft shaft operating beneath the chassis. The consequence was a flat ground plan and an impressively spacious inside.

A complete of 9 automobiles have been constructed earlier than the conflict, at worth 3 times increased than standard commonplace manufacturing automobiles. Shortly after the conflict one other prototype was constructed across the identical rules however utilizing the world’s first fibreglass physique, as an alternative of a metallic one. This by no means made it into manufacturing and the story for the Stout Scarab ends there. This was a kind of events the place a automobile’s design and know-how was just too far forward of its time to turn into an actual success.

Extra particulars might be discovered on and

Norman E. Timbs Buick Streamliner Particular

This beautiful wanting 5.4-meter-long automobile is called the Norman E. Timbs Buick Streamliner Particular and is a real custom-built one-off, accomplished in 1948. The story of this automobile is outstanding, primarily as a result of truth it was constructed by hand by one man, in his personal storage.

Norman E. Timbs, the person answerable for this machine, was an automotive engineer working in Indy 500 racing within the Nineteen Thirties and Forties. Impressed by the streamlined velocity data automobiles by Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz, Mr Timbs set off to create his personal instantly after the Second World Conflict. Beginning with sketching and constructing scale fashions, he finally made a full-scale wood mannequin. This was used to create an aluminium physique, all made by hand by the person himself.

The lengthy swooping physique hides a {custom} chassis and a Buick Straight-8 engine, which is mounted within the rear. The physique is seemingly made of 1 piece, however in actuality, the again part opens up on hydraulic hinges to disclose the engine, fuel tank and spare tire. The cabin is kind of small however spacious sufficient for 2 folks. A step within the fender helps you get out and in, as there aren’t any doorways.

Altering possession a number of instances, it will definitely acquired misplaced solely to show up deserted at a junkyard in California a long time later. Apparently, it featured within the remake of the Gone in 60 Seconds film in 2000 (starring Nicolas Cage). Automotive collector Gary Cerveny shelled out USD 17 million for it at public sale and commenced to completely restore it shortly after. The work was accomplished in 2010, and ever for the reason that automobile made common appearances at automobile reveals and concours. Sadly, the automobile fell sufferer to California wildfires in 2018 and burned to the bottom together with about thirty different automobiles, however phrase has it, will probably be rebuilt as soon as extra.

It featured on this 2014 episode of MyClassicCarTV on YouTube alongside a 1954-55 Hudson Italia;

Extra particulars might be discovered on

Toyota Sera

One of many strangest automobiles ever made by Toyota is with out a shadow of a doubt the Sera. This little coupé-like hatchback outshines creations just like the Toyota FJ Cruiser, Previa, Mirai and even the Scion sub-brand. The explanation? Two giant butterfly-style doorways, that allegedly impressed Gordon Murray for the design of the McLaren F1. So sure, a Toyota is not directly answerable for that dramatic look of one of many best supercars ever made.

The Toyota Sera was constructed between 1990 and 1996 with a complete manufacturing run of near 16,000 automobiles. It was offered solely in Japan however folks have imported them in Europe, the US and different locations as nicely. In addition to the very cool, however fairly impractical doorways, the remainder of the automobile is reasonably bland, to be trustworthy. The engine comes from the Toyota Paseo and Starlet and is a 1.5 litre inline-4, which produces somewhat over 100 horsepower. The automobile has a surprisingly low weight of 930 kilo’s, which is sudden given the complicated and heavy door-and-roof construction.

The Toyota Sera was a automobile produced in a time period the place extra bizarre and wacky stuff was made in Japan, such because the Autozam AZ-1 with Gullwing doorways or the Subaru SVX, one other automobile with a bizarre glass roof construction (no butterfly doorways although).


Final in line is without doubt one of the absolute best and wackiest machines ever made, the 1932 Helicron prototype. It’s a actual one-off, in-built France and was misplaced for many years earlier than turning up in a barn within the yr 2000. Since then it has been totally restored and now resides within the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. It really handed inspection in 2000 when rebuilt, and is road-legal in keeping with French regulation.

The open-wheeled automobile appears very very similar to an early aeroplane that has misplaced its wings. With that large, uncovered propeller between the entrance wheels, I can’t even start to clarify all of the issues I’ve in hypothetically driving such a contraption. Are you able to think about operating into one thing, or worse, an animal or individual?

Anyway, the Helicron actually breaks with any type of standard automobile making. With an inverted chassis, steering was carried out on the rear (ever pushed a fork-lift?). It had no throttle pedal, however a lever akin to 1 you’d discover on a ship. The front-mounted propeller was initially pushed by a two-cylinder engine, however since that has been misplaced over time it now has a Citroën flat-four engine. With that new engine, the automobile apparently has a high velocity of 121mph (195kph) which sounds completely nuts in a factor like this.

Jason Torchinsky, from Jalopnik, has pushed this loopy contraption a few years in the past;