Messerschmitt KR200

24 Oddest Cars Ever Produced

Gearheads tend to smile and nod knowingly when we spot an unusual car. It’s something that doesn’t happen very often these days because weird cars are rarely sales magnets. Even if they do make it to production, they’re usually met with criticism.

Having said that, some odd vehicles on this list sold in the tens of thousands. You still won’t see them today unless you visit a car museum. Let’s look at 24 of the oddest cars ever produced.

We love them because even the bad ones represent someone creative and courageous enough to go against the tide. The best featured clever engineering and innovative tech that forever changed the automotive scenery.

Mitsuoka Le-Seyde

Mitsuoka Le-Seyde
Image Credit: Steve Glover/WikiCommons.

The Mitsuoka Le-Seyde looks weird, but dive a little deeper, and things become even stranger. It reminds us of some older kit cars, but there’s also something uniquely JDM about it. There’s a reason for that.

Mitsuoka based the Le-Seyde on an S13 generation Nissan Silvia – we bet you didn’t see that one coming. We’re not entirely sure whether it retains the S13’s excellent handling, but watching it get sideways around a racetrack would be hilarious.

Chevrolet SSR

Chevrolet SSR
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Chevrolet SSR is a retro-styled roadster sports truck or something along those lines. No one knows who Chevrolet tried to target when they came up with the idea because it doesn’t work as a truck, and it’s just as bad as a sports car.

You may think that the 5.3-liter V8 that delivered 300 horses would at least make it fun to drive, but you’d be wrong. It’s certainly an oddball, and as pointless as the SSR is, it’s still kind of fun.

BMW Isetta

1955 BMW Isetta
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The BMW Isetta provided Europeans with a compact city car. While the premise of the car was good, the Isetta was still very odd. BMW apparently made around 160,000 of these, so there was a market for them.

Far from a driver’s car, the Isetta offered a tiny single-cylinder engine mated to a 4-speed manual transmission. The top speed was just 53 mph, but considering the occupants are sitting right behind a flat glass front, even that is too fast.

Mini Moke

Mini Moke
Image Credit: Meister-Mini/WikiCommons.

The Mini Moke was a quirky car built by the British Motor Company. If you squint, it kind of resembles a Willys Jeep that shrunk in the car wash. Or it could be an oversized golf cart. Even the heaviest versions never weighed over 1,300 lbs.

The Mini Moke was in production for 29 years, and BMC built around 50,000 cars during that period.

2001 Renault Avantime

2002 Renault Avantime
Image Credit: Vauxford/WikiCommons.

The Renault Avantime is a sporty minivan – the perfect vehicle to bring the kids to school… except it only has three doors. At least it packed a serious punch, thanks to its 207 horsepower V6 engine.

The Avantime isn’t for everyone. It’s one of those vehicles you either love or hate. Most people weren’t fans because Renault only sold 8,000 units between 2001 and 2003.

Daihatsu Bee

Daihatsu Bee
Image Credit: NEXT-EXIT/WikiCommons.

Daihatsu introduced the Bee in 1951. It was the carmaker’s first passenger car built for the public. The three-wheeler certainly stood out from other vehicles on Japanese roads.

The Daihatsu Bee used a rear-mounted 18 horsepower 0.5-liter 2-cylinder engine to get around. We’re not the only ones who think the Bee is just too odd, as Daihatsu struggled to find buyers for it. Production ended after they’d built 300 cars.

Suzuki X-90

1996 Suzuki X-90
Image Credit: Rutger van der Maar/WikiCommons.

The Suzuki X-90 is one of the weirdest SUVs we’ve ever seen. It’s part subcompact, part sporty convertible, and part SUV. Mix them all together, and the result is not good.

The X-90 wasn’t practical; it lacked storage, it wasn’t sporty, it didn’t handle well, and with only 95 horsepower, it was slow as well. Suzuki has done exceptionally well with their other models, such as the Samurai, Jimny, and the Swift Sport, but the X90 completely missed the mark.

Vanguard-Sebring CitiCar

Vanguard-Sebring CitiCar
Image Credit: Daderot/WikiCommons.

The Vanguard-Sebring CitiCar was undoubtedly an odd creation. This polygon-shaped electric car beat the Tesla Cybertruck to the punch by several decades.

Vanguard built the CitiCar for two people, and a 36-volt power pack drove the 2.5-horsepower electric motor. Surprisingly, it managed to hit a top speed of roughly 28 mph.

Stout Scarab

1935-36 Stout Scarab
Image Credit: Michael Barera/WikiCommons.

William Bushnell Stout designed the Stout Scarab to maximize space so it could carry up to 6 passengers – like a minivan of sorts.

The Scarab used a Ford V8 engine that sent its power to the rear wheels. The body is long and streamlined, making the Scarab look like some kind of insect. It was a practical and innovative vehicle, but there’s no denying it’s more than a little odd.

2017 Karlmann King

2017 Karlmann King
Image Credit: Kevauto/WikiCommons.

The Karlmann King looks like the automotive version of the F-117 Nighthawk stealth bomber. It would be great if it were invisible to radars and speed cameras, but that isn’t the case. Then again, the King may have a 6.8-liter V10 that produces 400 horsepower, but it only manages a top speed of 87 mph, so avoiding speeding tickets should be easy.

The Karlmann King’s lack of speed is because of its excessive weight – a whopping 10,580 lbs. That’s what happens when you stuff an SUV full of things that belong in your house. It has a fridge, coffee machine, flat-screen TV, and a bunch of other stuff. That’s one way to justify its almost two-million-dollar price tag.

Leyat Helica

Leyat Helica
Image Credit: Liam Walker/WikiCommons.

In the early 1900s, automobiles and planes were new and exciting, so it was only a matter of time before someone combined the two.

Frenchman Marcel Leyat thought putting a giant propeller at the front of a car was a good idea. Not only was it an odd design, it was downright deadly in traffic. We can’t help but wonder why this creation failed to take off.

Clan Crusader

Clan Crusader
Image Credit: SG2012/WikiCommons.

The Clan Crusader had an unfortunate name, and its styling was also questionable. It did have some things going for it, though. Thanks to its revolutionary fiberglass monocoque chassis, it only weighed 1,356 lbs.

The engines were just 875cc and produced 51 hp, so even with it being lightweight, it wasn’t a rocket. It took 12 seconds to hit 60 mph.

1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt

1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt
Image Credit: Corvair Owner/WikiCommons.

The Chrysler Thunderbolt gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “built like a freight train.” We don’t know how solid it was, but it looked like a train.

The train-like shape wasn’t the only thing that made the Thunderbolt special. It featured hydraulically powered windows, and the doors and pop-up headlights were button-operated.

1959 Cadillac Cyclone

1959 Cadillac Cyclone
Image Credit: Yahya S./WikiCommons.

From a train-shaped car to one shaped like a rocket ship. The 1959 Cadillac Cyclone was built at the height of the space race, and aliens had apparently crashed in Roswell just a decade earlier. It’s safe to say that Cadillac was on to something here.

Thanks to its bubble canopy, the driver also had a 360-degree view of the road and surrounding traffic. However, the Cadillac Cyclone did come with a severe drawback. On a sunny day, occupants were cooked inside the car.

Amphicar 770 Convertible

1967 Amphicar 770 Convertible
Image Credit: Mecum Auctions.

The Amphicar was the perfect vehicle for car and boat enthusiasts on a budget. There was no need to pay for a spot at the marina. Owners didn’t even need a trailer. Just drive from the garage at home and into the nearest body of water.

Unfortunately, the Amphicar 770 wasn’t particularly good at either of its roles. It was indeed a better boat than a car, but even then, it didn’t steer particularly well.

Morgan 3-Wheeler

Morgan 3-Wheeler
Image Credit: Alexander Migl/WikiCommons.

The Brits love their three-wheelers, and the Morgan 3-Wheeler is arguably the best of the bunch. With a twin-cylinder motorcycle engine up front sending its power to the single rear wheel, it’s odd but cool.

The Morgan 3-Wheeler doesn’t take itself seriously, and we like that. It’s a fun car that’s guaranteed to put a smile on the driver’s face on a sunny day. On cold, rainy days, the story may be very different.

Messerschmitt KR200

Messerschmitt KR200
Image Credit: Gjermundsen/WikiCommons.

Messerschmitt is probably most famous for its WWII planes, but the company still needed to make some money after the Germans lost the war. Messerschmitt thought it was a good idea to start building cars.

The three-wheeled KR200 certainly looked strange, but that didn’t stop it from selling 40,000 units. A tiny 9.9 horsepower engine powered the KR200, and it hit a top speed of 56 mph.

Norman Timbs Special

Norman Timbs Special
Image Credit: MyClassicCarTV/Youtube.

There are no prizes for guessing that the 1947 Norman Timbs Special was built by a guy named Norman Timbs. The mechanical auto engineer was based in Los Angeles and had previously worked with the Tucker Corporation.

Norman spent more than three years perfecting the Special. He built the stylish, streamlined body from aluminum, and it didn’t have any doors. Sadly, the Norman Timbs Special was destroyed in the Malibu fires in 2018.

Chrysler (Ghia) Streamline X ‘Gilda’

Chrysler (Ghia) Streamline X 'Gilda'
Image Credit: el.guy08_11/WikiCommons.

The Streamline X ‘Gilda’ was built at the request of Chrysler executive Virgil Exner. Chrysler didn’t want to be known for boxy cars anymore, so this project was meant to show the world their true capabilities.

Gilda got its nickname from the 1946 movie starring Rita Hayworth, and it featured huge fins, a small cockpit, and a two-tone paint job. The designer may or may not have gotten his inspiration from a cartoon spaceship.

Reliant Robin

Reliant Robin
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Reliant Robin has endured decades of mockery in English pop culture, to the point that it’s affectionately referred to as the ‘Plastic Pig.’ The Reliant Robin was never as prone to tipping over as certain TV shows would have you believe, but we shouldn’t let facts get in the way of a good joke.

The Robin was produced for 30 years, so it was certainly popular. The Reliant Motor Company was even the second biggest UK-owned carmaker for some time.

Heinkel Kabine

Heinkel Kabine
Image Credit: Lothar Spurzem/WikiCommons.

It seems venturing down the automotive route was popular for German aircraft manufacturers. Heinkel was another company that dabbled in microcars. The Heinkel Kabine had a door on the front, just like the Isetta, but the driver could also get in through the top of the car.

The Kabine did have one feature that most other microcars could only dream about – a reverse gear.

Peel P50

The Peel P50
Image Credit: sv1ambo/WikiCommons.

The Peel P50 is in the 2010 Guinness Book of World Records as the smallest production car ever. The Peel Engineering Company, located on the Isle of Man, built this tiny three-wheeler from 1962 to 1965. They only built 50 cars during that time.

It wasn’t convenient in any way unless you’re very anti-social and want to avoid people. There wasn’t room for anything but the driver and one shopping bag.

Ferrari 512S Modulo

Ferrari 512S Modulo
Image Credit: Morio/WikiCommons.

The Ferrari 512S Modulo looks like it belongs in a cartoon. The wedge-shaped body is low, and a canopy-style glass roof slides forward to let the driver in or out.

With all the wheels partially covered, the car resembles a hovering spacecraft. Its V12 engine provides enough power to accelerate from 0 to 60 in 3 seconds, and it continues until it hits the 220 mph top speed.

1948 Tasco

1948 Tasco
Image Credit:
wojtek1425/Youtube.

Gordon Buehrig designed the American 1948 Tasco sports car. For some reason, it featured airplane-inspired controls. However, that wasn’t the only innovative thing about it.

The Tasco was the first car to come with a T-top roof. Since he owned the patent, Buehrig sued GM when they used the same design on their 1968 Chevy Corvette. The Tasco also had some weird wheel covers to reduce drag and increase the speed.

Andre Nalin

Author: Andre Nalin

Title: Writer

Bio:

Andre has worked as a writer and editor for multiple car and motorcycle publications over the last decade, but he has reverted to freelancing these days. He has accumulated a ton of seat time during his ridiculous road trips in highly unsuitable vehicles, and he’s built magazine-featured cars. He prefers it when his bikes and cars are fast and loud, but if he had to pick one, he’d go with loud.

Similar Posts