The history of automotive design is littered with bold attempts to create vehicles so different in how they look and how they work that they render obsolete everything that’s come before. The most daring of these are usually concept cars, which aren’t limited by practicality or government regulations and can therefore allow automakers to really push the limits. For its latest exhibit, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta has assembled 17 of the most beautiful, hideous, and strange automotive concepts ever dreamed up by man, from a 1934 Bugatti prototype up to an early iteration of the Porsche 918 Hybrid super car. What happens when creators balance aesthetics, functionality, and their personal vision of the future is one reason we love cars. That’s especially true when the results leave us wondering, “How could anyone think this was a good idea?”
1942 Oeuf Electrique
Paul Arzens (1903–1990) was a French industrial designer of railway locomotives and motor cars. Arzens was born in Paris, at an address along the Boulevard des Batignolles on the northern side of the city. As a young man he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts and soon gained recognition as a talented artist able at this stage, unusually, to live reasonably well on the sales proceeds from his paintings. This gave him enough time to pursue other interests in the realms of engineering and design. As his life progressed he accumulated a large collection of his own paintings and gained a reputation for an acute reluctance to sell any.
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