For every amazing car ever produced, there are countless concepts that, for various reasons, never saw the light of day. These 10 are all mid-engined supercars from the 1960s and '70s that certainly should have made it to the road. Some came close, but ultimately were fated for a life confined to the history books.
1. Ford Mustang I
In the years leading up to the Mustang that took the country by storm, Ford toyed with the idea of a mid-rear engined sports car to clobber Corvette. When racing legend Dan Gurney got behind the wheel at Watkins Glen, he was only marginally off the pace of a Formula One car. Just two prototypes were made before Ford made the call for a more practical car. Damn.
2. Ford GT40 Road Car
These blueprints are Ford drawings done to determine differences between the street and race versions of the GT40 in the event of actual production. Overlay them on a 1963 street prototype with clear Mustang I elements, and a proper GT40 racer, and you can see the evolution. This would’ve been the ultimate American supercar.
Cool points: note the fedora vs. helmet.
3. XP-819 Corvette
Had that Ford GT come into existence, it could’ve had company in the form of this rear engined* Corvette. However, this particular model never made it—though GM made several other rear-engined prototypes in the '70s. Rumors have been ebbing and flowing about a mid-engined Corvette coming to fruition for 50 years now, never more so than the present.
*Technically, this one's rear-engined, not mid, but the mid-engined cars that followed were essentially evolutions of this concept.
4. Toyota EX7
How futuristic is this? The EX7 was meant to be a 450 hp V8-having, forward looking homage to the Toyota 7 CanAm race car. Over four decades later, it still looks like a car Lamborghini would produce today. Only with crazier doors than any Lambo’s most lurid dreams.
5. Jaguar XJ13
Considered by some to be the single most beautiful car never made, the XJ13 was Jaguar’s attempt to reconquer LeMans. Also, Jaguar’s V12 is derived from the engine built for this car. The car’s only real fault was that it took so long to design that by the time it was done, the GT40s were untouchable. The project was scrapped as a result.
6. Ferrari Tre Posti
There was a time when Enzo Ferrari was dead set against putting the engine behind the driver in a street car because he considered mid-rear engined cars to dangerous for non-race car drivers. Pininfarina built this car to persuade him otherwise. Eventually, Ferrari came around to the idea. The Dino was based on this car as well, and the interior was completely off the wall, with its three-seat, center steering wheel layout.
7. AMC AMX/3
Giotto Bizzarrini worked on the chassis of some of the world’s most vaunted cars, including the Ferrari 250. When AMC noted the wild success of its AMX/3 concept lines, it brought in Bizzarrini to make a working prototype. By all accounts it was so blisteringly quick and so solidly built that it was green lit for production. Costs then skyrocketed, and just five rolled off the line before the program was shuttered.
8. Mazda RX-500
Remember that time when Mazda made a car that was equal parts rocket ship and exotic Italian supercar? Of course you don't. The car was actually a road safety testbed, with multicolor lights to let those around you know if you were accelerating, braking, or just driving along. As if anyone's not going to notice something like this driving down the street.
9. Mercedes C-111
Mercedes built the C-111 as a series of research and development cars. At first, it ran a rotary engine in back, then diesels. It was fast—185 mph fast—and it was gorgeous. It just wasn’t ever for sale.
10. Alfa Romeo Iguana
Under the skin, this is really an Alfa Romeo Tipo 33—a car which has its own spot right by the automotive pearly gates. The Iguana eventually did metaphorically shed that skin to produce a street version concept, and designer Giorgetto Guigiaro used a highly angular shape and brushed steel body that you might recognize from one of his later cars, the DeLorean.