Top Five lists
By Jess Davidson, Special to Wheels.ca
Ever get the feeling (usually while stuck in a traffic jam) that you are floating in a sea of Honda Civics and Toyota Corollas? The overwhelming popularity of these cars makes it easy to forget that there are some truly unique and inventive wheels out there, and that some people actually drive them.
To remind you of the fun that can be had on the roads, or just to keep your mind occupied next time you’re stuck on the Gardiner, we revisit five quirky, zany, drool-worthy, or just plain weird cars that have been available to the driving public over the years:
1. The Amphicar While amphibious automobiles have been around since at least the turn of the 20th century, they gained in popularity after World War II, peaking in fame towards the middle of the century. The most well-known version of these vehicles was the Amphicar, which, after a few English Channel crossings (and the loss of one of these land-to-water cars to a ship in the Straits of Gibraltar) became something of a pop culture legend. As thousands of these cars flooded the consumer market (pun intended), many can still be found for sale today, typically in the area of $50,000.
2. The Fiat Jolly Another teeny-tiny inclusion on the list, the Jolly is as cute in stature as it is in name. With its wicker seats and ruffled canopy top, it’s no wonder this miniature mobile was meant to cater to yacht owners fond of the Mediterranean sun (Aristotle Onassis is said to have owned one). The only thing about this car that isn’t tiny is its price tag— if you can find one on the market today you should expect to shell out around $100,000.
3. The Tramontana XTR Described by the Spanish carmaker as “the extreme” model in their lineup, the XTR is a supercar for speed lovers who want to put some dynamo in their drive. With additional aerodynamic appendages said to optimize the vehicle’s performance at high speeds, and with its V-12 720/888 hp engine, this is a speed demon tough to rival on the road. Selling for more than half a million euros, owners never have to worry about confusing their car with someone else’s in the mall parking lot. Unless, of course, they’re parked at the Dubai Mall …
4. The Peel 50 This three-wheeled microcar carries the title of the Guinness Book of Records’ world’s smallest production car of all time. Originally produced on the Isle of Man in the 1960s, this city cruiser was advertised as just large enough for one person and a shopping bag, making even the modern Smart car seem like a Clydesdale by comparison. They had no reverse gear and were designed to be light enough to be turned around manually, ensuring that their owners got a little lifting in between errands. Original models come up for sale occasionally via auction sites or through collectors, recently selling in the range of $120,000-$150,000.
5. The Koenigsegg Trevita As exclusive as it gets, only three of these beauties were ever produced. Originally priced at a cool $2.21 million, this is one of the most expensive street-legal production cars ever released. While at least one of these cars was spotted in a Swiss underground parking garage in 2012, reportedly stowed there, unmoved, for at least a month, the chances that most of us will ever see one of these rare gems in real life is highly unlikely.
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