If you follow the auto industry even casually, the decisions of automakers are generally very predictable. Sometime though, car companies build things that seem to appear out of nowhere. These cars were truly shocking.
Kia's made its intentions of heading upmarket apparent for sometime, but we didn't expect it to try and beat BMW and Audi at their own game. And yet, we have the Stinger a lovely sports sedan from the most unlikely of places.
In its quest to beat BMW M and Mercedes-AMG, Cadillac making a fast sedan wasn't much of a surprise. But a fast wagon? Especially one available with a stick? The CTS-V Wagon is a truly wonderful oddity.
Even six years after it debuted, the Lexus LFA feels like a happy accident. Why would rational, pragmatic Toyota spend ridiculous amounts of money and time developing a carbon fiber V10 supercar? How did the same people that make the most geriatric cars known to man create something so scintillatingly brilliant? A moment of total, wonderful insanity.
Honda in the late 1980s was familiar with making sporty cars and F1 engines, but no one thought it would try to beat a Ferrari road car at its own game. Not only did Honda build the NSX, it was so great it made Maranello up its own game.
Why did Lamborghini of all companies beat Hummer to building a military truck for average civilians? It's not entirely clear, but Lamborghini decided selling this thing to the public was a good idea for some reason. Oh yeah, it has the same engine as a Countach. No big deal.
By 2007, Audis dominance of Le Mans was a regular occurrence, but its road car lineup was quite a bit more pragmatic and frankly, boring. Suddenly, the R8 appeared on the scene and changed all of that. It was a world-class sports car from a company no one thought could build such a thing.
Today, SUVs from sports car manufacturers are incredibly common, but in 2004? The Porsche Cayenne was unthinkable. Purists cried foul, but the Cayenne was a runaway sales success and gave Porsche the freedom to invest in absurd cars like the Carrera GT and in Le Mans racing.
Subaru's always made slightly offbeat cars, but the SVX stands out more than anything else its built. A product of the Japanese economic bubble of the late-1980s, the SVX was a Giugario-designed luxury grand tourer that cost nearly $40,000: An odd car from the people who sold the Loyale. Unsuprisingly, it didn't sell well.
It's en vogue for automakers to show off future "mobility" concepts at auto shows, just to show how forward thinking they are, but it's rare that anyone actually puts them into production. BMW, of all people, went ahead and built the i3, keeping its concept car looks intact.
How did a small California Mustang tuner build a tube-framed 200-mph supercar? The Saleen S7's origins are , but we're just happy it exists.
When Henry Ford II set out to beat Enzo Ferrari at his own game, no one thought he'd actually do it. The GT40 accomplished its intended mission and became one of the greatest legends in automotive history.