Let’s face it – concept cars are the cars we all want. These are the custom made vehicles, with all of the coolest gadgets, the most futuristic designs, and often the heftiest price tags. Unfortunately, many never make it to the production stage, and so they disappear with the concept model, never to be seen by the public or driven again, but relegated to a showroom or a museum for the rest of its days.
And while the current Dodge lineup, available now at the Dodge Miami, FL dealer near you, is undeniably impressive, it’s some of Dodge’s most impressive concept vehicles that really reaffirm our love of this premium brand.
Here are some of the coolest Dodge concept cars we’ve ever seen, in no particular order. Who knows – maybe you’ve seen one too.
This beach-ready beauty, first released in 2003, takes its styling cues from the classic wood-paneled station wagons popular among surfers in the 1960s. This minivan came in a Pacific Blue exterior with three rows of flexible, storage-ready seats to fit all your best beach gear. Standard roof racks perfect for hauling surfboards, complement the surfer style, while its 2.4L turbocharged engine could pump out an impressive 215 horsepower for a surprising level of pickup on such a fun vehicle.
Built to be nothing more than a cheaper, stripped version of the popular Dodge Viper, the Copperhead concept model actually impressed everyone with its unique aerodynamic design that still managed to retain most of the muscular styling that made the Viper so attractive. Originally debuted in 2000, this model came in a vivid Copper Fire Orange color that’s exceedingly eye-catching.
Because the Copperhead was never meant to push out the same kind of raw power as the Viper, Dodge designed this model to be much more centered around a pleasurable driving experience. Its low, wide stance gave the Copperhead excellent handling, while a stiff suspension and raised wheelbase gave the driver a firm feeling of the road under the tires.
Sports cars and electric vehicles rarely mix. When they do, however, the results can be pretty amazing.
Enter the Dodge ZEO – or Zero Emission Operation – electric vehicle, a 2008 concept from Dodge that reimagined what an electric vehicle could look like, and what it could be in general. Boasting a 64 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack “capable of at least 250 miles,” the ZEO can push out an estimated 268 horsepower and go from zero to 60 in less than six seconds – and that’s all without using a drop of gas.
The ZEO featured some pretty cool architecture too, including the three-dimensional “scissor” style doors, as well as a windshield that stretches almost to the rear to give passengers a wide sky view. For a tech heavy, muscular, future-forward concept car, we haven’t seen any more impressive than the Dodge ZEO.
Dodge T-Rex 6X6
Back in 1996, the world wanted big trucks – and Dodge, in classic fashion, met that desire in the most powerful way possible. Boasting an amazingly powerful driver-set six-wheel drive – spread between the front and double back axles – as well as driver-selectable suspension settings, this massive truck is capable of pushing out almost 500 horsepower, and over 600 lb.-ft of torque. It’s called the T-Rex for a reason – and not just because it can probably measure its fuel economy in “T-Rexs per mile.”
You may have noticed that Dodge doesn’t fool around when it comes to naming their vehicles, with plenty of tough “T-Rexs” and “Rams” and “Vipers” that both broadcast a certain image and represent the toughness of Dodge vehicles. The Demon concept is no different – a hellish little roadster with the power to compete with sporty foreign convertibles.
Boasting a scrappy 2.4L I4 engine with enough power to pump out 172 horsepower and 165 lb.-ft of torque, this drop-top two-seater has enough power to get you just about anywhere – and excellent handling to make the drive a pleasure. First debuted in 2009, this nimble concept was actually designed to be an attainable luxury car, and, as a result, the low cost of construction and design means that Dodge could feasibly produce this model in the future.
Sometimes, the best results come from the most unlikely combinations.
That’s the story of the Dodge Diamante, a Mopar-customized Challenger concept from 1970 that Mopar Magazine once called the “Most Valuable Mopar on the Planet,” came about. Born for greatness, this model started as the most highly-optioned Dodge Challenger ever built, a triple-black model boasting the first ever Hemi E-Body frame ever built.
Strangely enough, this model had a few runs as a concept car, first being outfitted with a shaker hood and an orange paint job and debuted at car shows during 1970 under the name “Yellow Jacket.” This made a minor splash for its accessories, but after months of touring the orange paint began to show noticeable defects and the car was repainted a sparkly white, updated with a longer nose and scooped hood, and re-shown in 1971 as the Diamante, which is Spanish for “diamond.”
Although highly popular for several years on the touring circuit, damage from shipping and a botched paint job eventually led to the Diamante being lost in the shuffle for several years before bing recovered and refinished to its former glory by a private collector.
Few Dodge concepts inspire as much fascination in the eyes of car lovers as the Dodge Deora.
Built by custom car masters Mike and Larry Alexander, this modified Dodge A-100 pickup boldly defies the conventions of car styling. Chopped and sectioned into a futuristic looking cab with a unique front-entry swinging single door built from the back hatch of a Ford station wagon, this impressive concept made a bold and popular showing in the 1967 Detroit Autorama, earning it nine awards including the prestigious Ridler award for custom concepts.
The name, a butchered form of the Spanish word for “gold,” stems from the Deora’s brilliant golden color. Highly popular with enthusiasts of every size, the Deora also made an exceptionally popular Hot Wheels car model after its initial debut.
To be fair, one of the most impressive concept vehicles on this list comes with two caveats:
1) It would never actually be a street-legal vehicle, and
2) It’s a motorcycle.
This, of course, is the Dodge Tomahawk concept, and Art Deco-inspired mega-machine with a no-nonsense 8.3-liter, 500 horsepower V10 SRT10 engine – essentially, a Dodge Viper engine on a motorcycle body.
Dodge originally said the Tomahawk would be able to reach 400 mph but, in reality, this one-of-a-kind creation (dubbed by Dodge as more of an “automotive sculpture” than an actual, functional motorcycle) has never actually been performance tested. But, considering its beautiful aluminum styling with blocky, mechanical forms to accentuate its inner power, it’s no surprise Dodge didn’t want to risk damaging this beautiful machine.
Dodge is no stranger to making excellent automobiles, as witnessed by the excellent 2016 lineup that’s now available. These concept vehicles, however, are something special, and they show the true capabilities of this impressive brand when given the opportunity to play around a little. These are the Dodge concepts that most excited us, and we hope to see more like it in the future.