Six manufacturers have designed concept cars for the Design Challenge at the Los Angeles Auto Show
2 November 2011

Retractable wheels, flying cars and stealth mode invisibility all feature among six futuristic concepts created by top car designers from Honda, Subaru, Smart, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and Maybach.

The six manufacturers have all come up with ideas for Hollywood’s Hottest New Movie Car, which is the theme for the eighth annual Design Challenge at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

See all the pictures from the LA Auto Show's Design Challenge

The judging panel for the competition includes Jay Shuster, art director for Pixar Animation Studios, and one of the team behind recent cinematic hits Cars and Cars 2.

The cat-friendly Subaru Horizon

Ever wondered what would happen if the world stopped turning, an essential power-generating fuel ran out and a team of four – including a cat – were required to rescue humanity? Well, Subaru has – and it’s resulted in the practical, four-seater Horizon, a car that can seemingly withstand whatever a future dystopia has to throw at it.

F1-inspired Mercedes Silver Arrow

The Mercedes Silver Arrow has a slightly more conventional design, but features what its creators call “a diagonally configured, hub-less roller track for ‘Omni-Directional’ manoeuvring”. It is inspired by the company’s F1 race heritage, including such cars as the Mercedes-Benz W125 series, a Silberpfeil racecar of the late 1930s and the Uhlenhaut SLR from the 50s.

Remotely operated Maybach Berline

A reinterpretation of the historic Berline Carriage, the Maybach concept takes inspiration from the Cinderella fairy tale. It is based on a GL-class footprint, which features electric or fuel-cell propulsion. It’s also operated remotely via satellite by the Maybach Virtual Chauffeur Centre. The passengers are seated in a face-to-face seating layout, with a ‘Royal Lounge’ on one side and two single seats on the other. The interior and exterior are comprised of sustainable materials like wood. Large gullwing doors with oversized privacy glass open wide for entry via retractable stairs.

Flying Smart 341 Parkour

Smart’s 341 Parkour can fly and climb the walls of skyscrapers – perfect when parking is at a premium. A large greenhouse offers 360 degrees of visibility. The wheels are retractable and contain impulse pads and vacuum cups. The Smart has different modes: a typical drive mode, a fly mode that allows the vehicle to hover far above the streets and a climb mode that allows the vehicle to run up the walls of skyscrapers.

See all the pictures from the LA Auto Show's Design Challenge

Hyundai Stratus Sprinter MPV

The Stratus Sprinter MPV can travel any road due to its high ground clearance and has light combat capabilities. It can both be rendered invisible in daylight, and is used in conjunction with an airship known as the DB Atlant.

Honda IH

Perhaps the wackiest of all though, is the equine-inspired IH (Intelligent Horse). Designers say the concept “combines both the character and simplicity of a horse with the latest structural, safety and technological innovation.” We say bonkers, blade-wheeled Ariel Atom lookalike and perfect for a 25th century John Wayne.

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