The 30 greatest concept cars ever

Ford Nucleon

It sounds like a nuclear experiment, and funnily enough, that's exactly what the Ford Nucleon was. Although it was just a scale model, Ford wanted to show that you could in theory, based on scientific knowledge at the time, power a car with steam and uranium fission.

Ignoring the safety issues of crashing in a mobile nuclear bomb, the Ford Nucleon wasn't such a mad idea given that nuclear power is relatively clean – well, except for the glowing green waste. Probably why Bethesda designers decided to include the car in the nuclear-scarred landscapes of Fallout 3.

Buick Y-job

What list of the best concept cars ever would be complete without the first? The Buick Y-Job – which sounds a bit sordid if you ask us – was unveiled in 1938, complete with electric windows and headlamps that could hide away. We're talking revolutionary stuff at the time.

Because experimental cars were called 'X', designer Harley J. Earl decided to go one letter along in the alphabet, partly because he could do what he wanted but mainly because the term 'Y' pops up in the most advanced aviation prototypes, technically making it more badass.

Holden Monaro Coupe 60

While most car companies strive for efficiency, Aussie manufacturer Holden (known as Vauxhall in the UK, folks) likes to adopt the American Mantra of big engine, big smiles. Continuing the trend is the Holden Monaro Coupe 60. Built to celebrate sixty years of production, the Monaro Coupe 60 comes equipped with a monstrous V8, brutish looks and the ability to spend all of its time going sideways, thanks to all that rear-wheel drive torque. What's not to like – except the tyre replacement costs?

Peugeot Onyx

Peugeot often makes supercar concepts, but we've never seen the French manufacturer actually make one we could all buy. But our hopes are high the Onyx makes it to the production phases – because it looks so sharp it could cut you in half.

A carbon fibre shell with a split paintjob surrounds a 3.7-litre V8 hybrid. Ignoring how dull the word hybrid sounds, this French missile developers 600bhp and it only weighs 1,100kg. That works out at 2kg of weight for every horse power. Imagine a horse dragging two bags of sugar. As you can imagine, it should leave your mate's Citroen Saxo behind in a cloud of, erm, hybrid smoke.

Aston Martin AMV 10

Aston Martin doesn't have a V10 engine to strap to its much-desired cars, but if it did, we are ever hopeful the AMV 10 would be the first car to showcase it. Because, let's face it, it's clearly a work of art. Whereas most offerings from the prestigious brand have indicate sophistication and power, the AMV 10 looks positively terrifying – like it would laugh as it wrapped you around a tree at 180mph.

Aston Martin's One-77, so-called that because it's only making 77 of the $1million car, may offer the same rear lights and a roaring V12, but it looks much less tame. Not that we would turn one down.