Everyone knows that, in places like the United States and the Great White North, there are some very interesting vehicles that get sold. Sure, not all of them are native to either of those countries. Most of them are imported (or manufactured there as a satellite factory from a foreign company), but that doesn't change the reality of the oddity of some of these cars and vans and trucks.
That being said, as much as people might love to poke fun at the Nissan Leaf or the Smart Fortwo, or the Nissan Cube, or the Nissan Juke (Nissan has some very strange cars), Europe has, far and away, some of the strangest vehicles out in any market. It is pretty unreal just how bizarre some of these vehicles can be.
And I don't just mean one-off cars and trucks from brands that people have never heard of before. I'm talking about cars made by established companies like VW, Lamborghini, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, and more. Sure, there are some strange brands out there that the average State-side person has probably never heard of, but that just backs up just how strange some of these Euro cars can be. So, let's browse this car-ticle of oddities thanks to the weird and wonderful range of cars and trucks from Europe.
22 Volkswagen XL 1
Considering the look of this car and the fact that it arrived in 2014, I have to say that I expected something more than a machine that rides with the power of 47 diesel horses and 27 electric horses. Of course, the whole hybrid thing typically means that a car is less powerful right out of the gate. This thing tops out at only 99 miles per hour. While there were meant to be 250 of these built as a limited production run, there is no definite count as to how many were actually made.
21 Volkswagen Thing
What is this thing? That's exactly it. It's the VW Thing. To be fair, it was not originally known as that. It was first put out in Germany as the Kubelwagen. It was built for the military just before the 1970s and came to the States shortly thereafter, marketed as the VW Thing. I think it was because they just could not think of a good name for this strange, pretend Jeep. The car pretty much has nothing to it but that is not reflected in the price.
20 Tatra 603
Here is perhaps one of the least strange of all the cars on the list. It looks like it's meant to be a classic from the 1950s, and it was first produced in 1956. But this also continued as is in what was then Czechoslovakia until 1975. Talk about not moving with the times. Of course, any country that was a satellite state of the USSR wasn't going to move forward all that far. This car was mainly used for officials and race car drivers...somehow.
19 Smart Monster Truck
Alright, I already have quite a bit of distaste for the Smart cars of the world (I'll be totally honest) and while I want to dislike this car way more than I do, I have to say that I think this is probably among the coolest of the Smart cars. It is silly, don't get me wrong, but it is, at least, entertaining, that's for sure. I would love to rip around on the beach in this Smart Monster Truck. I don't know what they were thinking, but it seems fun nonetheless.
18 Rinspeed Squba
I know that this is meant to say "Scuba" but the fact that they call it the "Squba" instead is slightly annoying. Anyway, this is a fully electric car that is essentially a submersible Lotus Elise. So just imagine how much it must cost to be able to go a whole two miles per hour underwater...and only up to 75 mph on the road. Not to mention the chances of running out of battery power while underwater. Just waste money on a regular Elise and go swimming every once in a while.
17 Reliant Robin
This is one of the silliest cars in the world, as far as I'm concerned. There is a wonderful episode of Top Gear where Jeremy Clarkson basically makes sure to take every turn just a little sharply in order to flip or roll this ridiculously designed car. Somehow, this car managed to be produced from the early 1970s all the way up to 2002! It was probably because of its incredible ability to zoom from 0 to 60 miles per hour in only 14 seconds...
16 Peel P50
This car that has space for only one person and a very small bag of groceries actually managed to be sold at auction in 2016 for the ridiculous price of $176,000! That is nutty considering the fact that this car is only 54 inches long and 41 inches wide! I'm going to guess that the car sold at auction was the one that Jeremy Clarkson and company used on Top Gear. Otherwise, I have no idea why someone would spend that money on a quarter of a real car.
15 Mini Moke
One might be able to tell that this car was originally meant to be used as a military vehicle...but one might also be able to guess that, considering this thing looks like a glorified golf cart, that it never quite made it up to military standards. And for regular use, it's not exactly good in bad weather of any kind. No doors, no side or back windows, no hard top...but still over 50,000 people wanted one of these strange creatures.
14 Messerschmitt KR200
This car looks to me like it's meant to be a submarine. This wonderfully bizarre car is a monster with a roaring top speed of 56 mph and rides with the power of 9.9 horses. Now, that is something special! This three-wheeler only comes in at about 500 pounds, so it would be incredibly easy to move with a couple of people in order to prank someone. This is pretty well the reverse Reliant Robin when it comes to wheel balance. It's rear-wheel drive and can fit a passenger in front and the driver in the back...somehow.
13 Mercedes-Benz F015 Luxury In Motion
When it comes to pretty strange cars from Europe, I have to say that Mercedes-Benz really takes the cake, to some extent at least. This is a very bizarre car that makes me wonder how anyone sees whilst driving. Of course, this is more of a concept that is in the works for a future without drivers. I don't know how, but Mercedes intends this to be a mobile living space and it even comes equipped with four lounge chairs that can swivel about in the car.
12 Mercedes-AMG G 63 6x6
Alright, no matter how strange this thing ultimately is, I do have to say that it is pretty sweet. I mean, it's not often one sees Mercedes-Benz throw down a giant like this. If anyone has ever seen the episode of Top Gear where Richard Hammond takes one of these for a spin, that will put into perspective the sheer size of this monstrosity. With the power of 544 horses, this thing is no slouch. And its ability off the road is pretty incredible to behold.
11 Lancia Stratos HF Zero
There was something going on in 1970 that made everyone decide that spaceship-style cars were going to be the way of the future. Maybe they really thought the flying car was going to be the next big thing? Or maybe everyone dug back into some Scifi? Either way, both Lancia and Ferrari put out very spacey cars like this, the Stratos Zero Concept. This car didn't come with much power though. With only a V4 running with the power of 115 horses, this nutty car was in no way imposing.
10 Lamborghini LM002
So...Lambo decided to make their own version of the Hummer? That is a pretty strange thing. Especially since this actually predates the commercial Hummer by about six years. As wonderful as this V12-powered, off-roading vehicle might sound...it certainly does look pretty strange, and I'm guessing that most people would rather pay less for more space, or better off-road handling...or whatever. I mean, this "Rambo Lambo" did start at $120,000.
9 Heinkel Kabine
Does anyone remember the car that Cousin It drove in The Addams Family? If not, all everyone has to know is that it was pretty much this car. This car was pretty much exclusive to the 1950s in Germany. Considering that the manufacturer of this car helped build bombers in WWII, I feel as though he really wanted to pull back from anything even remotely imposing and came up with the least intimidating car that he could possibly think of.
8 Fiat Multipla
This is a very odd car and it makes me think that a 600 Multipla and a Chevy HHR got together, had an odd car baby, and that became the standard Fiat Multipla. I guess it has a saving grace that is the sheer amount of space afforded for storage in this otherwise tiny and ridiculous car. But this is certainly not an attractive car, at least in any physical sense, that is for sure. And in terms of weird cars, this one certainly takes the cake.
7 The Amphicar
This car from the 1960s was a car built in Germany that could hop from land to water and back again—in principle, at least. It did actually work in the water, just not with a world of power behind it, that's for sure. It could go at about seven knots on the water (that's about eight miles per hour). Not too thrilling, that's for sure. About 4,000 were sold but it was a pricey car because of its intended purpose, for sure.
6 Ferrari Pininfarina 512 S Modulo
Alright...I never knew that Ferrari built a spaceship. I mean, I know they have some pretty "out there" vehicles, but this 1970 Modulo is certainly something else. That's for sure. Somehow, solely based on the design of the car, this machine won over 20 awards, which just blows my mind. Sure, it's interesting, but I can't think of anyone who would want to drive this thing. Even with its 550 horsepower and V12 engine. The top 220 mph speed is inviting but...so strange.
5 Fiat 600 Multipla
Alright, to be fair, this is a rather old car, but that does not change the fact that it's pretty weird. Welcome to what is the 1957 Fiat 600 Multipla. This was pretty much the precursor to the VW bus, I think. It looks like they took the minibus and mixed it with a golf cart and that became the 600 Multipla. And it works about as well as a golf cart, too, with a top speed of only 59 mph (unless someone got the upgrade that allowed for a whopping 60 mph).
4 Citroen C4 Cactus
It's pretty sad when Walter White's Pontiac Aztek seems like a nicer SUV option than something else. And here we have the Citroen C4 Cactus. Perhaps the C4 is a suggestion of what to add to the car to make it better? This thing comes equipped with an interesting "safety" system whereby the company just slapped a bunch of plastic bumps on the doors in case of collision...wow. There are certainly some strange people out there with some strange car ideas.
3 Citroen 2CV
For some reason, I'm made to think about a clown car that comes in the shape of a VW Beetle. That is what this car immediately makes me think of. This Citroen 2CV was, at least, dirt cheap when it hit the market. Good thing, too, since this thing could only run with the power of nine horses. While that is more power than I have as a regular human being, this car still got the nickname "umbrella on wheels", which cannot be too inspiring.
2 BMW Isetta
Ok, I'm actually fairly certain that this was the car that Cousin It drove in The Addams Family. The way the door opens, the shape of the thing, the lack of any space to be available for someone else—this must be it. This car managed to get itself a top-selling rating...for the top-selling single-cylinder car. It has virtually no power but does manage to get 78 miles to the gallon, which is pretty impressive (and it was the first car to be able to make that mark).
1 BMW GINA Light Visionary Model
This is a very interesting car shape, to say the very least. That being said, though, however strange this car might be, BMW still had the presence of mind to make it cool, also. There are writers at Carophile who consider this to be one of the strangest cars in Europe and while it is of note, it is certainly not the weirdest by any stretch of the imagination. I think Ferrari has BMW beat by a few miles...In both speed and oddity.
Sources: Carophile, USNews, and Wikipedia