Here Are The Failed Startups You Thought Were Most Audacious

Here Are The Failed Startups You Thought Were Most Audacious

Starry-eyed dreamers are forever putting together new car companies. A lot of the past attempts at automaker startups turned out to be failed experiments. Others limped along for years before ultimately dying. Some are still attempting to do business, their fates uncertain.

To me, one that’s in limbo is Lordstown Motors. We’ve been told the Endurance is still coming, but it may well end up being one of the startups that vanishes without a trace.

We asked readers which startups were most audacious — the ones that launched with bold promises and rarely, if ever, delivered. Here are their answers.

Welcome back to Answers of the Day, our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best responses to the previous Question of the Day and shine them up to show off. It’s by you and for you, Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!


Image: GM Archives

depends on what you mean by audacious, and startup…

For my take it’s Saturn. Not just another add-on division like SRT or Scion, no this was meant to change how GM did business. An experiment within the corporate machine. Instead they became just another division, with no unique elements compared to other GM brands, and was ultimately phased out because it wasn’t worth keeping a “also run brand” post-bankruptcy…

Suggested by: RoadToad


Screenshot: Youtube

Treser, when they tried to become a car manufacturer with the TR1 and the german media were so ecstatic about it they made us believe it would be a new challenger for Porsche. Well, it didn’t go as expected, which is why most of you probably never heard about it (it would make a great story for Torchinsky’s column).

Suggested by: Chrestéph Schobine


Image: Youtube Gooding & Company, Other

Tucker is always worth a Mention. 50 Cars

Suggested by: Bob


Image: Elio Motors

Elio. I mean, there’s two promises right there at the top of the still active website!

Suggested by: Skipp


Image: Fisker

In my lifetime, I’d say Fisker.

Suggested by: @IAmGroott (Twitter)


Image: Aptera Motors

I was going to say Aptera Motors, but dang if they ain’t up and running again.

Suggested by: Along with Martin, Dutch Gunderson, Lana and Sally Decker


Image: Corbellati Facebook, Other

An Italian company who had a stand at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, where they showed a hastily put together mockup and said they would make it the world’s fastest car, no less.

Suggested by: Kaare Byberg


Image: Youtube

I’ll throw in “Canada’s Corvette”, Bricklin. What could go wrong with a 41 kg gull-wing-door that required a fully-charged air tank to hold it open? The best part is that Bricklin leased 5 cars to the Scottsdale AZ police department. They looked cool but cops couldn’t get in and out easily, and the cars overheated terribly.

Road and Track road tested a Bricklin in 1975 and found it to be worthy competition to that year’s ‘Vette.

The company produced 3000 cars in three years (1974-1976) before folding.

Suggested by: JohnnyWasASchoolBoy

Carbon Motors

Image: Youtube, Other

Suggested by: Jim Mitchell (Facebook)

Better Place

Image: Youtube, Other

2007 electric car start-up Better Place. It had the great idea of using a battery-swapping system that would allow drivers to exchange their dead batteries for new ones in a fraction of the time it takes to recharge and alleviating range anxiety. Sounds like an idea ahead of its time as the infrastructure was simply not there and prohibitively expense to build without widespread support.

Suggested by: Paradsecar

Vector And A Few Other Supercar Starups

Image: Youtube, Other

Any of a dozen or so supercar startups. any tom, dick and harry with some fibreglass and a shed tried to be the next Ferrari. Vector, Ascari, Devon, Qvale etc.

Suggested by: David E. Davis