Forget about sales numbers and balance sheets. Forget about ground clearance and tire regulations and laws that make cars vanilla. Forget about Camrys and Accords. Forget about reality. This is about the dream cars manufacturers should build. Cars that serve the minority. The 1 percent. The drivers.
Here are 10 cars that could be built using parts (engines and transmission, largely) that already exist. In that sense, they aren't utterly impossible. Most won't be built because they're too wild. Or too deadly. Or too costly. Others, however, should already exist.
Whatever the case, we want every single one.
Audi R8 Tom Kristensen Edition
Forget Hollywood's Walk of Fame. Tom Kristensen is a living legend among drivers and race fans, with his palm print immortalized a record eight times in the Saint Nicolas district of Le Mans, France. How does a race driver get his hands cast in bronze for display in a small French town? Simple: Win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The R8 Tom Kristensen Edition honors the famous Dane with a special version of Audi's new 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8. Massaged to make 610 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, it matches the output of the R8 he drove to victory back in 2000. The Quattro all-wheel-drive system is scrapped in the interest of weight savings and rear-drive nirvana, while a three-pedal, six-speed sequentially shifted manual will be the only gearbox. To top it off, the R8 TKE's full-carbon bodywork is painted to match the silver and red livery of the winning No. 8 car.
This one is as easy for Audi as, say, one Le Mans win.
Chevrolet Sonic Boom
Chevy does well for itself with performance players at either end of its product line. The Corvette ZR1 successfully takes the fight to the bank-account-draining exotics, while the Sonic RS brings bold design to a competitive subcompact segment. But its standard 138-hp 1.4-liter mill isn't even competitive with the other hot rods in the class: Ford's Fiesta ST and Fiat's 500 Abarth.
By combining the best thing that ever happened to a Corvette with the only relevant small car Chevy has ever built, the brand has an undeniable image changer. Shoehorning the ZR1's supercharged LS9 V8 into this diminutive hatch is no small task. The longitudinal arrangement means losing the backseat and coupling the transaxle directly to the engine. But it's worth it. We're talking 638 hp driving the rear wheels through the C7's all-new Tremec seven-speed manual with active rev-matching technology.
Think BMW 1 Series M Coupe, if the M Coupe had an engine for each of its rear wheels. This isn't playing by the traditional Motor City code of warfare, and that's a good thing.
And Chevy thought its current ZR1 was crazy.
Ford F-150 SVT Super Raptor
Good ideas are born out of necessity. The day we watched a YouTube video of an SVT Raptor launching more than 90 feet to its death was the day we realized Ford needs to build a more robust (and far more powerful) beast.
The Super Raptor is the beast to vault hooning to another dimension: a redneck's ultimate fantasy. Ditching the weak-sauce 6.2-liter V8 (411 hp? Hah, that's cute) and replacing it with the 662-hp 5.8-liter supercharged Shelby GT500 V8 is just the beginning. Never again will you be burdened with annoyances like "approach speed." With 37-inch self-inflating beadlocked tires and 25 inches of Ram-trampling suspension travel damped by electronically adjustable magnetorheological shocks co-developed by Delphi and Fox Racing, the Super Raptor is every wannabe desert racer's reason for living. It's a literal trophy truck for the street.
The Super Raptor's version of "launch control" monitors midair throttle for perfect body pitch and automatically softens the suspension upon detecting an impending touchdown. When roaming the urban jungle's highways, the suspension can stiffen for a wallow-free ride. True, you may never see the inside of another parking garage, but real badasses don't need shade anyway.
Come on, Ford. Build one they can't break.
Honda's CR-Z could be a hit with the sport hybrid crowd, assuming those people actually exist. Right now the biggest hang-up is its 130-hp 1.5-liter IMA engine trying to drag around 2,700 pounds. The result is a worse power-to-weight ratio than a Kia Rio.
There are rumors of a non-hybrid powertrain, but our solution retains the car's initial eco-friendly philosophy without being such a wuss about it. Raiding the parts bin across the street, the CRZ-Y utilizes SH-AWD hardware from its Acura brethren. But rather than try to cram an Acura RLX engine into its schnoz, the 310-hp V6 and seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox are mounted beneath the hatch to drive the rear wheels. Individual electric motors drive the front wheels, just like the upcoming 2015 Acura NSX. Total output is 370 hp.
On the steering wheel is a manual regeneration switch to force-charge the hybrid battery pack and a push-to-pass button to channel the juice back through the system for a brief boost of 30 additional horses. Sure, you'd sacrifice the rear seats, but some cargo space could be had by utilizing the remaining space under the hood. We wouldn't even mind if the CR-Z looked exactly the same, though our version looks a few orders of magnitude cooler.
If you're running off "the power of dreams," it can't hurt to dream a little bigger.