The 2012 New York International Auto Show, which wraps up April 15 at the Jacob Javits Center, marks the end of this year's auto show season.
Like many shows over the past few months, it's populated with any number of tantalizing glimpses of future products. Most seem truly outrageous, while others are merely thinly disguised concept vehicles.
But some prove to be little more than a cruel joke. They are so stunning, so obviously great, one wonders why they are never produced.
Here are some lost opportunities that have graced the world's auto shows, concept cars that should have been built, but never were.2008 BUICK
If you've seen Buick's newest model, the 2012 Buick Verano sedan, you might recognize some of the styling that graced this concept car four years earlier. Styled in China, where Buick's popularity remains strong, the car captures classic Buick design elements, from a waterfall grille to a boattail rear. Too bad Buick is content to build crossover SUVs and sedans. The brand could use a little glamour from its most glamorous nameplate.2003
Cadillac's advertising slogan, one it lived up to for decades, was "the standard of the world." General Motors sought to re-establish that aura with this lavish 1,000-hp 16-cylinder sedan. With a 13.6-liter engine under its hood, the Sixteen spans almost 19 feet in length. Its sumptuous interior is a symphony of leather, walnut and aluminum trim. GM never built it. Too bad. Even Hyundai has a flagship sedan, the Equus. Cadillac still doesn't.2004
Bob Lutz, the development guru who led a product renaissance at GM didn't always get it right. Instead of building this handsome retro-themed compact, Chevy produced the HHR, which resembled the Chrysler PT Cruiser's uglier, fat brother. The Nomad was the better bet. Using the Pontiac Solstice's rear-drive platform, the Nomad used its 170-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Practicality is rarely this attractive.2004 CHRYSLER
ME FOUR TWELVE
This is a Chrysler? Really? Even eight years later it's hard to believe, but that was the intent. This mid-engine supercar boasted an 850-hp V-12 using four turbochargers and intercoolers, aluminum block and heads. A seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission routed enough power to allow the speed demon to reach 60 mph in 2.9 seconds. Top speed? North of 240 mph. It was too good to believe Chrysler would ever build it.2000 JAGUAR F-TYPE
When Jaguar unveiled the C-X16 Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2011, many Jaguar fans thought of the F-Type, which debuted at the North American International Auto Show 11 years earlier. With a shape that recalled the legendary E-Type, and powered by a 240-hp V-6, this rear-drive coupe wasn't built. Instead, Ford Motor Co., which owned Jaguar, built the X-Type and S-Type sedans. It's like opting for Roseanne Barr over Katy Perry.2005 JEEP GLADIATOR
It seems obvious that the executives running DaimlerChrysler were clueless when it came to expanding the Jeep brand. They bypassed this handsome concept, the Gladiator pickup, to build such winners as the slow-selling Compass and Patriot. The Gladiator featured a bed that could be expanded from 5-feet, 8-inches to 8 feet once the tailgate was lowered. It still looks good enough to build. Are you listening, Fiat?2002 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL CONCEPT
If any car proves that Ford Motor Co. lost its way early in the 21st century, it's this one. Based on a Town Car platform, this rear-drive concept sported a 414-hp 6.0-liter V-12 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and was sheathed in aluminum and composite body panels and sporting 22-inch wheels. Yes, the styling would make any fan of "Mad Men" happy, as would the car's cigar humidor.2007 MERCEDES-BENZ CONCEPT OCEAN DRIVE
It's little surprise that the company that offers the Maybach as a landaulet _ a sedan with a hardtop roof over the front seat and a soft top over the rear seat _ would offer up another old body style: the convertible sedan. It may be a model from bygone days, but this car's 517-hp V-12 ensures modern-era performance. Why wasn't it built? According to Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, this body style can't meet federal side-impact standards.1998 PLYMOUTH PRONTO SPYDER
On its own, the Plymouth Pronto Spyder wouldn't have been enough to save the fading Plymouth brand, but it might have helped. The Pronto Spyder's 225-hp 4-cylinder engine was mounted behind the seats, but ahead of the rear axle. A five-speed manual transmission and a top speed of 140 mph were enough to light enthusiasts' fires. They didn't get everything right: the body was made of plastic, and they didn't build it.2005 SAAB AERO X
Once conformist automaker General Motors purchased nonconformist automaker Saab, GM acted like a dog that, after years of chasing cars, doesn't know what to do when he finally catches one. This explains why GM advertised Saabs as suitable for "the road less traveled," yet the dull Saabs that filled showrooms looked little like the Aero X, a four-wheel drive coupe run by a 400-hp twin-turbo V6 fueled by bio-ethanol. Sob.
Larry Printz is automotive editor at The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va. He can be reached at email@example.com.