A poor reception

Way back in 1999, Ford put Marc Newson, a furniture designer who'd never designed a car before, in charge of developing a concept vehicle for the Tokyo Motor Show. The resulting vehicle, the 021c concept, was hated by all. It was just too quirky, too unlike anything else on the road, and maybe, just maybe, ahead of its time.
Photo by: Ford Motor Company

Small and lightweight

The 021c featured simple shapes and a compact, lightweight design. Its shell was made of carbon fiber, a composite material used in race applications for its weight savings and exceptional strength.

The candy colors and white top just scream MINI COOPER!
Photo by: Ford Motor Company

Simple, retro design

The exterior of the concept is strikingly devoid of ornamentation. The door handles have been reduced to push buttons. The headlamps and tail lamps have been combined into single-lens horizontal light bars that dominate the front and rear ends of the vehicle.
Photo by: Ford Motor Company

Wide door opening

The back doors are rear-hinged to allow the whole side of the vehicle to be opened. The Mini Clubman uses a similar design, though with a much smaller rear door and only on one side of the vehicle.
Photo by: Ford Motor Company

Swivel seats

As if the huge door opening wasn't enough, the seats swivel outward to allow for even easier entrance and egress.
Photo by: Ford Motor Company

Slide out trunk

Where most cars have a lift-up trunklid, the 021c concept featured a rear storage compartment that slides out from the back of the vehicle like a drawer.
Photo by: Ford Motor Company


The interior design of the 021c wasn't the most ergonomic that we've seen, with a Fisher-Price aesthetic, odd gauge placement, and blindingly bright dash colors. Although we have to admit, that steering wheel looks pretty trick!
Photo by: Ford Motor Company

Ten years too soon?

We can't help but think that the 021c's reception would have been better had the concept debuted at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show (as an electric car concept!), rather than in 1999.
Photo by: Ford Motor Company
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