The exciting Pontiac Stinger concept car was an overly ambitious and niche-appeal vehicle that bet more on style and flash-in-the-pan gadgets than it did any substance. The “active-lifestyle” vehicle — specially designed to appeal to the youth market — featured two cellular phones, a CD player, a detachable AM/FM stereo, a cooler in the doors, a tool case, a first aid kit, a flashlight, an extension cord, two vacuums, a camping table, biking bags, AND a garden hose.
Yeah, there’s a reason why this has been regarded as one of the most ridiculous concept cars of all time.
The Pontiac Stinger…What a Concept!
Built in 1989, the Pontiac Stinger featured all-wheel drive and carbon-fiber body panels, and was also covered in removable glass panels. Engine specs wise, the Stinger was stocked with a three-liter four-cylinder engine that made 170 horsepower.
We’ve already mentioned some of its wackier amenities, but the Pontiac Stinger also featured modular seats for sleeping in the car, elevating seats that turned the car into a dune buggy, and a completely clear, windowed, removable roof. It’s now easy to see why this bonkers, but probably fun-to-drive, concept car never made it to the roads.
No one really knows if General Motors ever planned on putting the Stinger into production, but according to Ed Benson — who was the Detroit automaker’s director of market and product planning at the time — there were high hopes regarding the Stinger’s potential for success.
“If you wonder if there is a market for a vehicle like the Stinger, just look at the Pathfinder, the Dodge Raider, the Samurai, and certain executions of the Jeep,” Benson said at the time. “Look at what those are used for and the desires of those buyers and those who aspire to own them. We think there could be a total Pontiac execution of a Stinger-type concept that could represent a special sport vehicle in that emerging market in the mid-’90s.”
Whoops. Slightly missed the mark with that one.
As it turns out, Pontiac was known for its over-the-top concept cars during the late ’80s. Let’s just say these aren’t the types of classic cars you’d see at your local auto show. Before ’89 Pontiac Stinger, there was the Pontiac Pursuit Concept in 1987 and the Pontiac Banshee Concept in 1988, which looked ahead at the 1993-2000 generation of Firebirds. This automotive trend continued into the mid-’90s, with such duds as the Pontiac Aztek.
It’s a real bummer the Stinger never panned out, because this thing could’ve been the ultimate beach car.
This post was originally published on November 12, 2018.