Smocks, neons, and cheesy music? Oh my! The exciting Pontiac Stinger concept was an overly ambitious and niche-appeal vehicle that bet more on style and flash-in-the-pan gadgetry than it did any substance. The “active-lifestyle” vehicle — specially designed to appeal to the youth market — featured two cell phones, CD player, a detachable AM/FM stereo, a cooler in the doors, tool case, first aid kit, flashlight, an extension cord, two vacuums, 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.
It also featured modular seats for sleeping in the car, elevating seats that turned it into a dune buggy, and a completely clear, windowed roof that was also detachable. It’s now easy to see why this bonkers, but probably fun-to-drive, concept car never made it to the roads.
It isn’t entirely known if General Motors ever planned on putting the Stinger into production, but according to Ed Benson — who was GM’s director of market and product planning at the time — there we high hopes regarding the Stinger’s potential for success.
Though the ’89 Pontiac Stinger was not a production vehicle, Benson seemed optimistic about its prospects. “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,” he says. “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.”
As it turns out, Pontiac was known for its over-the-top concept cars during the late ’80s. Before the Stinger came in 1989, there was the Pursuit Concept in 1987 and the Banshee Concept in 1988. This 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.
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