Here's the beauty about concept cars: you don't need to be a gearhead to enjoy them. Their allure lies in the promise of velocity, thrills and a future that could be yours before long... which might explain why auto makers have been cooking up wild-eyed designs for decades. 17 such concepts have been rounded up to share the spotlight at Atlanta's High Museum of Art next month, mixing up vehicles that inspired models to come with a few dead-ends of automotive evolution. One of our favorites: GM's Firebird I (above), which looked more like an early supersonic jet than it did new cars in its own family tree. Aside from that kooky fuselage, the Firebird's claim to fame is its gasoline turbine engine. Despite that fact that later versions of the GM's turbine could run on just about any combustible liquid (hello vegetable oil), the tech never really went anywhere. Modern minivans can trace their lineage back to the mildly derpy looking Stout Scarab (which'll also be on display), while the 33-inch high roofline of the Lancia Stratos HF stretched the limit of car construction... not to mention human comfort.

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17 of history's greatest concept cars will gather in Atlanta next month