Editors' Pick: Originally published March 23.
At the 2016 New York International Auto Show, once your eyes adjust to the high-wattage sheen of carbon fiber and glass, you notice a clear theme take form: futuristic updates on heritage classics.
Perhaps that’s the norm in the automotive world –- churning decades-old, zoom-ready geometry into the face-lifted rides driving tomorrow.
But as those shaping the future of mobility are bending vehicles in an ever-impressive balloon-artist alchemy and adding the bells and whistles that may one day be standard issue, we were struck by a few innovative vehicles in particular.
While we waded through the feather dusters and endless Windex spray bottles, here’s what left our bespittled jaws gaping on the otherwise spotless hoods.
Standing for “Extra Terrestrial Vehicle,” the ETV produced by Mike Vetter's The Car Factory looks like something out of Woody Allen’s Sleeper. It’s a concept car -- part mini Millenium Falcon, part hover craft -- whose rotund body comes to a triangular point reminiscent of the classic Cadillac grill in a shape that also resembles the brand's insignia.
The vertically lifting door, complete with a porthole, adds a submarine flair to this otherworldy racer, and the ceiling visibility makes for something of a literal moon roof. The juxtaposition of this intergalactic Batmobile with '57 Chevy Bel-Airs and the like allows the mind to see the similarities in the contours and the aggressive stances while also appreciating how this car morphs the Cadillac heritage into a bit of celestial ostentation.
2. 2017 Nissan Skyline GT-R
Spoiler alert: This vehicle is an update to a long tradition of Skyline GT-Rs dating back to the 1969 model, with big-old boogie board spoiler in the back. The boxy front fascias of yesteryear get rounded, and the copper orange makes this road whip look fast standing still.
Its 3.8 L twin-turbo V6 has 565 horses under the hood and generates 467 lb-ft. of torque. The outgoing model could rev from 0 to 60 in 2.7 seconds and costs just over $200,000. The vehicle also has a racing heritage, with the 2013 GT-R Nismo on display -- a track-ready update to the brand’s iconic flagship.
3. 2017 Ford GT
A modern take on the GT40, produced from 1964 to 1969, this curvaceous beaut (that looks like a Corvette mated with a McLaren P1) has a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine projected to have 600 hp. This is the first vehicle to use Ford’s Gorilla Glass Hybrid Laminate, a material that’s stronger than standard alternatives and 31% lighter than typical 5.0 SLG Laminate, in the windshield and rear window. A “hail cannon” was on display to prove the durability, and with lightness comes amped-up performance and efficiency. Come for the strength; stay for the speed.
4. 2016 Shelby GT350 Mustang
The Shelby Mustang is a flashy staple in the Ford muscle car heritage, and in tandem with the 50th anniversary of the Mustang brand, this Shelby pays particular homage to its legacy. The 5.2-liter flat-plane-crank V8 engine is the most powerful naturally aspirated production Ford engine ever built, producing 526 hp and more than 429 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s also the highest-revving V8 in the company's history with a humming redline of 8.25 rpm.
5. 2016 Dodge Viper
The new Viper takes your ‘90s invention and spiffs it up for the Instagram generation. Its all aluminum 8.4-liter V10 produces 645 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque. Drivers can choose between a single-mode high-performance suspension and a two-mode suspension, for those looking to move seamlessly from road to track. The sexy model on display with carbon fiber fins off the aggressive front fascias starts at $118,795.
6. 2016 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
Billing itself as the “fastest muscle car ever,” this 1970s throwback zooms a quarter mile in 10.8 seconds and has 707 horses under the hood. The V8 also has 650 lb-ft of torque. The aluminum hood with center intake allows the engine to breathe by drawing in fresh air while dual heat extractions add additional engine cooling. You’re going to need that once you get on to the back roads and step on the pedal.
7. Honda Civic Hatchback prototype
An update to the globally popular entry-level car that has a nocturnal second-life as a souped-up racer, this concept car demonstrates that Honda can be sexy. The highlighter-yellow brake calipers read as aggressive, and you’ll keep your street cred if you go with this, instead of the Demi Lovato special edition customized Civic sedan.
8. Toyota C-HR
Bearing resemblance to the Land Rover Evoque, this concept car is sure to excite when it comes out in the next few years. Toyota revolutionized transportation with its Prius; now it’s looking for something a little squatter and lot comelier -- a crossover with some fierce attitude.
9. Acura NSX
Seen above, the Acura GT3 is the racing edition of the supercar popular in the '90s that will have its consumer version, the NSX, hitting the streets in 2016.
10. Lincoln Navigator Concept
This has been the talk of the show thus far, with its red carpet-ready gullwing door and regal three-step lift for queens and Oscar winners. The fourth generation of this iconic SUV is expected to arrive on the market in 2017. The 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 is supposed to pack 400 horses under the hood, something you'll enjoy as the driver -- unless you're in the back giving your chauffeur instructions as you prepare for the step-and-repeat.