The Cars That Money Can’t Buy – GM Sunraycer

Sun 5th May 2019

Sometimes your wallet won’t stretch to purchasing your dream motor. But don’t worry too much, there are some cars that even the biggest bank balances can’t buy, the dream cars that will forever remain a dream. These are the concept cars that never go into production.

GM Sunraycer
Motor manufacturers may sell the dream of an electric car as perhaps a glimpse of a future, but it may easily be forgotten that in the middle of the 1980s the world’s imagination was grabbed by the prospect of a car that could run off the energy of the sun alone.

General Motors were at the forefront of the movement, entering a race known as the World Solar Challenge in 1987 and developing a vehicle weighing just 177kg and fitted with 7,200 solar cells. Though the Sunraycer was a little impractical due to it only having room for one passenger, it proved to be a triumph winning the World Solar Challenge at a canter, with a top speed of 68 mph. GM’s concept solar powered vehicle led from start to finish, racing the 1,867 miles across Australia at an average speed of 41.6 mph, finishing the race in 5.2 days, two days ahead of its nearest rival.

At a cost $2 million dollars, the solar powered car was not considered a realistic prospect for the American car market, however it inspired a change in thinking and GM powered ahead with the idea for an electric powered car - the GM Impact.

The Sunraycer nows sits in the Smithsonian collection at the Museum of American History, a car dubbed the ‘flying cockroach’ at the time inspired a generation of vehicles run on power sources other than the combustion engine.

As to whether we will see a solar-powered engine anytime soon? The inclement British weather may have a part to play in that.