Intro

<p></p> <p>It doesn’t matter how cool your ride is, there's always something cooler. Here's a list of ten vehicles you can see but – we're pretty sure – not touch, each for its own reason (hint: "astronomical price tag" is a common theme).</p> <p></p>

<strong>Necker Nymph</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>This three-seat powered sled can take scuba drivers on two-hour underwater sight-seeing excursions, provided they have chartered Sir Richard Branson's 105-foot luxury catamaran in the British Virgin Islands for $88,000 weekly, and then opted for an additional $25,000 per week for the Nymph. The Necker Nymph uses engine power to stay down, so if there's a problem you'll just drift back to the surface.</p> <p></p>

<strong>The 2012 Hummer</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>At one point the Hummer's imposing size and military origins apparently enabled its buyers to compensate for certain testosterone-related shortcomings. In the process they turned a perfectly good off-road vehicle into a hulking town car that got 10 mpg in the city, was heavy enough to crack culverts, and was hard to park. These days, with Viagra flooding the market, there are cheaper alternatives for the afflicted, and General Motors has had trouble selling not only the vehicle but also the brand itself. Consequently it's pulled the plug, and there will not be future Hummer models.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>Tired of waiting for NASA to craft a coherent space program and then hire you as an astronaut? Then launch yourself into near space by buying a ticket on SpaceShipTwo, which Virgin Galactic is expected to start operating from New Mexico probably no sooner than 2011. For $200,000 they will take you on a Mach 3 – that’s about 3 times the speed of sound – flight to about 300,000 feet, or “sub-orbital” space. Actually going into orbit would require the craft to travel eight times faster and go three times higher, and you'd want to be in something that could survive re-entry. That's why NASA is not buying tickets.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Orion Spacecraft</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>If you wanted to drop by the space station, the moon, or Mars in the near future, NASA thought it had the answer: the reusable Orion "crew exploration vehicle" component of the Constellation rocket system that was supposed to replace the aging Space Shuttles. Reminiscent of the Apollo command module, it was supposed to hold up to six astronauts (rather than three in Apollo) with options tailored for specific missions. But in February, the Obama Administration dropped the Constellation program from next year's federal budget, citing cost over-runs and schedule lapses.</p> <p></p>

<strong>F-22 Raptor</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>Unless you're an ace fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force, you probably won't be zipping through the skies in an F-22 Raptor anytime soon. One of the most advanced fighter jets in the world, the F-22 is designed to detect and kill enemy planes without being spotted. The combination of sleek aerodynamic design and increased thrust allows the stealthy jet to cruise at supersonic airspeeds without using its afterburner – a little feature the Air Force likes to call "supercruise."</p> <p></p>

<strong>Bugatti Veyron</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>The $1.7 million price tag on this baby makes it the most expensive car you can buy new. (There are antiques that run higher.) Stalled in urban gridlock, the driving experience is doubtless indistinguishable from that of a used Kia. But on the open road, its top speed is north of 200 mph. At top speed, incidentally, you'll run out of gas after 12 minutes. And that's fortunate, since the tires would catch fire after 15 minutes, according to some estimates.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Personal Zeppelin</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>There it was in glorious color in the 2004 Neiman Marcus Christmas Catalog, a 247-foot personal zeppelin from Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH of Germany, for $10 million. And you just turned the page. But of course, it only seats 12 passengers and can remain aloft for only 24 hours. Comparing it to its 1930s ancestor, the 804-foot Hindenburg, which had a 40-person crew and could carry 50 passengers in hotel-like accommodations on trans-Atlantic voyages, perhaps you were right to turn up your nose.</p> <p></p>

<strong>M400 Moller Skycar</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>People have been tinkering with flying cars since shortly after the Wright brothers’ first landed. You'll notice that we're still driving cars on the ground, which may speak to the fundamental practicality of the arrangement. But if the idea of taking to the air during your commute excites you, the Moller Skycar certainly looks spiffy. Alas, it has been in development for most of the last decade. Helicopter, anyone?</p> <p></p>

<strong>Robotic Groundhog</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>Tired of mucking around at or near the surface of the Earth? Decided that all the real action is underground? So have some robotics engineers at Carnegie Mellon University, who have developed a Robotic Groundhog to venture into mines where conditions have turned toxic. In other words, hitching a ride on the Groundhog would mean dying. But life is filled with tradeoffs.</p>

Coolest Vehicles You'll Never Get to Ride