Just in the last decade or so, cars have actually evolved more than they did ever since the automobile was first invented. Sure, we don't notice these changes as easily as changes that were done to cars in the past, but that's because today's innovations are mostly invisible to the naked eye.
The reason we mention this is because it's kind of ironic. What's going on in the auto industry today is not what was predicted in the past. Now, we've got these hyper-advanced machines, allowing us to go faster than ever before and some are even capable of driving themselves without any input from the guy in the "driver's" seat. The ironic part is, of course, how we all drive around in these futuristic machines that are seemingly driven by invisible magic... while at the same time, some of the best-selling cars feature retro designs that hearken back to vehicles from the 1960s.
Why is it that we seem to prefer the designs of yesteryear? Were designs back then really better? Or is it purely driven by nostalgia? If it's nostalgia, then surely young people shouldn't have much interest in these vehicles, but rather they would prefer contemporary or even futuristic designs?
It's hard to say why retro designs have become such a huge thing these past few decades, but clearly, the concept sells. What we don't like is when car companies exploit us by slapping a "new" face on a sub-par product in order to keep milking money from "cool" retro products. This is exactly why we don't really care for some of the cars rumored to make a comeback.
The GTO was a Detroit icon, but no matter how iconic it was, there was a reason why it was discontinued. The old GTO was being outsold by the Camaro and with the GTO, GM was competing against themselves. Then there was the "revival" of the GTO back in the 2000s—basically a Holden Monaro with different badges. It was a great car, but most people weren't convinced due to its odd design. So that was the end of the GTO then, right? Well, no. Back in 2013, Bob Lutz said GM is preparing a new generation of the GTO; luckily, we haven't heard anything more of this since then.
According to a trademark filing with the U.K. Intellectual Property Office, independent sports car builder De Tomaso might be making a comeback. London-based Ideal Team Ventures Limited, the same folks responsible for the trademark filing, submitted a design patent application for a re-imagined, retro-style Pantera which was shared by Autoguide back in January 2018. But a new De Tomaso Pantera would be great, wouldn't it? Yes, it would. But realistically, what are the chances that a company with no prior car manufacturing experience re-launches an old brand and gets everything right the first time? More likely, there will be a bunch of teasers and a product that doesn't deliver what was promised, followed by insolvency.
The Cougar certainly endured a bit of a fall from grace before it died. Starting out as the Mustang's more luxurious cousin and a classic muscle car, the Cougar ended its life as a Europe market coupe made in Detroit and the successor to the Ford Probe. Today, the entire Mercury brand is long gone. We don't want it back in any of its guises. The original was a fine automobile but the Mustang is perfectly capable of handling it all on its own now, whether luxury or performance. The Cougar of later days is best forgotten, in fact, let's never talk about it ever again.
The El Camino's departure from the market was ugly. A decline in both options and sales meant certain performance variants were axed from the lineup, and ultimately, the El Camino itself had to go. Except... it never completely left, it just moved. GM Australia sells the Holden Commodore Ute, which is essentially an El Camino by a different name. We're not totally against bringing back the El Camino, but why go through all the trouble of creating a brand new car, when all that's really needed is to convert an Australian ute to left-hand drive and start selling it in the States.
DeLorean is now considered one of the coolest cars out there by anyone who grew up in the 1980s. But DeLorean faced so many challenges and obstacles back then that it was doomed to fail right from the start. If labor strikes, countless production delays, and rising costs weren't enough, add some illegal government sting operations involving tens of millions of dollars of illicit substances and see how a start-up business will handle that. The only reason people are looking at DeLoreans today is nostalgia. They were horrible cars and there's never a good reason to bring back something that wasn't good the first time around.
The Pontiac Firebird was always the Chevy Camaro's slightly more stylized twin sister and when the Camaro went into hibernation for the better part of a decade, so did the Firebird. By the time Camaro was revived, Pontiac as a whole was no more. While it was a cool car back in the day, the Firebird just isn't needed anymore. Besides, there are aftermarket body kit conversions available out there for those who want to transform their Camaro into a modern tribute to the Firebird.
There have been rumors of a new 'Cuda circulating for almost a decade now and every time they seem to have been debunked, some new information comes up that breathes new life into the Barracuda. What we do know is that Fiat/Chrysler has renewed its trademark application and they do have platforms that could suit the build. Why are we skeptical? Well, if there hasn't been any solid info on the project yet, chances are that it either won't happen or it'll be insanely expensive (or just not very good)—none of which is good for the average enthusiast.
After the glitz and excess of the 1950s, the 1963 Buick Riviera was not only a breath of fresh air, it was also a huge success for Buick. Its design contained strong cues from foreign carmakers, such as Ferrari and Rolls-Royce, and the first-generation Riviera signaled that General Motors had turned over a new design leaf. Now, more than half a century later, Buick has barely delivered anything exciting since the 60s, and while their 2016 Avista concept looked great, we fear that it will fall into place beside a long line of mediocre cars.
Honda used to make some fun cars, but then at some point, they decided they'd had enough fun and started making boring family cars instead. The CR-X might've been the most fun car they ever made, and it was cheap and efficient, as well. A few years back, Honda kind of tried to revive the CR-X with the CR-Z. Unfortunately, the name wasn't the only thing they got wrong and the CR-Z was also way too heavy, slow, and uninspired.
Lately, posts have popped up wondering if Honda is planning another go at the CR-X but judging by their previous attempt, we really hope they don't.
The Jeep Wagoneer was around for a long time. It could perhaps be called the original SUV, and although it received quite a few updates, the Wagoneer never received a new platform—meaning the car you could buy in 1990 was largely the same vehicle you could buy in 1965. While the Wagoneer was hugely important and has a loyal following, we just don't see the point of bringing it back, other than as a special edition of an already existing vehicle. Jeep already tried putting the Grand Wagoneer name on the Grand Cherokee and also teased a Wrangler-based Wagoneer.
The Maverick was first introduced in the 1970s as a compact model designed to replace the Falcon. It was positioned above the Pinto and was sold in the U.S. from 1970 to 1977. In the 2000s, Escape models were rebadged as Mavericks in markets outside of the U.S. Now, the Maverick could be making its comeback. Ford has been trying to secure the Maverick name since 2016, and according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Ford was granted use of the name in April last year. We know Ford won't be selling sedans or small cars in the States anymore, so the Maverick name will most likely be used for yet another SUV. Oh, how exciting!
Back in May 2018, there was a rumor that there would be an all-new Dodge Viper in 2020 or 2021. Unlike its predecessors, the next-gen Viper wouldn't have a V10 engine, it would have a V8, but one that produced some serious power figures. It didn't last long, though. After just one week, the CEO of Fiat-Chrysler, Sergio Marchionne, shut down the rumors and said the Viper never made any money and never sold enough to warrant putting it back in production. We say that's all the reason needed not to make another Viper.
The original Aston Martin Lagonda was meant to be a flagship car filled with space-age technology, all nicely wrapped up in a futuristic, UFO-like design. And none of it worked. Now Aston Martin is at it again, pulling out all the stops with their new Lagonda, which once again will have the technology of tomorrow, and the Lagonda is being relaunched as an all-electric, ultra-luxurious sedan with a retractable steering wheel. It seems that carmakers are increasingly trying to make driving seem like a chore, turning all the focus to autonomous capabilities. Okay, Aston, have it your way—we won't drive your new vehicles.
Volkswagen's Microbus has been around more or less since the 1960s and has always held a special place in our culture, especially for the so-called “Flower Power” hippie generation. The new VW Microbus looks kind of cool but knowing VW's retro-car history means the Microbus will most likely be horrendously boring to drive, especially seeing as it will be electric. If the only thing you ask from your car is that it hooks up to your smartphone, by all means, get one of these monstrosities.
Yay, the Mitsubishi Eclipse is back! Except it's not. Not the way we know the Eclipse anyway. Essentially, as the first all-new product from Mitsubishi in years, the Eclipse aims to revive the struggling brand's vehicle lineup. But the new Eclipse won't be a sporty coupe, it will compete against Honda's CR-V and Toyota's RAV4. Powered by a new, 1.5-liter, direct-injected turbo-four paired to a CVT, the Eclipse Cross will slot in between the Outlander and Outlander Sport... but let's be honest, we really don't care. It's just another uninspiring crossover.
The new BMW 8-Series is a throwback to the old 8-Series in more ways than one. The Bavarian carmaker's flagship coupe will supposedly receive some massive engines, with the biggest one being a V12, just like in the original 8. While the pop-up headlights on the front are gone, the rear will receive a quad-exit exhaust, which is a nice homage to the original. The original 8-Series was so unloved that BMW tried to cover up its existence for years, before doing a full 180 and releasing the new 8-Series. But will it just be another super-expensive flagship flop?
The Datsun 510 was quickly dubbed "The Poor Man's BMW" by the press when it debuted in 1968. The styling looked great, the overhead-cam, inline-four engine was fantastic, and the suspension was nicely tuned. The 510 was, in essence, a very cheap runabout that could be transformed into a world-class driver's car with very little effort. Back in 2013, Nissan teased the public with their IDx concept—basically, a modern day interpretation of the classic 510. The enthusiast community went mental but Nissan decided not to put the car into production. If they decide to do another version of it now, chances are it will have an electric powertrain, which would ruin everything that made the original great.
There are some evil masterminds out there who think turning a Ford Mustang into a Lincoln would be a great idea. Now, let's analyze this idea real quick: every luxury automaker knows that coupes aren’t big sellers, but they are essential for a brand’s prestige image. With Lincoln on its way to becoming a legitimate luxury brand again, the idea is that today's Mustang platform is almost refined enough to take on luxury grand touring duties. Here's the thing, though, the Mustang doesn't need this. Tust leave it alone. What Lincoln should do instead of making a coupe is build an exact replica of the old Continental, but make it an EV instead. That would be cool!
Honda's upcoming Urban EV electric city car has been spied testing on public roads, so we know it's definitely coming. While the name Urban EV is brand new, the design of the car reminds us a lot of the early days of the Honda Civic. Changes have been made to the Urban EV compared to what the concept looked like. The front-end is now curvier, most likely due to pedestrian crash safety regulations. The concept had three doors, but the production version seems to have five doors. So why are we lukewarm to this Honda? Well, the original concept was fun but this just seems to be another attempt at cashing in on some overpriced retro-vibes.
With the current gasoline-engined Beetle approaching the end of its production cycle, and with Volkswagen's ID range of electric cars getting rolling with an electric Microbus in the works for 2022, it would have been difficult to picture the ID lineup without a Beetle-style retro model. Now, the not-so-good news: a new Beetle model is under consideration, awaiting a green light from VW top brass, but it's going to shake up the Beetle formula not just when it comes to the powertrain but when it comes to packaging. Yes, chances are that it will be a four-door—well, technically a five-door. No thanks!
Range Rover is heading back to its roots with the new SV Coupe they debuted at the 2018 Geneva motor show. And for those who don't know their Range Rover history, it's a throwback to the pioneering two-door Range Rover model. The unusual two-door layout is an oddity in the full-size SUV market. It will feature a 2+2 seating layout and the engine will be a 5.0-liter supercharged V8. So why don't we like it? Well, we like the Range Rover SV Coupe itself, we just don't like that it will be a limited edition with only 999 examples being made. Good luck getting your hands on one.
Back in the day, there were a couple of Impreza coupes available. There was the regular one and then there was the glorious 22B. Today, there is nothing but rumors that a new coupe will soon emerge. But if it does, do we even want one? First of all, there's more than a fair chance that the old rumors of a coupe Subaru were actually about the two-door BRZ.
While the five-door hatchback Imprezas do look pretty good, the same thing cannot be said for their four-door sedan versions. Now, imagine removing the rear doors of those to make a coupe. Yuck!
It has been quite some time since Jeep had their own dedicated pickup model, the Jeep Comanche. It's been more than a quarter of a century since the last Comanche rolled off the assembly line, but we're not overly sad about it. Now there's a Jeep Wrangler pickup, so would there really be a need for a separate Jeep pickup model? We think not. The Wrangler pickup gets to take full advantage of the Wrangler legacy without having to start from scratch or be just another cheesy retro-car.
The Bronco is definitely happening. After announcing they won't be selling regular cars in the States anymore, Ford needs to have something to offer their customers. The Bronco will be a true 4x4 SUV, sharing its frame with the new Ford Ranger. Most likely, it will be made from aluminum to keep weight low and improve fuel economy. The engine will probably be an EcoBoost unit, but only time will tell for sure. There's nothing really wrong with the Bronco, other than the fact that it seems to be one of those retro-styled cash cows heavily marketed through nostalgia.
Chevy plans on leveraging the original Blazer's popularity with their new model. The thing is, there is just nothing special about the new Blazer, nothing at all. The original was a two-door, four-wheel-drive monster that went head-to-head with Jeep; the new one will be offered with front-wheel drive as standard, with all-wheel drive as an option. There are plenty of SUVs already on the market that can offer the same as the new Blazer: the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, the Nissan Murano, and the Ford Edge, just to name a few.
Sources: Motor Trend, Road & Track, and Car & Driver.