One thing most often repeated by everyone is that every thing has a life and a time frame they can not outgrow. But, we know that's not true! Some things are timeless, some things are eternal, some things can travel through time and still stay as relevant as ever. Take Thunderbird for example. Yeah, we are fans, but, who wouldn't be? Thunderbird had its own charm, a charisma, a futuristic design and groundbreaking technology. What else does mankind yearn for if not sunshine, and a luxury car to catch some, on the way? Except a chilled Jack Daniel’s maybe? Let's make a drink and talk about those timeless luxury car models that should make a come back.
10 Ford Thunderbird
America's first personal luxury car Ford Thunderbird was launched as a European concept and American design imagery in 1958. As soon as the sporty Thunderbird was transformed from a sports two seater to a luxury large four seater, the popularity and the demands increased dramatically. She did not only ooze luxury from all the curves, but was power packed too.
The performance was superb so much so that people used T-bird for drag races. The car came with the latest and extremely powerful four cylinder V8 engine which produced mighty 212 horsepower and if you chose Ford - o – matic automatic transmission, it could be bumped up to 225 horsepower which was extraordinary at that time and still is. Ford discontinued the Thunderbird in 1997 for the first time because the sales had slowed down considerably. The T-bird launched again in 2002 sensing the nostalgia among the people and to capitalize it, but, the sales numbers did not pick up as expected and Ford discontinued the T-bird for the second and the last time in 2005.
9 Buick Riviera
Riviera was the GM's answer for personal luxury cars to Ford's Thunderbird. It was an extremely profitable section and GM wanted to capitalize on it too, so a design was penned and all the divisions fought to get the project. Buick was struggling at that time and desperately needed a good project. It won the competition and thus was launched Buick Riviera Silver Arrow in 1963. Riviera had powerful V8 engine too just like Thunderbird, but, it came with a unique twin turbine automatic transmission and was slightly longer and lighter than the latter. The car performed extremely well with 325 horsepower standard and 340 horsepower with an optional Nailhead. The interest in big coupes died down considerably towards the end of the 90s despite a wonderful performance of the new Riviera. The sales slashed, and thus ended an era of elegance, luxury, style and performance.
8 Oldsmobile Toronado
In the series of Thunderbird and Riviera, the next full size personal luxury car in line is Oldsmobile Toronado. From the house of the General Motors again, the luxury coupe Toronado was manufactured and launched by the Oldsmobile division in 1966. The model came with signature 7 liter Rocket V8 engine which delivered powerful 385 horsepower and was equipped with innovative heavy duty turbo hydramatic three speed automatic transmission. It performed very well and offered great handling. The car ran well for four generations until in 1992, when, people started swaying away from large luxury coupes and sales slowed after which the Oldsmobile discontinued the Toronado.
7 Studebaker Golden Hawk
The most desirable Studebaker of all time, the Golden Hawk was launched in 1956. It was the most beautiful Studebaker way ahead of the time and was introduced as a personal luxury coupe. It came equipped with V8 engine which delivered 280 horsepower, standard three speed manual transmission and optional Studebaker Flight – O – Matic two speed automatic transmission.
It came with a tonne of optional features too. The Golden Hawk is still much sought after and enjoys a strong and loyal fanbase worldwide even today. Due to the 50s recession, the sales got hugely affected and the model was discontinued after just 880 models produced ever!
6 Acura Legend
Legend was the first car to come out of the Acura brand. It was launched in 1985 as luxury full size sedan and coupe variants and was the first Japanese luxury car in the US market that also received huge success. The first generation came with 2.5 liter V6 front engine and offered 5 speed manual and 4 speed automatic transmission which was great for the time. The second generation was where things got more interesting and the Legend became truly legendary with the 3.2 liter V6 engine, a timeless design, a number of advanced tools, gearbox, safety features and controls, pretty impressive 6 speed manual transmission and lots more.
The car got discontinued in 1995 when Honda renamed and launched the legend as RL.
5 Porsche 928
Porsche 928 was the first from the brand which had a V8 engine with front engine and rear wheel drive. It was way ahead of it's time with the sporty handling, futuristic design, gorgeous looks and luxurious interiors. The legendary 928 was first launched in 1978 as the replacement for 911. The engine was quite potent as is, when in 90s, GTS trim came with an extremely powerful 5.4 liter V8 engine which delivered mighty 350 horsepower and it hit zero to 60 miles in under 6 seconds! How cool is that! Sadly, due to sky high prices and a few shortcomings like weak manual, the 928 sales didn't fly as expected and only 77 were ever sold in the US.
4 Acura Integra R
The Acura Integra was launched in 1985 as a compact luxury car. One of the bestsellers worldwide, the Integra Type R was one of the best front - wheel - drive cars around at that time. The model was outstandingly performing derivative of the Honda Civic and performed extremely well. The ride quality was extremely good too and the handling was perfect with a well balanced and smooth ride. Despite having a relatively tinier four cylinder engine, Acura yielded a more than decent acceleration and torque. In 2006, due to the falling coupe markets, sporty Integra had to be discontinued much to our sorrow.
3 Volkswagen Phaeton
Ahem! Trust us, we know what we are talking about. Many people would not even have heard about Phaeton, but, it was an insanely good luxury car and yet extremely underrated. The car was launched in 2003 globally and in 2004 in the US. The model came with both petrol and Diesel engines which delivered massive 335 horsepower, 5 speed and 6 speed automatic transmission and decent ride quality. Sadly, the sales didn’t fly as expected and Phaeton was discontinued in North America in 2006 and the global sales was cut off in 2016.
2 Rolls Royce Camargue
Not very popular choice, Camargue was a two door luxury saloon launched in 1975 by Rolls Royce. We admit the model was not very impressive in terms of design or looks, but was great if the performance is considered. It came equipped with 6.75 liter V8 engine and turbo hydramatic three speed automatic transmission. It was much more powerful than most of it’s class rivals. Standing at a starting price of $35,000 which was around $5,000 more than the European price of the same, it was one of the most expensive production cars of the world. Despite being a great car, Camargue received a lot of flak for it's design and looks and Rolls Royce Motors discontinued the model in 1986 with only 530 cars produced ever. We would love to see a revamped version of the action-packed Camargue with some tweaks in the design of course.
1 Cadillac XTS
The XTS is a luxury sedan which comes with a twin turbo charged engine and delivers massive acceleration and good performance. This extremely affordable car is reasonably good in terms of ride quality, performance, interiors and comfort too. A one-up on Lacrosse if we talk relatively, stylish XTS has been discontinued very recently, in fact, just in October 2019 and if you want to grab one, hurry up as you can still find a few listed on some sites. We hope it comes back with a powerful engine, renovated tech features and a little better interiors.