Retro-Inspired Cars Made New
After the 1980s were all about sleeker, futuristic seeming cars, there was a bit of a backlash in automotive design. People started embracing cars that took them back, sometimes decades. Starting in the late 1990s retro-inspired vehicles became popular, a trend that continues today. It’s definitely a North American trend, car buyers in Asia and Europe don’t seem to feel nostalgic about their old cars.
For the most part, it’s simply a matter of design language being drawn from a vehicle or brand’s history to influence newer models. One exception to this are the great cars from Equus. These cars look exactly like muscle cars from the 1970s, but made with modern technology.
The aforementioned Chrysler PT Cruiser is more retro-inspired than any other, since it draws it’s influence from much further back than the muscle car era. It’s flared fenders, vertical grille and lights made it scream “1930s street rod.” Older buyers loved this car. It’s similarly styled rival, the Chevrolet HHR was modeled after the 1949 Suburban; it was actually an early entry into the crossover market.
Who doesn’t love an old Camaro? Around 2005, a trio of muscle cars including the Chevy Camaro, Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger returned with a vengeance, and around 2010 the Camaro was restyled with it’s original muscular, and angular shapes. The Mustang’s 2005 retro overhaul revived passion for the brand. The Challenger was brought back with a look that very closely resembles it’s early 1970s look, a modern translation of the original, and it’s fans are legion.
The world seemed to shift off of it’s axis in 1998 when the Volkswagen Beetle was rehashed. It retained it’s signature look, including bubble shape and round lights, but with modern materials and technology. It’s 2012 redesign made the iconic car seem even more closely related to the original.
It didn’t last very long, but the Plymouth Prowler was a factory built hotrod, based on similar cars from the 1930s and ’40s.
The modern Mini Cooper definitely feels like a throwback to the brand’s golden days. It seems to do a fine job of mixing futuristic with retro, while still remaining cute.
Ford tried to bring back retro magic with the Thunderbird, a car with a huge legacy. The modern version, launched in the early 2000s was a good effort, but it just didn’t touch people’s hearts the way that other retro-inspired vehicles have succeeded in doing.
By Linda Aylesworth – car-news.ca