Going Retro? Five Cars That Deserve the Retro Treatment
Few motorists can have failed to see the popularity of relaunched 'retro' takes on classic cars. So far the Mini, Fiat 500 and VW Beetle have all had the treatment.
Their success is easy to understand. Modern cars are far more economical, safe and environmentally friendly than they have ever been, but these advances have been achieved with extensive use of computer design, which means that the human element may be reduced and that new cars may begin to look a little similar to each other. It is the American story with aerodynamics. There really are only so many shapes that can achieve a good rating while accommodating five adults and their luggage.
Retro cars, on the other hand, offer us a little personality - perhaps even at the expense of efficiency. The Fiat 500 is a good example of this. It is really just a Fiat Panda with a sixties outfit thrown on, but it sells like hot cakes. This is despite the fact that it is not as roomy or as practical a car as the Panda it is based on. Clearly, we the motoring public are quite happy to forgo a bit of efficiency in return for some personality. With such success, it would make sense for manufacturers to expand their retro car offering, so here are five cars that could be contenders for a retro makeover.
1)The Ford Cortina
Before the Ford Focus, Mondeo and Sierra, the Cortina was Britain's most popular car. It came in many versions over the years, changing from a squared-off saloon to a curvier model and back into a square box before being discontinued. Perhaps the best model to get the retro treatment would be the curvy 'Coke Bottle' design of the 1970s. This model took its design cues from American cars of the period, and it was quite a distinctive design even in the flamboyant seventies. This is also the car that was made famous by the 'Life on Mars' TV series, where a modern-day cop is transported back in time to the seventies. The colour schemes were great, too, and if we add a vinyl roof, then we could really capture the mood.
2) The VW Camper van
It is not, strictly speaking, a car, but this camper defined a certain sense of freedom in the late sixties and seventies. Beloved of the surfing set, the VW Camper set the tone for the flower-power generation. Sadly, the last VW Camper van rolled off the production line in Brazil last year, a victim of that country's tightening safety laws. Surely, though, it cannot be beyond the ability of VW to overcome these restrictions and build a proper retro VW camper van for a new generation to enjoy?
3) The Morris Minor
Who owns the rights to this classic design? With all the changes that have taken place at Rover/British Leyland/MG Rover/Jaguar Land Rover, it might be hard to get to the bottom of this, but it could be a worthwhile endeavour. The Morris Minor is an often overlooked classic, outshone just a little bit by the Mini and the VW Beetle. Nevertheless, it has those classic endearing looks that could make a retro version a star, and the cabriolet version was particularly beloved. There is also the chance to develop a whole family, much like BMW is doing with the Mini, and the famous Morris Traveller, with its distinctive wooden frame, is sure to be a huge hit with those who are looking for a bit of nostalgia.
4) The Ford Capri
Back in the day, almost every young man about town wanted to drive a Ford Capri. The Capri followed the winning formula of the Ford Mustang in the US, with sports-car good looks wedded to fairly modest and economical performance. The classy coupé was a hit then and is sure to be again.
5) The Citroen 2CV
This is such an obvious one that it is a shock that PSA hasn't already done it. The French motor industry had a harder time than most through the recent financial downturn and is in desperate need of a pick-me-up. A retro 2CV could be just the answer. This charming little car was designed to be simple and carry passengers or French farm animals with equal ease. It could be just the car for these times of austerity.