The top ten retro-styled cars available for motorists to buy.
There are a plethora of retro-styled cars available to buy as car makers worldwide look to take the smartest designs of classic models and merge them with today’s advanced technologies.
While fashion seems to go through periods of repeating itself from an earlier age and current music can be influenced by songs of yesteryear, car designers have until the last 15 years been slow to reshape their models based on timeless classics.
Here then are ten of the best models available to purchase on the car market, all of which combine the best of the old with the new.
The first car on the list is the Plymouth Prowler which was originally launched in 1997. In many ways this car was the pioneer and laid down the blue print which other car manufacturers have followed to create their own retro-themed car designs. Drawn up as a response to the hot rod cars, the American-built Prowler looked like a racer but flattered to deceive.
An essentially flawed design was the reason for this with the 3.5 litre V6 engine producing only 214 brake horse power and a top speed of 112 miles per hour. It took eight seconds for the car to reach 60 miles per hour and cost between $38,300 and $44,625 when it was on the market for the five years either side of the millennium.
Following their takeover of Mini, BMW redesigned the firm’s flagship car before turning their attention to the Mini Clubman. The new design is based on the classic Clubman model of 1969-80. The newest edition to the Mini range was unveiled at Frankfurt Motorshow in 2005 but made its road debut in 2008.
A feature of the five door Clubman are the double doors which open up to reveal extended boot space of 160 litres. The car comes with air bags, brake assist control and electronic brakeforce distribution. The car also has rear suspension and features such accessories as rear trailing arms and anti-roll bars.
The Caterham Seven has evolved from the 1973 Lotus Seven sports car. The two seat car has 140 brake horse power and can boost a 1.6 litre Ford Duratec engine. Caterham’s model is famous for its exquisite handling and its fantastic performance, largely due to it having the correct balance between the vehicle’s strength and its lightweight design.
Originally dreamt up as a racing car, the vehicle model range now showcases a combination of chassis and engines, some of which are in the process of being phased out. The car has four models under its umbrella including the Classic, Superlight, CSR and and Roadsport editions. A fiftieth anniversary special was also created in 2007 to celebrate the success of the motor.
One of the most famous examples of redesigning a classic car comes from Volkswagen‘s Beetle revamp. The company launched an updated model of the car in 1998 but withdrew the model in 2010. Now they have unveiled a sleeker model Beetle at this year’s Shanghai Motor Show.
The car offers consumers the choice of 1.2 litre, 1.4 litre and 2 litre petrol engines and can offer 65.7 miles per gallon. Unlike previous Beetle incarnations, the retro-styled Beetle offers the driver a more powerful ride and has claimed to be the most efficient Beetle ever. The car can be driven as a five speed manual or as a six speed automatic.
Chrysler‘s redesign of the PT Cruiser has now been produced for a decade with the majority of the 1.3 million sales being purchased by Americans. The car is a five door hatch-back which can reach speeds of up to 125 miles per hour from its 2.4 litre engine and has 230 brake horse power.
The Plymouth Prowler was originally used as a template for the new design, although the Chrysler CCV was also used for inspiration to create the retro-themed car model. The PT Cruiser has traction control and an anti-lock brake system fitted as standard.
Thanks to its wing doors opening like a DeLorean model from the Back to the Future trilogy of films, Mercedes Benz‘s SLS AMG easily catches the eye. The car’s design was not based on anything Michael J. Fox drove but was instead based on Mercedes’ own 1950s 300SL. The luxury vehicle was created in place of the retired McLaren and while already on sale in Europe, will not reach the Americas until later this year.
The two door coupé is powered by a V8 four valve engine and can post a top speed of 169 miles per hour, reaching 60 miles per hour from a standing start in just under four seconds. The car has an anti-locking system fitted as standard and also has a rear wing which helps with driving and braking at high speeds.
Ford‘s Shelby GT500 is a modern day version of the legendary Ford Mustang. The car comes with a powerful 32 valve 5.4 litre V8 engine which can generate 540 brake horse power and reach a top speed of 155 miles per hour. The two door coupé features a six-speed manual transmission and has Goodyear Eagle F1- Supercar tyres.
A prototype of the car was released for the 2007 New York International Auto Show, with the actual model rolling off the production line in spring 2008. Produced in both the USA and Canada the car features a carbon fibre composite hood and a unique carbon fibre fitter.
Similar to the Shelby is Ford’s next entry on the retro-themed list, the Ford GT. Ford’s inspiration for the car’s design came from the corporation’s very successful GT40 race cars in the 1960s. A 5.4 litre supercharged modular V8 engine allows the car to reach speeds of 0-60 miles per hour in 3.3 seconds and has a top speed of 205 miles per hour.
While only produced as a model between 2005-2006, the Ford GT’s popularity was such that at the original launch of the vehicle, demand outstripped the supply. Originally 4,500 GTs were expected to roll off the Ford supply line but only 4,038 GTs were actually produced and sold.
One of the biggest sellers in the retro-themed car market has been the Fiat 500, intentionally designed as a rival to the Mini. The original 500 ceased production in 1975 after 18 years but came back with a bang for its fiftieth anniversary in 2007, its popularity enhanced by its relatively inexpensive price when compared to the Mini and the new Volkswagen Beetle.
The car is fitted with five and six speed manual gears and can reach speeds of up to 131 miles per hour. At its quickest the car can pass 60 miles per hour in just over seven seconds and can be fitted with one of three engines, two of which are petrol engines and one of which is a diesel engine.
Possibly the most striking retro-styled model is the Morgan Three-wheeler, re-styled sixty years after the final model was manufactured. The British made car will cost £30,000 before drivers can take advantage of driving in one of the most unique models in automotive history. Such has been the anticipation about the Three-wheeler’s return that 330 orders were placed before its debut at the 2011 Geneva International Motorshow.
The two front wheels are complemented by a third rear wheel at the far end of the elongated car body, which itself contains the Mazda MX-5 engine which powers it. The car can accelerate to 60 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds and has a top speed of 115 miles per hour.