My Car Quest

September 28, 2020

Editorial: The Pros and Cons of Retro Styled Cars

by Wallace Wyss –

At first glance you think “well, why not–that old design had a lot of fans.” Or you can come up with an all new shape, spend $100 million, and it’s a dud. I could mention the Mercury Mercur but I might well as mention all Mercurys. And then on the other hand you have the shining new example the Iso Rivolta GTZ. It captures all the design cues of the original Bertone designed Iso Grifo A3/C car.

Iso Rivolta GTZ by Zagato

Iso Rivolta GTZ by Zagato

People will buy it because:

– it reminds them of a car they can’t afford

– it reminds them of a more innocent era of styling

– it is designed and built in Italy on proven American mechanicals

Ironically Iso Rivolta showed other modern design prototypes. So for them retro is good. If this trend continues I think Rolls Royce could bring us the Silver Cloud III, Mercedes could bring back the 300SL Gullwing, Ford already did the Ford GT in ‘2005-06. The modern Dodge Hellcat and such are basically upscaled ’70 designs.

On the downside you never know if an all new design will spark a whole “school of styling,” like the ’68 Dodge Charger did. If it wasn’t for all new designs who knows where the industry would be as a whole?

Lamborghini Miura Concept

Lamborghini Miura Concept – Presented by Lamborghini in January 2006

I think the future offering of ready made electric powered platforms by major automakers to boutique electric car builders could see a myriad of “oldies but goodies” brought back–say one day running your platform with a Rolls body, the next day Bentley. True those of us who revere the engine of some classic like the Ferrari 250 GTO engine, will be put off that it’s only a recording in the electric replica version but isn’t half a loaf better than none?

Though I like internal combustion engines, I feel like a guy promoting camera film when the world’s gone digital. And so it is. If Iso Rivolta succeeds, exotic car makers might rethink their future products. Maybe it’s safer to build a modern Lamborghini Miura than build an all new shape?

What say you?

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

 
 
THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is the co-host of Autotalk, broadcast weekly from KUCR Riverside.

 
 
 
 

Message from Mike Gulett, Publisher & Editor

Using a beautiful car design style that was loved when it was new and updating it with modern styling leaving the basic design recognizable seems like a winning strategy. Dodge did this very well with the Charger and Challenger models.

There have been some flops with this approach but that does not mean it is not a sound idea. The design implementation quality is important. The examples of the Lamborghini Miura and the Iso Rivolta GTZ shown here are excellent implementations.

After all we still use classic building architecture styles and clothing styles that fulfill our aesthetic needs. Why not with cars as well?

Summary
Editorial: The Pros and Cons of Retro Styled Cars
Article Name
Editorial: The Pros and Cons of Retro Styled Cars
Description
If this Retro Styled Cars trend continues Rolls Royce could bring us the Silver Cloud III, Mercedes could bring back the 300SL Gullwing and Lamborghini could bring back the Miura.
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Comments

  1. If there is a demand for retro perhaps that is because people like that style better than the new designs, so it would make sense to build what the customer wants. The style of these old cars were classic but also seem to be still in demand to a degree.
    When I look at so many of the new cars that all look the same and have no tasteful styling I can see why the retros are in demand.
    As far as electric goes put them on the market and see what the customer decides that they want. At the end of the day it is personal taste, and in my opinion only the days of the beautiful classic designs left years ago so bring in the retros like the new ISO, but make them in larger quantities so more people can enjoy them.

  2. Mike Miles says

    There have been a variety of retro styled new models and most get it mostly right (IMO). I think the worst was the T-Bird trying to evoke the classic 55-57. I was impressed with several of the Italian retros and I’m partial to the Stratos re-boot in particular.

    • Glenn Krasner says

      Mike Miles: Everybody has different taste, and I respect your opinion about the 2002 to 2005 Thunderbird. That being said, I absolutely love that car, and if I could afford one, I would get one. Hemmings had one advertised for sale today in a metallic golden mist color with only 2000 miles on it for $25,000. I saw one on yesterday on East 52nd Street an 3rd Avenue in Manhattan, in a metallic charcoal gray color, and there are two others that live in the same neighborhood that I always see driving around, one in metallic turquoise, and one in metallic cherry red. I have talked to the owner of the red one, and he loves the car – he has nothing negative to say about it. These T-Birds are even a feature article in this month’s Hemmings Motor News. I am not particularly a “Ford Guy”, but I love these T-Birds and the retro 2004 though 2006 Ford GT (but not the current GT). The interesting thing about those 2004 through 2006 GTs are that they are the only recent American car that has actually appreciated in value. When new, they cost $150,000, and now you can’t tough one for less than $300,000. Anyway Mike, thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you. Happy Motoring!!! Glenn in the Bronx, NY.

  3. Mike Miles says

    I’m sure we can find more to agree on than to dispute when it comes to cars. I’m a classic (pre-80s) Morgan owner/enthusiast and have often wondered how other designers might have incorporated the traditional design cues into a newer embodiment differently than how the factory created the Aero. What would Foose come up with? Jeep did a terrific concept reboot (not released for production unfortunately) of the FC-170. What cues could Ford pull from the traditional fat-fendered 51-56 F100 into a new truck? Would love to see them.

    I share my opinion with everyone, not everyone shares my opinion.

  4. Wallace Wyss says

    Jaguar has temporarily stopped their plan to make a E type retro car. This happened back in 2019. Una a website called Eletrek they wrote:
    “After announcing plans to produce an all-electric version of the Jaguar E-type with I-Pace technology last year, Jaguar is now halting its plan for the electric E-type Zero.

    Two years ago, Jaguar unveiled a classic E-type converted to electric propulsion.

    The iconic vehicle was equipped with a 220 kW drivetrain and a 40 kWh battery that enables a “real world” range of 270 km (170 miles).

    A year later, the British automaker announced plans to bring the vehicle to production as the “Jaguar E-type Zero” and use “many Jaguar I-PACE components” for the new EV conversion.

    They planned to both sell it as a complete electric vehicle and offer the option for current classic E-type (1961-1975) owners to convert their car to electric through them with their own conversion kit:”

    • Glenn Krasner says

      Wallace: You could also see Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave their wedding reception in a metallic powder blue electric E-Type which they used to proceed to their wedding reception. Glenn in the Bronx, NY.

  5. Glenn Krasner says

    I meant that they left their marriage religious ceremony from their church to their wedding reception in that metallic blue electric E-type, and they did it with the convertible top down. Sorry for the error. Glenn

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