Hooniverse Asks: What vintage vehicle could fuel nostalgia for a new version?

I’ve been driving a new Bronco for the last week, and I definitely am enjoying myself. As are others as evidenced by the waves, thumbs-up, and more. People are happy to see the new Bronco. And despite the issues with actually getting them into waiting customer hands, Ford has nailed this new Bronco. It looks right, drives wonderfully, and truly competes at the top of the class in its segment. But now I’m wondering what else could come along and feel a similar welcome?

What other vintage vehicles do you think could fuel a nostalgia and passion-led return to the market? Give it a few years and Camaro will be an answer here. Perhaps some manner of retro-inspired pickup? Maybe Ford should’ve called the Maverick the Courier?

There has to be something though that could capture emotion into automotive form and appeal to a wide enough market to make it profitable. Cadillac could go in an expensive direction and make a fully electrified modern Eldorado. Charge $125k for it and market it towards wealthy Tesla acolytes that are sick of pretending their Model S interiors are luxurious. Cadillac could ply on the luxury and heritage appeal.

In a different direction, Nissan could revisit its ID concepts and revive the 510 nameplate or even make a lower-tier Z model to compete against the BRZ/86. Call it the Nissan 200Z, give it a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine, and price it at $26k to start.

17 Comments

  1. Damn… I forgot the Bronco was offered in dark green. Paint the top and grille white, throw on some white steelies, and I’d be drooling.

    I too initially thought the Maverick should be called the Courier, but perhaps they wanted some cowboy-themed association with the Bronco. “Courier” sounds better with Transit, though.

    Honestly, I think the nostalgia thing has been tapped out in recent years, particularly by Ford. They shouldn’t over-do it. However, I’d love it if BMW would put down the ugly stick and design a basic 2002 homage. Or if Volvo gave us a boxy 200 Series car for $30k. I think Nissan royally screwed up by not building the IDx– same with Peugeot and the e-Legend. But what would be fantastic is a modern electric 2CV (2EV?).

    1. BMW is about 20 years late to refresh the 2002. Think of all the numerology nuts who would have rushed out to buy a 2002 2002, regardless of its automotive capabilities.

  2. Bronco made a can’t-keep-up-with-demand comeback as a pop-top SUV. Gladiator very successfully filled the pop-top 4×4 pickup role that the Jeep Scrambler abandoned in the 80’s. Chevy missed the mark, but tried to bring back Blazer.

    By 2025, I want to see a modern Dodge (Ram?) Ramcharger with removable roof, have Navistar produce a modern IH Scout, and have Subaru build a Chicken Tax-cheating small truck with jump seats in the bed.

  3. Carnuts asking for a properly proportioned Cadillac seems like a weekly occurence. If they could manage to present an EV Eldorado and make it cool, it could revive the brand in all the ways they have talked about for 20-30 years – and failed to do. I suppose their own research disagrees with that though?

    The retro recipe depends on some sort of anchor; it needs a vehicle that is still known and loved. @Zentropy’s choice of Volvo 240 would be mine, too, but I see zero chance of that happening. Really iconic vehicles like the Hindustan Ambassador, Lada Niva, Peugeot 504 or Renault 5 could easily be updated, designwise, and turned into something modern. Like Hyundai did with the Giugiaro-designed Pony/Ioniq 5. There aren’t that many retro vehicles that failed, are there? Thunderbird comes to mind, but that’s about it.

    1. An EV Eldorado might be cool, but the market for large 2-door cars has been nonexistent for decades, and if you add a pair of doors, please don’t call it an Eldorado.

      Besides the last-gen T-Bird, Chevy SSR was a retrostyled sales failure, and an answer to a question nobody asked. Plymouth (Chrysler) Prowler was another one–built with not enough cylinders for a proper hot rod–although it was marketed as more of a halo car than actual transportation. Chrysler Crossfire was sort of retro, too.

      1. To make an Eldorado work, call it a two door, but design it such that people who are not yet in their 80s can access front and rear seats easily. Should be doable and could be a feature; easier to justify than “Falcon doors”. Maybe something like the Renault Avantime’s long, intricated doors?

    2. I knew the 240 would make the list… or maybe I just sensed it. Or maybe it’s because I currently have a herd of three.

      Why, discounting the fact that I just like them? Nice, neutral RWD handling. Excellent visibility. Big enough to stretch out inside and haul many things, small enough to be efficient and fit just about anywhere. Amazingly tight turning radius. Relatively high ground clearance. Easily repaired. Made of quality Swedish iron and steel all around (it’s taken them a while to get plastics right). An honest car that will generally do what you ask of it. I’d be more interested in those qualities, and less about whether it looked like an old 240 or not, though that would be a bad model to use, in my admittedly biased opinion.

      1. Gah! Make that “wouldn’t be a bad model to use”. Also, another vote for being able to edit comments.
        Thank you. As you were.

  4. The pre-downsizing Eldorados were designed for passenger access. They are longer than a same-era Suburban and have a longer wheelbase, too, despite having only two rows of seating and a small trunk. Doors are so long that the passenger side has two interior door handles–one for rear seat passengers being chauffeured around like Boss Hogg.

    And, of course a flat floor with no interior protrusions for a driveshaft tunnel or transmission hump.

  5. I’d love to vote for some sedan (having already voted for the evergreen answer to Hooniverse Asks, Lunar Rover) but people don’t want sedans anymore, and there’s only so many knuckle dragging mouth-breathers we can sell warmed over muscle cars to (does the Camaro even have a V8 anymore?)

    How ’bout we go really retro? Like, pre-WWII retro. So old it’s new, definitely retro, but not cliche. Back then cars were giant boxes that sat way up high and had enormous wheel diameters and poor visibility. So, any modern SUV driver should feel right at home in something like this ’37 Ford Fordor.

    Bring back running boards and the world will beat a path to your door.

  6. Sorry, not very relevant to the US I know, but… Now that the Honda S660, which gave us a reborn Beat is finishing up production (with all remaining production sold out), now is the time for Suzuki and Mazda to revive their thirds of the ABC kei sports car trio and give us a new Cappuccino and AZ-1. Given the AZ-1 was actually a Suzuki design (with Suzuki engine) that was manufactured by Mazda, there’s probably some scope for collaboration again.

  7. A BaT listing has me reconsidering my choice, and I know we’ve talked about the need to re-do this one before.

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