Beginning in the late 1990s, after industry trends continued to push for sleeker, more futuristic cars, there was a counter-push to bring back the glory days of the ’60s and ’70s through updated retro-inspired vehicles — and it still continues today. This has been a very American trend; international companies from Europe or Asia don’t seem to have the same desire to re-cast their historic cars in such an intentional manner.
To be clear, there is a difference between using inspiration and design language from a company’s history to influence its current models, and designing a car outright to look like it drove directly out of the 60s and into the 21st century. The former is common practice — it’s actually rare to find vehicles that don’t pay homage to a brand’s own bloodlines in one way or another. A perfect example of this is the Mercedes SLS AMG — a completely new car, but clearly a descendent of the old iconic 300SL coupes of years past.
But these cars take it a step further. They are engineered to represent what a car from the ’50s, ’60s, or ’70s would look like if it was built today. It’s not just an homage to the originals, but a direct repurposing of the old formula that made them so iconic and enduring in the first place. Essentially, these cars were made to look old — in a modern interpretation, at least.
This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive list, so if you think we left anything out, sound off in the comments below.