10 Classic Car Nameplates That Need to Make a Comeback
Times change. Nowhere is this more apparent now than in the automotive world, where cars have evolved more in the past decade than they had in the previous three. Autonomous driving systems, powerful small-displacement engines, and electric powertrains are changing the way we drive and think about cars with each passing month.
Still, nostalgia is a powerful thing. It’s no secret why Ford is bringing back the Bronco or why people are still spending their hard-earned money on Mustangs, Camaros, and Challengers. These models have an air of the good old days without reminding us that, well, the good old days weren’t always that good.
That said, we think even in today’s changing automotive marketplace, there’s still room for some models that feed into our collective appetite for nostalgia. From confirmed models to rumors or just wishful thinking, here are 10 classic cars we think are due for a big comeback. Here’s hoping the automakers agree.
1. Plymouth Barracuda
Released at the height of the muscle car arms race, the Barracuda (the hotter versions were simply called ‘Cuda) has become one of the most sought after American performance cars ever built. In 2015, Fiat Chrysler announced an all-new Barracuda would debut alongside the next-generation Challenger. But with that redesign delayed until at least 2020, it doesn’t look like we’ll see a 21st century ‘Cuda anytime soon either. That’s a shame. With the Mustang and Camaro getting better every year, the automaker could use some help in the muscle car department.
Next: We’d like to see Jeep go further than a Wrangler pickup.
2. Jeep Comanche
Don’t get us wrong. It’s a big deal a Wrangler pickup is coming very soon. But it’s been more than a quarter century since Jeep has had its own dedicated pickup model. Ironically, its last one, the Comanche, was killed because Chrysler didn’t want it to siphon sales from the midsize Dodge Dakota. Now that Jeep is practically printing money for Fiat Chrysler, maybe it’s time to repeal the brand’s truck ban.
Next: We’d love to see this American brand move upscale with an iconic nameplate.
3. Buick Riviera
After the glitz and excess of the 1950s, the 1963 Buick Riviera was a breath of fresh air — and a huge success for Buick. Designed with strong cues from Ferrari and Rolls-Royce, the first-generation Riviera signaled that General Motors had turned over a new design leaf. Flash-forward over a half century later, and Buick is a red-hot brand once again. After showing the breathtaking Avista concept in 2016, people have been clamoring for Buick to sell a big luxury coupe again. You can count us among them.
Next: Could the Mustang underpin this luxury coupe?
4. Lincoln Mark series
As every luxury automaker knows, coupes aren’t big sellers, but they’re essential to maintaining a brand’s prestige image. Now that Lincoln is on its way to becoming a legitimate luxury brand again, we think it’s time to bring back the Mark series. Like the lovely Mark VII, it can be based on the Mustang GT. And unlike that model, today’s Mustang platform is already almost refined enough to take on luxury grand touring duties. Hey, if Lexus and Infiniti can pull it off, why not Lincoln?
Next: Honda needs to take another shot at this legendary sporty car.
5. Honda CRX
In the 1980s and early ’90s, Honda’s Civic-based CRX was one of the best sporty cars money could buy. Not only was the subcompact two-seater incredible to drive at the limit, it was also dirt cheap and could return up to 50 miles per gallon. From 2010 to 2016, Honda tried to recapture the magic with the hybrid CR-Z, but that car was heavy, sluggish, and uninspiring. With the current Civic winning over critics and car buyers alike, we’d love to see Honda go back to basics and do a modern CRX the right way.
Next: This economy car was one of the greatest driver’s cars of the ’70s.
6. Nissan 510
When it debuted in 1968, the press quickly dubbed the 510 (sold in the U.S. as a Datsun) “The Poor Man’s BMW.” With its handsome styling, fantastic overhead cam inline four, and infinitely tunable suspension, the 510 was a cheap runabout that could be transformed into a world-class driver’s car with very little effort. In 2013, Nissan teased the IDx concepts, which were modern day interpretations of the 510. Despite a huge response from the enthusiast community, it decided not to put the car into production. We’re still hoping that somehow the company has a change of heart.
Next: We want to see the Bronco’s natural rival make a return.
7. Chevrolet Blazer
With Wrangler Unlimiteds flying off of Jeep lots and Ford hard at work on a new Bronco for 2019, now seems like a perfect time for Chevy to reintroduce the iconic Blazer. Built from 1969 to 1991 as a full-size SUV, we think Chevy can apply some of its truck-building expertise to make a new Blazer that can keep up with the Bronco and Wrangler Unlimited on and off road.
Next: After an 18-year hiatus, this iconic GT is actually coming back.
8. BMW 8 Series
From 1990 to 1999, the BMW 8 Series was a stunning but fantastically complex high-performance grand tourer. Available with either a V8 or V12 engine, BMW hasn’t built anything quite like it since. In 2017, it announced it will revive the model and re-enter the Grand Touring segment for 2019. It can’t come soon enough.
Next: We were promised a new version of this iconic SUV, but its future is now in doubt.
9. Jeep Grand Wagoneer
Built largely unchanged from 1963 to 1991 by three different companies, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer has one of the longest production runs of any American car. Back then, it was the only luxury SUV on the market. In 2016, Jeep was hoping to re-enter the space now occupied by Mercedes, Cadillac, and Range Rover with an all-new Grand Wagoneer by the end of the decade. But given Fiat Chrysler’s recent turmoil and the fact that we haven’t heard anything about it in a while, we’re beginning to fear the worst.
Next: Europe gets a version of this model, but we don’t.
10. Volkswagen Scirocco
Volkswagen brought the Scirocco back in 2008 after a 16-year hiatus. Unfortunately, we never got the new one stateside. Built from 1974 to 1992, the Scirocco was a handsome, sporty, and infinitely tunable three-door hatch that’s since developed a cult following among VW fans. The current Scirocco, while distinctive looking, reportedly gets lost in the shuffle performance-wise when compared to the hot-hatch Golfs. But in late 2017, Volkswagen announced that the Scirocco was being discontinued in Europe. Looks like this one is consigned to the history books — for now.