Two steps forward one step back


Resurrection shuffle

Mini, Fiat 500, Chevrolet Camaro, Fiat 124 Spider. Names that don’t die because their manufacturers won’t let them. In fact they’ve all been given them a new lease of life. Updated for the new century. And we reckon there are a few more that deserve to have the dust sheet pulled back and given a second chance. Brace yourself, this could be a rough ride…

Renault Dauphine – OK maybe this is a bit off the wall but we think the little Dauphine is definitely worth a second go and the pics of the go faster Gordini version make the case even stronger. Now in the day it wasn’t exactly the proverbial off a shovel with 0–60 mph in around 37 seconds. And its back end could bite the unwary (think poor mans Porsche – sort of). But that curvy body could seduce and was certainly distinctive. Ready for a revamp and give the Clio the elbow?

Dauphine 1
Saab 99 Turbo – Back on safer ground here we think. The 99 was a ground breaker in so many ways. A turbo for the masses clothed in a distinctive shell (the two door saloon was the looker). It also sat on some of the best alloy wheels ever designed. Red seats were natty too. And of course you could by a jet fighter too from the same stable. The problem is now the brand (despite various rumours) has sailed off to Valhalla, we’re unlikely to see a revival. Shame.

saab 99 turbo
Saab Type 94 Sonnett Super Sports – Now not a lot of people now about this baby, but maybe they should. And if Fiat could do it with the 124, could this have been the car to resurrect Saab as a niche sports cars manufacturer? And before you ask why are we so keen on Saab? We’re not. But looking at their back catalogue, does make you wonder why it all went wrong when they had designs like these sitting in the wings?

Saab Sonnet
Toyota Celica – If ever a car deserved more it was this little lookalike ponycar from Toyota. And if Chevrolet can do it with the Camaro, we think Toyota could get their mojo back with an updated Celica. Pump up the volume like many car customisers are doing and a car with purpose emerges. And trust us it doesn’t have a bad angle, unlike many versions of the Celica that followed. The latest iteration isn’t bad but the original so much better.

Celica 1
Celica 2

Austin Allegro (No we haven’t lost the plot) – The need to ‘innovate’ has lead to some seemingly dodgy design decisions over the years and the ‘quartic’ steering wheel here needs no introduction. But hang on a minute was the Allegro really that bad. Was the wheel really that whacky? Seems not. Check out La Ferrari’s on the right. So maybe time to give the Allegro another chance? Pimp the ride and who knows? Good enough for Ferrari…



De Tomaso Pantera – No so very long ago, you could pick up a Pantera for relative peanuts. Scorned and unloved by the purists. Underwritten by Ford, its relative unsophistication was no match for its distant cousins in Italy. But hey wait a minute. It is its very achilles heel, the 351 cid Ford Cleveland V8, that was its strength. Simple, robust and no where near as temperamental as those highly strung latins. Sure Ford recently revived the GT40. But we think they should have left that to the specialists. The Pantera would be Ford’s perfect riposte to the Audi R8. And soooo much prettier.


NSU Ro80 – Don’t know about you but why the rotary engine never really caught on is a bit of a mystery. Yes we know they had a bad reputation for reliability in the early days. They were also pretty thirsty too. But on the up side they were silky smooth. And the Ro80 in terms of design was way ahead of the rest. So come on guys, with all the new hardened metals coatings in use today and some serious engineering development, surely it’s time for a proper comeback?


Nash Metropolitan – At the time of its conception the Nash promised something of a revolution in the U.S. A truly compact car, a concept almost unheard of in the land of the gas guzzler. Over here (manufactured under licence by Austin) the dimensions seemed more at home on the British roads, though the styling was definitely more bling than the UK was used to. As retro rides high, seems to us the time is right for return of the Metro.


TVR Griffiths – With the return to production keenly awaited, we have a tip for TVR. Save yourself a fortune on new car development and bring back what must be one of the best looking cars ever to leave Blackpool. And while you’re at it change the name. Let’s face it who really wants to drive a TreVoR Griffiths? Oh and a touch of reliability would be nice too. But not too much. After all a tamed beast is a pet by another name. And a TVR Pussy is not what we want!


Lastly, in case you were wondering what the car at the top of the page is, it’s a Saab UrSaab. Yep another car from those crazy Swedes. Back in 1947 it must have looked like a spaceship and today it still looks pretty good. In fact so good that it seems someone may have found inspiration from it when penning the design of the Volkswagen L1 Hybrid a few years ago.

If you’ve got any candidates for resurrection don’t keep them to yourself because you never know where it might lead. Send them in and if we’re inspired well send you an appropriate prize from our goody cupboard.

Tags: , Published on 29th December 2015

Related articles

Along came a spider