Hooniverse Asks- What Car Has Changed Most Since its Introduction?

Transsexualism is a challenge for some, and represents a radical change in both look and function for the individual affected. That kind of switcheroo happens to cars and trucks too, although seemingly without quite so much soul searching. Some cars start off down one path, their creators waving as the leave; telling them to have fun storming the castle, only to later return unrecognizable.
That must have been the case when the Mustang II first appeared and failed to capture the hearts and minds of the pony car faithful, it being so different a beast from its predecessors. That’s also a likely scenario of GM’s fastback mid-sizer A-bodies when they first debuted. Not only were they significantly smaller and anglier than their ancestors, but they lacked – in many a mind – a proper three-box silhouette.
Of course there have been others, and that’s where you come in. What car or truck, in you estimation, have most radically changed since it was first introduced? And yeah, you look great in that pencil skirt.
Image source: [usedforddealers, productioncars.com]

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64 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- What Car Has Changed Most Since its Introduction?”

  1. muthalovin Avatar

    The Civic has changed pretty drastically over the years:
    <img src="http://www.autosmexico.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/honda-civic-historia.jpg"&gt;
    It is still changing too.

    1. medwards Avatar

      That Gen. I is awesome in it's simplicity. My dad owned a Gen I, II (wagon), and IV. I learned to drive in my grandfather's Gen. II wagon, and my dad's Gen. IV sedan. I've owned a Gen VII and 2 different generation Accords.
      What has happened to all the Gen III and Gen IV's? I never see them on the road.

      1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

        Rust, then more rust. I haven't seen a prior-to-fourth-generation Civic on the road in New England since… actually, I don't remember the last time. There are two fourth-generations in decent shape left in my small town, though, somehow.

        1. B72 Avatar

          I had a gen III. The front left suspension collapsed due to rust. I fixed it. It started eating coolant. I bought another car. While sitting and waiting for a charity to take it away, the front right suspension collapsed due to rust.
          It was fun to drive though.

    2. fisheater Avatar

      Gen II to III is the biggest change. Every generation after that is gradual evolution.

  2. tonyola Avatar

    Honda Accord – from a deluxe little coupe slightly larger than the original Civic to a Japanese Buick.
    <img src="http://image.motortrend.com/f/9499137+w750/112_0708_10z+honda_accord_history+1976_honda_accord_hatchback.jpg&quot; width=400>
    <img src="http://www.carsmagz.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/2011-Honda-Accord-from-Front-Side-View-Picture-570×411.jpg&quot; width=400>

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      I was in high school when the Accord launched, and I can remember a friend's dad giving money under the table to get on a dealer's waiting list for one.

    2. dukeisduke Avatar

      I was in high school when the Accord launched, and I can remember that a friend's dad paid money under the table to a Honda salesman to get on the waiting list for one. The MSRP was $3,499, but people were paying upwards of $5,000 to get one. Crazy.

      1. tonyola Avatar

        That wasn't unusual especially when the Japanese makers had their "voluntary" import limits. When I was shopping for a new CRX in late '83, some dealers were charging over $10,000 for a car that listed for $6,600. It took me a long time to find a dealer that wouldn't overcharge, and even then I still had to wait over three months.

  3. PrawoJazdy Avatar

    Buick LaCrosse. Which is a very dramatic change.
    Buick Regal. Which has gone from awesome to underwhelming in a matter of 20 years.

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      The new Regal is pretty hot, especially the 2012 Turbo that's going to make 270hp from two liters (135hp/L) and 295ft-lb of torque:

      1. PrawoJazdy Avatar

        I sell them and I'm pretty excited about the GS even though it's not AWD and sporting a V6. As a former Cobalt SS T/C owner, I'm confident GM can do a high output FWD car very well. If they were smart it would have no lift shift like the Cobalt. It took forever to get used to, but once you did, you were an unstoppable beast. (The FWD Impala/Monte SS do not count as good GM FWD)
        We are the number 1 Buick dealer by volume for 2010 and GM was kind enough to drop one off at our store for our party back in February. It's damn awesome. I'm hoping Mitchy-Poo will let me review it when it hits. Just not sure if it's Hooniverse material.
        However, I'm referring to it be underwhelming by comparison to the GN/GNX.

        1. Deartháir Avatar

          No. But you can send me one to review!

    2. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

      For your viewing pleasure, a 20-year-old Regal.
      <img src="http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2008/01/08/03/22/1991_buick_regal_4_dr_limited_sedan-pic-38010.jpeg"&gt;
      If you meant the GN/GNX, however, I'm right there with you.

      1. Buickboy92 Avatar

        I love those!!!!!!!! We used to have one. A red one named Rachael 🙂

      2. PrawoJazdy Avatar

        I meant GN/GNX. My dad and I have 1 of 400. It never leaves the garage at his house in Indy.

    1. FЯeeMan Avatar

      The more things change, the more they remain the same, though. The 1st gen & current gen Chrysler minivans are very similar in their boxiness, while the two middle gens were very rounded.

    2. humblejanitor Avatar

      Actually, the current generation Caravan/T&C looks like a homage to the first generation. The lines are crisp and it's better looking than the bloated jellybean of the previous generation.
      My father bought a first generation Voyager, which came with a 5 speed on the floor. You don't see that anymore and it was the last vehicle that he drove with a 5 speed. Loved that Voyager. He now has a 2007 T&C.

  4. Alff Avatar

    Toyota Land Cruiser

    1. Paul_y Avatar

      That's mostly true in the US. Much of the rest of the world still gets this: http://www.toyota.com.au/landcruiser-70-series

  5. P161911 Avatar

    Ford F-series trucks.
    From the simple and utilitarian 1948
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/11/1950_Ford_F3.jpg&quot; width="500/">
    To the current F-150 King Ranch behemoths
    <img src="http://www.peyeimages.com/cars/images/ford-f150-king-ranch/ford-f150-king-ranch-picture-139995.jpg&quot; width="500/">
    Part of this is just the fact one model has a fairly direct lineage for 60+ years.

  6. Hopman Avatar

    How about the Ford Exploror?
    Then: built on a Ranger chassis and a decent comperitor to the Jeep Cherokee, AND at the same time creating a new class of vehicle
    Now: just another wussified crossover!

  7. LTDScott Avatar

    My obvious answer is the Civic, but that has been covered.
    People crap pile on the Mustang II, but 1974 Mustang II sales were triple those of 1973, and every successive year of the Mustang II outsold the '73 as well. Perhaps it did "fail to capture the hearts and minds of the pony car faithful," but obviously it captured the wallet of a lot of other people. The rebodied Pinto kept the Mustang alive, so that we now have a 400HP version you can buy from any Ford dealer lot.

    1. humblejanitor Avatar

      I've noticed that when you look at the Mustang II from a neutral perspective, you can see the obvious homage to the first generation model.
      It was an attempt to re-capture lightning in a bottle.
      If it had been tried in an era other than the malaise era, it might have been more successful.

      1. LTDScott Avatar

        This is precisely my point. Ford sold nearly 400,000 of these in '74, and over 150K for the rest of the years. How is this NOT successful?
        Were they powerful? Were they well built and refined? No, but no other American car in that era was either. It was the best they could do at the time (which isn't a compliment), but they still sold a crap ton of them, and in my mind it's successful.

    2. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      Additionally, it was a continuation of the same formula as the original Mustang: sporty car based on a low-end compact.
      By any measure, the Falcon was not a particularly great car…it's just that it didn't come in an era when horsepower ratings were dropping by the week.

      1. McQueen Avatar

        Bonus of the Mustang ll was it was very reliable compared to it's competition , looking at you Chevy Vega

  8. Paul_y Avatar

    The first thing that came to mind for me is the Corolla. While conceptually, it's still basically the same car, it's changed over the years at least as much as the aforementioned Civic has (bonus: the Corolla changed from RWD to FWD, and had some AWD variants thrown in during that transitional period in the 80s).

    1. Mad_Hungarian Avatar

      Thank you. The Impala started out as anything other than bland.

  9. Jennings R. Scroggs, Jr. Avatar
    Jennings R. Scroggs, Jr.

    1st generation Skyline
    <img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_luYZvfwaS6Y/Scr1X0tXeDI/AAAAAAAACdY/BIF6XZBtaOQ/s400/skyline1.jpg"&gt;
    and it's great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson
    <img src="http://www.ridelust.com/wp-content/uploads/2009_nissan_gtr1.jpg"&gt;

    1. Hopman Avatar

      I think we have a WINNER!!!!!!
      From gecko to GODZILLA!

    2. smokyburnout Avatar

      I think the GT-R is a separate model now, but this is still pretty far from the original.
      <img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_FoXyvaPSnVk/S0Uk3mS413I/AAAAAAACY5s/_Z323gAXh8w/s800/2010-Nissan-Skyline-Sedan–000.jpg&quot; width="600">
      And this… uh…
      <img src="http://www.tuvei.com/wp-content/uploads/2010-nissan-skyline-crossover-1.jpg"&gt;
      IMGs from Carscoop and Tuvei

  10. Texan_Idiot25 Avatar

    Any model with a 20-30+ year lineage.

  11. buzzboy7 Avatar

    My answer to almost all questions
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/88/VolkswagenBeetle-001.jpg/800px-VolkswagenBeetle-001.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Engine moved
    Engine Orientation changed
    Engine Layout changed
    Gas tank moved
    Cooling type changed
    Utilitarianism reduced
    Switched from a cheap, reliable, small commuter car to an impractical fashion statement for college girls and middle age women.
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/54/2006-2007_Volkswagen_New_Beetle.jpg/800px-2006-2007_Volkswagen_New_Beetle.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Personal Runners-up
    Toyota Celica
    Ford Explorer

    1. humblejanitor Avatar

      Except that they're just not the same car.
      Now, if the platform was the same but the mechanics were different, then it would probably still apply.

      1. buzzboy7 Avatar

        "Except that they're just not the same car"
        My point exaclty

      2. brandon Avatar

        And how is a Gen 1 Civic in anyway the same platform as the latest model? This definitely applies.

  12. walter Avatar

    that new ford taurus is pimp though!

  13. facelvega Avatar

    Yet they didn't use Mistral. But they did use Mexico, which you think would've been touchy, since the worst-made VWs were built in Mexico.
    The VW Mexico was just a trim level on the Jetta/Bora, if I remember correctly. Here's the Maserati Mexico:
    <img src="http://www.classicandperformancecar.com/front_website/octane_interact/modelpicture.php?id=6118&quot; width="400">

    1. raphaelinberlin Avatar

      so pretty – from what I've heard, they drive like trucks, but I couldn't care less. it's not like I will ever own one

      1. Jennings R. Scroggs, Jr. Avatar
        Jennings R. Scroggs, Jr.

        Not that I know from first hand experience, but, Maserati Mexicos are fast, very comfortable and stop and corner "adequately". It's an Italian personal luxury car….with everything good/bad that the phrase implies.
        And, should I ever win the SuperHyperMegaPowerball lottery, the Mexico would be the second car in my fantasy garage…right next to the 300 SEL 6.3.

    2. fede6882 Avatar

      +1 just for posting a maserati, thanks!

  14. Tomsk Avatar

    <img src="http://www.productioncars.com/send_file.php/chevy_corvette_white_1953.jpg&quot; />
    -six-cylinder engine only
    -2-speed automatic transmission only
    -one exterior and interior color combo
    -convertible only
    -no side windows
    -passenger car chassis
    <img src="http://images.wikia.com/gran-turismo/images/b/b4/CorvetteC6.jpg&quot; width="500" />
    -choice of 3 V8s*
    -choice of 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission*
    -many exterior and interior color combos
    -choice of targa roof coupe, fixed roof coupe and convertible body styles*
    -power side windows
    -chassis not currently shared with any other product line
    *depending on model

    1. P161911 Avatar

      From a 150HP automatic cruiser with no real sporting ability to a 638HP 6-speed track monster.
      Thanks Zora!

    2. Texan_Idiot25 Avatar

      XLR used the Vette chassis.

  15. Texan_Idiot25 Avatar

    Fundamentally the same car. Big RWD cruiser, mild styling for it's time, V8 up front, live axle in back.

  16. Maymar Avatar

    To be fair, it made that process within about 5 years (Malaise Era, I'm lookin' at you), it just took the occasional break from the bland.

    1. tonyola Avatar

      You both have your rose-tinted nostalgia spectacles on. In its day (1960s and 1970s), the Impala outside of the SS model was thought of as being just as bland as the current ones are now. They were about as generic as American cars got. In fact, on absolute terms, I'd say that the current Impala is a far, far more capable car than the 1967 ever was. As charismatic as the '67? Of course not, but the '67 wasn't particularly charismatic when it was new.

      1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

        So very true. Until, oh I'd say about the mid 80s, the sister GM brands were always better looking to me than the Chevrolets. Well, if not better looking, at least more interesting. Just park a 67 Impala next to a 67 Bonneville or LeSabre for illustrative purposes.

  17. LTDScott Avatar

    Pet rocks and plaid bell-bottoms WERE successful for their time. Just because we don't look back fondly on them now, does it negate their success at the time?
    If you want to argue that the legacy of something after its initial success tarnishes the image (a la X-body's numerous recalls), fine, but as I said before, the Mustang II was an adequate placeholder at the time and kept the name and image alive long enough to survive the Malaise Era and improve.

  18. KAH Avatar

    How about the Pontiac LeMans it went from a monster piece of Detroit iron to a bad copy of a Kadett made by Daewoo

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      Just about the worst POS ever foisted on the American public.

  19. Lotte Avatar

    How about one that changed the most from the first generation in one generation? Noted from above I see cars that have gotten bigger, larger over the years, but the Mazda MPV moved from a rear drive chassis with swing-out doors, some off-road cred (though it wasn't body on frame; I always suspected it was) to the now-conventional front-drive, low-floor-tall-ceiling, sliding-door-equipped car.
    <img src="http://mazda-mpv.info/gallery/photos/1998/mazda-mpv-photo-6.jpg&quot; width="400/">
    <img src="http://www.japanesecartrade.com/show_picture.php?stock_no=337888&picture_id=a&pic_size=3&quot; width="400/">
    I can imagine the dozen pre-1999 MPV enthusiasts clutch their hearts going "Why, Mazda! Why!"

  20. McQueen Avatar

    The Ford Bronco went from a badass bruiser to a shit box in a hurry

  21. Adem Avatar

    &$%# yes. I don't understand why power sliding minivan doors exist, period.

  22. Adem Avatar

    Yep. The mid-to-late 60's Impalas may seem cool and mildly exotic now, but at the time, they were the bland, generic choice. I'm just going to leave this here

  23. name_too_long Avatar

    Surprised nobody has mentioned the Corolla. From cheap eco-box to surprise-street-legend (AE86), and now appliance.
    The Chevelle is another one that has completely reversed its image several times, started life as a gutsy family hauler; turned into a raging, steroidal, musclecar; died a horrid little crapcan.

  24. yesthatsteve Avatar

    Ford Thunderbird.

  25. Talha Farooq Avatar
    Talha Farooq

    Well, every car has changed to a few their limits. That’s a good point of technology that it is constantly changing and evolving and providing comforts. Japanese cars