Hooniverse Asks- Who Gets Retro Right?

There are certain things that are just plain wrong. Sometimes it’s a TV remote that has the most used buttons at the bottom, or that institutional toilet paper that’s strangely less wide than the stuff at home, and inevitably leaves you with a surprise finger painting opportunity. And with cars sometime it can be how they look. There’s been a bunch of car models that have been around so long that they have developed a general consensus as to how they should look, and its crazy-making when they don’t look quite right.
You know what a Mustang should look like, or a Beetle, or even a 911, and so the stylists, when refreshing or re-imagining the marque, must tread lightly while walking on such hallowed ground. Come up with something that’s too far off general expectations and expect to see aficionados storming the ramparts with pitchforks held high. Just ask the Ford folks who focus grouped the Probe when it was going to replace the Mustang.
Many a car has gone away only to reappear at a later date. And upon that rebirth after a long hiatus, it’s vitally necessary that they express visually certain iconic characteristics that are expected of the brand.  Those what was once old are new again cars are collectively referred to as Retromobiles. There have been a bunch, some have come and gone, while others make it to a second or third generation. The success of capturing that lightning in a bottle – the intrinsic identity of the brand- varies from effort to effort, some being more successful than others, and some waaay off. But one, in your mind must stand out above all the rest in best achieving that snapshot of visual character, and drawing the past into the present. Which one is it, what car gets retro right?
Image source: [theinspirationroom]

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  1. muthalovin Avatar

    <img src="http://www.motoworks.biz/bike%20pages/ducati/06_paul_smart_replica/images/PS1000Web30_jpg.jpg&quot; width=500>
    Ducati did it right with the Paul Smart replica. That counts as retro, right?

    1. dead_elvis Avatar

      So, so so right, and I'm not a huge fan of retro efforts, usually.

  2. Alff Avatar


  3. OA5599 Avatar

    Do continuation models count?
    <img src="http://www.delorean.com/dmcflorida/dmcfloridaimages/bldg.jpg"&gt;

    1. tiberiusẅisë Avatar

      Hellz to the yes. If it ain't broke, or is broke in all the right ways, don't fix it.

      1. OA5599 Avatar

        Good, because when you think about it,, retro is nothing more than a virtual time machine that takes you back to the futuristic styling of days past.

        1. tiberiusẅisë Avatar

          Just try not to make out with your mom. Even if she is Lea Thompson.

  4. P161911 Avatar

    Could you tell if it was the new S&S/Harley powered one or one of the old British engined ones?

  5. LTDScott Avatar

    @P161911 – I wasn't aware they made a Harley powered version, but no, I didn't see the front long enough to notice.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      They "reintroduced" the 3-wheeler recently. Actually, I think they licensed out the design to a US company and then bought it back to restart production. http://www.morgan3wheeler.co.uk/home.htmlhttp://w

      1. facelvega Avatar

        Yep, it's a slightly simplified and reworked version of the US-made and designed Liberty Ace. I think Morgan realized that their original 3-wheeler had already been modernized in a sensitive way by someone else, and so it was easy to just bring them into the fold than to start with a blank sheet.

  6. $kaycog Avatar

    This is the 789 Chevy (1957, 1958, 1959) by Kanter Concepts, design studio and parent company of (no 2 alike) n2a Motors.
    <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2701/4278018550_8569a8957f.jpg"width="500"/&gt;

    1. CptSevere Avatar

      No. Not as hideous as these (http://www.easyrods.com/), but still, No.

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        As much as I hate the EasyRods, I have a legitimate desire to build an S-10 pickup with a Rodster front end and a stake-side flatbed out back.
        <img src="http://www.rodster.com/assets/PICKUP3-.jpg"&gt;

    2. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      Well that's not the answer I expected! But a good one none-the-less. There have been a few BMW Volgas, there was one at the Budapest autoshow, wow 12-13 years ago, I'm getting old dang.
      <img src="http://img223.imageshack.us/img223/1961/volga346uu.jpg&quot; width="500">

      1. dukeisduke Avatar

        It uses BMW 7-Series running gear (including a V-12). Car and Driver did a story on it once.

    3. Alff Avatar

      Imposter! The real Skaycog would respond with Engineerd's answer.

      1. $kaycog Avatar

        Ms. Obvious decided to shake it up a bit. Shocking, I know!

    4. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      I actually thought the CRC retro C5 vette rebody was done fairly well. Other than the windshield frame area, it looks attractive, if not authentic.
      <img src="http://www.carinsurance.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/gg_pw_crc_c5-4.jpg&quot; width="500">

      1. $kaycog Avatar

        I've never seen that before. I like it!

        1. dukeisduke Avatar

          I saw one of those recently, as I was driving home, and it didn't look so good in person.

    5. facelvega Avatar

      Um, if the original question was "who has retro blight?" then indubitably yes.

    6. smokyburnout Avatar

      My favorite retro rebodied Vette. Awkward from a few angles, great from others.
      <img src="http://uncrate.com/p/2010/06/rossi-sixtysix-xl.jpg&quot; width="600"/>
      IMG from Uncrate

  7. Feds_II Avatar

    Tying in with the early theme, I'm going to go with Triumph. The look is just right, with a nice dollop of technology controlling the oily bits. I think they avoid the harley trap by offering modern bikes right along side their retro rides, making the retro bikes feel fun instead of antiquated.
    <img src="http://www.triumph.co.uk/images/Thruxton_2010_overview_510x347.jpg&quot; width=500>

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      My main criticism with the new Bonnie is the ugly engine. It's too wide, too fat, too plain, and the top end is a very oriental-looking lump. It doesn't have any of the lithe, sculptural qualities of the original.
      <img src="http://www.anglo-bobbers.com/Triumph_1971/images-tr0013/1971_Triumph_Bonneville_Engine_468x363.jpg"&gt;

      1. CptSevere Avatar

        I agree, that is one of the best looking bike engines ever produced. Just look at it. However, I'm happy as hell that Triumph has succeeded in reinventing itself, that's a good thing, anybody will admit.

  8. chrystlubitshi Avatar

    cannot believe you beat ms. skaycog to the punch… i was leaving it for her… because it is, truly, the best retromobile.

    1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      Same company made one of the worst, which happened to be a MT COTY winner. Ford got a great idea for the interior, though I wish you could get something like boue exterior red interior:
      <img src="http://www.ridelust.com/wp-content/uploads/InteriorDriverSideSmall-500×375.jpg"&gt;
      <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/23/11th_Ford_Tbird.jpg/500px-11th_Ford_Tbird.jpg"&gt;
      But the outside did not really look much like any prior t-bird really. It was expensive and Ford could have fixed it by tweaking the outside a bit while improving the performance, but instead they went to blander exterior colors and a single color boring dark interior. It's a shame, this could have been so right.

  9. Mad_Science Sr. Avatar
    Mad_Science Sr.

    Dude, your Bug has swirly marks. Don't let Ricky D see it, he will have a heart attack.

    1. Mad_Science Sr. Avatar
      Mad_Science Sr.

      Oh, and it also has an engine in the front and the rear. But no gas tanks……

  10. $kaycog Avatar

    My choice too…..honestly.

  11. tiberiusẅisë Avatar

    <img src="http://files.g4tv.com/images/blog/2008/11/12/633620844201693577.jpg&quot; width="400">
    Oh wait, this isn't atomic toasters? Nevermind.
    photo courtesy of g4tv

  12. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
    mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    Thankfully not much.

  13. citroen67 Avatar

    My personal retro favorite is not a car, or truck, or cycle, but it still has four wheels, an engine, and can be very "Hoon-worthy"…providing you have the right accessories.
    <img src="http://www.tractordata.com/news/2009/03/new-holland-boomer-8n.jpg&quot; width="600">

    1. Feds_II Avatar

      Oh that is far too cool.

  14. mad_science Avatar

    Points for discussion:
    Revived Z
    1 series (as a revived e30 or 2002)

    1. muthalovin Avatar

      1. Catfish face. No t-tops: Retro fail.
      2. Sessy body lines, PAH!, bloat: Retro pass.
      3. Interesting styling, gun-slit windows, boulevard cruiser: Retro acceptable
      4. See answer #2 + #3: surprisingly, retro fail
      5. Sporty, light, turbo, coupe: Retro acceptable
      6. Bold, brash, PAH!: Retro acceptable.
      These are the expressed opinions of Muthalovin. Flame if you must.

    2. muthalovin Avatar


    3. Alff Avatar

      A buddy (a very successful auto-xer in an e30) and I were musing on the 1-series the other day. Neither of us understands the vitriol leveled at it. It seems very much in keeping with the spirit of beloved baby Bimmers.

    4. Andrew Avatar

      Z- Just as ugly as its predecessors. Retro win, styling fail.
      Charger/300C/Challenger- The Challenger looks too much like the original. Only the Ford GT can pull off the total-facsimile look. They all DRIVE like their ancestors. Retro win, dynamics fail.
      1er- The E30 and 2002 were underpowered cars with great chassis. The 1 has an acceptable chassis (caveat- I haven't driven the M yet) and a wonderful monster of a motor. Retro fail, everthing else win.

  15. mad_science Avatar

    Oh, and duh:

    1. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

      This Camero thing… is it car?

    2. Alff Avatar

      None of the latter-day "Pony Cars" really are, mainly due to their heft. Mustang comes closest.

  16. Alff Avatar

    Here's an out of the box answer. Who does retro right? WE do – the Hoons – who insist on keeping old and older iron on the road and relying upon it for our daily transport needs.
    … Just drove the Alfa to the store for a sunny Friday afternoon beer run, and I'm feeling a bit smug. Now I'm going to pull the head off my 25 year old lawn tractor. I'm such a masochist.

    1. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

      I must of the same breed hahaha..
      my 1974 Opala real retro and 300C new retro, you decide
      <img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/_jENN4i7WodY/TR_XBQIDgwI/AAAAAAAACwg/Ka6-JAVGD-I/s912/DSC06777-3.JPG&quot; width="550">
      and my 1962 Valmet 600iD real retro
      <img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/_jENN4i7WodY/TcSktnp5gvI/AAAAAAAACz0/02CYBNaG74Q/s640/DSC05068.JPG&quot; width="550">

  17. buzzboy7 Avatar

    I know I'll get some hell for this but Mini anybody? I know they failed in a lot of ways but really, they're not that bad.

    1. SSurfer321 Avatar

      Mini HAD it right. Once they started expanding their range to the Countryman and Clubman, they stopped getting retro right. And don't get me started on that Coupe they are bringing out.

    2. Alff Avatar

      Apropos of nothing, except I saw this segment on Netflix last night…[youtube wDcKES5sv4k http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDcKES5sv4k youtube]

  18. jjd241 Avatar

    It's time for Cadillac to come at us with some finage…not too crazy mind you, but a touch of '62 would seem appropriate.

    1. JayP Avatar

      They try with the CTS Sportwagon. The taillights were inspired by the big fins… such is marketing.

  19. crinklesmith Avatar

    Kawasaki W650. Like a reliable, bevel driven cam Bonnie.
    <img src="http://www.paradisecycles.com/Images/Image639.jpg"/&gt;
    And the Yamaha SRX600 and Honda GB500 were pretty cool too.

    1. dead_elvis Avatar

      Agreed, but just what was the SRX emulating? It's never struck me as retro – if anything, with that square-tube frame, it was forward looking.