Posts tagged retro
It’s a hard thing, updating an iconic vehicle. Volkswagen did a successful reboot of the Beetle in 1998, and the retro Beetle quickly became as familiar as the original that inspired it. It even spawned other retro imitators—the Ford Thunderbird and GT, the Chevrolet HHR, and the Chrysler PT Cruiser, and a new generation of muscle cars, among others. The hard part comes after; where do you go next? How do you redesign a retro vehicle to keep it fresh? The PT Cruiser, Thunderbird and GT avoided the issue of obsolescence by disappearing, while the others have yet to face it.
Volkswagen updated the Beetle by going even farther retro, taking inspiration from the original Beetle, as compared to its predecessor which focused on a three-circle design. The updated Beetle is a lot less cutesy and precious, and presents as a more serious vehicle that combines the practicality of a four-seat hatchback with unique styling. In short, it’s a really, really good reboot. (more…)
Yes, it’s real. The Chevrolet SSR started life as a dream truck that combined 1930s styling cues, 1990s hot-rod modifications, and a modern drivetrain. Thanks to overwhelming public approval, the SSR made the leap from show car to showroom, and now it’s one of Chevy’s halo cars. Is it really a truck? Sort of. Think of it as the coolest El Camino ever, and you’ll be on the right track. In its second year on the market, Chevrolet’s big-boy toy gets a new powertrain to give it some serious go power.
No one is going to mistake an SSR for anything else. As if the retro bodywork wasn’t enough, this is also the only retractable hardtop pickup truck on the market. The extravagant curves of the front fenders and grille sweep into a compact, arch-topped cab. Chevy says the design was inspired by the Advanced Design pickups of 1947-54. The bed has a rigid tonneau cover, and the rounded-off tail has circular taillights in the fenders, just like the old trucks that inspired it. Chevrolet’s signature horizontal chrome bar bisects the line of the headlights up front. The SSR’s fender lines are echoed on other Chevrolet products as well, but nothing else has curves like this. The massive wheels, measuring 19″ in the front and 20″ in the rear, are the most overtly modern aspect of the SSR. (more…)
Like the Mazda Miata and Volkswagen Beetle, Chrysler’s PT Cruiser is a feel-good sort of car. It’s hard not to be in a bad mood when driving one, because there’s just something about the little retro-commuter that makes people smile. The PT may not be as universally adored as the Miata, but it’s a great companion. The tall body, good road manners and versatile cargo-carrying ability make it the perfect break from the ordinary when it comes to mundane day-to-day tasks.
For 2006, Chrysler has given the PT Cruiser a quick redesign, with a revised front and rear that give it a bit more of a family resemblance to the rest of the Chrysler lineup (Remember, the PT Cruiser started life as a Plymouth, before that brand’s demise). (more…)