Gaining heat in 2000s, this trend was one that gave us modern era legends like the Ford Mustang (fifth generation) but also abominations like the Hummer H2. However, this concept of slapping classic designs on modern chassis with modern features has been well exploited since the 1970s.
Therefore, here is a list of the top 10 best-designed retro modern cars in the last 20 years; in my opinion, (the order is pretty much random).
The targeted customer of the Galue-series cars is the man whom an average Audi A4 does not satisfy. Hence, he moves towards the quirky designed Galue – housing various Nissan family sedans (like Teana, Altima, Fuga, Cedric, Gloria, Crew) chassis throughout its various life-stages. Equipped with the regular Nissan I4s and V6s, the performance is not its highlight as its aesthetics inspired from classic Bentley and Jaguars are. However, the convertible models are optioned with a 4.6 V8 if you still desire performance!
Himiko, called Roadster in the UK is a grand tourer based on not a Nissan but the Mazda MX-5. The first generation on the NC and the second, on ND. It largely resembles the English Morgan
This grand tourer from Chrysler was not a typical Detroit car but a German one instead. Sharing most of its parts with the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class, Chrysler did a splendid job at designing this car regardless. The fastback body style being rather nostalgic to the 1960s America in itself adds to its classic appeal that exists due to the widebody stance at the rear, the retro-designed headlights from Chrysler and the AMC Marlin-like tail. Powered by a 3.2 V6 or a 3.2 Supercharged V6 (in SRT6 models) from Mercedes-Benz, this car could not create much hue due to several reasons like bad quality, underwhelming performance, underwhelming comfort, and the rather controversial design.
Another one of Chrysler’s multiple offences at the retro-modern style philosophy, Prowler was perhaps one of the strangest vehicles that took place as a consequence of the said trend. Powered by a SOHC V6, this unusual performance car had a very strange design, borrowed from hot-rods. Designed to woo the hot-rod enthusiasts, this remained as a mere novelty car as it was too strange even for the hot-rod enthusiasts to grasp!
Emerging from the companies pumping out more and more retro-modern cars, this was one of the only few that could generate any gravity around them! As Dodge brought out the Charger sibling with aesthetics resembling almost nothing to the original, the Challenger was made to commemorate its forefathers from the good ol' days. The big fat V8, the generously heavy and bulky body, and the iconic curve above the rear wheel arches all make this pony a force to be reckoned with!
The legendary pony that started it all in 1964 was also proudly the one starting resurrecting their craze in 2005 with their fifth generation Mustang. The new design completely took off from the fox-body Mustangs, which honestly did not feel much like the original Mustangs. The 2005 redesign brought back the boxy muscular vibe with sharp edges! Not only that, Mustang indeed was the reason for the return of its arch-rivals, the Camaro and Challenger.
Celebrating the centennial of the company, Ford was quite overjoyed and resultantly, pumped out three retro-modern cars to resonate their glorious muscular past, namely the successful Mustang, the failure Thunderbird and the scintillating GT! As new supercar companies like Koenigsegg were emerging, Ford revved hard with their 5.4 aluminium V8 GT, doing 0-100 km/h in 3.8 s. Perfectly capturing the essence of the legendary Le Mans racer – the GT40; the new GT was the torchbearer for Ford’s excellence.
Following the footsteps of Ford and Dodge, who had recently successfully revived their own ponies, Chevrolet marked the return of their own legendary pony – the Camaro. Helping it grow its image were the futuristic sort of looks, which also helped it gain a cast in the ‘Transformers’ movie franchise as the cool buddy.
Not all of GM’s attempts at the infamous trend were as successful as the Camaro. However, I quite like this weird roadster thing-y pickup. The car undoubtedly looks very weird but that is just another thing that makes me like it. The design is inspired from the early Chevrolet Advanced Design trucks, which are some of my favourite prospective hot-rods! The 400 bhp LS2 V8 makes matters only better due to the sheer might it possesses. Definitely goes to my bucket-list!
Equus Bass 770
Credits: Equus Automotive Facebook page
Probably the most badass muscle car ever made, this supercharged LS 9 bearing beast comes with an equally badass price tag of over $250,000! Inspired from several legendary muscle cars as the Dodge Charger, Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, AMC Marlin etc., Bass is proper fan-service for enthusiasts and feels too good to be real.
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Departing from the American muscles, we now have the off-roading and flexing ace – the FJ Cruiser. Entering into production only due a heavy demand after a mere demonstration of its concept at the 2003 NAIAS, it was destined to make an impact! Housing an extremely unusual buff design, it managed to retain classic Toyota truck cues like a vertical windshield; the Toyota name spelled out in letters instead of the logo, etc. This although was in a niche of its own, was not a novelty vehicle and did sell in good numbers – so much so that they are still selling it in the Middle East!