While there are a number of car nameplates that have lasted more than two or three decades, a lot more have fallen by the wayside, giving way to new, different and, arguably, more popular models.
Some, however, took a sabbatical, like the Toyota Supra or Dodge Challenger, and made triumphant comebacks few years – or sometimes decades – on the branding scrapheap.
We’ve all thought about it – what if those old, retired brands and models came back as brand new, 2021 models? Thankfully, someone over at Budget Direct is much better than us at Photoshop and has envisioned a few defunct cars as if they were built today.
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The Pontiac Firebird is pretty iconic on its own, and it’s fairly hard to redesign an old muscle car and have it come out different to the current crop of Mustangs, Challengers and Camaros.
However, Budget Direct have avoided retro styling cues here – and avoided simply rebadging a Camaro – and this one gets a super aggressive grille, angry eyes, a massive bonnet intake and thick haunches. Naturally, power comes from a big ol’ American V8.
For something a bit closer to home, how about the Holden Torana? Using the ’76 LX Torana as a baseline, Budget Direct went a little bonkers in creating a modern Torana with a sleeker, more muscular shape, again completely resisting the temptation to go retro with it. And boy, it looks good, with big Knight Rider vibes.
The wheels are probably a little large but the wrap-around fenders and massive bonnet scoop give it a staunch stance. It would probably look better as a two-door, though.
One of the coolest cars with the best names to emerge from the 1950s was the Hudson Hornet. It had a unique step-down chassis design with a lower centre of gravity, making it one of the best-handling vehicles of its era.
The original Hornet’s ‘pontoon styling’ is still in the modern version, most notably in the rear with those awesome the hidden rear wheels. It also has a canopy windscreen, a ridiculously long bonnet, and chrome detailing all around.
The Pontiac Fiero was almost a cult classic, if it wasn’t for exploding engines and poor performance. But it looks cool! GM nearly made a second generation too, that ended up donating a lot of its design to the fourth-generation Firebird.
Budget Direct took that shape and made it more streamlined. It now has a lower silhouette with a wraparound windscreen that gives it a strong Lancia Stratos vibe, a longer bonnet, and a hatch-like rear glass. And instead of fitting hidden headlights, it got a permanent set of eyes and a prominent chin spoiler.
The Reliant Robin, a weird three-wheeled British car, is probably best known for its two iconic television appearances, first as the target of Mr. Bean’s aggressive driving and secondly for rolling over repeatedly on BBC’s Top Gear (even though that one had a welded differential to ensure rollovers).
The new version looks a bit like a space capsule, but it’s extremely aerodynamic and (theoretically) less prone to roll over. We would imagine it would have to be powered by electricity as well.
Bet you didn’t see this one coming, did you? The Daewoo Matiz is a cute little econo-hatch already, but with some editing trickery, it becomes a rather stylish city car. There’s a larger windscreen and more aggressively sloping bonnet to give it a lower, sportier stance, along with a funny new grille.
With edgier body lines and a redesigned facade with oblong headlights and familiar detailing, the modern Matiz looks good enough to give other superminis a run for the money.