Buyers' Guide: Retro revivals
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When you have a winning formula on your hands, it doesn’t make sense to reinvent the wheel. After all, as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Manufacturers know this all too well when it comes to their most popular and enduring models.
These retro classics were originally designed to meet the basic requirements of past generations, but motorists now expect more from their car.
By encapsulating the essence of its original design, improving performance and ensuring it is kept up-to-date with safety systems and plush finishings, manufacturers aren’t lost for ideas when it comes to finding new ways of capitalising on their early success.
Take the Fiat 500, for example. Originally launched in 1957 with a small, two-cylinder, air-cooled engine, the latest version has a 1.2L engine, producing 51kw. Although it’s by no means a powerhouse, it is compared to the original.
If that’s not enough, you can get the big-boy Twinair Turbo petrol 62kW coupled to a dualogic transmission.
Today’s Fiat 500 has also received an impressive five-star safety rating from Ancap, which extends to its basic Pop model.
This is a special result for a vehicle that’s still relatively small. With an attractive entry-level price, you can stand out from the crowd without breaking the bank.
Another choice classic is the Volkswagen Beetle. The original was in production for an incredible length of time, 1938-2003.
The modern-day equivalent has been refined and boasts a turbo and supercharger, pushing its power output to an impressive 118kw.
With the inclusion of a seven-speed direct shift gearbox (DSG), you’ll never run out of gears on the motorway.
It still has the look, but it has been boosted by the inclusion of many more everyday luxuries that we have all come to expect from cars.
The BMW Mini also re-entered the market with good success. BMW has injected a lot of luxury and comfort into the Mini.
The styling pays homage to the original with its central media centre, vintage chrome embellishments and toggle switches. It has also produced other variants of the original Mini, such as the Countryman station wagon, which has been successful as well.
The original Mini is also available as a small pick-up truck configuration with a capacity of 680kg.
We are all still watching BMW closely to see if it will continue with the other models that reflect the original’s range.
If you’re after a set of wheels that will get you noticed among a sea of vehicles, then one of these modern classics with a nod to the past may just be what you’re looking for.
If you want to peacock, why not go one step further and customise the paintwork or exterior touches for a bit of extra razzle-dazzle.
The cars mentioned here do intuitively feel like reliable vehicles, too, largely because of that proven heritage. The knowledge that these are staples of the manufacturer’s legacy does give confidence as a buyer.