Hagerty.com

17 cars that were resurrected, for better or for worse

Over the last 20 years, the auto industry has gotten into the habit of digging up its cold, dead nameplates and reintroducing modern versions of cars it killed off long ago, probably for reasons long forgotten. It seems to have begun with the reimagination of the Volkswagen Beetle back in 1998 and the reinvention of Mini by BMW in 2000.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/10/11/cars-that-were-resurrected-for-better-or-for-worse

The Fiat 500 WAS sold in the US. My father had one and I drove it.

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The Mitsubishi built Challenger was REAR wheel drive. I had one. Pretty good car actually.

What about the Jeep Willys? For sure a iconic nameplate that was resurrected, no?

Umm…the last Jeep pickups were built in 1988??? I had a 1990 Comanche, and they were built through 92.

What is worse is killing the marque! Let’s kill 70+ years of Dodge trucks for the Ram name. Then, after establishing an iconic cross-hair grille for 20 years, lifted from 25 years of Chrysler 300s, let’s put a non-descript generic grille in there. Worse was stealing the Dodge Ram from the cars for the generic rookie stripes logo for all remaining Dodges until they kill that marque.
Nissan is so proud to call their newest stupid-utility-vehicle the Rogue. A name last used by American Motors on the '67-'69 Rambler American high line hardtop. Great research guys!
It has been said it takes a billion $ to establish a car brand. Ask some Gen Y or Z people what a Saturn is and draw some very blank looks. Yet you see them killing very marketable and recognizable names all of the time, instead of just redesigning the product with the same name, like the Japanese do. It is Alzheimers market and planning. Every refresh is a new a day and opportunity. No continuity or development. Remember “Not your father’s Oldsmobile”? Great marketing by ad agency and corporate morons. IF you build a car people want, they will come, call it mud, if you like.

The new Dodge Charger is not a real Charger. Only two door models were really Chargers not a 4 door. If I wanted a new Charger I would buy the Challenger and change the name plates.

Let us not forget some of the Studebaker names, Challenger, Daytona, Land Cruiser and Commander and some of the Edsel models like Pacer, Ranger, Citation and Villager. Any others?

I still own a 1999 Chevy Blazer with the first year Trailblazer option. It is 4wd and a very plush vehicle, leather, tons of options and a great driver.
My Blazer is in great condition with 123000 miles. I take care of my stuff.
I took a look at the new Blazer and I have to say that I would not trade my spare tire for it. It is, like all cars these days overpriced and junky. I’ll keep my 1999.

My wife has a 2006 Buick Rainier, which was based upon the same Trail Blazer platform which was made from 2001-2009… Hers has the 5.3 V8, and only has 230,000 miles. It runs like a top and gives us very little issue. I am right with you, I would not trade her old 230K mile car for a new Trail Blazer… She does not want one either… Between the 3 Rainiers we have, 1 was totaled at 198,000 miles, the one she drives is 230,000 miles, and my daughter’s has almost 200,000 miles… All run good, and everything still works…

The 240Z was sold in the US as a 240Z; the 300ZX didn’t come along until many years later. In between were the 260Z and the 280Z.

Studebaker had my all time favorite model name, the Dictator! Pre-WWII model. And don’t forget the Hudson Hornet, Hollywood, Jet and Super Jet.

Lincoln Zephyr and Continental are two recent true name plate resurrections. Glad to see the Mk (abc) designations fading away.

The article in correctly implies the Pontiac died because of poor sales, untrue. Pontiac out sold Buick nearly 6 to 1. They had some cool cars in development as well when they were killed by politics not poor sales.

Agree. The Ford Taurus died twice from lack of product evolution. They tried changing the name to the Five Hundred to attract attention and, surprise, the public didn’t like the Five Hundred either. So they changed the name back to Taurus. The rest is history. RIP.

Golf, Rabbit, back to Golf, Rabbit again, then now back to Golf. Success with either name.

Couple of things, that I thought about while reading this article, especially the blurb about the Jeep Gladiator…

Would be interesting to see how many recalls on the original version vs. the more “modern” versions.

Maybe not a fair comparison, though, for I am uncertain when recall laws got put in the books in the first place.

The reborn Thunderbird was and is a good car. The Gladiator for me is a complete fail! I was hoping that someone, anyone would make a small regular cab pick up. I refuse to buy anything but a regular cab and I prefer smaller vehicles. The Supra is not good enough to be called that name because it is overpriced BMW junk. Thank you Jeep & Toyota for helping me to keep my money.

Regarding the 2002-2005 Thunderbird … I and tens of thousands of other car and Ford aficionados would have bought it but for Ford wouldn’t give us a manual transmission!?! No clutch=no deal.

Was sad to see the demise of Pontiac as they have had some great cars. My first experience was a 1955 Star Chief HT with brown and white leather interior that dad bought new - then he traded for 62 Catalina and finally a 65 Bonneville 4dr HT (which I learned to drive on). That was an awesome car complete with reverb and air. What beautiful boat. I and a buddy sneaked off our Junior High campus (against school rules) to ogle a new 1964 GTO that a guy in the neighborhood just bought and shouldn’t have left alone in his driveway. We risked detention to go look at it. I thought the latest iteration of the GTO was a neat little package, and wouldn’t mind driving one, but looked a little too much like the later Grand Prix. Still I’m glad they tried to breath new life into the marquee. I still think Pontiac had great design and I currently own a 66 Grand Prix (under restoration and still one of my all time favorites) and our daily driver is a 2000 Bonneville SLE. Absolutely love driving this car - it hauls elderly relatives around in comfort, handles like a sports car, and best of all — it looks different. And when I wear this one out I will start looking for an 05 SLE - which could take awhile because we take good care of 'er. Fun article and some great comments guys!

You are right about the Fiat 500 my step-mom had one in 1960, It was a piece of crap then and they still are now. I sold Fiat’s in the 70’s at a Ford Dealership only thing that was any good was the Spider. We had 2 X19’s burn up in the shop due to crappy wiring.