INSPIRED BY FAMOUS classics favourites, we go through our Top 10 retro cars.
The last decade or so has seen an eruption of retro cars on the market, with buyers seemingly unable to get enough of cars that are new yet inspired by the past; and they don’t mind paying extra for the supposed ‘premium’ feel that comes with them.
But with so many around, which are the best? We’ve counted down our top 10 favourite. We’ve also created some of our own ‘retro’ special editions that we wish existed.
10. Fiat 124 Spider
The most recent addition to the retro club is this Mazda MX-5-based Italian roadster. Debate rages on whether it looks better than the Mazda, but in the retro stakes the Fiat scores well, taking just enough inspiration from the original car without relying on it so heavily that it looks odd and outdated to the uninitiated. Only time will tell if it’ll be a hit, but the signs do look good.
9. Morgan 3-Wheeler
Quite frankly, the whole Morgan range could be considered ‘retro’, consisting of essentially the same cars it first started selling back in 1769 or whenever it was. But predictable jokes aside, you have to hand it to Morgan for deciding to remake a car from its past with a front-mounted motorbike engine, a single driven-real wheel, two front wheels barely wider than those from a bicycle and no roof. It’s oddity has ensured that it has become a serious cult favourite. Plus you can have it with stickers to make it look like a world war two fighter plane!
8. Caterham 7
Some might argue that it doesn’t exactly qualify as ‘retro’ given that it’s not inspired by the classic Lotus 7, but is merely an evolution of that same car. But it’s my game and my rules, so there! After taking over the rights to build the 7 from Lotus, Caterham has continued to hone, improve and advance the car to the point that it’s still a legitimately giant-killing performance car. And it still looks cool!
7. VW Beetle
The new New Beetle is the car the old New Beetle always should have been. It drives better and it looks better too, being a genuinely modern take on the old old Beetle, rather than the jelly mould old New Beetle. Are you keeping up? It’s clear that Volkswagen is fully aware of this too, as it’s dishing out the callback special editions left, right and centre.
6. Ford GT
Ford’s first crack at a modern GT40 successor was far more reliant on the original than its latest, in fact it was an almost identical photocopy, just scaled up to 110%. The new car strays significantly more from that legendary Le Mans winner, but still references it enough to be able to share it its heritage, something Ford is keen to milk with the liberal application of stripes and heritage editions.
5. Mercedes SLS AMG
Oh yes, the gullwings returned! The legendary 300SL was quite a car, combining racing car, supercar and GT all in one for the first time, however it will always be remembered for those iconic doors. Their return was short lived though, as Merc ditched them once again for the AMG GT, but they were a fitting tribute on the thunderous AMG SLS. Not just a tribute, but totally awesomesauce too!
4. Ford Mustang
Less of a modern reimagining and more of a constantly evolving model. The Mustang lost its way in the 70S, 80s and 90s so the blue oval started laying on the retro design cues pretty thick in the 2000s to try and remind people where the car came from. It worked, and people lapped it up, so much so that we now get a proper right-hand-drive model here in the UK!
3. Fiat 500
This lovable little Italian came along shortly after the Germans kick-started the retro revolution in the early 2000s. Fiat got the styling pretty much spot-on, maintaining the cute styling and proportions of the original despite being significantly larger. The new 500 pretty much saved Fiat, launching spin-off models and reinvigorating the Abarth badge along the way.
If the 500 is a success story, the MINI is an absolute phenomenon. When BMW bought Rover, it also got the rights to the Mini, and it managed to turn a single model of car into an entire brand in it’s own right. They look good, they drive well and they’re incredibly popular with the public, regardless of whether you think some of them should even exist *cough*Paceman*cough*. In terms of a retro success story, there really isn’t a bigger one than MINI.
1. Singer 911
However, success isn’t quite enough to top this list because our favourite retro car is actually the Singer 911. The sales figures may be a mere fraction of that of the other cars on this list, but we absolutely adore this car. Take Singer a early 90s 964 Porsche 911 and its engineers will pretty much rebuild the entire car, filling it with modern tech and mechanicals on the inside and classic styling to match your individual specifications on the outside. It’s beautiful, its awesome and it’s the perfect retro car.