5 iconic cars that are making a comeback

There must be something in the air, that has got manufacturers around the world thinking, “Remember that awesome car that we used to sell? Let’s bring it back in a new avatar!” In a world where movies constantly get re-booted (Spiderman, Star Trek, etc.) and songs constantly get remixed and edited, naming a car after an older model isn’t that far-fetched.

The car manufacturers in question hope to recapture the emotion that made their original models successful enough to be labelled iconic. In order of their launch dates, here are cars that are making a comeback in a new avatar.

2017 Porsche 718 Boxster – Launch date: April 2016

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The 2017 718 Boxster comes with a 295bhp 2.0-litre engine and a 345bhp 2.5-litre engine replacing the 2.7-litre and 3.4-litre flat-six engines respectively (Image source: Porsche Press Site)

The German manufacturer has caused uproar in purist circles by replacing the traditional flat-six engine with a downsized, turbocharged four-cylinder one. Critically acclaimed as one of the best handling convertibles in the business, the mid-engined sports convertible has regularly bested its competition like the Audi TTS Roadster, Alfa Romeo 4C Spider and Mercedes-Benz SLC 300 AMG Line since it first launched in 1996. With the new set of smaller engines, comes the addition of the 718 moniker.

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The 1960 Porsche 718 RS 60 Spyder had a four-cylinder 160bhp 1.6-litre motor and made its mark by defending its European Hillclimb Championship title that year and was victorious at the 1960 12 Hours of Sebring (Image source: Creative Commons)

The original 718, produced between 1957 and 1962, was a mid-engine open-top car solely built to race. The car attained its iconic status thanks to its beautiful design, winning the European Hill Climb Championship in both 1958 and 1959, and achieving podium places in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1958, 1959 and 1961.

2016 Honda NSX – Launch date: Autumn 2016

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Honda’s new NSX is powered by a 550bhp hybrid motor delivering power to all four wheels (Image source: Honda Europe Press Site)

Even since the new NSX was revealed at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, there has been speculation about whether it would deliver the same sort of boost to Honda’s sporty image that the original did. The project leader for the development of the new NSX told Auto Express that the Honda bosses wanted the new car to be as revolutionary as the original. This is the main reason Honda decided that a combination of electric and petrol power was the way to go.

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The last NSX model came out in 2005 and had a 270bhp 3.0-litre V6 heart (Image source: Honda Europe Press Site)

The NSX that was launched in 1990 was an instant success, which is not surprising as the late F1 legend Ayrton Senna had a large role to play in the car’s production. Honda’s mid-engined sports car made a name for itself when it gave serious competition to the stalwarts of the time, Porsche and Ferrari.

2016 Fiat 124 Spider – Launch date: Autumn 2016

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The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider is made at the same factory that churns out MX-5s and shares everything, besides its 138bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged engine with its Japanese sibling (Image source: Fiat UK Press Site)

While Fiat’s new 124 Spider may be a Mazda MX-5 in an expensive Italian suit (as it borrows everything besides the engine from the Japanese car), it follows in the footsteps of its convertible forbearer of the same name by providing affordable thrills. The hotter Abarth version of the 124 Spider will be launched early next year which should boast more power, a tighter suspension set up, a limited-slip deferential, and those eye-catching Abarth badges and decals.

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The original 124 Spider’s engines increased in size throughout its production starting with an 89bhp 1.5-litre engine in 1967 and going to a 133bhp supercharged 2.0-litre motor in 1984 (Image source: Fiat UK Press Site)

2017 Ford GT – Launch date: Late 2016

The new Ford GT was unveiled at the 2015 North American International Auto Show with the intention of selling it in 2016 to commemorate 50 years of the original’s win at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. The new GT is no slouch either as it took first place in its class at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans. To say the supercar looks gorgeous is an understatement, in the same way as its iconic ancestor, it turns heads with such ferocity that one would need to see a chiropractor for some neck therapy.

All-new Ford GT in Liquid Silver, L-R, 3/4 Front Shown, February 2015
The all-new Ford GT has a 3.5-litre turbocharged V6 motor that makes over 600bhp. Combined with the ultra light-weight carbon fibre and aluminium body parts, it will be a firecracker of a supercar (Image source: Ford Press Site)

The history of the original GT40 is quite amusing. After negotiations concerning merging Ford’s and Ferrari’s motorsport departments with Enzo Ferrari broke down, Henry Ford II told his team to create a Ferrari beater out of sheer spite. The GT’s (or GT40 as it came to be known) first outings may not have been the worthy of notice, but after the project was handed over to the legendary Carroll Shelby, the car started gaining quite a few victories over its competitors, Ferrari and Porsche, at various events creating its cult status.

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Only 107 models of the GT were produced, sometimes using a 4.2-litre V8, a 4.8-litre V8, a 5.0-litre V8 and a 7.0-litre V8 (Image source: Ford Press Site)

McLaren F1 GT – Launch date: 2018

Autocar has an exclusive on the reborn McLaren F1, which will be a grand tourer rather than a hypercar, hence the GT nomenclature. In a bid to pay homage to the original F1, the F1 GT will have the same 3-seater layout, powered dihedral doors with openings that extend to the roof’s central line, and a roof snorkel. Naturally, this hypercar/grand tourer will have a limited run and cost about £2 million. Someone at McLaren told Autocar that the goal was to build the fastest GT car, and create a car that provides “rapid, cross-continental travel with supreme speed and style.”

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The F1 GT will have the same 3-seater layout as the original F1, even though it is meant to be a grand tourer rather than a hypercar (Image source: Autocar)

There is no question about the F1’s iconic status. The fastest production car for 15 years until Bugatti’s Veyron trumped it in 2005, the F1 was at the pinnacle of performance cars for the road. The futuristic look, the technological wonders that made up the suspension and aerodynamics, and the light-weight construction (the first production car to use a carbon fibre monocoque shell) gave it a legendary status. It went on to participate in many racing series as the F1 GTR and GTR Longtail, winning some and looking damn good while doing it.

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The ultimate road going production car in its time, the BMW sourced 627bhp 6.1-litre V12 mill used carbon fibre, gold and magnesium to keep weight down (Image source: McLaren Press Site)

There is no question about the F1’s iconic status. The fastest production car ever built (until Bugatti’s Veyron trumped it in 2005), the F1 was at the pinnacle of performance cars for the road. The futuristic look, the technological wonders that made up the suspension and aerodynamics, and the light-weight construction (the first production car to use a carbon fibre monocoque shell) gave it a legendary status. It went on to participate in many racing series as the F1 GTR and GTR Longtail, winning some and looking damn good while doing it.

When they arrive, the McLaren F1 GT, Ford’s GT and the Fiat 124 Spider will make excellent additions to the 5 cars to take on an intercontinental road trip.

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