By on May 6, 2014

oldvolvo

I made my first small fortune in this business selling old Volvos.

I started way back in the mid-2000‘s when I got downright militant about outbidding anyone on an older rear-wheel drive Volvo. In one year, 2007 to be exact, I managed to buy at least one Volvo every year from 1983 all the way to 2004.

I loved the Volvo brand as their rear wheel drive cars represented the perfect mix of comfort, safety and functionality. The discontinued 240, 740 and 940 were insanely easy to sell and cheap to buy; especially the wagons.

These Volvos usually had a history of conservative owners who took their cars to the dealership or Volvo specialized shops for service. Repairs were easy and reasonable thanks to long model runs and parts that were as common as kudzu at any Georgia junkyard.

The used car side of the Volvo brand represented a big fat target where young families, hipsters, Camry-oriented shoppers, and the still common Brick enthusiast could all find a Volvo worth keeping. I followed that tune of demand and soon became a daily reader at Brickboard, Swedespeed, and several other well known sites for Volvo aficionados. I was hooked.

Then I became unhooked.

The seeds of Volvo’s destruction started out as an opportunity for me. Owners began to trade in Volvo S70’s and V70’s from 99′ upwards due to a malfunctioning electronic throttle module. At the sales I would see these vehicles being sold AS/IS, buy them ridiculously cheap, and then take them to the Volvo dealer to get their software upgrade. Eventually Volvo did the right thing by extending the coverage to 10 years and 200,000 miles. However, as Volvos began to develop other issues such as lifetime fluids that weren’t so, and parts failures that were as cheaply made as they were expensive to fix at the dealerships, the marketability of these vehicles nosedived to the point of near irrelevance.

The Volvo S40 was a world-class blunder. The Volvo S60 and S80 were left to rot on the vine of Ford’s neglect along with the V70 and C70. The Volvo XC90 may have represented the brand’s only solid hit for the entire decade as the MBA marketeers at the Premier Automotive Group decided to make Volvo into a downright ridiculous alternative to BMW.

Volvo wasn’t alone in the quixotic pursuit for a more ‘upscale’ brand identity. Oldsmobile was positioned as an import fighter. Mercury tried to become a premium brand as well, and marketed heavily towards women, while Lincoln redefined American luxury in a way that no one outside of Dearborn could quite understand.

The list of failed brands stretches long since the Y2K era. Plymouth. Isuzu. Saturn. Hummer. As proof of their deadness in the retail marketplace, most independent dealerships that specialize in financing won’t even buy these brands… along with Volvo, Mercury and Lincoln.

You can’t sell a dead brand, unless you were maybe a successful overseas manufacturer trying to crack the American market. Or maybe the CEO of Ford or GM. Let’s assume that the perfect world exists. A place where you could choose your brand and launch your products without worrying about money. Consider yourself old GM, a newbie at Tesla, whatever you like.

What brand would you choose to resurrect?

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265 Comments on “Question Of The Day : What If You Could Resurrect A Dying Or Dead Brand?...”


  • avatar
    Ion

    Tucker

  • avatar
    slow kills

    Jensen

  • avatar
    mmdpg

    Plymouth so I could build and sell the ‘Cuda, way cooler than the Challenger even in the 70’s.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      I had a neighbor who went through three of them, he loved them so much; but then he moved away and probably got married. In my memory he’s still a young man, but he’s probably retired now.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    BMW

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    Duesenberg, if it could be now what it was then.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      Sadly, it could with the way the wealth gap is growing; but cars are no longer of interest to the super rich. Still, to walk though an Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg dealership – that must have really been something.

  • avatar
    jmo

    SAAB

    or Duesenberg. It pains me that there is no American Rolls Royce or Ferrari. When Duesenbergs roamed the streets (in very limited numbers) everyone knew that America built the best car in the world.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I agree. It *is* annoying that America has no sort of world-class luxury. Cadillac was once indeed a worthy rival to Rolls-Royce, then it gradually slid into an all-time low of rebadged Opels and Chevrolets. The brand is only just now starting to get a foothold, primarily by imitating Ze Germans. Lincoln’s probably got the same amount of brand-cachet that Hyundai and Kia had ten years ago. Chrysler never was a luxury brand, let alone a world-class one. Our best best right now is Tesla, but that’s a brand that has built exactly one credible luxury model, and it’s uncertain if the company’s financial M.O. will continue to work as well as it has.

      That American vehicles are considered to be crude, overdesigned and gargantuan fits right into the global idea that Western Europe is the only origin of class and true pedigree. It’d be great for America to dispel that myth with a world-class vehicle of its own.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      I did like my 2000 Saab 9-5 Aero with stage lll tuning package for around 300HP/335trq. It was fun to stay even with E39 M5 from 100-130 mph and still see almost 40 mpg on the highway. But it did need a another top gear as running out a steam at ~150 mph comes up fast back then running againist V8 of the day, Verano 2.0T with a tune does just as well but with a much nicer riding package.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      I miss SAAB too, but I’m a sucker for punishment.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I’d love to try, but I don’t have the money to back it. I have three separate brands I’d love to restore and each has their own reason for being on the list–reasons that were ignored when they were shut down.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Packard

    Ask the man who owns one.

    • 0 avatar
      BMWnut

      I second that one. What form should a modern Packard take? V8/V12/V16 only, for starters. Maybe an I6 if you must. But definitely no V6, no forced induction and no SUVs.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Only big sedans, all offered with a LWB for those Chinese discerning enough to desire the best America has to offer. V8 and V12, halo V16 maybe, if they could get emissions to cope.

        Sedan
        Coupe
        4-door CLS thing
        Shooting brake
        RWD + AWD optional

        Wood, real leather, stitching, piping, aluminum – standard.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        Agreed, though I’d add any of the Three P’s. In my extended family, the generations that bought them and drove them have died off, but their children have nothing but good things to say about Packard and Pierce-Arrow. (No one owned a Peerless.)

        Straight eight engine for mine, please.

      • 0 avatar
        Windy

        I8 or v16 for Packard. The sins of the post war packards have been forgotten and the brand could build on the pre war greatness.
        I think any “new” USA luxury brand would want to hook up its brand identity with the pre war great brands. Auburn and the cars of that level
        Or of course strike out anew with a new name the way Tesla is doing.

      • 0 avatar
        arun

        Just curious (as Google didn’t provide an adequate answer), what is the difference b/w I6 and V6? I know what they mean (inline vs v) but what difference does that make on the vehicle characteristics – whatever they may be? (e.g. power, torque, handling, road noise etc)

        • 0 avatar
          Windy

          A well designed i6 is in theory somewhat smoother than the a V6 My preference for inline engines is that they result in a longer hood and I have personal preference for that in a luxury car which a reborn Packard would have to be.
          it would compete at a Bentley price point and everything would be focused on engineering excellence and a very long life even in the harsh conditions of an area of long winters with heavily salted roads
          my ideal would be a truly functional ability to switch from very sporty and fun to drive on twisty back roads to a mode where the ride comfort would ignore potholes and other symptoms of the crumbling infrastructure of the highways

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      Packards were amazing. They always seemed to do every right,then tried to do it better. The torson bar suspension was good enough the Chrysler took it used it for decades.

    • 0 avatar
      Elena

      I was reading comments in disbelief: nobody remembered Packard? You did.

    • 0 avatar
      Windy

      Sadly it was tried to bring back the Packard a while back and the man that tried it even built a prototype

      http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2014/05/06/prototype-for-packard-revival-project-heads-to-auction/?refer=news
      gives an indent report on the attempt
      the design was a child of the 80s and even if it did not light enough fires it did tick a lot of the right boxes including the V12 but the attempt to give it a Packard grill was ill-advised; very few modern aero designed cars (aero is needed not just for better fuel consumption but also for control of wind noise in the cabin) can pull off a standup pre WW2 grill.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I saw the website for this yesterday actually. The site for the current Packard Motors is still online, with photos of this car and a 2014 copyright date.

        The grille doesn’t work with the lights, I think the rest of the car could work with some tweaks. I’d love to see this in person and just feel it, drive it a bit.

  • avatar
    vvk

    SAAB

  • avatar
    kid cassady

    Absolutely Saab. One of the worst parts about Saab’s decline is that in the 90s an 2000s they had a number of promising concepts that predicted current trends – for example, the ’02 9-3X concept predating the shooting brake craze and BMW’s odd new X4 sports-activity melange. Had they not been allowed to wither on the vine with so-so Opel-derived sports sedans, their core DNA could have been used to make them a truly great brand. Alas.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      If SAAB had not died then Buick would have no lineup!

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        I didn`t know the Verano, Encore, Enclave or LaCrosse were SAAB’s deep down.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          That’s not what I said.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          The Verano was GM’s low-cost proposal for a 9-3 replacement based on a stretched Astra platform. Saab started working on their own platform instead. As far as anyone knows, they’re still working on it and will have something to show within a year (Geneva in the fall or Beijing next spring).

          Cadillac would be short the XTS and SRX without Saab. That’s nearly half their sales.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            “Cadillac would be short the XTS and SRX without Saab. That’s nearly half their sales.”

            I’m not sure how we’ve come to that kind of a conclusion. The XTS and SRX are, at their roots, Epsilon-II-platformers. The Epsilon II platform was developed by Opel, with no help from Saab. Interestingly enough, there was the short-lived Saab 9-4X, which shared its roots with the current SRX. Since so few 9-4Xs were manufactured, I expect they’ll become quite rare in the coming years.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Kyree,

            The project manager for the SRX and 9-4x was Swedish and came from Saab. Apparently most of the chassis development was done by Saab engineers. Cadillac was allowed to style their version and spec some non-turbo engines.

            The Epsilon II was developed for the Saab 9-5 and Opel Insignia. Most of the high-end features on the XTS (AWD, fancy struts, long wheelbase, etc) were specifically developed for the premium Saab rather than the entry-level Opel.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            So the 9-4X was’t an SRX derivative, but rather the other way around? Interesting. I imagine that some of the other stuff would have come along without Saab; it just would have been different. GM wouldn’t want to lose market share by not having some kind of AWD sedan. They also would have *had* to replace the first-gen SRX with something more competent for the market. And the long-wheelbase “Super Epsilon” derivative seems like a natural move, although I wouldn’t be surprised if GM decided it was easier to squeeze some more life out of the G and W-Body platforms.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        If SAAB had not died, Norm wouldn’t be busy giving the Verano a bad name.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Turbo-4 FTW…wait it has won!

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    The Volvo 544, 122, and 140/240 sold because they were bulletproof, built for the long haul. Build quality cars again, include a 10 year warranty, and buyers will return. It worked for Hyundai. I’ll bet it would even work for GM!

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Oldsmobile!

  • avatar
    Frankie the Hollywood Scum

    Cord.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    AMC.

    The market is right for small, compact, funky little cars. A new Pacer, Gremlin, and a sporty RWD Javelin and maybe even a Marlin for the higher end.

    Become successful, and buy back Jeep.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve-O

      +1
      Whenever I see a Subaru Outback, I think: That could have been an AMC Eagle. Whenever I see a Kia Soul: That could have been a Gremlin. Imagine a new 2 seat AMX, a 4 door coupe Javelin, and your idea for a Panamera-like fastback 4 door called the Marlin. ALL made in the USA.

      Yes, bring back AMC. Now, please–there is much work to be done.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        It’s weird. Some brands, like Oldsmobile and Duesenberg, seem like they could have some potential in a modern marketplace. Others *like AMC*, don’t seem like they’d fare too well, at least not if they weren’t tamed significantly. I can’t imagine the Soul or Panamera as coming from AMC, but rather cars that are quirkier and uglier. The Aztec? The Cube? *Those* are closer to the spirit of AMC, in my opinion.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      I’d bring back AMC too. Wagons are starting to become “hipster material”, and CUV’s are selling like crazy. I think a CUV with some AMC-injected spunk would be just the ticket.

      Of course, you have to bring back the Eagle. Just leave Renault out this time!

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Plymouth.

    Other than that, I’d resurrect a proper Impala: Three tail lights each side, a two-door pillarless hardtop “Sports Coupe”.

    Throw in a full-width grille as well. While I’m at it, basically copy the 1967-1972 Chevy/GMC pickup truck, for good measure!

    Oh, why not? Ford Galaxie & Plymouth Fury.

  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    Volkswagen.

    I’d build clean and sturdy cars for a mild premium.
    reconnect the brand to its roots as a German arms maker.

    Have a simple durable sturdy nigh-indestrutable commuter coupe that I might, I don’t know, name the beetle maybe.

    Have a small, efficient multi person transport using the same design ethic, but in a package that eschews the minvan. Maybe I’d call it the transporter.

    Have an SUV/CUV, more military in styling, but also brand simple and clean. Tiger and Panzer might be good names.

    then round it out with a hot hatch with drop dead looks, and the same clean design aesthetic, with a blatant Audi motor in it. maybe name it after a wind, like Scirocco or something.

    No sedans, but maybe a wagon and sleek sedan hatch thingie might be nice. Sedan are deadwood, no one likes them, no one wants to buy them.

    wrap it all up in a 10 year warranty, and should be good.

  • avatar
    skloon

    Goggomobil, only because of the name or Borgward

  • avatar
    brianyates

    A 1971 Citroen DS Pallas, I went for a spin in my friend’s new Tesla on the weekend. What a fantastic car but itdoesn’t ride like a DS, nothing does. Oh and it would be nice with a six cylinder engine too.

  • avatar
    th009

    Alfa Romeo … it is surely a zombie by now.

  • avatar
    ThirdOwner

    Volvo. Not the current line with the Volvo badge, but the real Volvo.

    Thing is, they still do have some vestiges of the old spirit if you look closely. The small 2.4l engine in my V50 takes 6 quarts of oil. The metallurgy is excellent. The build quality is excellent.

    But the first expensive repair happened recently at 5 years, and it was the electronic throttle control module, like in the previous generation S70 that Steven mentioned. $1200 to replace.

    So Volvo, go back to quality components, conservative, practical design and styling and RWD, and gain some customers [back]. What do you have to lose?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      This a thousand times, it would be nice to be able to get something of overall old Volvo quality from… Volvo. Starting with 850 it seems the parts prices just got ridiculous. Case in point, my 240 needed fuel pressure regulator.

      240: Bosch, all metal, $63.44

      http://www.fcpeuro.com/products/volvo-fuel-pressure-regulator-240-760-0280160213

      S40: “Genuine Volvo” brand, plastic or composite, $225.95.

      Btw:

      “The original parts used by Volvo to build your car are available as replacement parts under the “Genuine Volvo” brand. Manufactured under the direction of Volvo, expect excellent quality and a premium price since these parts are exclusively available through the Volvo Dealership network.”

      So, plastic bits made in China for $225.

      http://www.fcpeuro.com/products/volvo-fuel-pressure-regulator-s40-v40-8658092

      So for the privilege of FWD I can get from anyone, I have to pay Mercedes like part costs? At least the other Euro brands have cachet or driving feel.

    • 0 avatar
      Yesac13

      You know…

      The Real Volvo company still exists.

      It’s a truck company, tho. The Real Volvo sold Volvo the auto company to Ford and you know the history from that point onwards.

      If you want the real Volvo cars to come back – tell the truck Volvo to buy back the name rights and begin building real Volvo cars…

  • avatar
    omer333

    Pontiac, because they build excitement.

  • avatar

    Simca.

    • 0 avatar
      cpthaddock

      Interesting … I’d like to understand your reasoning since my knowledge of Simca is limited to its sacrifice to Chrysler and providing the underpinning for their minivans.

      • 0 avatar

        They were always a creative company that managed to launch new and interesting solutions that forwarded the automobile’s development. Besides the minivan they also developed the mid-compact style of car, the Golf car. Many credit VW with this, but Simca anticipated the body style a couple of years (ask Paul Niedermeyer at CurbsideClassics, I also think there is an article on it here on TTAC if you go looking for it).

        The cars also had great style and from I hear and read a great ride.

        I think the brand now belongs to Peugeot, so it could be made into PSA’s low cost brand a la Dacia or Datsun which could be great for PSA’s bottom line and a way to get more penetration into developing markets.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      My family had a Simca Vedette Bealieu. A big car for Europe at the time, but it carried 7 people and baggage and camping gear around Europe for a month. It had a tiny V8, sourced from Ford if I recall correctly. We shipped it back to Canada, where it was devoured by Ontario road salt. Interesting car.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Either Pontiac or SAAB.

    The exercise states, “a perfect world,” so I’m assuming I have enough capital to full rehabilitate the brand, or the brand is rehabilitated. Also assuming I meet tighter CAFE standards to meet performance goals, or use other solutions like hybrid technology to achieve.

    SAAB:

    Core brand values: Go back to the roots. Bullet proof, near luxury, performance variants, strong unique design language that features hatchback functionality. To address North American tastes design the hatchbacks cleverly to look like a trunk lid (both bad examples but think Ford EXP 82-83 or Mazda6 2004-2006) Three door and five door. Offer AWD and FWD.

    Key competitors: Acura, Buick, Infiniti, Lincoln, Volvo (near luxury brands)

    Indirect competitors: Mercedes Benz, Audi, BMW, Lexus, Subaru

    Product line would be:

    B-Segment five door – a truly affluent urban dweller runner

    C-Segment three door, five door, convertible, high performance variant, auto or stick

    D-Segment three door or five door, high performance variant, auto or stick

    E-Segment five door, high performance variant, automatic only

    Sub-compact CUV (think Buick Encore sized)

    Compact CUV

    Mid-Size CUV, high performance variant

    ======================================================

    Pontiac:

    Core brand values: Affordable performance oriented brand, with clear escalation path for buyers to stay within the brand. Acknowledgement that performance is not just relegated to RWD performance vehicles (only exception is a FWD B segment rocket ship to harken back to the hot hatch days), and that CUV/SUVs like the X1, X3, X5, Porsche Cayenne, and SRT Grand Cherokee prove that popular CUV/SUV vehicles can play rough also. Embrace the front grille legacy and bring back storied name plates. Every model would have the option for a manual transmission (readily admit that only 5% to 10% of buyers would choose the option).

    Key competitors: Dodge, Mazda, Honda, Chevrolet, Ford

    Indirect competitors: Acura

    Product line would be:

    B-Segment: Five door hatch, and four door sedan, entry level vehicle around 150 HP, performance variant around 225 HP, high performance variant around 260 HP, FWD, Banshee

    C-Segment: Two door coupe, four door sedan, five door wagon, convertible, entry level vehicle around 180 HP, high performance variant around 270 HP, FWD or AWD – LeMans (yes, I remember the crappy LeMans, I’m trying to harken back to the non-crappy one)

    D-Segment: Two door coupe, four door sedan, entry level vehicle around 300 HP, performance variant around 400 HP, high performance variant around 500 HP, RWD or AWD – GTO

    E-Segment: Four door sedan, five door wagon, or Holden-esque Ute, entry level vehicle around 300 HP, performance variant around 400 HP, high performance variant around 550 HP, RWD or AWD – Bonneville except ute – called Tempest

    D-segment based three door with base engine of 325 HP, mid-performance variant of 425 HP, and high performance variant of 550 HP – think Firebird to compete against other pony cars

    So the product line for cars would be:

    Banshee
    LeMans
    GTO
    Bonneville
    Tempest (Ute)
    Firebird

    Compact SUV, Three-door shooting brake and five door, built on C-segment platform with the larger engine option bumped to 300 HP

    Mid-Size SUV, Five door, built on the D-segment platform

    Full-Size SUV, Five door, built on the E-segment platform

    Mid-engine two seat convertible, similar in size to the dead Gamma platform, or the MX-5 – RWD or AWD, entry level engine is 180 HP, next step is 270 HP, and a special edition limited production model with 400 HP – bring back Fiero

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      No Firebird?

      I’ve wanted to own a Trans Am my whole life! I refuse to support any Pontiac revival without a Firebird. :P

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        OK, OK, OK, a D-segment based Firebird then – to go up against the other Pony cars.

        Base engine around 300 – 325 HP, mid-performance variant around 400 HP, and high performance variant around 550 HP.

        Coupe and convertible.

        Fine, I just fixed it above ;-)

      • 0 avatar
        cpthaddock

        I think you can get one if you really want it

        http://www.transamdepot.com/

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          See, if GM makes the next Camaro look more like the 2nd gen, then those conversions will probably fit way better than they do now.

          I can’t say it’s the ugliest thing ever, though. I’ve seen the ill-fated Packard revival car…

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Auburn, have them take on the 3 series, Boxster, 911, and SL.

  • avatar

    Studebaker. A bear needs his natural habitat.

  • avatar
    singlespeeds

    what is the name of your used car dealership? and does your dealership have a website? thanks

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Triumph. Bring back the TR-4 or the Spitfire, except with a Toyota engine and transmission.

    And, as noted above, the real Volvo. Resurrect the 240 Wagon, except FWD and also with a Toyota drivetrain. Yeah, I loved my 240s/940s but that was before I found out what real reliability is. Heck, let Toyota build the whole dang car.

    • 0 avatar
      glwillia

      Interestingly enough, Toyota does essentially make a Volvo 240. Naturally aspirated inline-4, boxy, rear wheel drive with a live rear axle, manual transmission availability, etc. RHD-only and used as a taxicab in Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. No wagon though…

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Crown_Comfort

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Triumph – I’d like to be able to buy a RWD car that’s 3 series in size but not as bland as a BMW or Merc. In essence I’d like some retro touches like in the Mini and some old school charm like toggle switches and Smith gauges.

    I’d like an evolution of the Triumph Stags styling too. Don’t mind if BMW mechanicals sit underneath all that just as long as it looks nothing like a BMW

    • 0 avatar
      cpthaddock

      I suspect your hitting some of the same points that were behind CJINSD listing BMW earlier.

      Some of Triumph’s Michelotti styling was incredible and the Stag was probably the most lustworthy example.

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    Rover.

    Stop laughing!

    I’m talking about the Rover that gave us the P6, then gave it a V8, without luxury pretentions. Rover, before the machinations of class unrest + truly dreadful management + decades of political meddling ground it to pieces.

    http://ateupwithmotor.com/model-histories/rover-p6-2000-2200-3500/

    There was good reason why it was the last British Leyland nameplate to die.

  • avatar
    thats one fast cat

    I would relaunch a company that specialized in sports cars; cars that could dominate not just by sheer power (although I would build one of those too) but ones that were truly “driver’s cars” that were focused on the pleasure of driving. We would build giant killer race cars that were feared and envied by other drivers and that had a distinct sound because of the engineering that had gone into the powertrain.

    The brand would be strong enough that even those that didn’t know a thing about cars could recognize the true nature of the thing, and that owners were about the experience, not about projecting wealth or ass-hattery.

    I would have a model that placed the engine in the wrong place but created magical results, a low(er) priced front engined small displacement car that would set the standard for driving feel, and a solid GT car that pushed the envelope for speed and comfort but was still nothing less than a great sports car.

    And after I did all of that, I would personally call Jack Baruth and welcome him back to the fold…..

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Matra, if for no other reason to bring back racing cars with that amazing Matra sound.

  • avatar
    izzy

    Datsun, as in late 60’s early 70’s Datsun cars. Mazda can use a competitor.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Unfortunately, Volvo put themselves in that position. The 240 was a high-quality, almost hand-built car, but that meant production costs were high, and repair needs were low.

    By 1993, the most basic 240 cost what a Roadmaster did – also what a BMW 318 cost. That was unsustainable. They needed to make a move, but they made hasty decisions that weren’t very good, and soon found themselves close enough to receivership that the offer from Ford sounded too good to pass up.

    The business model that made the 100/200/700/900 so good was an antique by 1990. There was no way to save it.

    If you wanted to build a brand-new 240 today, it would MSRP north of $40k, and you wouldn’t find a single buyer.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Most of what msrps north of 40K today is basically lease fodder junk. For this amount of money if I can buy a near hand built car which I can easily put 300K on in comfort, survive fifteen to twenty Northern winters with minimal rust, be incredibly safe, and have reasonable running costs inc repair and maint, sign me up.

      We deride them but Camcords and the like represent the best dollars to value proposition today. GM’s stuff is in a similar category, and their old stuff was more on par then fart sniffers would believe.

      • 0 avatar
        eggsalad

        Maybe you, and some other enthusiasts, but the mass market wants a car with all the toys.

        The hypothetical $40k 2015 Volvo 240, just like the original version, doesn’t have any of the toys, because those are things that break. You don’t get GPS-enabled infotainment, you get an analog AM/FM radio.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          A “new” 240 would be equipped with whatever the other models already have, not an am/fm radio or others 80s throwbacks. You can still put gizmos in for all I care, but the gizmos cannot control the fate of the car and should be able to be replaced or removed and this is what would set it apart. My 240 has power windows, locks, mirrors, and seats, along with a cd player and heated seats. They also were available with moonroofs, and could easily be updated with remote start or remote locks. The only thing they are missing outside of more power is a touchscreen computer which with a careful redesign could be grafted in. A modified or updated version of that car could easily be sold as long as it is of similar condition to the previous model. Power-plant would be the only other thing I would be wary of, and if I could pick anything out of the sky I would just buy LS motors from GM.

          • 0 avatar
            eggsalad

            Interesting. I never knew they made a 240 with power seats! Learn something new every day!

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          My smartphone does all that. I just need a place to put it on the dashboard, along with audio to the speakers and a charger. Done.

          Oh, and I get to upgrade the infotainment whenever I feel like it.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The market is in disposable luxury. I have successful friends in their thirties. They don’t want to drive three year old cars, let alone anything that would count as a keeper. The luxury of a German car for them primarily applies to being seen in a car that can only have been purchased or leased new, far more so than the latest toys in the dash, which they can’t be bothered learning how to use. That was a surprising revelation, since a couple years ago I sat in an investor meeting where the same guys were dazzled by a Cadillac CUE demo on you-tube. One of them actually bought an XTS last year, but I’ve only seen him drive it once since.

        Volvos had very comfortable seats, but they weren’t luxurious cars. Some of their greatest hits had interiors that were at once utilitarian and of questionable quality. People thought of them as safe and durable. That’s pretty much a given for many affordable cars now, so there isn’t much reason to buy a hair-shirt Volvo for a premium price.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          You make some good points.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          I’m in my 30s, in the six figure demographic, and not in to disposable.

          I agree the luxury car makers lease a lot of stuff to people in my demographic, but I think they’re also missing out on sales to people who care about quality and long term ownership more than branding.

          I drive a 10 year old used minivan. I can afford to lease a 3 or 5 series like the cool kids, but I wouldn’t want to downgrade to a BMW.

          (The 3rd row, sliding doors, and trailer hitch do more for me than the roundel, kidney grill, and expensive parts.)

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I’m not a product planner, and I don’t care for the direction of the industry at all. However, were I a product planner with people to make rich and keep working, I wouldn’t care what you want. There are already plenty of nice minivans on the market and you sound like you’ve chosen to spend the very least on what you want by buying used. As much as I hate what dumb new money has done to my precious West German cars, as a product planner I’d be riding planned obsolescence all the way to the promised land.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “hand built car”

        Are far lower quality than robot built cars.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Oh, I disagree. Muffy would think it was just the beans to take Poppet to ballet class and pick up The Heir after swim practice. Or to have an inner chuckle about TCO when owning a car for 8-10 years vice leasing the newest German/Japanese bling again and again. Some of us spend money in different ways. Now to get a Grand Cherokee to park next to it.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    The Yugo.. need something to make GM look good against.. ok.. I am kinda kidding.. I would say Studebaker (I know, already mentioned) but…would love to see a modern Champion, Commander and Hawk. Their trucks were nice looking as well.

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    Yeah, I’d really enjoy a new Firebird. Maybe sort of like how the 2005 Mustang was a retro-styled throwback make it a throwback to the Knight Rider era 1980s Trans Am… POP UP HEADLIGHTS!

    At least at my dealership the V60 has spurred interest in the brand again. And hopefully the new XC90 will do so as well. Hopefully.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Checker.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    International Harvester or Willy’s.

    But if the brand names cost money then just start over.

    I would start by selling kits for real SUVs built to do farm work and military duty. I would expand to the third world. The vehicles would be simple, tough and likely not very safe in a crash. Designed to be rebuilt until they were bent, they would last.

    Grow from there.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Two little problems – International is still using the International name, just for commercial and agricultural vehicles.

      And Jeep is selling Willys-decorated Wranglers right now.

      (Another problem is that the military is unlikely to want to buy vehicles that aren’t crash-safe, because they will inevitably be driven on the road, and medical bills and training replacement troops is *expensive*.

      And who wants a “farm SUV” you can’t drive on the road?)

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        And Case-IH uses the Scout name for a side-by-side ATV…unfortunately.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        1. You could still bring them back. They are gone for the purpose being discussed.

        2. I was in the military, and you are misinformed. Nothing we had was crash safe except maybe modified civilian vehicles, but they likely had many required safety features stripped out or ruined by modifications. Even an M1 Abrahams can kill its occupants from lack of safety gear, though it could likely drive away from the incident with a fresh crew. Hummer made many safety changes to the civilian version.

        Besides that, I wasn’t aiming at our military but at third world military who want to build their own. Many of them buy US kit planes already.

        3. Kit built cars fit through a loophole allowing road use.

        If you build it, you can likely fix it. That’s actually a value add that those markets will find valuable.

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      +1 on IH. A simple, affordable, rugged mid-sized pickup and SUV combo would be a great start. I was hoping Mahindra might fill this niche but alas never got off the ground.

      Our infrastructure and roads already resemble that of the third world, why can’t we have their vehicles?

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Simple vehicles really don’t make a lot of sense for most buyers so we have allowed the government to virtually ban their manufacture. Modern pickups really aren’t that bad a value either, so it’s not like it was a big conspiracy even if the result does look like cronyism.

        OTOH, if you don’t live in a first world infrastructure of on demand parts, or you don’t want to depend on/pay for that, the trade offs of an F150 vs a version with sixties simplicity combined with modern quality does make sense. Plus, you likely want an old world type diesel rather than common rail.

        Military buyers want simple repair and reduced parts count for similar reasons. I wasn’t very popular with some people in the army for trying to ensure that my crews did the repairs under the mechanic’s supervision rather than letting him wrench it, but it only took a few months before the results were obvious. Operators who know the machine break it less, repair it faster, and therefore suffer less downtime.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    All dead brands should be dead and the people. Any marketing pro who says he can resurrect a dead brand should be fired on the spot.

    With that said, the designs for Saab 900 and Volvo 240 are pretty timeless.

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      I suspect that the marketing pros who decided to resurrect Mini and Bugatti are probably doing just fine…

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Mini wasn’t actually dead. The original was still in production during the design phase of the first ‘new’ Mini. Bugatti hasn’t made any money for VW yet.

        • 0 avatar
          azmtbkr81

          True, but Mini hadn’t sold a car in the US since the 60s, it took a brilliant bit of marketing to revive the brand.

          Bugatti doesn’t need to make money to be a success, serving as a showcase for VAG’s technical prowess is enough.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I’m gonna throw Cadillac out there since I haven’t seen one even close to being a Cadillac in twenty years and a serious one in over forty.

    Lincoln is another obvious quagmire we’ve discussed at length.

  • avatar
    matador

    I’d work on creating a brand based on what Jeep used to be. Start with a pickup truck- one for work, not the Blue-Collar Audi that Ford makes. Make a Grand Wagoneer- and a 3/4 ton version for towing. Offer commercial chassis that are designed to last forever. Even maybe an FC!

    Call it Jeep, and move the current lesser offerings (Except for real Jeeps- like the Wrangler) to another brand. Chrysler has that brand- Eagle. Offer the Fiat-Inspired Jeeps under the Eagle nameplate, and offer the Jeeps to the working man and offroaders.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    Lincoln, which is clearly dying in its current mode. No trucks, no minivans, no cars below D segment, no platform sharing with Ford models if the Ford version can be optioned up to the Lincoln level. Start with a large RWD halo car (something like the Cadillac Ciel) and call it Continental. Design and build it like the Continental Mark II, top materials and latest tech, even if you have to sell it at cost or even a small loss. Limit production to create extra cachet. Offer full size sedans that echo the styling of the halo car, including LWB versions, that can be optioned up the wazoo, so the regular buyer can have some of the halo car magic. Work closely with custom coach builders to create limo versions of the sedan (but no hearses). Offer a luxury sport coupe in both hard and soft top versions (be sure the back seat is useable). Require Lincoln dealers to maintain high end showrooms that do not share space with Fords or any other brands. Offer a 10/100 warranty on all models to show that you mean business.

    *Edit – I forgot the CUV model. Full size only, no compact CUV, and no Ford platfom-mate that can touch it for features nor be able to swap doors with it.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    What, nobody said Hudson?

    Might as well; it’s no more ridiculous than lots of dead brands.

    And the Hornet, Wasp, Jet, and Commodore are decent car names even today…

  • avatar
    GST

    Good question.

    1. Volvo 122 with modern engine, original comfortable seats.
    2. Cadillac name to Pontiac, concur
    3. Triumph Spitfire, well no. We sold ours as being way too small where you had to look up at
    SUV and truck tires.

  • avatar
    EasternJC

    Dream resurrections; Allard, Cunningham, Alvis, Marmon.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Volvo 240 RWD

  • avatar
    fredtal

    I see they are trying to resurrect TVR. Even if their cars were less than perfect, they were always unique in their styling.

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    Another vote for Volvo, which I don’t really consider dead yet. They sell well in Europe. Is it really so hard to find buyers for them in the US now? I am a Volvo nut par excellence, and have been since I was 13. Yet me last two cars were Japanese cheap-o-machines. Partly because Volvos keep their value well in Norway, and it is hard to find anything with less than 300,000km at a reasonable price. In other parts because Volvo doesn’t offer what I want anymore – dead simple RWD wagons that are insanely practical (I prefered the 145, but also had 245’s) – or a simple, quick seven seater.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      If I were in the market for a near-luxury smallish sedan, it’d be a tough battle between the S60 and the Regal. But if I wanted a compact/mid-sized CUV? The XC60 hands down. I also have a lot of love for the S80 and the XC90, though I’d never pay the price that either of them commands when new. Oh, and the C30? Aesthetic bliss, especially when in R-Design guise.

      Huh. I guess I’m a Volvo-lover.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    None. These brands died for a reason, often because their fanboys didn’t actually buy their products.

    The company who builds the mythical brown diesel hybrid 6-spd wagon will die.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “The company who builds the mythical brown diesel hybrid 6-spd wagon will die.”

      Thank you.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        Its funny, the Brown AWD Diesel Manual Wagon never interested me.

        I want a fully loaded good looking small to midsize extended cab (ie suicide doors) pickup, V6, 6MT, 2WD with posi rear. This will never happen though.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m pretty happy with my options right now. The Brazilian market, though still expensive has never had as many good options in the compact car segment I prefer. In the body styles I like: sedan, hatch, minivan, “multipurpose”. SWs are ok, but not my favorite. Awd? No need. Diesel? In a car, why? Brown, I like. Manual of course.

          So, another enthusiast here who fails to see the attractiveness of the unicorn you mention.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          It doesn’t fulfill your “suicide doors” requirement, but I’d love it if they brought that Volkswagen pickup to the States. Enthusiasts *will* pay market premiums for a pickup with a V-dub badge on the front.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I wish that GM had not crushed all of the EV1 units, and that the series had been allowed to continue. The EV1 had a remarkably simple drivetrain and computer system, so I can’t imagine it being a difficult car to preserve.

  • avatar
    Baldpeak

    My heart says De Tomaso, but my head says Saab.

  • avatar
    facelvega

    Brands don’t matter anymore, they no longer guarantee anything about quality, value, design sensibility, or experience. When they can be traded like playing cards and redefined by car-hating bean counters, they are irrelevant.

    What we could use, however, are the cultures of some of the great defunct car companies during their brightest days: Lancia’s harmonious marriage of design and engineering in the fifties and sixties, probably the most perfect that has ever yet been reached; Glas making sporty, beautiful, cheap cars so well that BMW’s finest years came when they bought out and imitated Glas; Studebaker near the end deciding that if it couldn’t afford to develop new platforms, then it might as well hire the best designers in the world, like Raymond Loewy, Bob Bourke, and Brooks Stevens. No car company is doing any of these things now, and it isn’t a problem of brands.

  • avatar
    cirats

    Hard to believe nobody has said Acura yet, but that’s where I’d head with this question. Step 1: Ditch all the current cars, or at least their styling. Step 2: Create the spiritual successors to the Legend, the Integra and the NSX. Step 3: ??? Step 4: Profit!!!

  • avatar
    Yesac13

    Me?

    I would bring back Saturn. Yes, that Saturn.

    I think the original idea with Saturn was good. No hassle pricing, great dealership service. Good basic cars for a low price. Think Saturn early in its life – not the embarrassment it was later on.

    The way the trends are going, I think people will increasingly view cars as an annoying thing that they have to buy. Unlike most of us here, cars are an appliance to be used from point a to b.

    GM should bring back Saturn and sell just 1 basic CUV with decent gas mileage. Real cheap and show videos on how decent it does in an accident. Then sell or lease it for $199 a month for 72 months. Or $149 a month for 10 years. Full warranty for the whole time. Saturn Slogan: Peace of mind, reliable transportation for only $199 a month! Insurance included! It can be done. Change the auto purchase from an one big scary purchase to a boring tolerable monthly expense. Things are already heading that way, GM can set up Saturn as a vehicle to do this.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree with your basic argument but they will never allow anything cheap to compete with Chevrolet.

      “GM should bring back Saturn and sell just 1 basic CUV with decent gas mileage”

      Ironically this is happening with Captiva, since it is essentially a decontented Saturn Vue.

      • 0 avatar
        Yesac13

        You may be right about GM not doing this – they killed Saturn because it offered too much competition to Chevrolet or other brands or because of entrenched dealer networks.

        The more I think about my idea, I suspect Nissan will be the one who does it, not GM. They might do it with Datsun. They are already building cars very cheaply.

        There’s the Renault Dacia. It looks great. Something like that will sell well here and be profitable at $149 to $249 a month for 72 to 120 months. Include insurance and full warranty and you have a best seller. Sell tons to ZipCar or others – never mind about resale value. Attach the monthly income to bonds and Nissan/Renault can borrow tons of money this way. If this cheap CUV idea goes bad, its the bond holder’s problem. Nice for the balance sheet for Nissan/Renault. Alternatively, Nissan/Renault can just figure out the scrap value of the CUV and sell so many then scrap them once the CUV is returned – that way no need to worry about resale value at all…

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I think Saturn was killed for a variety of reasons, but their last ditch effort to save it was to try and move it into the Olds slot in the lineup. I don’t think this could have ever worked very well because Saturn’s previous existence was quirky and value oriented. Had the “L” cars done better it may have had a chance but its fate was sealed in 2000. Would have been better to simply unwind it with Oldsmobile. Hummer, while it “was what it was”, isn’t the most awful idea at spinning up a brand, but if I was in Rick’s shoes in early 2000s I would have sold Saab, and shut down both Saturn and Olds at the same time. Prob would not have made a difference in the end though.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Saturn should have remained the “sub-Chevy” brand at the bottom end of the GM lineup, rather than trying to push it up four steps to replace Olds. All they ended up doing is taking re-badged Opels there at the end which killed the customer base the Saturn brand had developed.

        Honestly, the plastic-bodied Saturn had its advantages and its proponents. With a little work in keeping Saturn ALL Saturn and just focusing on it as an economy brand, it would still be a viable and well-loved brand

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I agree with this, but with my time machine I’m making three changes:

          1. No Saturn dealer network.
          2. Saturn SL/SC is sold in Chevrolet and Pontiac dealers in 1991 alongside Gen 2 J-body for slightly more than J-body.
          3. J-body keeps going but dies in MY94 and Chev/Pontiac small car is replaced by Saturn, which becomes the small but quality economy car brand for GM.

          Heck I may have saved GM, now if only I could make the 1.21 gigawatts in order to get back to the future.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Interesting idea but dealers couldn’t survive on just one model. Add a C segment sedan and a B segment hatchback with the same design and sales philosophy.

      The big problem, tho, would be how to avoid what killed Saturn in the first place. Both mgmt of the other GM brands and the UAW hated the alternate business model for Saturn, and worked hard to force it into the same mode as the rest of GM. Maybe mgmt and the UAW have seen the light post-bankruptcy, but I doubt it. It would take a new company to wipe the slate and start anew.

  • avatar
    Syke

    TVR.

    Mad, bad and crazy. A car for those who love mad performance, and sneer at the “I gotta have airbags” and “but what if I crash?” crowd.

    I’d buy one.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    Pontiac

    Strictly brought back as a high performance EV. Basically you’re going to use it as a cheap R&D department that can sell a few units along the way that may give some market research. Put it in Buick Dealerships specifically as a fast 2 door sports car. Have one model to start, the Tempest. Don’t make it so cramped, use a mid-size platform and price it in Tesla territory. Who cares if it is the most expensive base price model on the floor, most dealerships will only have 2-3 in stock at a time and pushing them out the door won’t be a huge issue, just give them real guts to get moving.

    Then if that gains traction introduce an CUV model that does luxury and performance. Keep pushing Buick as aspirational, Pontiac as speed and make the models competent at beating back the M’s and S’s of the world. You’re really using it to perfect battery tech though, using the value of sales and good will to buy you time while you get a better design to start pushing into your regular vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I seriously like this idea. Imagine if “ELR” had been made a bit nicer looking and priced in the 50s above Volt, maybe it would have sold?

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Very much so. Basically using a bought and paid for platform from the Volt would have given them a way to avoid diluting the brand but give Buick something hot and interesting to have it sit in the showroom and have a genuine Tesla fighter. If you can move a few thousand units it all adds to the Volt’s tech cost reduction and since you can use a common platform selling it should actually be profitable.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Lancia, AMC, Shelby.

  • avatar

    Wiesmann.

    Actually, I’d love to see Pontiac or Studebaker or Deusy or Packard revived, but they’ve all been mentioned ably above, so I’m casting my vote for a minor brand that captured my attention only (relatively) recently and is already facing its own demise.

    Such beautiful lines.

  • avatar
    Windy

    One thing that stands out for me is how important the tech loaded center stack has become and how it becomes obsolete a long time before the auto wrapped around it is worn out.

    Come up with a standard center stack spec both connectors and size… Allow for perhaps 3 basic sizes of stacks and then sell cars with an empty stack and let dealers sell the stack the new car owner wants from companies like alpine and sony and apple that can stay on the bleeding edge of tech….
    Then the owner can upgrade the stack with out needing to replace the car.
    I love almost everything about my 2004 MINI Cooper S but the built in sat nav system was a 2002 BMW system when it was new… It got a major software update in about 2007 which helped quite a bit … But it is far less usable than the gps apps that are available on this iPad.
    Never happen of course the profits in the infotainment options of a car are far too high to walk away from

    • 0 avatar

      There is a pretty nice solution for that from Parrot: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Parrot-ASTEROID-Navigation-Multimedia-Bluetooth/dp/B00BGBO1ZC. It is double DIN size, connects to your speakers directly, runs android, allows 2 phones to be connected via BT, allows you to add mobile internet so you can have WIFI in your car, has USB, iPOD and AUX connections, has GPS so you can run navi on it, and plays your music and video. Pretty impressive. I definitely considered it for my ’00 S-Stype I recently picked up.

      Disclaimer: I am not sure if parrot is sold in de US…

      • 0 avatar
        Elena

        I got mine from crutchfield.com. Can also hook up to a bluetooth OBDII adapter and you can run torque. If rooted (voids warranty), you can install most apps from GooglePlay. Can be improved a lot, but it’s best you can get for older cars. Bluetooth works impressively well (I take company calls and people would not believe I’m driving).

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    I would put my shovel down, and leave them all in the dirt. Then I would grab my gun to put a few more in the ground. There are already too many companies building the same stupid car that society, board rooms, and regulations have dictated. Haven’t you seen Pet Semetary? Imagine the modern day version of all the brands mentioned. Checker is about the closest thing that would even make sense.

  • avatar
    George B

    International Harvester. A brand that only makes rugged trucks suitable for work. Sort of like buying a cross between an antique pickup truck and a Wrangler, but with better corrosion resistance, modern engine control electronics, 21st century safety, and more transmission gear ratios. Make the Carhartt of car brands.

  • avatar
    marjanmm

    Tatra.

    A big luxury car with the best aerodynamics, 3 headlights and rear mounted modern air cooled V12.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Chevy… raise the Vega from the dead. It can compete with the Dart. Lol

    And yes, an all new Cosworth Vega please :)

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Why just car brands to resurrect? How about brands that need to be killed with fire until they die from it, or international brands that should be brought over to the USA?

    I already know what a few members will probably say.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Lotus

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Hows’ about “Imperial”?

    Where you at, Sergio? Take notes.

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    Wartburg.

    How could you ever fail with a name like Wartburg?

  • avatar
    The Heisenberg Cartel

    Tatra. Because rear engine V8s are awesome and because I liked a Series of Unfortunate Events.

    Bring back Imperial and Continental as separate luxury brands, because Chrysler, while they are doing things right, is not luxury, and because Lincoln is beyond hope as anything but a Buick fighter. Use the general design of the Hongqi as a starting point.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Daimler to fit between Jaguar and Rolls Royce would be cool

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Bring back Isuzu in America without GM. No cars just the Trooper, a midsize and compact crossover, and a midsize pickup and offer diesel as an option.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Bring back a “real” Jeep Cherokee
    Jeep Wagoneer
    Jeep Renegade
    BMW 3, 5, 7
    Lincoln (any, they’re all fake)
    Mustang (tin-foil purists)
    Porsche (nothing to bring back, just get rid of the fake ones)
    Any RWD car that’s now a FWD
    Any car you used to like , but don’t anymore because, um Fake

  • avatar
    AH-1WSuperCobra

    At first I was going to say Packard or Duesenberg but then I remembered that article Jack wrote a while back about watches and reviving dead brands for just the sake of the name. Even if they could revive one of those brands which company could make a success of them? Ford and GM can’t with Lincoln or Cadillac and they aren’t even competing on the same level as Rolls Royce.

    My one question would be why can’t car companies just bring back a brand for a specific model? Why doesn’t Chrysler just call the new ‘Cuda a Plymouth ‘Cuda? Doesn’t seem that hard or expensive to order up a bunch of plastic badges that say Plymouth and slap them on the car.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I have to say that I would kind of like to see Mercury come back and just build the 4.6L Panther Grand Marquis until the end of time.

  • avatar

    I don’t understand why GM doesn’t pull out a special edition Pontiac GTO or TransAm/Firebird every now and then and sell through Buick or Chevy as limited performance models with slight body changes and performance additions of the Camaro or SS.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    None. No resurrected brand will look, perform or cost any different from what’s already available. All viable niches are overfilled.

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      I don’t know, I wouldn’t mind seeing an extra choice in lightweight coupe. All I have now to pick from are Scion FR-S, Civic Si, and Hyundai Genesis Coupe. And I strain to call the Genesis Coupe lightweight with a straight face.

      Of course, I admit, I am covered; I am willing to wade through the used market. Extend my search to anything built within 10 years and I have plenty of choice. Just not so much in the new market.

  • avatar
    probert

    With just a little more time Gordon Keeble could have conquered the world.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    How about Suzuki? Surely their Kei vehicles will be more attractive as climate disasters get in peoples’ faces more.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      That makes no sense, if weather some how magically starts getting worse, which makes no sense, offroad vehicles would make many times more sense.
      Never seen a kei car that could drive through floods or go over/move downed trees.

      ;)

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I have two, one is saab because they were unique and did what they did well until they were starved by GM.
    As for the other please keep in mind it was a very good idea that just did not work but I say Sterling.

  • avatar
    MyDreamCarIsShit

    Scion.

    Too soon?

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Scion only needs two things to be successful:

      1- drop the brand name and become Toyotas

      2- drop the “no haggle” pricing. Scions are very affordably priced, but more will sell if T raises MSRP and allows price negotiation. Its so silly but people will pay more if they think they ‘got a deal’

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Sunbeam in particular the Alpine and Tiger. Basically a more gentlemanly MGB or Triumph TR. The Alpine with the 4 banger was a cut above those other British roadsters but the Tiger with the 289 was a performer, a Brit roadster with an American heart. A car that Ford should have bought the tooling from Chrysler when they sold off Rootes Group. Or Chrysler could have kept it in the product line with a 273 or 318. A modern version of these with Eco boost would compete with the next gen Miata.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    I say bring back Plymouth, including the Grand Voyager. A Plymouth Reliant could run alongside the Dart and be the car that should have been. A Fury could be released (preferably similar to a B-body, those were my favorite) on the LX platform.

    The only car I care for in the LX platform is the 2011+ 300, although I think the Charger/Challenger should still remain since they sell. I never liked the Charger all that well, and the previous 300 didn’t appeal to me (I have to admit that seeing more than one example with the rubberband tires, tacky chrome appliques and loud music blaring out of cracked-open,super-tinted windows didn’t help to form a positive perception).

    Don’t laugh, but my biggest wish is for the resurrection of the LH platform. I’d love nothing more than for the Intrepid and the Concorde to be brought back, picking up exactly where it was left off after it was discontinued back in 2004. It could use some minor updates, such as redesigned seating and updated, brand-appropriate grilles but should keep true to the cab-forward design and the original look in general. These are the best-styled cars America (well, technically Canada) has ever produced in my opinion, and I’m dead serious. Only the second time around, the Concorde should have less of a bulbous rear-end. I really think the rear styling for the second-gen Concorde should have been a fusion of the second-gen Intrepid and the first-gen Concorde. And, of course, there’d be no 2.7L, but that’s not a concern anyways because they aren’t in production. The 3.6L would be a perfect fit for an LH (and maybe the Intrepid could get a Hemi too!).

    Imperial should be resurrected and positioned as a car that is in line with an S-class or even a Bentley. The new 300 is putting Chrysler back on the luxury-segment map, so it can be done. It’s about time America gets into high-level luxury again. Even South Korea is starting to take this segment seriously.

    One final thing: I’d love to see the LeBaron back. The Sebring/200 could have easily been a LeBaron. I have a 200 and I sometimes think of it as a LeBaron, even though I have a sedan (well, there was an H-body…).

  • avatar
    RollaRider10

    The still-born Amati. Mazda could do with a Lexus-fighter plus they could use Town Car platform and engine.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    I’d kill Buick and make it for China only, and keep Pontiac. Make Pontiac a low cost BMW competitor, maybe have the Grand Am be an ATS platform mate.

  • avatar
    eventualhorizon

    Didn’t read all 250+ comments but at least half and no one mentioned Lotus? Also would like to see Nissan have a sporty sedan or two again.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I’d revive Volvo as a semi-luxury brand, something to bridge the regular consumer and luxury. But instead of winning them over with garbage like the Mercedes Camry I’d give them actually semi-luxurious, durable cars with engines that’re just quick enough, real luxury, not Nurgburgring luxury.

    Entry Level Sub-Compact: Volvo 380 shooting brake, a FWD return to the 480 with semi modern if conservative styling meant to compete with the Honda Fit and win over drooling shooting brake buffs. Comes either as a cheap more bare model, or a more luxurious model with an optional turbo-charged I4.

    Compact: Volvo 430, a revival of the Volvo C30 with better quality parts, an I5, and good standard equipment with optional extras. At its highest options, you could have a 270hp 4WD snow cruiser with optional “Lift and protective trim”, which just CUV-ises the car. A 4-door wagon variant is optional at a slightly higher cost.

    Mid-Sized: Volvo 240, a revival of the 240 that can be had as a blistering V8 (FINALLY) in its top-trim, or as a durable budget runabout with a robust 4 cylinder, or an optional turbo-4. Comes in coupe, wagon, sedan, convertible coupe, or in some markets a truck.
    Optional lift kits and such to CUV-ize it, you can literally make the 240 anything you want it to be with numerous custom options.
    The styling would be as boxy as ever with a few small touches to smooth out rough areas on the original, and modern taillights.

    Full-Size: Volvo 940, basically the 240 but wider and longer, comes standard with a turbo four. Only comes as a wagon or sedan with am optional lift kit, but also has optional 4×4. Features styling akin to the Volvo 850-R with some modern touches.

    CUVs: Covered those already, instead of lying and trying to sell cars as CUVs with ugly styling, I’d rather show Volvos “honesty” by offering a lift-kit, extra rock protection, and optional 4×4 across all models. CUV-ized models would be marked with a K.

  • avatar
    kid cassady

    A little bit late with a second idea but I wanted to outline my vision for bringing back Pontiac with all of the glory of the vibrant 80s and 90s portfolio that helped make the marque so great.

    My revolutionary plan for rebooting the brand would include:

    – Doubling up on body cladding. Cladding should be on nearly all available surfaces, and there will be two layers of cladding on the lower beltline for maximum safety, which will be referred to as the Cladshell (TM).
    – Continued gratuitous use of “GT” and its derivatives to describe models. GT will be used as the trimline for the stripper 5-speed economy models. Going up the trimlines we will have GTP, GTQ, GTR and finally GTT for the high-power V8s.
    – Resembling the bodykit seen on the G6 GTP, the vertical length of a car’s grille will reflect its relative power. GT models will have two narrow gunslit grilles in the front, whereas GTT models will have incredibly long front grilles that stretch up the hood like racing stripes.
    – In keeping with tradition, we will be using the word “Sun” as the first part of each model name. Rollout models will include the Sunbird, Sunfire, Sunflare, Sunspot, and the new subcompact, the Sunspeck.

    More ideas are currently being produced by my think tank. I welcome any other suggestions you may have towards this promising new chapter of driving excitement.

  • avatar
    ChiefPontiaxe

    I had an ’89 Volvo 245 identical to the one in that photo (color and all). Traded it in (with busted odometer) 7 years later for more than I paid for it. Geez I miss that car.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    International harvestor of course!

    Also have a well known love for Hummer, so that as well.

  • avatar
    pineycreek

    Nash, Pontiac, Plymouth, Oldsmobile, Mercury, Mazda truck – vehicles I’ve owned over the past 60 years that went bye bye and I miss!


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