By on September 21, 2012

Here’s the thing about going retro: like movie sequels, the original is usually far, far superior.  But unlike sequels, we operate a vehicle outside of the lens of historical significance. Most of us need an automotive appliance to do our jobs. If you need a new ride, how do you roll?  In a modern take of a classic, complete with CUV-sized dimensions and proportioning, that’s how!

One of the few exceptions (outside of rich people price points) is the Scion FR-S, which is the subject of my next Vellum Venom. So consider this a tease: enjoy the “bulk” of owning retro in our current age of fat CUVs, insane Energy Drinks, Hot Yoga and Gluten-free diets!

Rarely does someone park a retro monster side-by-side with the original, but these scale models help.  Auto manufacturers are wise to not make it this obvious in PR photography.



But thank goodness the blogosphere does the job instead.

Is there a buffet at The Vanishing Point?

I donno, does the legendary Camry have functional A/C?

Maybe I was wrong about PR photos…especially when the new model looks even larger when they put it in the foreground. HERTZ SO GOOD.

And on a more personal note, don’t park your personal 2011 Ford Ranger next to the two on the right. Oy vey!

And lastly, this one from TTAC’s sinistermisterman.

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55 Comments on “Vellum Venom Vignette: Does this Icon make me look Fat?...”

  • avatar

    I often think the Challenger looks cool when I see one in traffic. Then I walk up to it at the dealership and see that the hood is almost elbow-high on me. The sheer size and gun-slit windows are deal-breakers for me. In comparison, the 70-72 Challengers are lean and elegant. When did we decide huge and badly-proportioned were good things?

    • 0 avatar

      About the same time when safety, fuel efficiency and electronic gizmos became the “in” thing.

      • 0 avatar

        If a Smart 2+4 and Miata can be made still very small, then what’s the excuse on the safety?

      • 0 avatar

        They’re niche vehicles. For the most part, bigger vehicles are necessary in order to accommodate occupants of ever-increasing size – you have HFCS to blame for that. Also, “bigger = better” mentality comes into play: in this instance, you can blame marketing departments.

      • 0 avatar

        “If a Smart 2+4 and Miata can be made still very small, then what’s the excuse on the safety?”

        There isn’t one. You can still make safe cars with decent sightlines, designers just don’t want to. They happen to like dubs, gunslit windows and such.

        You can tell because overtly utilitarian vehicles that also have to meet the same safety standards don’t look like this.

        Safety is just the knee-jerk excuse. If designers really wanted to make cars with more greenhouse, then concepts would follow that trend. But concept cars are actually _worse_.

      • 0 avatar

        “For the most part, bigger vehicles are necessary in order to accommodate occupants of ever-increasing size – you have HFCS to blame for that.”

        Vehicles are only bigger on the outside. Interior room is either the same or worse. Check out the current Taurus.

        If the increase in size was to help the obese then you wouldn’t have these giant center consoles and door panels. I bet a guy with a 35 BMI would be happier in a ’89 Seville than the larger on the outside CTS. An old conversion van offers way better room than a modern CUV.

      • 0 avatar

        I have found that the maximum requirement for rear seat room is not a 6′ 300lb man, but a rearward facing infant car seat.

      • 0 avatar

        @ p___mill

        +1. I have what I believe is midsize sedan. I am not very tall. I am not one of these kids who slouch behind the wheel with the seat so far back they barely reach the pedals. I can’t put my seat back as far as I would like with the baby seat in.

      • 0 avatar

        Even the Miata is not that small if you put it next to a older British roadster. I own a 1977 Triumph Spitfire, and my Miata looks positively fat and American in comparison when the two are parked side by side.

      • 0 avatar


        The original Miata was styled after the Lotus Elan. The ’93 Miata is 10 inches wider and 10 inches longer than the Elan, in fact it’s larger in every dimension and weighs 40% more.

        1993 Miata mm inches
        Wheelbase 2265 89.2
        Track (front) 1410 55.5
        Track (rear) 1430 56.3
        Length 3950 155.5
        Width 1675 65.9
        Height 1230 48.4
        Ground clearance
        length:wheelbase ratio 1.74
        Kerb weight 1020 kg 2249 lb

        1966 Lotus Elan mm inches
        Wheelbase 2134 84
        Track (front) 1194 47
        Track (rear) 1194 47
        Length 3689 145.2
        Width 1422 56
        Height 1175 46.3
        Ground clearance 152 6
        length:wheelbase ratio 1.73
        Kerb weight 696 kg 1534 lb

  • avatar

    New Mini Countryman vs Old Mini… oh deary me.

  • avatar

    The Fusion / Taurus one is the most shocking, the others I kind of expected, especially the F-150. I had a Ranger and my brother had an F-150 at one point in time, so I was well aware of just how HUGE the F-150 is. The Mini Countryman is a joke, the only thing “mini” about it is the name… so sad.

    • 0 avatar

      Really? I was thinking the opposite, at least in terms of size. (That is a Taurus on the right, BTW, and not a Fusion.)

      And it is not bloat in and of itself. When Ford discontinued the Taurus in 2007, the Fusion took it’s place in the midsize family sedan range. The Ford Five Hundred was intended to replace the Crown Vic and is a larger car than the Fusion; but when sales slumped; the Five Hundred was renamed the Taurus for the 2008 MY.

      The Ford Fusion is slightly smaller than the Taurus, and the current Taurus is larger; which is why *both* are considered successors to the 1985-2007 Taurus. What would be neat is another photo shoot with a Fusion on the other side of the second gen Taurus; that would be a more complete picture.

  • avatar

    Just to play devil’s advocate, I’d like to see a 1996 F-150 parked beside a ’97.

  • avatar

    Heres a few other suggestions:

    1. The new Camaro vs the classic, what with an 800 pound difference and the modern cars huge wheels and tiny trunk.

    2. Early Subaru WRXLancer Evo vs their modern chunky counter-parts.

    3. The new VW mini-van Golf vs the original.

    4. The new Honda Civic sedansporty coupe vs the original hatchback.

    5. The new, New new Beetle vs the original (I’m sure that theres a picture up somewhere).

    6. The first Scion XB vs its cheap bloated in-effecient replacement.

  • avatar

    Well, to be fair, the original Taurus was a midsize car, while the current one is full-size, same name, but different size category. The better comparison would be 1986 Taurus vs. 2013 Fusion, since they occupy the same place in Ford’s lineup.

    The Countryman is also a much different sort of vehicle than the classic Mini, although the R56 Hatch is still inexcusably massive.

    • 0 avatar

      The new Fusion is big too. Its 112.2 inch wheelbase is only 0.7 inch shorter than the Taurus wheelbase. The new Fusion is much larger in every dimension than the original Taurus.

      A comparison shot of the 2013 Fusion with the 1984 Tempo (99 in WB) would look hilarious as well.

      • 0 avatar

        That is true. I was just doing the comparos, and was amazed that the Fusion is now the longest (non-premium) midsize on the market by a good margin. A 112+ inch wheelbase is huge for the segment, actually bigger than several full-size cars.

      • 0 avatar

        Apart from the wheelbase the Taurus is still significantly bigger in every other dimension (external anyway!)

      • 0 avatar

        I actually don’t mind the super-sizing that much. Increased safety and interior space are features, not bugs. Unfortunately the car’s proportions often got changed in the process and the result isn’t as pretty as the original. The Ford GT was an example of a proper “scale-up” of the original. It looks very close to the original when viewed in isolation without a fixed size reference. The current Mustang is bigger in every dimension except wheelbase, so the rear overhang is too long. The Challenger is too narrow, and belt line too high (an unavoidable result of adapting the LX platform)

  • avatar

    Here’s one for the pile:

    OK, so my Integra is lowered, and they’re not the same model, and there’s some perspective hijinks going on. But this is entry-level Acura 4-door sedans from 1990 and 2008.

  • avatar

    The Mazda 2 vs GLC shows that somethings are less awful than others.

    • 0 avatar

      The GLC became the 323, which became the Protege, which became the Mazda 3.

      Here’s an 8th gen Civic next to a 2nd gen Civic:

      For now the 8th is the biggest Civic ever, as the 9th is smaller outside and bigger inside. The 2nd generation was already bigger than the 1st generation though.

      • 0 avatar

        Ah yes, the 2nd gen Civics, so much fun, I had a rather pedestrian beige 1500DX hatchback with all of 67HP.

        It was a hoot and a half to drive (with a 5spd no less).

        I miss it now, but my 03 Protege5 comes the closest to that car these days.

  • avatar

    I forgot that I have a couple more

    Fiat 500 – old vs new

    Honda S600 vs Beat – not really relevant to the topic at hand but neat still.

  • avatar

    What cars are in the first picture? Looks like a Cadillac compared to a Toyota?

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    As Americans get fatter and more out of shape, the cars have to get wider and easier to access, I have seen a couple of cases where some one wanted to get an FR-S and they just could not fit in.

    • 0 avatar

      Has more to do with federal safety regulations.

    • 0 avatar

      Thats bad, I’m a big guy (6’2 285 lbs) and I can fit in an FR-S just fine, hell I can squeeze into an S2000 with the only problem being my size 14E feet making the footbox a bit tight.

      Only cat I’ve ever had real troube with was the Chrysler Crossfire and either I could duck in under the roof with my knees crammed into the dash or with the seat backed up to allow my knees space and my head tilted to one side since my head was crammed against the roof.

  • avatar

    Great post. All of these images have been saved to my computer.

  • avatar

    The 1st picture shows why I’d take the R34 SKYLINE GTR over the fat turd R35. Yes I admit that I hate the R35 GTR, so there. In fact I’d happily take the R32 GTR over it.

  • avatar

    It’s not just us “Muricans” that have larger cars, much of Europe seems to have them too, especially the SUV’s, though they may not be as large as the ones sold here.

    Still, the Europeans tend to favor smaller cars overall, but even there, the Golf of today is larger than that first gen model sold decades ago.

    • 0 avatar

      As a ‘Murican living in Germany this seems to be true. You can look at just about any German car and see how much they have grown in the last 20 years. How many times have you heard or read remarks about how the new 3er BMWs are nearly the size of older 5ers. Certainly a new 3ers dwarf their earlier counterparts. Aside from that you might also be surprised at how many SUV and CUVs are on the road here as well, at least around Stuttgart.

  • avatar

    The new Challenger is so sad next to the 70-72 version. I’d much rather restore an old Challenger than own a new one, but the Mustangs are the other way around. Do I have to turn in my old guy card for preferring the new ‘stang? I’m not sure why right now, but the GT-R’s join everything but the gull wings in the “don’t care, don’t want either” pile. I’d take either gull wing, just wouldn’t pay what they go for.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    Of course the weight of every vehicle has probably increased even more than the dimensions . Don’t remember the weight of every vehicle I’ve owned but I seem to remember my 1965 Malibu sedan – with the 283 and ample room for 6 weighing in right at 3000 lbs. Today any car seems to weigh that much . My 1980 Rabbit , as I recall , was right at 2000 lbs. Personally would be glad to give up a lot of today’s crap – power windows . etc . for a lighter vehicle. Of course Americans generally being such bloated whales compared to people in 1965 and the idea that anyone with a kid or two has to haul around so much junk that parents of the fifties and sixties wouldn’t have considered necessary has its effect too .

  • avatar

    i think there’s nothing more graphic than say the original 1970s Civic and Accords and what they are today

    or the 1970s Toyota Corolla to what it is now

    that’s just the way of the world

    where I am, the most popular large sedan is now 4,000lbs+ and can seat 5 large gentlemen and their luggage

    it started out as a car that is dwarfed by a current Corolla and would be around 2,500lb

    i think this growth has finally got the notice of manufacturers who are scaling down and investing in alternate materials to hit those 35mpg+ goals

  • avatar

    I submit my ’79 Accord next to a current gen Fit. (Random occurrence).

  • avatar

    I had a friend over the other day who has a 92 Cressida, and he happened to park it next to the 2011 Camry in the driveway, and man was the difference in size huge! The Cressida was a damn big car in its day, and the Camry looks like it could eat it. Also, as a huge person (6′ 5″ 325lbs) cars are much less comfortable nowadays than ten years ago. Cars having extreme hip points for the f

  • avatar

    I park my B5.5 Passat wagon next to MkVI Jetta Sportwagons all the time around town and I wonder, WTF happened?? I’ll have to snap a pic next time.

  • avatar

    I’ve always been of the opinion that the retro versions of once popular cars are the automotive embodiment of the baby boomer (of which I am one) i.e., trying to be what we were 30-40 years ago, only bigger heavier rounder and with microprocessors. If you really want to see something shocking, park a 1969 Chevy C-10 next to a 2012 Silverado, you’ll think the C-10 is delivering the ladder to get into the Silverado.

  • avatar

    thanks for the SHO pics…
    A forgotten survivor!!

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