QOTD: What Dead Model Would You Resurrect?

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
qotd what dead model would you resurrect

Despite the scores of new cars available to North American drivers, not every niche is filled. Entire segments of the new car market have all but been abandoned in the almighty search for profitability — or in the case of some OEMs, mere solvency.

Whither the personal luxury coupe? How about the almighty two-door, full size SUV? Buyers would certainly snap up tens of these every year.

I was inspired by an unfortunate recent passing of a great fellow Ohioan. John Glenn, Marine, astronaut, and senator, was a personal hero from my youth. I found myself thumbing through a collection of old magazines I’d acquired when I was a space-obsessed kid.

The July 28, 1969 Newsweek was notable for coverage of the Apollo Eleven moon landing, as well as three-page write-up of Senator Ted Kennedy’s long Oldsmobile drive off a short pier. Stuck in the middle of that Chappaquiddick nightmare was this full-page advert for one of the smallest mass-produced cars ever to oil American motorways – the MG Midget:

The ad copy acknowledges that the name doesn’t exactly evoke performance. Indeed, it would be a political correctness nightmare if the new Chinese caretakers of the MG octagon were to try and market a new Midget in the US. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a proper, diminutive sports car.

Yes, interweb clutch jockeys, I hear your “MIATA” screams. I have a Miata-shaped shelf of my own, keeping a broken Barbie Jeep and some golf clubs off the frigid concrete garage floor. But even the Miata is now a relatively comfortable, almost-luxurious car. I argue that a lighter-weight, agile, and most importantly CHEAP sports car is a crucial market segment.

Honda did it right with the Beat, and more recently the S660 — both kei-cars with low horsepower and a corresponding curb weight. Something fun to drive, yet cheap. I have to believe a basic sports car priced similarly to the cheapest cars on the market — Versa, Mirage, I’m looking at you — would be an attractive first car, or easy-to-insure occasional car for those of us stuck in family haulers most days.

MG hasn’t been particularly successful in the UK, where Chinese-manufactured cars are being assembled from knockdown kits in the historic Longbridge plant. Perhaps bringing back the historic Midget nameplate in a cheap roadster might spell success.

I’m sure there are others I’m neglecting. Do modern drivers need a Blazer, or a Granada, or even a GLC?

[Images: Oxyman/ Wikimedia Commons ( CC-BY-SA-3.0); Newsweek, July 28, 1969; Honda Motor Company]

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  • Manbridge Manbridge on Dec 17, 2016

    Porsche 911. Hasn't been one since at least 98. Or 89 to tell the truth.

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Dec 18, 2016

    Chrysler Imperial Southampton Coupe. 1957 year only.

    • OldManPants OldManPants on Dec 18, 2016

      An eye-tracker diagram of someone viewing that would be interesting. My eyes keep jerking up to that strange bifurcation of the rear roof. Won't let me enjoy the rest of the car. s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/dc/54/3e/dc543ee312a0cfc665145c508fc38785.jpg

  • Jeff S Corey--We know but we still want to give our support to you and let TTAC know that your articles are excellent and better than what the typical articles are.
  • Jeff S A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification that combines elements of road-going passenger cars with features from off-road vehicles, such as raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive.There is no commonly agreed-upon definition of an SUV and usage of the term varies between countries. Thus, it is "a loose term that traditionally covers a broad range of vehicles with four-wheel drive." Some definitions claim that an SUV must be built on a light truck chassis; however, broader definitions consider any vehicle with off-road design features to be an SUV. A [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossover_(automobile)]crossover SUV[/url] is often defined as an SUV built with a unibody construction (as with passenger cars), however, the designations are increasingly blurred because of the capabilities of the vehicles, the labelling by marketers, and electrification of new models.The predecessors to SUVs date back to military and low-volume models from the late 1930s, and the four-wheel drive station wagons and carryalls that began to be introduced in 1949. The 1984 [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Cherokee_(XJ)]Jeep Cherokee (XJ)[/url] is considered to be the first SUV in the modern style. Some SUVs produced today use unibody construction; however, in the past, more SUVs used body-on-frame construction. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the popularity of SUVs greatly increased, often at the expense of the popularity of large [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedan_(automobile)]sedans[/url] and station wagons.More recently, smaller SUVs, mid-size, and crossovers have become increasingly popular. SUVs are currently the world's largest automotive segment and accounted for 45.9% of the world's passenger car market in 2021. SUVs have been criticized for a variety of environmental and safety-related reasons. They generally have poorer fuel efficiency and require more resources to manufacture than smaller vehicles, contributing more to climate change and environmental degradation. Between 2010 and 2018 SUVs were the second largest contributor to the global increase in carbon emissions worldwide. Their higher center of gravity increases their risk of rollovers. Their larger mass increases their stopping distance, reduces visibility, and increases damage to other road users in collisions. Their higher front-end profile makes them at least twice as likely to kill pedestrians they hit. Additionally, the psychological sense of security they provide influences drivers to drive less cautiously. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sport_utility_vehicleWith the above definition of SUV any vehicle that is not a pickup truck if it is enclosed, doesn't have a trunk, and is jacked up with bigger tires. If the green activists adhere to this definition of what an SUV is there will be millions of vehicles with flat tires which include HRVs, Rav4s, CRVs, Ford Escapes, Buick Encores, and many of compact and subcompact vehicles. The green movement is going to have to recruit millions of new followers and will be busy flattening millions of tires in the US and across the globe. Might be easier to protest.
  • Sckid213 I actually do agree that most Nissans are ultimately junk. (I also think many BMWs are also). I was talking challenging the 3 in terms of driving dynamics. Agree all were failures in sales.
  • THX1136 More accurately said, we are seeing exponential growth in the manufacturing capabilities in this market. Unless, of course, all those vehicles are sold with customers waiting until more a produced so they can buy. Indeed, there are certainly more EVs being purchased now than back in 2016. Is demand outstripping manufacturing? Maybe or maybe not. I sincerely don't know which is why I ask.
  • ToolGuy The page here (linked in the writeup) is ridiculously stupid https://www.tyreextinguishers.com/how-to-spot-an-suvLike, seriously stupid, e.g., A) Not sure that particular Volvo is killing the planet as quickly as some other vehicles we might choose. B) A Juke is "huge"??? C) The last picture shows a RAV4 Hybrid?