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

  • Sayahh Is it 1974 or 1794? The article is inconsistent.
  • Laura I just buy a Hyndai Elantra SEL, and My car started to have issues with the AC dont work the air sometimes is really hot and later cold and also I heard a noice in the engine so I went to the dealer for the first service and explain what was hapenning to the AC they told me that the car was getting hot because the vent is not working I didnt know that the car was getting hot because it doesnt show nothing no sign no beep nothing I was surprise and also I notice that it needed engine oil, I think that something is wrong with this car because is a model 23 and I just got it on April only 5 months use. is this normal ? Also my daughter bought the same model and she went for a trip and the car also got hot and it didnt show up in the system she called them and they said to take the car to the dealer for a check up I think that if the cars are new they shouldnt be having this problems.
  • JamesGarfield What charging network does the Polestar use?
  • JamesGarfield Re: Getting away from union plantsAbout a dozen years or so ago, Caterpillar built a huge new engine plant, just down the road here in Seguin TX. Story has it, Caterpillar came to Seguin City council in advance, and told them their plans. Then they asked for no advanced publicity from Seguin, until announcement day. This new plant was gonna be a non-union replacement for a couple of union plants in IL and SC, and Cat didn't want to stir up union problems until the plan was set. They told Seguin, If you about blab this in advance, we'll walk. Well, Seguin kept quiet as instructed, and the plan went through, with all the usual expected tax abatements given.Plant construction began, but the Caterpillar name was conspicuously absent from anywhere on the site. Instead, the plant was described as being a collective of various contractors and suppliers for Caterpillar. Which in fact, it was. Then comes the day, with the big new plant fully operationa!, that Caterpillar comes in and announces, Hey, Yeah it's our plant, and the Caterpillar name boldly goes up on the front. All you contractor folks, welcome aboard, you're now Caterpillar employees. Then, Cat turns and announces they are closing those two union plants immediately, and will be transporting all the heavy manufacturing equipment to Seguin. None of the union workers, just the equipment. And today, the Caterpillar plant sits out there, humming away happily, making engines for the industry and good paying jobs for us. I'd call that a winner.
  • Stuki Moi What Subaru taketh away in costs, dealers will no doubt add right back in adjustments.... Fat chance Subaru will offer a sufficient supply of them.