By on June 21, 2017

18 -1992 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Lately, I’ve taken you back in time when it’s my turn to offer up a Question of the Day. Today is no exception, as we’re going to discuss the past and the future at the same time. Now, while your head is spinning and you reach for a VHS copy of Back to the Future, allow me to explain.

We’re going to discuss the car brand you’d like to resurrect, and the models it would offer today. Sound like fun?

Automakers come and go through the years, and there’s usually a glaring reason for their demise. Right now you’re thinking of the list of brands taken by the Recession of 2008, aka the General Motors fire sale and Ford Clearance Event. Saab, Hummer, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Saturn, Mercury, Plymouth, Mitsubishi and I’ll stop there.

We here at the Internet Car Enthusiast Club of Antiquities and Good Ideas usually have suggestions for these deceased manufacturers. The ideas would, if taken seriously and at the appropriate time, have saved the company and prevented its demise. Now is your chance to bring one of them back, virtually.

Since this whole exercise could go awry as easily as a startup electric car firm, there are boundaries to your selections today.

  1. You may pick one and only one car brand to bring back from the dead.
  2. The brand you pick is granted a decent reputation, sufficient dealer coverage, and some enthusiasm from the American public in 2017, regardless of which brand you choose.
  3. Say why you’d bring the brand back to life in today’s world, and which things it would sell. Statements like “Because I liked the Mercury Montego from 1977” are not valid here.

Those rules in place, I can submit to you my choice, and it’s not what you’re expecting. The brand I’d bring to life in 2017 is…

1982 AMC Eagle, Image: CZmarlin/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)]

 

American Motors, or AMC if we’re being casual. In 2017, the perfect storm has readied North America for Kenosha, Wisconsin-built AMCs.

The company had the same quirky nature Subaru now sells by the gallon, and their 4×4 crossover vehicle ideals were around all the way back in 1979. So far ahead of the game, and yet so unappreciated in their time. Eagle is their 2017 crossover line, with model variations and trim names as secondary badging. The Eagle Wakefield, Wabigon, and Wabikon are all crossovers of increasing size (see what I did there?), and there are other sedan and wagon models filling out a full lineup. There’s also an all-wheel-drive minivan, the AMC Camelot, to bring competition to former spouse Chrysler. Sales success and massive profits? I think so.

Which automaker would you resurrect in 2017?

[Image: CZ marlin/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)]

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154 Comments on “QOTD: What Dead Car Brand Would You Resurrect Today?...”


  • avatar
    thelaine

    Cadillac

  • avatar
    Joss

    Leyland.

    Slogan: Beauty with brains behind it.

    Vanden Plas edition of a Chinese-built Austin America econobox to compete with Focus.

  • avatar
    karonetwentyc

    Rover.

    This was the company that could have been Britain’s modern-day BMW if only they hadn’t squandered the potential of the P6. That car essentially created the compact executive / luxury car as we know it, and all of the advantages they had built up with it were completely oblivious to management.

    Shame, really, as they were excellent cars for the time – and having another alternative to the German or Japanese manufacturers in that segment today would be welcome.

    • 0 avatar
      haroldhill

      Mine spent too much time up on blocks, but when it ran it was a dream – smooth, quiet, and responsive. One of the most comfortable cars I’ve ever owned and, in spite of that, a lot of fun to drive.

      • 0 avatar
        karonetwentyc

        Ex-P6 owner here as well (1972 2000 Automatic), and in the family we’ve also had a 2000 TC and 3500S (UK model) – effectively, one of each model.

        We never had any major reliability issues with them, though keeping the SU carbs in working order sticks in my head as requiring some persistence. The inboard rear brakes were a pain to take care of, but that’s just part of the design. Having said that, I realise that our experience wasn’t completely typical of ownership.

        All of that aside, though, they were supremely comfortable cars, handled well, and drove very nicely. It’s just a shame that they never truly realised their potential in the marketplace.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Considering BMW bought *out* the Rover group—and still owns MINI—that’s very true.

  • avatar

    AMC…or really, some of the models. I remember as a April fools day magazine edition, Hot Rod had some designs for “modern day” Gremlin, AMX, etc that were just great.

    • 0 avatar
      Raphael

      Given the popularity of CUV’s, this makes good sense. Keep Jeep as the hard-core off-roader brand (Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee) and make AMC the family-friendly, car-based CUV brand. What’s more American these days than a soccer-mom CUV with tough off-roading trickle-down halo provided by Jeep? FCA will probably screw it up every decade though, judging from past patterns.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    Pontiac.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Walter White agrees.

    • 0 avatar
      slap

      No. Buick barely has a reason to exist, and the gap between Chevy and Buick is too small for another division.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Oldsmobile would have been the better choice to keep rather than Buick as far as model lineup was concerned, though by then Buick was hitting it off in China pretty well while it was effectively dying here. About the only Buicks I see any more are either 90s vintage sedans or their more recent CUVs. Almost never see a modern Buick sedan on the road, despite having a dealership less than 4 miles away.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Plymouth.

    For me, Chrysler needs to be the Pacifica and 300 only. Make them good and premium. Dodge can stay as is, but Plymouth should be the value brand, offering basic versions of some of the FCA lineup.

    Ram? Go back to Dodge where you belong. You’re not fooling anybody.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      I can’t wait for the new Acclaim

      • 0 avatar
        haroldhill

        I drove a 92 Spirit for several years and it remains at the top of my list of great cars: comfortable, quiet, responsive, and good steering feel. Great seats and a center armrest that was located where my arm wanted it to be (a miracle lost in contemporary cars). They had finally gotten most of the bugs out of the design and, after some initial warrantee tweaking, it ran without repair well into six digits. I drove it across West Virginia (at legal speeds) and averaged 35 mpg. My, how far we’ve come…….

        • 0 avatar
          TW5

          Everything Dodge engineers achieved with the Spirit was undone by their decision to use a 3-speed automatic transmission. Every time you made a 90-degree turn on a residential road the slushbox would kick back to first midcorner.

          Horror show

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        We owned and drove our 1990 Acclaim for 10½ years!

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        I had a ’90 Spirit for 11 years, before it failed to survive an experiment into driving while asleep. 4-spd automatic was excellent if well cared for. Comfy, fast, 40mpg highway, folding back seats. Alas, no airbags or stability control. I once wrote a fake story for the Allpar site, describing how the Spirit was going back into production. Many fell for it, some of who were angry when the gig wss exposed.

        Then there was the Spirit R/T.

    • 0 avatar
      operagost

      I would bring back Plymouth just for the Road Runner. And the Barracuda– updated 1971 4 headlight version, please. Heart could introduce it in a Super Bowl commercial. Ooh, Barracuda.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Hummer, but only in the vein of a pop-up store. They’d sell like crazy if they made a tiny, Wrangler-sized bruiser, alongside a new H2. Of course, they’d only sell for the 3 or 4 years we’re seeing of cheap gas.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Hummer did have a Wrangler competitor in the works – the H4. They built a concept in 2008 that previewed it (the HX), with independent front and rear suspension, but Hummer was shut down before the HX could be translated into a production vehicle. Would off-road fans buy an H4 with IFS and IRS? I don’t know.

      • 0 avatar
        IBx1

        I remember the HX concept, but while that would take the niche of the FJ Cruiser, I mean something more the size of the Renegade and the look of the H2 with the capability of the Wrangler. Make the only small CUV that isn’t swoopy, round, and soft.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    Respectfully, you’re doing it wrong. The correct answer for 2017 is Duesenberg: ultra-luxury nameplate that still has cachet to appeal to snobs in a time of vast income inequality, can sell in the Arab world, and already has the modern naming convention down pat.

    Start with a Model J: a 19-foot-long four-door coupe with a straight-eight powering the rear wheels and two electric motors powering the fronts, starting at $500k or so but customizable to the client’s wishes.

    Follow it up with the Model A: a $180k “baby Deusy” sedan for the mass market, with a hybrid twin-turbo V6 à la the NSX, for the real estate developer set.

    At some point in the very near future, add a Model A-based SUV.

    Count your money.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      Was getting ready to say this exact thing. Give me a purely American take on the Rolls/Bentley market. Cadillac used to be there long ago but we haven’t had an American car competing for the “best car in the world” for decades.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      That’s my choice as well. Resurrect the Maybach of America………or maybe Maybach is the Duesenberg of Germany. Whichever is correct, Duesies need to make a comeback.

      Also, inline-12 or go home

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      Duesenberg is perfect because it could be successfully be applied to anything from a Uber SUV (Js were bodied as hunting cars for Indian Maharajas) to Mega-Super Sports car (such as the SSJ made for Gary Cooper) and everything expensive and luxurious in between. Unlike Maybach, anyone that knows anything about cars knows about the Model J even though the last one was built in 1937. The only problem would be making one that could provide something approaching the relative quality and performance that the J provided in the 1929 – i.e. top speed of 105-110mph when a Model A Ford could do 55, 0-60 in about 10 seconds when a Packard V-12 required 20 seconds.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Chrysler :)

    Were I 10 years younger and not exhausted by lifing– I’d be seeking Sergio’s head on a pike.

    There’s such a need for affordable, quiet, well-riding cars with traditionally luxe styling and comfortable seats. Normal people like cars they haven’t got to apologize to backseat passengers about.

    “Sorry you hit your head getting in my 200.” “Sorry there’s no headroom back there” “Can you feel the a/c? is it cold enough back there? I couldn’t find a dealer-ordered car with the Luxury a/c group on a lot so I had to settle for this all-black plasticized leather torture chamber with only dash vents.”

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “There’s such a need for affordable, quiet, well-riding cars with traditionally luxe styling and comfortable seats. Normal people like cars they haven’t got to apologize to backseat passengers about.”

      I gather you haven’t owned an FCA-built car.
      … da••ed sight better than the Daimler-built models.

  • avatar
    turbosasquatch

    Saturn needs to come back

    GM has done better at differentiating their brands but I think Chevy is still a little unfocused in its branding. For a company with a lot of brands to work with, GM puts a lot of different philosophies under Chevrolet.

    Saturn should come back as the marque that holds the more pedestrian and eco-friendly vehicles.

    Saturn 2018 lineup:

    Spark, Sonic, Cruze, Trax, Volt and Bolt

    Chevrolet would be reserved for the larger cars, trucks and performance cars, hopefully making it a more cohesive brand.

    • 0 avatar
      paxman356

      I was thinking Saturn, too. I do like your idea of focusing Chevy by taking the bottom end out of it. But it almost seems like it would wind up being like Scion, and Chevy would still need the Cruze, Volt, and Bolt in its lineup, and even then, they would pair Chevy and Saturn together at dealers so they can still get them young with the cheap stuff.

      Before Opel was sold, I pictured Saturn being the true European of GMs offerings, with most of the lineup from Opel coming over. That would include something like the Volt and Trax would be there (Ampera and Mokka) and bring the Astra and Corsa… maybe even the Adam.

      But Opel is gone, and thus, the dream. Le sigh.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Importing Opels and rebadging them as Saturns is, what I think, killed Saturn. I purchased a Saturn Vue in ’02 and the closest vehicle I ever saw in appearance at the time was an Isuzu but I knew the Vue had an Opel drivetrain in it and a solid one, too. Never needed engine or transaxle work in the 130,000 miles I drove it, and that with a 5-speed manual transaxle. That is, outside of normal, scheduled maintenance. Easily averaged over 30mpg highway as well.

        The Honda drivetrain? Not so good; lots of owners hated the Vues that carried the Honda V6.

        The Ion was one of the Opel Saturns I liked, though I wasn’t going to replace my Vue with it and by the time I was ready to trade off my Vue, Saturn had gone to all Opels (which I did not appreciate) and then vanished… taking the one Opel I did like with it.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          GM killed Saturn around 2000 by deciding to discontinue the S-platform by MY02.

          Ion was a POS, you’re better off. I have no knowledge of Vue.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            The Vue, at least the earlier ones, were well thought-out vehicles. In some ways they could have been considered ‘indestructible’ because they never showed minor damage due to their polymer skins. The Opel drivetrain, which is what mine had, was solid and I never had an engine or transaxle breakdown in twelve years of ownership. It did need a front strut replacement, but that was handled under warranty without me having to do anything; they found it, they replaced it, while I had it in for an oil change. At 130,000 miles, it was still running well on its original clutch plates with the 5-speed stick. It lived up to the prior Saturn cars’ reputation. I don’t think I could say that about the models built after ’05 or so. But like I said, the V6 Honda drivetrain had a poor reputation having mostly to do with the transaxle, IIRC.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Citroen and Peugeot. Yes, I know they’re not dead, but they’re dead to us. Check out this current Citroen:

    http://www.citroen.co.uk/new-cars-and-vans/citroen-range/citroen-c4-picasso

    Kinda cool, if you ask me.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Do we really need more European cars to breakdown for no apparent reason and cost a fortune to fix? We’ve already got Volkswagen for that, and they’ve got the scandalous box ticked as well.

  • avatar

    Saturn

    The original Saturns in 1990 were a revolution for GM. An almost separate entity that changed the way people bought cars, labor contracts were written, and unlike earlier American compacts, directly went to battle with the Japanese by beating them at their own game. For the time, their cars were pretty competitive, have proven to be reliable overall, and were innovative with the plastic exterior panels. Sadly, GM seemed to be caught off guard with Saturn’s success and never followed up by improving the car to match its peers. Essentially, it was neglected while the Civic and Corolla consistently got better and better. It’d be interesting to see what could’ve happened if the Saturns were updated every four years like the Japanese do.

    Although GM is very different now than 1990, and their current compacts (Sonic, Cruze) are truly well designed and can rest on their merits; not just on price or being built in America

    It would’ve been great if Saturn kept to its final swan song and was an extension of Opel. It’d be great to have the Astra or Insignia around. Although Buick kinda plays the part of being GM’s Euro themed brand

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      What’s your marketing pitch? Do you try to keep the price low enough that you can offset the inherent sadness in the brand, or rejigger it as a cheap-and-cheerful option for Millennials?

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Agreed, Saturn existed to teach GM how to make better small cars. That mission was (arguably) accomplished. By the end, Saturn really had nothing to offer, and contemporary GM has the old Daewoo organization for small cars.

    • 0 avatar
      turbosasquatch

      Agreed, it’s crazy that a car like the spark or Sonic shares the same badge as the Corvette and Silverado. Three completely different philosophies

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Chevy was all about being the entry-level brand, no matter the ‘class’ of the car. Even the Corvette has always been the lowest-priced “supercar” on the market. Problem is, they’ve lost sight of that and are working too hard to be everything for everybody to the point that they don’t make a single, truly appealing car any more.

    • 0 avatar
      paxman356

      It would be nice to have the Corsa and Adam… maybe even the Mokka and Ampera (Trax and Volt). The thing that killed the Astra over here wasn’t much to do with the car, but with the fact they produced it in Belgium. If they could build their cars here and keep costs down, it could work.

    • 0 avatar
      turf3

      Unfortunately, Saturn was the brain child of one GM CEO, and when he was booted, the next CEO had to prove he was the new broom that sweeps clean. Saturn was making great little cars and customers liked them, so instead of just shutting down the “other guy’s” division, GM quit supporting it. No R&D for 5 or 10 years killed Saturn.

      Good old GM, all about company politics, now and forever.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I wanted PSA to buy Saturn, and slowly replace the GM clones with their cars picked for our market. Boom. Quirky French cars, established brand and dealer network, perhaps a state’s side factory (Mexico for the lower cost cars, marketed to those who first bought Saturns like the S-series).

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Pontiac. Make affordable sporty and muscle cars. No pretense of luxury. However, don’t limit your cars to Road Runner type of Spartan penalty boxes. Think of the John DeLorean era. He upgraded materials, had Quality Assurance Centers to check out cars before delivery, and offered a host of performance levels. So, a well built car with a quality interior, a variety of powertrain options, including manual transmissions, and several suspension and trim levels. No full sizers, but being 2017, the same take I listed for a line of performance SUVs as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Silent Ricochet

      This. GM seems afraid to make fun cars again unless it’s the Camaro or Corvette. Give me a solidly built, fun car to drive without the high price tag. That was basically want Pontiac tried to be towards the end of it’s life.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Yes, Pontiac instituted a zero defect program in 1966, but there’s not a whole lot of information out there on the interwebs. I remember reading something about it years ago, and seeing a picture of some ZD stickers.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    SAAB!

    Beginning before the sale to GM, and moving forward from there to modern versions!

  • avatar
    Lost In Guam

    Registered to say Tatra. Rear engined sedan designed, engineered, to out do the Panamera while being true to its Czech roots.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    Although I would like to see Oldsmobile back, you can’t step into the same river twice. I am reminded of the Little Richard rap in Living Colour’s Elvis is Dead – just let it rest. New GM cannot make a Detroit 442 again.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      This is my feeling too. The Oldsmobile of the 40s & 50s (or even the 70s) and the Pontiac or Plymouth of the 60s is gone forever.

      No reason to bring them back in 2017 to kick more sand in their faces.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Olds’ line was actually pretty solid in the years before it got s**tcanned, if you ask me. Intrigue and Alero, in particular, were thoroughly decent cars in their day.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Bravada was easily the best looker between it and the TrailBlazer/Envoy. If their Aurora had a decent (as in reliable) engine, it’d still be a great find today.

          I thought about starting a car company simply called Olds. Buy up old names that GM still doesn’t have a death-grip on like Cutlass, Ninety-Eight Eighty-Eight, Holiday, maybe even Alero and Bravada. (Yes, they probably still own those.)

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      Overland name has been sold to Isuzu, so that particular name is gone as well.

  • avatar
    raph

    Pontiac would be my pick as an upscale performance division. I thought the plan right before the end to transform Pontiac into a sort if American BMW was a good one.

    Kill the V line at Cadillac and limit Chevrolet to the affordable performance car with the occasional SE the the Z/28 or Z06.

    The ZL1 would be say a Trans Am

    The the mid-engine Corvette would become a Pontiac of some sort

    CTS-V would be a GTO and so on

    And I think rather than a stand alone brand it would be an adjunct to a Buick/Cadillac dealership so Pontiac wouldn’t get saddled with dealers screaming for a product to fill every niche from econobox to minivan.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    I’d go revive Isuzu non-commercial vehicles in America because we somehow need more SUVs and CUVs.

  • avatar
    TW5

    AMC is the correct answer. It’s a Subaru with a superior engine architecture. Nothing against boxers, but it’s not the best layout to keep costs down or score well on EPA fuel efficiency tests.

    Duesenberg is the most fun answer because American manufacturing imperialism is a lost art.

    Wild card is Auburn. Always thought they were pretty cool. Technically, I guess the company is not defunct because someone in Oklahoma is using it to sell replacement parts and do restorations, but it’s not really a manufacturer.

  • avatar
    brenschluss

    Honda c. 1995-2000

  • avatar
    Ermel

    Facel Vega. Make what they used to make: big luxury sedans and coupés (and add convertibles) with a combination of French elegance and American power, for those who don’t like the German boredom that is Audi/BMW/Mercedes but still don’t want to put up with American brutalism (in design). Maybe venture down into premium midsize, and probably nowadays you can’t avoid an SUV either …

    … on second thought, forget it. What pain that would be. The Bentayga hurt plenty enough, thank you very much.

  • avatar
    Menloguy

    Talbot. It has the Horizon and Solara for practical types, the Matra Murena for sporty types and the Matra Rancho for adventurous types. All with French styling flair but not too quirky like Citroen or Renault.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      Everyone needs to see the Matra Rancho.
      http://petrolblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/matra-simca-rancho.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Didn’t we see those as a Renault model here in the States for a while?

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          Hmm, I don’t think so. It was FWD only, and its successor is the Espace.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I remember seeing a few back in the ’80s and thought them very intriguing, but for me, too small at the time. I loved that HUGE rear quarter glass.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            The Rancho was not sold in the US, and it was not badged as a Renault. It was sold by Matra/Simca/Talbot.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            All I know, as I said before, is that I saw a few back then. I didn’t pay attention to the branding but did know that Renault was trying to make a comeback in the US at the time (remember the Fuego?) and thought it was one of theirs. I had no idea Simca was trying, too.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            I think similarly to when you recalled the TG episode of Clarkson in a “Z3M” when it was actually an M3, you are recalling incorrectly now.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Did I ever mention a Z3M? If so, clearly my mistake, I either meant Z3 or M3. I’d have to recall the specific episode (and look it up) to refresh my memory on the specific statement’s intent.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            Review to your heart’s content. You said it was Z3 when it was M3. You defended your incorrectness until I posted a YouTube link proving me right.

            https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/07/crossover-drivers-happy-sedans/#comment-8092898

            I provided evidence, and you never admitted you were wrong or replied.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Ok, Cory. First off, I never said Z3M, now did I?

            Secondly, I did acknowledge, but I think you might have misunderstood that acknowledgement. My exact statement was, “I am willing to accept corrections where there is verifiable evidence to back it up. Not ALL commentary you offer has that evidence. Not even most.”

            I still agree with that statement. After all, it seems more like you’ve chosen to misunderstand my acknowledgements rather than accepting them at face value.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            Seemed you were replying to PCH. But the assumption that you’re right until someone proves you wrong with verifiable evidence says a lot.

            And you’re right you didn’t say Z3M, such a huge difference.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            PCH? These aren’t the users you’re looking for…

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            You saw a damn Stanza wagon. Geeze.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Really? Ok. I’ll accept that. Like I said, I didn’t really pay THAT much attention to them.

      • 0 avatar
        Ermel

        Matra, good idea. Something Rancho-ish for the SUV crowd, something Bagheera/Murena-ish for the performance crowd, and forget about the bland cars entirely. That could actually work.

        • 0 avatar
          Ermel

          Also, now that the Renault Espace (which was born a Matra) has been sorta-kinda CUV-ized, there might be room for a replacement in the traditional manner, i.e. a box-on-wheels with slightly aerodynamic nose, lightweight and efficient construction, and family-friendly interior, that is small enough for a (European) garage but still seats seven and carries their stuff.

          Of course, they all need to be available as BEVs at least optionally.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      By the way, Menloguy.

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2017/06/rare-rides-talbot-simca-matra-rancho/

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      Mmmm, a Hillman Avenger made by garlic-eating workshy communists.

      What could be better, apart from like, anything…..

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    Imperial

    In most of the 1950s and 60s, Chrysler was “near luxury”, competing with Buick and Oldsmobile, while Imperial was the luxury brand competing against Cadillac and Lincoln. Being short on R&D funds, they kept Imperial going with a reskinned body on the 1950s BOF chassis through 1966, then went unibody with a modified C-body chassis starting in 1967.

    After the demise of Imperial, Chrysler has drifted between trying to be near-luxury and luxury, but now FCA is positioning Chrysler for near-luxury again. I suppose Sergio sees other FCA brands, particularly Maserati and Alfa Romeo, fitting into the luxury segment. Instead of burning cash reintroducing these to North America, he could’ve branded them as Imperials here.

    As for the idea of resurrecting AMC, I’ve considered that Chrysler should’ve kept the Eagle alive but rebranded it as a Jeep. If they had played this right, they could’ve cornered the market segment now dominated by Subaru.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      I thought FCA was positioning Chrysler to go away. They have two products!

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      “Instead of burning cash reintroducing these to North America, he could’ve branded them as Imperials here.”

      Which would have made NO difference in the amount of cash burned. I bet more people recognize the Itialian names than would remember Imperial. The same or more money would be required to reestablish it as a brand here or anywhere.

      Imperial could come back, I don’t have an issue with that, but as a pet name for European cars that are better known by their ACTUAL names? I don’t think so, Tim.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Of all the cars I’ve owned, there are only two brands in which I’ve owned more than two cars, Ford… and Oldsmobile. Most of you have already heard my opinion of Fords, despite the fact that I’m currently driving one. On the other hand, I’ve owned three Oldsmobiles and to be quite honest they’ve been my favorite single brand since I’ve been driving, with two Cutlasses and one Toronado. That said, the Malais Era pretty much killed them for style and by the ’90s they just weren’t the same any more; they’d changed too many things in an attempt to re-invent themselves when instead they could have just brought smoother lines into their existing models and kept the heart of what Oldsmobile used to be. I was extremely upset that GM killed the Olds.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      “they could have just brought smoother lines into their existing models and kept the heart of what Oldsmobile used to be.”

      There were these things called “gas crisis” and “OPEC” and “CAFE”.

      They built the 88 and 98 up into the 1990s, keeping familiar styling, same focus on comfort and ride as they were.

      No, no Holiday Coupe, no V-8, no RWD outside of an SUV, but it was GM that was sick, and Olds was the first limb to rot off (unfortunately). Had they built a B body Olds until 1996, that’d might’ve been great, but it wouldn’t have changed much.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Yeah, John… But what about the Cutlass, once America’s favorite car? The 88 and 98 may have been their luxury models but the Cutlass was considered a PERSONAL luxury car by comparison… a car meant to be a sporty but comfortable cruiser as compared to a muscle car, though the 442 did earn a nice muscle car cachet of its own. Olds also had a more compact model that once ran on the same platform as the Nova (and no, I don’t mean the Daihatsu-based Nova.) As a true hatchback (now liftback) it was a remarkably utilitarian as well as sporty car. The Tornado, too, should have been kept and certainly not renamed the “Trofeo.” That destroyed the reputation that the Toronado had earned way back in the ’60s.

        So it isn’t that Olds was the first limb to rot off but rather the first limb to have the tourniquet applied that caused it to rot off while Pontiac got over-medicated to the point everything looked like clones of each other. And Saturn just became a hacksawed transplant job. GM’s management spent 20 years destroying that company and driving it towards bankruptcy. Honestly, as much as I used to be an ardent fan of GM as a corporation, they sacrificed all my respect and it will take a major effort for me to ever really consider buying another GM vehicle in my lifetime.

  • avatar
    alff

    Crosley

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Mitsubishi

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Oldsmobile – at least when I was growing up they were considered “manager’s” cars without being excessively flashy. My dad had three of them – a B-body 88 and 98, and later a 1999 Olds Aurora. I liked them all, except for the diesel 98 that blew an engine.

    All three were exceeding comfortable, had great interiors (for the time) with quality leather seating. Also factory(?) installed CB radios on the first two cars.

    Some well-sized (not too small, not too large) new Oldsmobile vehicles that area priced below BMW but offering quality interiors and luxury rides would be a seller (at least to me!). I suppose Buick is filling this gap now but those cars lack the “conservative but still with a touch of excitement” that the old Oldsmobile had.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I’d say Duesenberg. It’s amazing that we went from “standard of the world” to “oh, my gosh, the Americans actually made a clever car that isn’t just a giant engine strapped to four wheels; what a shocker.” It’s a real “doozy” of a situation. I’d love to see the US building top-notch, world-class cars again.

  • avatar
    JimBot

    I have to go with some others here regarding PONTIAC. I am going to try and follow the rules accordingly;

    1. You may pick one and only one car brand to bring back from the dead.

    PONTIAC

    2. The brand you pick is granted a decent reputation, sufficient dealer coverage, and some enthusiasm from the American public in 2017, regardless of which brand you choose.

    I believe that Pontiac had a deep performance history, from NASCAR’s early days (I am not a NASCAR fan) well into the muscle car era, as a performance leader. Even near the end, they had some hits. It’s a strong brand name even to this day, and I believe a lot of people lament the loss of the brand, although it was understandable.

    3. Say why you’d bring the brand back to life in today’s world, and which things it would sell. Statements like “Because I liked the Mercury Montego from 1977” are not valid here.

    I would bring the brand back because of the name recognition and branding that already exists – it would be a less of a heavy lift. The best question here is – which things would it sell? I think Pontiac would best be served as the performance arm of GM’s entire lineup – Except for Cadillac which has it’s own “V” arm – Pontiac should be what “M” is to BMW, but even more so, what “AMG” is to Mercedes-Benz. You could even eliminate the entire Pontiac nomenclature and simply nod to it – i.e. Buick Regal “PMD” (Pontiac Motor Division).

    NOTE: PMD is not to be confused with the 90’s band “PM Dawn”

    Anyway – I also love the idea of bringing back Duesenberg’s that’s pretty inspired – but who would be the parent of that company? Tata Motors? Gross.

  • avatar
    MudFlap

    International Hravester. While they still make big trucks and equipment, bring back the consumer vehicles.

    They would build a truck/SUV line up like GMC. Everything vehicle they offer will be available with a diesel and a stick shift. The new IH’s will have fixed the rust issues but retained their reputation.

    They would sell the scout as a wrangler fighter and the travelall offered as a 2 and 3 row full size suv. They would also have A Terra small truck based on the scout and a full size travelette pickup.

  • avatar
    donyas

    SAAB. Let them follow their own road.

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    The Studebaker Avanti, it had revolutionary styling when it first appeared-it looked like nothing else on the road at the time and still looks quite contemporary today. I’d give it electric drive and it would be totally contemporary again.

  • avatar
    emjay66

    Thunderbird. Rebadge the top of the line Taurus SHO as a T-bird and rebadge the top of the line Edge Sport as the Thunderbird X CUV. Could be on sale for 2018 model year.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Tucker

    The Tucker torpedo was Volvo of the 80’s and 90’s

    Safety was the key selling features.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    What saleable product could a resurrected Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Saturn bring to the GM umbrella that couldn’t just have a Chevy or Buick badge on it? I’m of the impression that most brands fail because the marketplace simply couldn’t support having the pie cut in so many pieces, but here we go:

    Hummer.

    As a Jeep competitor, rather than the crass, pseudo-militaristic brand that brought us the H2 and poorly executed Atlas 5-cylinder H3. Three market segments to begin with: Wrangler competitor, 4Runner/GC competitor, Tahoe/Expedition competitor. GM currently has no offering for the first two. Keep the distinctive aggressive styling and the off-road capability and, unlike the first go, give them the competitive powertrains, interiors, and packaging that GM is currently capable of.

    I’d worry about quick saturation of pent-up demand and a business model that hinges solely on capable 4×4 vehicles, though. They may have to compromise brand ID and join with the Dark Lord CUV to stay viable as Jeep has done.

    Runner up (try and stop me Corey) goes to Scion. The idea was sound but Toyota lost the narrative. We’re truck-crazy right now so they may have to wait until the next gas price spike.

  • avatar
    readallover

    Maxima – the Four Door Sports Car, not the bloated Altima it became.

  • avatar
    deanst

    GM should have kept the rights to the Opel brand name in North America, and launched all their electric cars under this brand. The logo is ideal for the job. Given the logic of tesla, this brand alone would soon be valued at a price above GM’s current value.

    AMC is a great suggestion – the appeal to nationalism would be a winner in Trump’s America. I like the ideal of international harvestor too.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Oldsmobile!

    Is there some sort of franchise-whatever with the dead GM brands where they couldn’t bring individual names back if being sold in an expanded “multi-brand” GM store? (Olds Cutlass, Pontiac GTO, for example.)

    (BTW, what has happened to the size of the avatars on here in the last day or so? There’s some weird HTML table formatting going on, and you darn near need a microscope to see them! Probably a VerticalScope thing, and their formatting engine. Both PC and mobile. Same thing that explains the different icons on the buttons to edit and delete comments.)

  • avatar
    scott25

    No one has said Mercury yet, and neither will I.

    I would say Austin, it could solve the issue of Mini losing its identity if they sell the large models as Austins and the actual Mini-ish hatchbacks as Austin Minis. They could still keep their quirky Britishness and would be free to enter any segment they wish, and BMW could develop FWD platforms without their customers having conniptions.

  • avatar
    YeOldeMobile

    I am not a car person. I don’t care about manual gearboxes or RWD or whether a car gets from 0 to 60 in 7.8 seconds or 7.9 seconds. I also don’t care much about what a car brand did before my parents were born. Most buyers wouldn’t, especially consumers under the age of 50 unless their parents were gearheads or fanatically loyal to a brand.

    And that’s what matters: the Brand. When you revive a brand, your first question is whether that brand has any equity left in it that you can build off of. The second question is what you want that brand to represent, so that it best appeals to the target market and sells. Whether the sales goal is low due to ultra-niche appeal, like an uber-luxe Deusenberg or high because it’s meant to be a mass volume seller, the first goal had to be being profitable.

    With that in mind, given current market conditions, I would revive Hummer. It’s a great brand, with a reputation for safety, security, and Americanism that still speaks to mothers, adventurous suburbanites, and anyone who consider an FJ Cruiser, Land Rover, Navigator, or Escalade. If someone other than GM came out with a new Hummer today, it would sell like hotcakes.

    But the Hummer strategy has to be updated. I would sell old-style H3s first, but with updated bling. More chrome everywhere, from the door handles to the wheels to the various outdoor racks. Leather or good leatherette interior materials, with more chrome inside in switches and buttons, and color highlights like in the Juke or the Kona. The first model, which should be called the H5, should just be a good premium SUV that screams style, flash, and personal appeal. Price: $40000 and up.

    Meanwhile, there should be a second model that’s just called The Hummer or the T1 dedicated to the principles of the Hummer H1. Wide body with tons of interior space, high road clearance, and built like a tank. (I know Hummvees aren’t that tough, but that’s the perception.) Have crumple zones, airbags, ablative body panels that are easily removed and repaired or replaced, and easy access to ask mechanical bits. Make the interior comfortable but hard-wearing, with corduroy, denim, or wool seats as standard options. Really sell it as an ultimate off-road machine like a Jeep or Defender. And offer two powertrains that allow you to combat the perception of Hummers as gas vacuums: a diesel, and a hybrid. The goal is 24 mpg. If possible, recycle the majority of the plastic interior components from the H5 for base models, and copy the chrome for upscale ones.

    At the same time, announce that Hummer is now working on two new models to drum up hype and create the impression that this brand is truly alive and not just on life support like a prematurely born baby. First, an ultra luxe model to compete for the $90,000+ market where Range Rovers, Land Cruisers, and G-Wagons duke it out, slathered in leather, real metal chrome bits, American hardwoods, and custom paint options for basically every piece of exposed, colored metal. Second, an all-electric/hydrogen fuel cell suburban model equipped with cutting-edge sustainability tech, huge privacy glass windows ala Cadillac Skyview, and some hip San Francisco name, like La Tera.

    That’s how I would revive Hummer.

    Now, I know I’m only supposed to give a one brand answer, but I just want to say this: Oldsmobile has no brand cachet. It’s as dead as Atari, Blockbuster, or Compaq. If I were to bring back Oldsmobile, I’d discard their old, old, old image of being fast and sporty, and reposition them add selling sub-$20,000 cars. Maybe sell rebadged Protons.

  • avatar
    Sob93

    Studebaker!

  • avatar
    dingram01

    Saab by a mile. Thoughtfully conceived 5-door layouts powered by 4 cylinder turbo engines, a high degree of comfort and decent, if not perfect, driving dynamics.

    I mean, look how much money BMW and Audi are making selling THEIR Saabs.

  • avatar
    mrussel2

    Pontiac…in a heartbeat!

    Why? Bring back an updated (and Camaro-killing) Firebird for starters. Bring to life an updated version of the GTO, a REAL version. Not that Australian car that had no connection to the 68-69 original. Make it true to the original…a fast, roomy coupe with the famous hood bulges and distinctive lines that make it, to me, the best looking musclecar ever! Make a killer Grand Prix! I could go on, but Pontiac should be brought back!

  • avatar
    PSUMBA

    HUMMER … with $2.00 / gallon gas, there is nothing like it on (or off) the road!!!

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    Hummer. Sell the H2, no custom chassis necessary, just use the Tahoe chassis. H3 is a rugged-ish crossover like the Explorer and Grand Cherokee, H4, H5 Trailhawk like crossovers will sell like hotcakes.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Pontiac because of the 2004-2006 GTO, the G8 and the Solstice. On the other hand, I would have let Buick die.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      GM is a truck company now, outside of Corvette and if you count Camaro (if it even continues another generation), they will never again make an exciting (or pseudo-exciting) car such as the one you describe. That’s why car platforms were first farmed out to Opel and Daewoo but the BOF and some of the CUV stuff did not.

  • avatar
    donnyindelaware

    I would like to bring back the Chrysler Corp but 1995 right before the merger.

  • avatar

    Lancia. it would be like a luxury Subaru, with better design and finishes, and an extended lineup. a city car, a hatchback with a performance AWD version, a mid-sized wagon, a grand tourer with a V8, a minivan that would be a modern-day Toyota Previa, and so on. Japanese engineering with Italian design and fabrics.

  • avatar
    mchan1

    Grew up with an Oldsmobile when growing up, Delta 88.
    Nice classic car that the family spent time traveling in.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I am going to say International Harvester passenger vehicles such as a newer version of the Scout. Maybe a new IH 1000 and up downsized pickup to be a true midsize. Ford is bringing back a new Bronco so bring back a new Scout which was a true off road vehicle.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Alfa Romeo-just offer us more models.

  • avatar
    Burnout2SS

    Yugo. So much fun to make fun of. And because we all know, the spare tire belongs under the hood so it can get properly cooked to perfection.

  • avatar
    skor

    The guy who said “Cadillac” wins one free internetz.

    Most of the dead brands, like Franco, should remain dead. Most no one remembers the cars, and the names are ridiculously old fashioned. Duesenberg and Packard sound like a law firm and not the names of upscale cars.

  • avatar
    Forty2

    Rambler.

    Good night.

  • avatar
    smapdi

    Suzuki USA (90s and early 00s for the Vitara/Sidekick lines)

    Pontiac (last couple “resurrection” years of the GTO, G8/Ute Concept, Vibe and Solstice)

    Isuzu USA (for the VehiCross I will probably never obtain in good condition but always wanted as a teen).

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    Since no one else has pitched it…

    DeLorean!

    Why should Tesla be the only one selling gullwing doors?

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      I believe DeLoreans are still made in small numbers in Texas today.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        But since all the molds for body panels and the like are at the bottom of the sea production will be over when the spares run out…

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Don’t be so sure, NoGoYo. I don’t remember specifically where I read it, but I recall reading that the guys in Texas have managed to source new parts for the body and frame, either from old engineering drawings or reverse engineering from available parts.

          Not saying this is 100% certain, only that I seem to recall reading something about it.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    delorean.com/dmc-texas.htm

  • avatar
    stanczyk

    I would say .. TVR .. but they are back with new “more tamed” stuff .. so ..

    Saab for sure .. there’s lack of oryginality nowadays , .. and they were “quirky” cool cars ..


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