10 Historic Car Nameplates That Should Return Before It’s Too Late

There are more than a few names in the automotive industry that simply conjure up something in gearheads. Cars that for one reason or another have become extremely popular and therefore their names are synonymous with something important. The Miata, for example, represents the pinnacle of affordable and reliable sports cars. The Fiat Multipla represents the pinnacle of ugly, yet quirky and lovable European family cars and so on.

Some of those iconic nameplates just couldn’t stay alive in the automotive industry. While their levels of importance may vary, enthusiasts would love to see older automotive nameplates return, ready to take on modern competition with better styling, powertrains and technology. For some of these cars, because of the way they were designed, time is running out, so it’s time for automakers to bring them back. It is almost certain that they will put a smile on the face of many enthusiasts.

ten Honda S2000

The front of a gray S2000 AP1, top to bottom

When it comes to older sports cars set to make a comeback, the Honda S2000 is currently in high demand. While we have seen Honda whisper on certain occasions that the S2000 would indeed return, nothing is concrete yet.

Rear 3/4 view of a gray AP1 S2000, top up

RELATED: Why Honda’s S2000 Is One of the Greatest Sports Cars Ever Made

Just imagine a modern S2000, with the automaker’s latest design language, the latest technology and a beefed-up version of the Civic Type R’s turbo four-cylinder. Perhaps with the addition of a minor hybrid component. That would certainly give the new Toyota Supra and Lotus Emira something to worry about.

9 Toyota MR2

MR2 Spyder front 3/4 view
Via FavCars

Toyota’s Midship Runabout Two-Seater bowed out in 2007. It was a unique small sports car that, as its name suggests, used a mid-engine configuration. It was also a characterful car with great driving experience and unrivaled simplicity.

MR2 Spyder rear 3/4 view
Via FavCars

While Toyota’s recently revealed batch of EV concepts may hint at the return of the MR2 as an EV at some point in the future, an ICE version would also be pretty cool. A mid-engine coupe under 3,000 lbs with the turbocharged three-cylinder engine from the GR Yaris (and the upcoming GR Corolla) would be a force to be reckoned with.

8 volkswagen scirocco

The front of the Scirocco R

In the 70s, VW decided to try something new with its newly developed FWD platform, which also underpinned its future best-selling Golf. The product of this experiment was a sporty 2+2 two-door coupe called the Scirocco.

Scirocco R rear 3/4 view

The early Scirocco models didn’t last very long, but in the mid-2000s, with the explosion of three-door sports sedans like the Opel Astra GTC, Volkswagen brought it back. This one wasn’t exactly a hit either, so it disappeared in 2017. Bringing it back to life with a little more emphasis on sportiness and an EV powertrain may give it time to shine.

seven Toyota FJ Cruiser

The front of the FJ Rock Creeper Cruiser

He is still very perplexed as to why Toyota refuses to bring back the FJ Cruiser. Launched in 2006, this retro-styled off-roader was based on the 4Runner, but with tougher styling and potentially better capabilities. It left the market after the 2014 model year and, reluctantly, Toyota still hasn’t brought it back.

FJ Cruiser off-road rear 3/4 view

If this boxy off-roader with Mazda RX-8-style doors and triple wipers were to return now, the timing would be perfect. Toyota is already making big money from the 4-Runner, even though it’s 12 years old, and with the Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler and Land Rover Defender selling very well, the FJ Cruiser could stir the market even more. .

6 Dodge Magnum

Magnum front 3/4 view

The easiest thing to do would be to stick a wagon body on a widebody Dodge Charger Hellcat and call it a day. But, it’s not that simple. The Hellcat models now have an end-of-production date, and with Dodge also being under the Stellantis roof, a new Magnum would be better off doing it differently.

Rear 3/4 view of the Magnum

RELATED: Dodge Magnum SRT8: Costs, Facts & Figures

Let’s say Dodge is building a new Magnum on the PSA Group’s EMP2 platform, which underpins cars like the Citroën C5 X and Peugeot 508 SW. These platforms can support plug-in hybrid and even EV powertrains. Then they raise the ride height a bit, give it some coating, and pit it against the Subaru Outback and Volvo V90 Cross Country. That might upset some die-hard Dodge fans, but it could totally work.

5 Nissan Silvia (S15)

The front of the S15 Silvia

The last few years have been pretty stressful for Nissan, to say the least. It looks like they’re finally back on track, as proven by the Rogue, Pathfinder, Frontier, new Z, and upcoming Ariya EV as well. However, before Nissan fully focuses on building electric vehicles, they have one last chance to bring the Silvia back.

Nissan Silvia rear 3/4 view

The Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ are a bit lonely right now, as there aren’t many cars like them on sale today. A Silvia revival with a four-cylinder turbo engine and true manual transmission might be a decent contender.

4 Chevy Avalanche

Front 3/4 view of the original Avalanche

You might think there’s no reason for Chevy to bring the Avalanche back, when Colorado takes its place in the lineup. That’s true, but an Avalanche revival could tackle a very exciting new frontier; the compact truck segment.

Rear 3/4 view of the Avalanche

So far, the only true compact pickups offered on the market are the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz. A new Chevy Avalanche, with the same size and market reach, perhaps with the addition of a PHEV or EV powertrain could give these two some good competition. That is, if Chevy doesn’t burn the Avalanche name like they did with the Blazer. Speaking of compact mics…

3 Subaru Baja

Subaru Baja front 3/4 view

This mid-2000s curiosity was way ahead of its time. The Baja was based on the Outback of the time, but instead of a convenient wagon loading area, it featured a truck bed. It even had a bed extender to accommodate longer items, but otherwise behaved like a normal car. It was even available with a turbo engine and manual transmission.

Baja rear 3/4 view

With Subaru already being a cool off-road brand with brands like the Outback and their new Wilderness series of vehicles, a new Baja could totally give the Maverick something to fear. It’s in many ways more than you might think, as this could be a great opportunity for Subaru to bring its hybrid powertrain from global markets to North America.

2 Chevy Astro

Astro front 3/4 view, driver's side

The #vanlife movement is still going strong. On top of that, cool lifestyle vehicles and add-on accessory sets (see Rivian) are gaining popularity by the minute. That said, this seems like the perfect opportunity for Chevrolet to bring back the vehicle that basically started the bandwagon.

Astro front 3/4 view, passenger side

The original Chevy Astro was unique; even though it was a van, it used a pickup truck platform. As a result, it was durable and capable, while also being very versatile and roomy. Most of them have been turned into conversion vans and RVs, so a modern take on the Astro van formula with the much more refined platforms of the Colorado or even the Silverado would work just fine.

1 Citroen 2CV

Front 3/4 view of a yellow 2CV

Citroën has previously said they have no interest in reviving and modernizing their historic models like the plucky 2CV, citing “looking to the future” as the reason. However, that could potentially change, thanks to what’s been happening recently at sister company Fiat.

Rear 3/4 view of a yellow 2CV

RELATED: Here’s What We Love About the Citroën 2CV

Reports and rumors say the iconic Panda will return as an affordable, rugged and reliable electric vehicle, encapsulating what made the original so great, but with modern components. Considering the ultra-basic Dacia Spring is doing so well in Europe, a new 2CV would make a lot of sense in that sort of market. Assuming it takes off.

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