Reimagined Classics: What Do You Dream of Driving?

Volkswagen I.D. Buzz concept

We know most of you like classic sports cars, but we had no idea exactly how deep your enthusiasm ran until we saw the reaction to Wednesday’s post on the possibility of a midengine Corvette. Some folks commented directly, but the promo on our Facebook page drew hundreds of comments and shares. Commenters mostly ended up debating the current Corvette’s cost, practicality, and appropriate age bracket, but all those comments and the energy behind them impressed us. Thanks!

Now we want to know what other classic cars you’d like to see remade in new and different ways. We heard just this week about Dodge’s recent debut of the new Challenger GT, which can’t use the Hellcat V8, but can deliver power to all four wheels. What do you think of that? Are you interested in test-driving one? We’ll mention a few similar reimagined classics below, and we’d be happy to see what you think of those, but we want to see your ideas, too. We can’t promise any of them will actually get built, of course, but we’d love to help get a great revision into production.

1971 Plymouth Barracuda

The Plymouth Barracuda beat the original pony car to market by 2 weeks and evolved into one of the most sought-after original muscle cars before becoming a gas-crisis casualty in 1974. Cheap gas and America’s love for many things “retro” helped Chrysler win attention and sales with its 707-hp Dodge Hellcats in 2015, but the Barracuda has failed to live up to a rumored rebirth multiple times.

The latest rumors suggest a 2019 version will be powered by a turbo V6, which leaves all-wheel drive a possibility. (We do want a passenger seat and sound insulation, though, so let’s keep the new Cuda away from the folks who stripped the SRT Demon.) Since new Dodges include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, we expect to be able to take full advantage of a smartphone in a new Barracuda. Plymouth’s demise means it can’t return with its full original name, but Google seems to think the new Cuda will more likely be a Dodge than a Chrysler.

Volkswagen I.D. Buzz concept, interior

A Hellcat ‘Cuda wouldn’t be a radical reinvention, but VW’s I.D. Buzz concept, which we saw at the Detroit Auto Show, definitely brings a number of big twists to the classic Microbus, a hipster favorite. You can see some of the changes in the photo at the top of this post, but the powertrain is very different, too. Using a two-motor system that delivers 369 hp to all four wheels and has a 270-mile range, the Buzz is an electric vehicle and offers fully autonomous driving. When I.D. Pilot mode is active, the Buzz’s touch-sensitive steering wheel retracts to give the driver more room, and the front seats can rotate 180 degrees to face the folks sitting in back. It also features the I.D. Box, a Bluetooth sound system that works in the car and can be disconnected to use outside.

But we want to see a couple of add-ons to the original Microbus that the Buzz doesn’t offer: a Westfalia-style fold-open camper roof with sleeping space on top and a kitchen in the passenger compartment. That would require giving up some seating, but fewer folks would have more room to sit comfortably, and sharing playlists and sonic space, not to mention snack and bathroom breaks, with seven other people can get challenging. And hey, given rising ocean levels, a mobile elevated camping platform might come in handy someday.

Volkswagen’s I.D. Buzz represents a company reimagining a new version of one of its own designs that earned acclaim in the past, but you’ve probably already heard about a couple of boutique automakers that have recently earned the attention of enthusiasts by taking an almost opposite approach. These companies revisit and “optimize” classics made by other companies to produce brand-new cars that look a whole lot like the originals but perform better. Singer Vehicle Design’s meticulously re-made air-cooled Porsche 911s have earned the company glowing praise and plenty of attention, although production numbers and pricing have limited availability to a very small and exclusive clientele, each of whom had to buy a road-legal 1989-‘94 911 to get theirs started. Icon began as a Toyota Land Cruiser service center, worked with Toyota on what became the 2007 FJ Cruiser, and now builds three truck models, including a recreation of the first-generation Ford Bronco that looks fantastic, is way more capable off-road than the originals, and counts Jay Leno among its many fans.

Which of the remade classics above do you most want to own, and why? What other classics would you like to see in new and different or improved form?

–Steve Halloran

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