Journal: Which Modern Car Looks Better than its Classic Ancestor?

Which Modern Car Looks Better than its Classic Ancestor?

By Afshin Behnia
February 26, 2014
19 Comments

Petrolicious is obviously all about vintage cars and we think that in many respects classics are superior to their modern-day counterparts. Still, there are a few cars out there whose last generation was better looking than its first. I can just see you shaking your head in disbelief.

But it’s true and no, Petrolicious isn’t changing our focus. We’re just being honest and paying tribute to cars that have improved. You want an example? OK, how about the Mazda RX-7? No it isn’t made anymore, but the 1992–5 (almost a classic in its own right) is certainly better looking than the original.

And the Toyota/Scion/Subaru GT-86/FR-S/BRZ is also better looking than the original Toyota Corolla AE-86, which, styling-wise, was essentially a tweaked econobox. Which modern car do you think looks better than its classic progenitor?

Images Sources: Yoav Gilad for Petrolicious, Wikipedia.org

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Jean-Noël Fermaud
Jean-Noël Fermaud
6 years ago

Fiat 124 Spyder !

No, just joking ^^

I would say any Saab : I love all of them, but I find the old boxy ones more quirky than beautiful, while the latest 9-5 is just a jewel.
Other than that (dare I say it) : the Z8 is so beautiful (especially from behind) that it equals for me the 507.
And I completely (to a incredible point) with Matthew Lange about the Quattroporte (and everything else I think), with Marco Catalano about that blessed Volvo (hope they make it into a Polestar !!!), and with Dustin about the Viper, although I think that in a few dozen years, we’ll have a better view about which style is the most timeless. Now’s perhaps too soon.

Sharp Classics
Sharp Classics
6 years ago

I love the second classic cars. It’s design, style, color everything about this one is grabbing my attention. Love to buy this one from http://www.sharpclassics.com

Jono51
Jono51
10 years ago

Had to think hard here, as most modern cars are rubbish. But eventually realized that I much prefer the Jaguar XKR to the E type (which I always thought sent far too obvious a message about the driver’s feelings of inadequacy about his penis size).

Phil Auldridge
Phil Auldridge
10 years ago

I’ve racked my brain, and I just can’t imagine any current “globalized” car that compete with its predecessor’s styling.

For example, we gave up my wife’s BMW E34 touring (shown below) for the lessor-styled(to my eye) E39 touring . And now the already obsolete E61 Touring (shown second below) could be easily mistaken for a Hyundai, Saab, or another of the other generic-mobiles currently being produced.

Even worse, some of the later progeny actually performed worse than their parents. I’d love to give the barge-like BMW 630 (3,500+ lbs) coupe a run for its money with my older-but-featherweight BMW 3.0CS, also shown below (2800 lbs, and I’ve owned both), and I doubt anyone would argue which design is more appealing to the eye.

Finally, my 1980 Honda CBX 1000 6 cylinder bike weighs no more than its 4 cylinder copycat, the 2013 CBX1100, yet produces 105 HP vs a mere 82 horsepower from the current model (which is larger by 100cc). Yes, the new bike is a nice rendition of the original, but doesn’t come close in any respect. An embarrassment to Honda by any measure. Is this what we call progress?

Of course, the ultimate measure is the relative appreciation value of new vs old. You could shell out roughly 10 large for a new CBX 1100 and watch its value diminish to a quarter of that in just a few years, or spend about the same money for the ultimate CBX classic, and watch its value continue to climb?

Is there really any contest?

Ae Neuman
Ae Neuman
10 years ago

the gt86 is an incoherent mess compared to the clean lines of the original ae86 !

[url=”http://img.favcars.com/toyota/corolla-levin/toyota_corolla_levin_1985_wallpapers_1.jpg”]Your text to link…[/url]

JanMichael Franklin
JanMichael Franklin
10 years ago

As an RX-7/Rotary enthusiast, I have to agree that the FD is the sexiest of the three RX-7 generations. However, there’s a certain charm to the first generation that’s missing from the other two. First of all, the three generations are extremely different from one to the other. What’s cool about the SA/FB is that it was a complete throwback to the 60’s when it came out in the late 70’s. Enthusiasts at the time were begging for a simple, affordable corner carver and that’s why it was a huge hit when it came out. (Mazda did it again ten years later with the Miata by the way.) Basically the FB represents 60’s and 70’s styling and tech, the FC is contemporary late 80’s, and the FD was a decade ahead of it’s time, just like many of the 90’s Japanese sports cars. Mazda covered 40 years of development in 15 years with the RX-7.

Brompty
Brompty
10 years ago

The BMW 3 series coupe has gone through an interesting transformation. Depending on where one starts, unusual but ultimately a cool car. I am not keen on the E21 from the eighties; E30 – cool; E36 – boxy; E46 – absolutely great and my favourite; E90 – mixed views; E91 – looks a bit like one of the characters from Angry Birds.

Jonny Midnight
Jonny Midnight
10 years ago

Future doc, please tell me you don’t mean that you prefer the look of the new Dart to the ’69/’70 version. I grew up during the muscle car era, and someone not liking a classic might make me cry.
Kidding, of course, but while I understand all of the modern advancements in modern vehicles, nostalgia over rides that knowledge.
For my part, I love the styling of the Chrysler 300, and, although the ’64 version I once owned still has a piece of my heart. I would have to turn my back on it, in favor of a brand new one.

Todd Cox
Todd Cox
10 years ago

Almost any given Audi. This last iteration seems to have pulled some classic styling out of the bin, dusted out off and smoothed it out. They are very pretty cars these days.

Artur Pirozhkov
Artur Pirozhkov
10 years ago

In my opinion last generations of Merc’s got better. A new SL look way better than it’s older predecessor. The same thing I can say about newest S class. 🙂

Matthew Stalnaker
Matthew Stalnaker
10 years ago

I second the Supra. Also, while I don’t think any of them are all that attractive, the Skyline / GTR series has gotten better-looking. Not a car, but perhaps the Land Rover D90 / 110 vs earlier series Rovers?

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson
10 years ago

I don’t know, I cant say I agree with too many of the comments. While I really like the FD RX-7, I think the “SA22C” is a really cool looking car. While I’d also be tempted to say that the Z32 300ZX is nice, I can’t help but liking the Z31 for it’s utter 80’s-ness if that makes any sense. However, I agree with Matthew Lange about the Quattroporte. The V is probably the best looking as of now, with the VI being a significant step back (as Lange mentioned).

Don’t agree with the GT-86/FR-S, BMW’s, Subaru WRX, Dart, CR-Z (if that’s included) and especially not with the Aston DBs. Could possibly agree with Supra, but I find myself always looking at the MkI and MkII (maybe that’s because a MkIV TT manual is ridiculously expensive).

I’ll get back if I can actually come up with some models on my own.

JB21
JB21
10 years ago

I can already hear the lynch mob, but I would put it out anyway: New Beetle (precisely the Concept One) was very good interpretation of the original, and I dare say was an improvement – too bad that the car was not very good. Chris Bangle might have ruined the styling of BMWs, but he’s the only one of this generation (so far) who, intellectually, moved the whole automobile design forward. I disagree with the FRS thingy, it’s got a very good proportion, but details are fussy and fugly, not that AE86 ever was a looker (please remove rose-tinted, Initial D glasses off). CR-Z, though, if we could call that spiritual successor of CR-X (nah, I don’t think so) is a very tidy design with a great proportional balance. I love the 2nd gen (not the new one, but not the really old one) Fiat Panda.

Brad Powick
Brad Powick
10 years ago

Second gen MR2 was a massive improvement over the first style wise.

Marco Catalano
Marco Catalano
10 years ago

Volvo’s new Concept Estate is so utterly beautiful that it could possibly be better looking than the P1800 ES. I’ve never thought the ES could be bettered, but good grief, the Concept Estate is something special. I agree with the Quattroporte too, Matthew Lange.

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle
10 years ago

This is a very hard question for me to answer since Im such a sucker for the classic cars and their style. I think the new Dodge Viper is way better looking then the original one even though the Viper is not really that old. The BMW Z8 was a good looking car inspired but the 507. The problem i have is that even though a few modern cars may look better then some of the classic ones they just dont have the same personality and soul the old ones have. Im a big believer that good looks need to be backed up with some type of substance. Some new cars may look better but will they give that same feeling that most classics can. The best way i can describe this is i have met a few pretty ladies in my life but sometimes their personality was soo bad i just couldnt see the beauty anymore. I was never good with words but i hope i can get my point across :p

Future Doc
Future Doc
10 years ago

Subaru WRX
VW GTI
BMWs (I know this is more controversial)
Dodge Dart

… dare I say Aston Martins DBs

Matthew Lange
10 years ago

Completely agree about the FD RX7 one of the best looking cars from the 90’s. Would love to find one that’s not been modified by the fast and furious set.
Also the 90’s TVR Griffith was a much better looking car than the 60’s version IMO.
While the modern Astons have all become a bit samey samey they look better than the cars that came before them.
Finally the Maserati Quattroporte V is probably a better looking car than the original Quattroporte when you compare them with theire new peers, although the new Quattroporte VI is a step backwards.

Sid Widmer
Sid Widmer
10 years ago

I submit the Toyota Supra.

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