Iconic Cars From The Past That Should Make A Comeback

Car-makers can be a ruthless bunch when it comes culling some of the most beloved vehicles out of their catalogue. A lot of this has to do with the economics rather than car bosses toying with our unhealthy attachment to inanimate objects. Regardless, this still doesn’t make parting ways with an icon any easier. We’re car lovers and if there was ever a chance to play God for a day and resurrect the dead, we’d bring back these eight icons.

This story was originally published on D’Marge.

Lancia Stratos

Not all Italian cars were built for going fast on a race track. The 1970s saw the creation of the legendary Lancia Stratos rally car, a mid-engined race car designed to conquer the treacherous loose gravel of the World Rally Championship. It didn’t disappoint too, taking out the title in three consecutive years from 1974 to 1976. The car was powered by a 2.4-litre Dino V6 with 190hp but the real magic resided in its chassis – a steel space frame structure wrapped in lightweight fibreglass which provided sharp handling characteristics.

Racing homologation rules meant that roughly 500 vehicles made it out of the plant for the public roads. There has only been one serious attempt to resurrect the Stratos in 2010 with the help of Ferrari design house Pininfarina who used a modern Ferrari chassis, but the bosses at the prancing horse quickly put a stop to this, forbidding its suppliers to support the project.

Toyota Celica GT-Four

Toyota wasn’t only good at rolling out Camrys and Corollas back in the day. They also built some half decent sportscars such as the Supra (which is currently getting a remake) and the Celica GT-Four. Toyota had a brief history in the WRC and took a slew of wins from 1989 to 1995 over three models. The last and final was the ST205 you see here.

As per homologation rules, the manufacturer was required to build a limited number of these cars for public roads. The icon was short lived though when in 1995 the factory backed team was caught cheating with an illegal turbo restrictor. They were banned from the WRC for a year and their racers at the time were stripped of all points. The Celica rally dream was over soon after that and the road going versions sporting a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with 240hp and AWD is all that remains of this defunct rally beast.

Volkswagen Kombi

The Volkswagen Kombi needs no introduction but it does need a resurrection. Deemed by many from the 70s as the “Hippie Wagon”, the Kombi was most popular during the proceeding decades as a car which provided a blank canvas for its owners to personalise. Surfies also naturally gravitated to it as it had enough cabin space to pack their surfboards and have orgies in.

Lotus Esprit

The Lotus Esprit Turbo is a true icon made famous by James Bond himself. In the films it hit the snowfields and also doubled as a submarine. In 1980 the special edition Essex Esprit Turbo popped up and was powered by a mid-engined 2.2-litre turbo delivering 210hp to the rear wheels. It could dispatch the 0-100km/h in 6.1 seconds and boasted a top speed of 240km/h. There are only 45 of these models in the world. We think they need to make more.

Ford Sierra RS Cosworth

It may look outrageous by today’s standards but make no mistake, the Sierra RS Cosworth was built to win Europe’s Group A racing series. The RS Cosworth took the base of the Ford Sierra and turned it into a race car with a RWD layout for the early model. Only 5,545 examples were built with 500 allocated to tuning company Cosworth for an even more special model called the RS500. The Sierra RS Cosworth sported a 2.0-litre and roughly 220hp to get the job done. It ceased production in 1992.

Ferrari Testarossa

A true icon of the prancing horse is the Testarossa hailing from the mid-80s through to the mid-90s. The beautifully designed Pininfarina body exuded all the sleek lines required of a modern classic and was paired with an equally formidable engine in the form of a 4.9-litre flat-12 engine mounted behind the driver and producing 390hp. The final 501 examples of the Testarossa rolled out of Maranello in 1996 and hasn’t been resurrected since.

Delorean DMC-12

It’s heavy as hell with its stainless steel body panels, but that was part of the beauty of the DeLorean DMC-12. Stripped bare of all of the Back to the Future gimmicks, the DMC-12 is actually an attractive piece of kit with mandatory gull wing doors. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and manufactured from 1981 to 1983, the car featured a rear engine, rear wheel drive layout powered by a 2.9-litre V6. Due to its cult status, a British entrepreneur bought the rights to the DMC name and announced that there will be 300 DMC-12 cars built in late 2016 with each costing just under $100,000. We’ll believe it when we see it.

Mazda RX-7

The last true turbo rotary was one that reached cult status around the world amongst performance car fans. Although the sleek coupe design first came about in 1991, its timeless shape ensured it remained relevant to its target market well beyond its life span. The FD RX-7 was powered by a 1.3-litre turbo rotary engine which produced 276hp that was sent to the rear wheels. Strict emissions targets would see to it that the RX-7 was no more by 2002. To commemorate the final series of the RX-7, Mazda built the Spirit R model in a limited number of just 1,500 samples. There’s been talks of a revival but as of yet Mazda haven’t figured out how to utilise the powerful yet inefficient Wankel engine under modern emissions restrictions.

This story was originally published on D’Marge.

D'Marge is one of Australia's most popular men's style and fashion blogs. Follow D'Marge on Facebook and Instagram.



    Hey guys, sorry for the confusion -- I brought it across from Dmarge with the wrong headline originally. That's my bad, all fixed now.

      Your "partners" left out the SLR 5000.

    under 50k, the Ferrari Testarossa in Australia i'm seeing between $190,000 and $389,000
    i understand these articles are a little off with their pricing but that's a bit of a joke really

      No doubt US Dollar so no bearing on here in Australia. Giz AU might have just done a stright copy and paste

        The article is from one of our Aussie partners, so not US pricing.

          Really? I find it hard to believe that you can get a Delorean for under $50k in Australia seeing how in the US they can go for $100k plus, they are collector items. The Partner site may have done the copying and pasting or the cars might not be in the best condition

            There's a few, but I've never thought about buying one so couldn't tell you the price! Maybe import one from the States or Europe?

          The last D'marge article like this was a US article in US dollars, I don't see any indication otherwise this time.

          Perhaps you need to sit down with your partner and have "that chat".

    Somehow I think this list is off. There is no way you can get a Testarossa, DMC-12 or Sierra Cosworth RS or for less than $50,000, let alone a Stratos.


    Has the writer ever driven a Kombi? So slow and just terrible to drive. Not fun at all.

      And even if you swap the donk for a Subaru to make it bearable uphill, you're still in one of the worst vehicles to have an accident in, with awful low voltage lights, terrible brakes, and horrendous suspension.

      You ever been in the back of one.. Pretty fun back there ;) #giggidy

    Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth, 1 for sale in Australia at the moment at $80,000. A more realistic list of cars for sale under $50,000, within the last 20-30 years that are fun would be more like what follows.

    R32 GTR
    R33 GTR
    R34 GTR

    Chaser JZX100
    Chaser JZX110
    MR2 Turbo
    Celica GT Four (You got this one right)

    3 MPS
    6 MPS

    Liberty RS Turbo
    Impreza WRX STI (1992-Current)

    Lancer Evolution (1992-2015)

    Yeah I've forgotten alot of others, but just a make-shift list of Imports that are much cheaper than what's been listed in this article.

      The RS500, in particular, is a much more desirable car than the majority of what you've listed (if not necessarily faster or better). It's on par with the R32 GTR as an icon, but much more rare here.

      But for around 80k I'd rather be looking at an nsx. They've gone up a bit over the years, and it's tough to find a manual hard top, but they're still amazing things.

      As an owner of a 5th gen Liberty turbo, shame they got rid of it. Levorg doesn't cut it.

        Too damn true that, I've heard the Levorg STI doesn't even have STI parts in it and is more like a WRX Wagon. Really unimpressive although it still looks nice. As for the 5th Gen Liberty you have, they're pretty cool. People really don't expect them to be fast haha, they always assume it's just WRX's and STI's.

        I own a 2006 STI, a model I disliked originally until I bought one cheap, threw a lip kit on and lowered haha

    The Stratos had a horrble internal layout. The steering wheel was at an angle and the pedals were offset to the steering wheel. VW did release another Combi but was short lived. The Ferrari F40 would have been a better choice to bring back. The Delorean was ear marked for a v8 and they took preorders for that layout but in the end it ended up with the crappy 6 cylinder much to the dismay of the owners. The old celica that looked like a Mustang was better visually. Personally I wouldn't mind if the Mazda RX3 was brought back into being or the Lamborghini miura. Hell, there's lots of cars they should bring back.

    The PRV V6 used in the Delorean was pretty atrocious - underpowered and unreliable. I have many memories of being stranded in the middle of nowhere when my father's Volvo (with the same PRV engine) blew up multiple times during the 1980s.

    Regarding the Sierra Cosworth: the whole FIA Group A touring car race class resulted in a bunch of great machines: Nissan Bluebird / Skyline turbo, Volvo 240GT, BMW M3, and Mitsubishi Starion Turbo. Good times.

    RX9 will debut in 2020
    Mazda fixed the Emissions and fuel economy back in 2003 with the - The Renesis engine in the RX8

    Unless it's a hot hatch or CUV/SUV, they won't get many sales, not enough to justify bringing it here to Australia. People that care about driving dynamics are dwindling these days.

    Oh yeah, the GT-Four. Always wanted one but in '95 I was poor and first year TAFE student.
    Now I'm just older, still poor.
    I do have an FC Rx-7. This is my second. The first I owned was an '86 model that I had from '97-'13. Both turbo 13B engines.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now