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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

5 classic nameplates that deserve an electric comeback | Hagerty Media

As much as we'd love for our favorite classics to be revived as pure internal combustion vehicles, the industry is at present clearly embracing EVs. Our wishes were at least partially granted with the return of the Ford Lightning as an all-electric truck, so we've naturally been thinking about which of our favorite vintage vehicles deserve a similar resurrection.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/lists/5-classic-nameplates-electric-comeback/
106 REPLIES 106
hyperv6
Gearhead

T bird has been played out. It has been used on small two seat cars, then 4 place personal luxury. Then 4 door sedan, finally a large luxury couple. Then back to a mid size couple a couple times and finally back to a two seat converts bye that was not well received.  Time to let it rest.

 

 Gremlin? Wasn't a great name when it first was used. The last thing you want in a car is gremlins. I would rather see Javelin and AMX. 

Corvaivr. Oh Corvair! My father owned 5 Corvairs new in the 60's. He loved them and they were great cars. But the story over them has hung like a dark cloud and it is better off to leave this name to reclaim itself with the restored models that are proving they were not as bad as some claimed.

Electra and Charger are two names that will at some point be placed on an EV model. We all could see this one coming. I would be shocked if they failed to do this.

leduced
Intermediate Driver

Electra, already implies "electric power", HUH?
hyperv6
Gearhead

Does Dodge and Ram already imply a Crash?

 

Never under estimate the foolishness of marketing and car names. Mach E Mustang? Blazer as a CUV? Corvette on anything but a two seat Chevy sports car?

Mike_E_V
Detailer

AMX could easily be "EMX". Agreed...No Gremlins.
markvii1
Intermediate Driver

AMC Pacer-maker
gfviperman
Intermediate Driver

Charger will have to be as hybrid with HEMI power ...
jaysalserVW
Detailer

This is birthing-the-baby-before-the-pregnancy! Has the World gone mad?
Studenorton
Advanced Driver

What did Edsel do to escape the distinction?
Milburn, Baker, Studebaker and Detroit Electric all made actual electric cars. Why not those?
MustangJim
Detailer

Some great ideas. I thought that the Mach E would have been much better as a Thunderbird, or even Galaxy. We cannot stop the transition to E cars, and we probably shouldn't but names are important!
So Yes on Thunderbird
Definite on Electra, that would be very cool. I never thought of that
Nope on Gremlin and Corvair. Those names , in my opinion do not inspire cutting edge technology and performance. The people buying these cars do no remember the names in most instances. Thinking about Corvair, perhaps Monza?
MustangJim
Detailer

I meant to add my 2 cents on the Charger. Since I am a Mustang guy and I still get annoyed over the Mustang Mach E I can't be a hypocrite, so while Charger would be cool its a big no. I think that I still find the fact that they made the Charger a 4 door blasphemous. They should of called it Polara R/T or something, its certainly big enough.
TimK
Detailer

Totally agree. I'm a Ford guy myself but I always liked the real Charger so, to me, a 4 door Charger sedan sullies the nameplate. Wasn't thrilled about the 4 door Thunderbird nor the 4 door Grand Prix either. And I thought I would puke when Ford introduced the Mach-E, especially with the button on the dash to play a recording of "real engine" noises.
Rider79
Instructor

I'm 66, and I very much like the classic Chargers (especially 68-70), but even I know that it is time to move on. We should be happy that four-door Chargers still exist, and that not everything is an SUV or four-door pickup.
64jeepsrt
Intermediate Driver

Too bad they didn't make the 4dr charger a post free hard top and shaved the door handles...
MustangJim
Detailer

The real engine noise button is ridiculous. Should hook it up to an ejection seat!
win59
Detailer

"Polara" would certainly seem a blindingly obvious choice, no?!
dbier
Intermediate Driver

Actually as Toyota has stated several times now - the march to pure electric is not going to happen anytime soon because there are many infrastructure hurdles as well as range issues. Many people can't afford the luxury of having a car that can't make an occasional (or frequent) all day drive without stopping for extended charging. So until all electrics offer the same versatility that ICE cars do - at a similar price - any American politicians who try to force all electric on us will be unemployed quickly. Let's not forget that 1) Electric cars are only as "clean" as the method used to make the electricity they need. 2) Lithium batteries are toxic to make and dispose of. 3) There are hundreds of thousands of people with jobs who support the current ICE car infrastructure - and they won't go to the unemployment lines willingly.
BMD4800
Instructor

Spot-on.

We have efficient hybrid tech.

We have clean diesel tech that has been under attack by the EV lobby.

We can currently, and without the massive requirement for resource acquisition and infrastructure upgrades, boost fuel economy and reduce emissions with plug in hybrid tech. It can be scaled to the vehicle, is adaptable across platforms, and if targeted with an average commute, significantly reduce fuel use.

Just stop and consider this: VW was busted for Diesel “cheating”, they say. After which VW did a full circle and embraced EVs. Was it blackmail? The FCA diesel issue quietly went away. Was it because FCA told them to pound sand? Or was it all a fabrication?
This EV stuff smells of dirty politics.
I suspect as long as the Lithium mines, the images of Child Slave labor in African cobalt mines, and the environmental impact stay off our TV, people will continue their blissful ignorance, smelling their own farts, and lecturing us on the moral supremacy of EVs.
Edwardsg
Intermediate Driver

Many only talk about the points that bolster there opinion, and totally ignore any drawbacks.
How much better off we would be in choosing a reasonable path if both sides listed pros and cons instead of the skewed picture painted by many. It is like my green neighbors paving a tar path around their 10 acre yard. Then they ride an electric golf cart. Green would be walking it in the grass - better for both you and the environment. That they took down all the trees, laid sod, and water the whole thing only adds to how un-green they really are when you look at the whole picture.
Cost drives many decisions most of us make. Time can be cost - if your trip extends into hotel stays to charge an EV, or you have to leave earlier to charge along the way, it becomes part of a picture few want to talk about. It’s not exactly like charging stations are located at a place you planned on visiting along the way.
ICE, Hybrid, and EV each have pros and cons, and an overall picture to look at. If a picture seems too positive, look for what has been left out. Note how with fuel taxes - meant to maintain roads - a few see since a EV only pays this as hidden in the cost of electricity, which can be subsidized for a home charging station, there is a huge bridge to be built. And it will only drive up cost to the consumer.
I think EV’s have a place, and so do Hybrids and ICE vehicles. But do not over simplify the picture. I agree it is complex, and many need to look at much deeper than the headlines.
The local shopper listed 10 best paying jobs. Solar photoelectric installer was listed as a median of $342.000 a year. I’d like to see the data to support that - which a quick web search shows is between 40k and 80k.
hyperv6
Gearhead

Actually people are looking at this as glass half full and half empty.
The reality is this is at min a 30 year transition. It is coming but it will take time.
In those coming years many advances will come much faster as investments are at all time highs. Charging times are coming down, battery cost are expect in 10-15 years to reach $38kWh down from $1100 10 years ago.

Most people now could live with these as a daily driver now so the trip range will get better as charge times drop.

You may note it no longer matter what anyone says politically as the automakers have embraced this economically as these vehicles will be cheaper to build and more profitable vs continued ice development to meet reg. Automakers are not out to save the planet just sell vehicles and make money.
Batteries will be recycled as the metal value makes them worth the cost. Recycling is already in place even in production.
As for the ICE support. I am one of those people. We are already working on performance parts for EV vehicles and yes racing parts. We are not alone as other ICE mfgs are diversifying into other product lines for the coming market. Some to survive and others to thrive as there will be money to make.

Look I’m one of the last people to buy EV. But I am seeing it from the other side and I can see where this is going and the real reasons why today.

We on the web really need to stop repeating the things that may have been true 10 years ago and learn exactly what is going on.

We also need to make sure our collector cars are not forgotten or forced out. I foresee the collector cars being like Horses where they are used for pleasure and no longer work. But it is up to us to make sure to see that happens.

Electric cars will take the market much like boiling frogs. It will be as a slow constant rate that over time will make them the dominate product for sale.

I would recommend all to read SAE Automotive Engineering magazine. It is on the web free. It covers all aspects of development of ICE, Hybrid and EV. They show what is really going on long before you read about it in Motor Trend or any other publication.

None of this is said for joy or argument but just to set the story straight. I used to deny much of this too but I had to stop as I was only going to fool myself.


dbier
Intermediate Driver

I disagree assertion that it will be the automakers that dictate the move to EV. Consumer demand will dictate what is produced. Any car maker that tries to force their vision on an unaccepting market will see their sales plummet. If they have a sales slump for even a year because the majority of buyers don't want what they are offering - they will either change course or suffer the consequences. It'll be very interesting to see if Jaguar sticks to their claim to go all electric by 2023. If "All Electric" doesn't include hybrids, I expect they will either back-pedal or file for bankruptcy within a few years.
hyperv6
Gearhead

At this point it is the MFGs.  that are dictating the future. It will be the customer reaction that dictates if it will be successful. 

To be honest I have stopped betting against it with much of the response to a number of things by the automotive community. 

I for one never expected the public to embrace small FWD cars. I never expected the V8 to become rare to fine outside a few cars and mostly trucks. 

35-40 years ago the Caprice and Crown Vic were the leaders in sales an they sold in great numbers. Today we have a mix of 3/4 cylinder CUV models and some small 4 cylinder sedans. If you told me this in 1985 I would have said that’s impossible. 

 Already with EV vehicles that are fully disclosed we see people lining up to buy in numbers I would never predicted at this point. As prices drop and tech improves more will come. 

What we will see is this. Electric products will be cheaper moving forward with timers ROI is realized. The cost of ICE is only going to increase. Development cost today are off the charts for ICE and will only get worse with more stricter regulations. Automakers are facing a dangerous future with this as people get priced out. 

EV products they see can be easily reconfigured for a number of models, no emissions to deal with and stable regulations long term. The cost have and will continue to decline as more are sold. No rear differentials or transmissions, no exhaust needed, less parts. Assembly will be shorter and lines smaller. 

 

Today most buyers want safe reliable and affordable vehicles. Just look at what they are buying today. 

The limitations like range is really gone as 400 miles can and is easily attained. Charging times will and have declined. The Hummer will do 80 miles in 20 min. Faster is expected with the 3rd gen GM battery on the way with 800v ability. 

The way it is many companies are at risk. FCA just merged. Ford and Honda have had to go to GM to help fund projects, Toyota had to partner to make a sports car happen. Same with Fiat and Mazda. Companies like Mitsubishi will need partners to survive. This is why the list continues to grow on who is committed to change over. 

Hybrids will have a place but limited mostly to high end sports cars and applications where they may be needed like farms industry etc. They will be more expensive since they still use ICE. But they will be applied to where they are needed. 

Moving forward the change is going to take time and happen over 20-30 years. A lot will happen in this time as somethings will speed up other things will slow but the change is coming. 

Again this is no longer about saving the planet but survival of the auto industry by being more profitable and reducing future development cost from the path they are on now. 

I used to be a they will get my V8 when they pry it out of my cold hands guy. I have now not owned a V8 for years. I recently had a Turbo 4 I never said I would own and it was a blast to drive with 300 hp and it was dead reliable with 23 psi of boost in a daily driver on pump gas. 

To be honest get charging times to the time to fill a tank of gas and I could be tempted to a EV. I have driven them and also a GM hydrogen prototype. They work well. They are a little different. 

As a daily driver an EV would work for me but for trips I want faster charging yet and I expect it will be here sooner than later. 

To really get this one has to look beyond the token talking points of web forums and see exactly what is going on in the auto industry economically. Heck GM stock just hit an all time high so their plans are not damaging their value. This at a time production being down due to chip issues too. 

Much like when ICE displaced horses it will be the same. The first cars were not cheap or reliable. Over the next 30 years they got cheaper, better and more reliable. Infrastructure was lacking as often fuel came from a drug store but business filled the needs. 

I work in the racing industry and even now we are preparing for the changes. My suppliers like Mahle are gearing to possibly build engines for mfgs as a plug in Hybrid 3 cylinder engine. They want to fill the need for mfgs to save them with limited number items. Also retain a place for their pistons. 

I am not excited by the change but info have a vested interest as it will affect my future. It is what it is and predicting unfounded failure will not change that as I have already tried that before. 

My main concern is now to protect my automotive hobby. 

MYTFAST
Intermediate Driver

The reduction of the larger sedans (and even vans) is merely a switch over to SUVs who now come in varying sizes & prices. The real SUV draw in acceptance of their versatility and drivability like a car rather than like a van/truck. The AWD is also an attractive & affordable addition as well as their ease of conversation for carrying larger cargo (air conditioners, flat screen TVs, lawn movers etc.) by merely folding the rear seats flat. The computer controls everything & automatic transmission with electronic fuel injection and turbo option if desired, provide plenty of power for even a standard 4 cylinder. More Police departments are now using SUVs because of their flexibility.
hyperv6
Gearhead

No disagreement here. But back in the day few would have ever predicted this when GM and others were selling full size V8 cars in numbers over a Million. 

 

mhealy1
Detailer

See my reply to hyperv6.
mhealy1
Detailer

Automakers are pressuring Congress for mandatory electrification not because they believe in it but because they’re afraid electrics might not sell. They see a possible market, and a possible government mandate, but can’t (or prefer not to) afford the development costs of electrics in addition to meeting the costs of ICE compliance with future mandates already in place. If a manufacturer goes all in on electrics and they flop in the marketplace while a competitor retains ICE offerings the results will be disastrous for the electric manufacturer (the reverse would also be true). If everyone is mandated into electrics, the gamble is gone.
So is capitalism.
hyperv6
Gearhead

I would agree if it were true. 

The only real lobby that is being done is for rebates and that is not likely as of now. 

No one in the government is going to force EV outside the states uninvited CARB regulations. The problem there is if they do it it will force the test of the country to accept them as automakers can not abandon some states and cater to others. 

I would better expect mfgs to band together as to their future product plans. 

Also do not underestimate the public on EV acceptance. To be honest it has been greater than most have expected. 

dbier
Intermediate Driver

At least in America - if the politicians dare try to mandate full EV (not talking about hybrids) BEFORE they offer the same cost and flexibility (range, capacity, hauling, 5 minute refueling time, etc) you will see a landslide win of the politicians who vow to repeal the ICE car ban. It will include all demographics - including those who: 1) can't afford an EV, 2) don't have a way of charging it (i.e. city dwellers who street park), 3) need towing capacity, 4) Need to make all day trips without adding multiple stops and potentially overnight stays.  I am fully confident that only the crazy "Green New Deal" Progressives would dare push an ICE car ban. History tells us that companies that don't give consumers what they want - will die. 

64jeepsrt
Intermediate Driver

And...4 big oil will not just roll over and give up the billions that they are making.
TinCanSailor
Intermediate Driver

I had the same thought about the Mach E being called the Thunderbird. The use of E-bird would have been a natural.
Reatta
Pit Crew

Forgot "Starfire". I would prefer new names. Names like "Shock", "Short", "Grid", "Dependent", "Coal Eater" (where most electricity comes from.), "Chip", "Fried" and "BZZZZZZZT". Sport coupes would have to lose the initials "SC", because that will have a new meaning, "Short Circuit".
leduced
Intermediate Driver

How about a Buick "Riviera", WOW....
Raycuda
New Driver

I've been saying that since they came up with the 2016 Avista concept, and NO 4 DOOR, Coupe and convertible only!
Bigspanner
Intermediate Driver

How about the much loved and horribly missed Chevy Spark?
Lightning1
Detailer

Someone misses that?
BMD4800
Instructor

I guess I missed the sales record there. It was a niche vehicle, but cost heavy, and not practical as a primary car.

GM majorly messed up with the Volt. Rather than present it as a Prius alternative, they presented it as an EV. It was very poorly advertised and destroyed in the media. Had GM marketing presented it as a Hybrid, it probably would have done very well. But even after their missteps, they doubled down on stupid and tried to defend it as an EV. It could have been their Gen 1 Hybrid revolution, instead it was so badly damaged, it just languished.
Rider79
Instructor

You ARE joking - yes? The first series Sparks were fun to see, though, with their incredibly long faces.
GRP_Photo
Instructor

'Perhaps “Neon” instead?' Did you ever drive the Dodge Neon? I made the mistake of renting one in Florida years ago. Based on my experience, people who drove these are unlikely to buy another car named Neon.
BMD4800
Instructor

Ex-wife had one.

A lot like a K-car.

It needed a 4-speed automatic, a bit more power, but for a commuter it worked great. The Camry 4cyl got the same highway fuel economy and was a much better vehicle.
OHCOddball
Intermediate Driver

The T-Bird should NEVER have been made a four door. I didn't like it when Dodge made the Charger a four door. Don't reuse classic names on unworthy replacements. In the early 80's, Dodge took a Mitsubishi car and rebadged it "Challenger'. It wasn't. Chevy took a Toyota Corolla and renamed it 'Nova'. Sacrilege! I don't like Ford putting 'Mustang' on anything other than a pony car. years ago Cehvy had a station wagon Vette concept car. Thank goodness THAT never saw production! As for electric cars in general, I have nothing against the concept, but I hate the fact that almost all of them stick big flat panel i-pad looking things in the center of the instrument panel. Get rid of the touch screen BS and put normal looking guages in it. I want REAL knobs controlling the HVAC that I can control without having to take my eyes off the road to find the proper spot on a screen to touch. If you want to put radio controls (not 'infotainmen' BS) on the steering wheel, I can live with that.
NickB
Pit Crew

Well, I don't think "Ranger" would be a very good name for an electric car. Nor would anything with the number "500"..
442xcar
Pit Crew

How about the "Steely Dan"? It will be an all new EV powered by 2 AA batteries. Also, you have to bend over when you take delivery.....
CoolToysTV
Pit Crew

I am not super thrilled about how Ford is rebadging old names, and I agree with Hyper V6, Thunderbird had an attempted rebirth and it fizzled.  As a long time Mustang fan (68 GT, 68 Coupe, 67 Pony Convertible and 68 GT500 KR in garage at different times) I was almost offended by the Mustang Mach-E.  Then I saw one and liked it.  

Having had both Generations of Volts, the styling was nice enough that should become the Electravair.   Take out the generator in the front and viola, le frunk.  The second generation Volt was a great car, and I had really hoped there would be a Gen III or at least a continuation.  The Bolt is the modern AMC Pacer of the electric world.  Chances of that in my garage on the charger are close to zero.  

What electric will go in my garage next will depend on the new battery tech next year.  Chevy made leaps with the new Bolt, and if someone else adds some bounds (Mach-E team, you listening?) I might pull the trigger now that I am no longer confined to the house.

The Jaguar i-Pace is fantastic, but I can't believe you missed the "E-Type" as the ultimate electric comeback ragtop. 

geminate
Pit Crew

Ford should have brought out the Forty-nine. It was a gorgeous concept built on the newer Thunderbird chassis. Change it over to electric and they would have a hot electric muscle car.
audioracer
New Driver

Any modern Electric Vehicle that is "rebadged" should have the letters EV added.
Lightning1
Detailer

Zap, Plug, Hotwire, Circuit. and the small inner city version would be the Short Circuit
dbier
Intermediate Driver

It's an interesting and fun exercise, but as Toyota has stated several times now - the march to pure electric (i.e. non hybrids) is not going to happen anytime soon because there are many infrastructure hurdles as well as range issues. Many people can't afford the luxury of having a car that can't make an occasional (or frequent) all day drive without stopping for extended charging. So until pure electrics offer the same versatility that ICE or hybrid cars do - at a similar price - any American politicians who try to force pure electric on us will be unemployed quickly. Similarly, car makers who stop producing ICE cars prematurely will see their sales plummet and the responsible executives will be seeking unemployment. Let's not forget that 1) Electric cars are only as "clean" as the method used to make the electricity they need. 2) Lithium batteries are toxic to make and dispose of. 3) There are hundreds of thousands of people with jobs who support the current ICE car infrastructure - and they won't go to the unemployment lines willingly.
bradleydad
Pit Crew

Hmmmm... It's like the license plate bracket on my Nissan Leaf says "I'd rather be driving a real car". Luckily for me I have my Model A and a classic Mercedes to enjoy as well as about a dozen of the museum's cars to drive. The thing is, each of these cars is special in the way they drive and sound. Electric cars are great, but pretending they are anything but an appliance with traction control and automatic everything seems a bit silly. It would be nice, I'll have to admit, to drive something a little less ugly than my leaf!
66Toro
New Driver

Why not the 66 Tornado
trickytrick
New Driver

Charger and Electra? How could you not!