Top Ten Dead Car Models We Miss Most

By Seyth Miersma

July 27, 2011


Acura NSX: Oh, how you tease Acura. The original NSX was a revelation; a supercar that redefined the genre. It probably hung on for a bit longer than was prudent, yes, but those super-low-volume late models were still particularly riveting driver’s cars, albeit too pricey. Acura has flirted with bringing the NSX back many times now, but we’re still waiting.


BMW M1: As much as we love the M3, the name-too-close-for-comfort 1-Series M Coupe, and no doubt will love the upcoming M6 (fingers crossed); the short reign of BMW’s only real supercar has left us wanting more for decades now. Concept cars and the company’s generally splendid products lead us to believe a true M1 replacement could be done, if the corporate will and buyer enthusiasm could be found.


Dodge Viper: Only gone for one model year now, we’re already starting to miss America’s wildest supercar. The good news is that we fully expect the Chrysler/Dodge/Fiat guys to present us with a new tire-smoke-spewing snake somewhere down the line. Let’s just hope that a 600-plus horsepower V-10 engine makes it through intact, too.


Honda Civic Hatchback: Close your eyes and imagine a Honda Civic. If you’re anything like us (and frankly, we know you are) the car you see has got two side doors with one more big, useful one out back. It’s true that the much-loved Fit covers some of our jones for a small Honda hauler, but we just can’t get over the Civic missing out on the utile action. If we’re honest, we really want both a hatch and a wagon variant of the Civic—but we’re willing to be reasonable. Bonus points (naturally) for the three-door Civic Si.


Lamborghini Espada: Lambo’s dashing 1970s GT is remembered fondly in most car-guy circles, despite its distinct styling. Impressively long and wide, the car’s V-12 power gave it road presence that was unmistakable in its heyday. With rival Ferrari’s recent bold debut of its four-seat, all-wheel-drive FF, we think that Lamborghini should have extra incentive to revive its accommodating supercar. The Estoque concept from a few years back tells us that company minds are at least contemplating this direction, too.


Mazda RX-7: Yeah yeah, RX-8, we know. But the larger, four-door RX-8 never quite offered the same, pure sports car-ness as did its rotary-spinning forbearer. Keep the new thing powered with a Renesis-evolution engine, keep the curb weight under 3000 pounds, and make the bodywork an evocative evolution of the slinky third-generation car: pure gold.


Mitsubishi 3000GT (photo credit: hezoos): We love the Evo, no question, but full-blow, sexily styled sports coupe it is not. For that brief a new version of Mitsu’s 3000GT would fill the bill nicely. Applying the same styling brilliance that has gone into this latest family of Lancers is likely to net something great to look at, and working its turbo magic on a larger displacement V-6 has got some promise, too. The result might be pricey—based on Evo premiums—but it could throw a scare into a M3 coupe or two.


Pontiac G8: After suffering through dud after dud in the 1980s and 90s from Pontiac (with apologies to the Fiero and Solstice), the brand finally hit a (borrowed) homerun with the manly G8. A rear-drive, powerful, good-looking, reasonably priced sedan, all of the V-8-powered G8s impressed us much more than we had expected. Of course, the car was doomed with General Motors’ bankruptcy and subsequent shuttering of Pontiac itself. Here’s hoping the G8 finds new life, again, perhaps with a bow tie out front.


Porsche 914: Instead of adding heavy hybrid sedans and SUVs to its mix as a way to lower overall fleet fuel economy, what if Porsche built us a spanking new, lightweight, four-banger-amidships coupe/convertible? The same relationship with Volkswagen that made the original 914 possible is stronger than ever (certainly less acrimonious than during the fighting 1970s), and a wealth of interesting and powerful turbo fours could make a new 914 sing.


Suzuki Samurai Convertible: Everything you love about an open topped Jeep, but at half the price. Sure, the Samurai of the 1980s may not have been the picture of good build quality, but they were (are) tough little 4X4s that have been used the world over for their flexible go-anywhere attitude. Butch up today’s SX4 Crossover, lift the lid, and we think that low-cost convertible shoppers could be interested again.

Acura BMW Dodge Honda Lamborghini Mazda Mitsubishi Pontiac Porsche Suzuki

Bring these cars back. Seriously, there are some car models that, for a multitude of reasons, seem to resonate with the car enthusiast nation after they’re no longer available for us to buy new. Some on our list are obvious choices that have been crowed about for years, others are a bit more subtle, but all are worthy of resurrection.

Take a look at our list of ten, and then be sure to point out, in our comments section, which “dead” models you’d like to see reborn. Hope starts here.