Nostalgia is profitable and automakers are cashing in.
Just look at the upcoming movies for 2019: Aladdin, Dumbo, Men In Black, Toy Story, and The Adams Family. Notice anything about these titles? All of them are reboots of films from the past. Hollywood is cashing in on the nostalgia bubble and automakers have been quick to pick up on this trend. Instead of creating new model names, automakers bringing back nameplates from the past. To illustrate our point, we've picked out 10 recent and upcoming models that have/will bring back nameplates from the dead.
While Mercedes has been building a two-door version of its flagship S-Class for many years now, BMW hasn't sold the 8 Series since 1999. Now, the 8 Series is back as a replacement for the 6 Series. So far, the only confirmed trim level in the US is the M850i xDrive, which is powered by a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 523 hp. Even though it doesn't have a V12, the new M850i is far more powerful than the old car's 5.6-liter V12, which produced 375 hp.
The wait is still on for the fifth generation Toyota Supra, though we will finally get to see the car revealed at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. Unlike the fourth generation car, which was powered by the legendary 2JZ inline-six, this new car will be powered a BMW turbocharged inline-six. We don't know exactly how much power this engine will produce but it should be more than the 320 hp produced by the fourth generation car.
The original Honda Passport was little more than a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo built from 1993 to 2002, so we were a bit surprised when Honda announced it would be returning for the 2019 model year. This new Passport will slot between the smaller CR-V and the larger Pilot in Honda's lineup. Under the hood is a 3.5-liter V6 producing 280 hp, a considerable increase from the 190 hp figure in the old model.
SUVs are extremely popular, so it only makes sense for automakers to delve back into their model history to bring back old nameplates. The Blazer name has been out of use since 2005 and originally appeared back in 1969 on the K5 Blazer. This new Blazer looks a bit like an SUV version of the Camaro and is even powered by the same 3.6-liter V6 producing 305 hp.
Like Chevy, Ford will also be bringing back an SUV from its past. In fact, the Bronco will spawn an entire sub-brand for Ford, which will also include a smaller baby Bronco, which was spied last month at a dealership event. The Ford Bronco originally appear back in 1965 and lasted until 1996. Unfortunately, we still know very little about the Bronco and the baby Bronco, though this is not the only nameplate Ford is bringing back from the dead.
SUVs aren't the only vehicle segment doing well, the pickup truck market has also been blowing up. Full-size trucks are dominant but Ford has finally decided to bring back the mid-size Ranger, which has been off the market in the US since 2011. This new truck is powered by just one engine, a 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-four producing 270 hp. The rest of the world has been enjoying the Ranger for the past few years but now US Ford fans can finally buy one.
The latest generation Wrangler is a wildly popular vehicle and fans have been clamoring for Jeep to build a pickup truck version. Unveiled in LA last month, Jeep gave it the Gladiator name, which was in use from 1962 to 1988. This iteration of the Gladiator boasts either a 285 hp 3.6-liter V6 or a 3.0-liter diesel V6 with 260 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. Jeep could have brought back the Scrambler name but deemed the Gladiator to be the more effective nameplate.
Among the cars we didn't know we wanted to return from the dead, the Lincoln Aviator may rank number one. The original Aviator was little more than a rebadged Ford Explorer, which was sold from 2003 to 2005. Unlike the old model, which was powered by a 4.6-liter V8 producing 302 hp, this new model uses a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 mated to a hybrid drivetrain producing a total of 450 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque.
Unfortunately, not all nameplate revivals are successful in the eyes of enthusiasts. The Mitsubishi Eclipse was a sports coupe built from 1989 to 2011. Instead of bringing the Eclipse back, Mitsubishi instead decided it needed another crossover and thus, the Eclipse Cross was born. Although the Eclipse Cross does feature a turbocharger, it is strapped to a tiny 1.5-liter engine producing just 152 hp. With a CVT as the only transmission option, the Eclipse Cross is a far cry from the original Eclipse.
Alfa Romeo is a brand steeped in heritage, which is why the Italian automaker decided to bring back the Giulia name that was originally used from 1962 to 1978. Along with the Giulia sedan, Alfa has announced that the GTV name will be brought back as a two-door, 600 hp coupe. That's not all, because the 8C will also be making a comeback as a 700 hp mid-engine supercar.