RAC Cars News


Automotive Reinventions

By raccars Published

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Like Marilyn Monroe, Miley Cyrus and Birkenstocks, the cars we now consider cool did not always start off that way. Some were pretty dowdy until given the automotive equivalent of a blonde dye job, a crash diet and a new wardrobe.

Nissan GT-R

Spoken of these days as the affordable supercar, it was 1989's R32 GT-R's awesome Nurburgring lapping adventures that really cemented its status as a driver's car for serious petrol heads. Once known as the Skyline, the first appearance of the GT-R in 1969 was far less blood stirring - in fact it was boxy and staid looking, despite a significant haul of racing accomplishments.

Ford Capri

The once much derided Ford Capri has become an ironic icon of retro culture and it's easy to forget that in its Seventies heyday, the Capri was indeed, as Ford's marketing strategy suggested, the car you always promised yourself. However, the original Capri was actually a Consul Classic, made in coupe form. While its combination of angles and curves may exhibit some nostalgic charm these days, it was lacklustre in style, performance and sales.

Mitsubishi Lancer

This car's fame comes from its hot Evolution variations, which manage to scorch away the memory of their own genesis - a weak, awkward looking compact saloon, designed to be driven by grand-dads. The Lancer has been through a number of facelifts since its introduction in 1973 and remains on sale today, evoking very little excitement.

Dacia Duster

While some may struggle to see past the budget badge, Dacia's Duster is, in fact, a rather brilliant little SUV, with plenty of ability to complement its affordable price tag. Its beginnings were less auspicious, in the distinctly underwhelming and very Romanian Eighties SUV, that was also known as the ARO 10 in some markets. The car that style forgot boasted little off roading ability and even less charisma.

Ford Mondeo

It's easy to forget that today's accomplished and increasingly sophisticated Mondeo was once the territory of irritating salesmen everywhere and even gave rise to the term 'Mondeo Man', representing the genesis of New Labour of the 1990s - the upwardly mobile Labour voters turned Tories targeted by Tony Blair. Confused political affiliations aside, the Mondeo managed to outgrow its image crisis and is now, albeit grudgingly, almost universally acknowledged to be a very good car. Ford is even releasing a super high spec 'Vignale' version, designed to challenge the premium German brands in price and quality - maybe the Mondeo is not so far removed from its social climbing roots after all...

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