RAC Cars News


The Original Is Always The Best

By raccars Published

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There comes a time when cars, like people, start to show their age. Fortunately cars, like people, can be given a facelift to iron out the wrinkles, always emerging from the process looking a little fresher. However, once again like people, sometimes the results aren't what we would hope for, a little disappointing maybe or not quite natural. Maybe these cars would have been better off letting nature take its course?

Alfa Romeo 156

Executive saloons have never been the most glamorous automotive market segment, but Alfa Romeo is known for its Italian design flair and, in 1997, brightened up the compact exec saloon picture with the sexy looking 156. Unfortunately, later versions lacked focus and the 156 lost its way over time. They should have stuck with the original.

Alfa Romeo GTV/Spider

A pattern starts to show here, with the original GTV and Spider being glorious looking beasts. They were led astray by a 2003 refresh, resulting in an imperious looking nose, dominated by a beaky grille, with the number plate set to one side. It didn't quite work and really there was no need to alter perfection anyway.

Citroen Xsara

The Xsara was never in the supermodel league but was a fairly neat looking hatchback when first released in 1997. A few years later, its designers lost the plot and sent out an awkward looking, bug eyed version that looked as if five different people had designed five different sections, without conferring with each other, and then just stuck them all together.

Fiat Multipla

The van based MPV was always distinctive and divisive. Its looks were quirky rather than elegant but it was instantly recognisable and full of personality - one of Fiat's boldest and bravest productions. Unfortunately, it seems the Italian firm lacked the courage of its convictions and toned it down for the facelift version. The result was far more conventional and very, very dull.

Honda NSX

The NSX was a great sports coupe in typical Japanese style, distinguished by a set of pop up lights. By 2002 these were deemed naff and outdated, yet somehow, that's exactly how the NSX looked when re-imaged without them. It wasn't right, like Orville without Keith Harris.

Jaguar XJ

The 2004 XJ X350 was very recognisably a Jaguar - long, serene and gentlemanly. An attempt to modernise in 2007 did away with that courtly charm in favour of a maw-like lower grille and incongruous side vents.

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