5 Coolest Futuristic Traditional Vehicles (5 Fashionable Retro-Styled Vehicles We might Fairly Drive)
As times change and technology advances, gearheads expect manufacturers to adopt a forward-thinking approach when designing their cars. They expect new vehicles to look more modern than those produced a year earlier or, even better, to look like they are straight from the future. This is why so many vehicles that have been introduced over the years have had what was considered to be futuristic designs at the time, whether it’s the outrageous Cybertruck of today or the wedge-shaped sports cars of the ’70s and ’80s.
However, this is not always the case. Some automotive designers draw their inspiration from the past. They develop cars that look like they came out decades ago but have all the latest technologies. Let’s explore five fantastic classic sports cars with futuristic designs versus five modern retro-styled cars that are just better.
Futuristic Classic Car: DeLorean DMC-12
via architectural digest
The DeLorean needs no introduction. Every gearhead who grew up in the ’70s and ’80s likely had a poster of this incredible sports car in their room. This is because it had a futuristic design featuring a wedge-shaped body and butterfly doors.
Another reason why the DeLorean is so famous is that it’s one of the most iconic movie cars ever, having starred in the Back to the Future movies. The only thing the DeLorean got wrong was the engine – it had a 2.9-liter V6 with just 130 hp on tap. The $25,000 price tag was also a turnoff to many.
Modern Retro-Styled Car: Ford Mustang Shelby GT350
The partnership between Ford and the legendary Carroll Shelby has resulted in some iconic American cars. The first Mustang Shelby worked on was the 1966 GT350, and to date, it’s still one of the highest sought-after classic muscle cars by collectors. Although Carroll Shelby left the Shelby GT program in 1969, Ford is still making Shelby Mustangs to date.
The latest 2020 Mustang Shelby GT350 is a stunning muscle car whose design cues remind us a lot about the 1966 version, especially the racing stripes. Like its ancestor, the 2020 Shelby GT350 is super fast, thanks to a 5.2-liter “Voodoo” V8 with 526 horses on tap.
Futuristic Classic Car: Lamborghini Countach
Lamborghini has a long list of sports cars with outrageous designs, and the Countach sits on top of it. The Countach was penned by the renowned Marcello Gandini – the same guy who designed the Miura. However, unlike the Miura, the Countach had a wedge shape, sharp lines, a huge spoiler, and scissor doors.
The Countach was the most powerful Lamborghini at the time, thanks to a massive 3.9-liter V12 engine pumping out 370 horsepower. It only needed around 4 seconds to get to 60 mph, making it one of the fastest cars of the ’70s.
Modern Retro-Styled Car: Alpine A110S
Introduced in 2017, the Alpine A110S is the perfect example of how manufacturers should approach a modern reboot of a classic car. The A110S is based on the original Alpine A110 produced from 1961 to 1977, and it looks just as beautiful.
via groupe renault
The 2017 A110S is powered by a 1.8-liter turbocharged inline-four engine, cranking out 288 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. Since it’s based on an all-aluminum construction, the A110S weighs just 2,456 lbs. This allows it to go from 0 to 62 mph in 4.4 seconds.
Futuristic Classic Car: BMW M1
The sports car craze was heating up in the late ’60s and ’70s, and BMW didn’t want to be left behind by other European manufacturers. BMW got to work, and in 1978, they unveiled their first-ever supercar — the M1. The M1 was indeed a German car, but it had a lot of Italian influences. This is because the iconic Giorgetto Giugiaro designed it, and Lamborghini helped in its development.
The M1 was gorgeous, but it lacked one thing. It was powered by a 3.5-liter six-cylinder with 277 hp. It was too slow compared to the Italian supercars it was trying to compete against.
Modern Retro-Styled Car: Mercedes-Benz SLS
The SLS AMG is a limited production grand tourer developed by Mercedes-Benz’s AMG division in 2010. Mercedes-Benz described the SLS AMG as a spiritual successor to the 1950s Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, and looking at it, one can clearly see the resemblance. It has a similar long nose, a similar grille design with the big Mercedes-Benz badge, and gullwing doors.
The 300SL was the fastest car of its time, so Mercedes-Benz knew they had to equip the SLS AMG with a powerful engine as well. They picked the most powerful naturally aspirated production series engine at the time — the 6.2-liter M159 V8 with 563 hp.
Futuristic Classic Car: Isdera Imperator 108i
The Imperator 108i is a unique German sports car inspired by the Mercedes CW311 concept. Since Mercedes had no plans to put the concept into production, engineer Eberhard Schulz – who had designed the CW311 concept – asked Mercedes-Benz to allow him to produce it under his company Isdera. Surprisingly, Mercedes agreed.
The result was the Isdera Imperator 108i, a sports car with one of the most unusual designs ever. It had a Mercedes V8 under the hood, a tubular space frame chassis, fiberglass body panels, gullwing doors, and a rearview periscope instead of rearview mirrors. Only 30 examples of the Imperator were ever made.
Modern Retro-Styled Car: Dodge Challenger
After the huge failure of the second-generation Challenger, the nameplate went on a long 30-year hiatus. When it finally came back in 2008, it felt like a whole new car, but still kept the same design cues that made gearheads fall in love with the first-generation version.
Since its introduction, the third-generation Challenger has been the most popular muscle car in the US and also the most powerful. The Challenger SRT Hellcat is equipped with a 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V8 producing 707 hp, giving it a 0-60 mph time of just 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 199 mph.
Futuristic Classic Car: Lotus Esprit
via barrett jackson
The Esprit is another car that many gearheads recognize instantly due to its appearance on the big screen. A bonafide Bond car, the Esprit rose to fame when it turned into a submarine after 007 drove it off a pier in the film The Spy Who Loved Me.
Lotus wanted the Esprit to be fast, so they equipped it with the largest V8 they had — a 3.5-liter Lotus V8 capable of producing up to 500 hp. However, Lotus limited it to ‘just’ 350 hp to prevent gearbox damage. Even with the limited engine, the Esprit could still accelerate to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.
Modern Retro-Styled Car: 2021 Mini Cooper GP
The 2021 Mini Cooper GP is simply one of the best hot hatches available today. For one, it has an elegant design inspired by the Minis that dominated the rallying scene five decades ago. As part of the John Cooper Works line, the 2021 Mini Cooper GP was developed for those who want the ultimate performance and handling in a hot hatch.
It comes with a BMW-sourced 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine sending 301 hp to the front wheels. Surprisingly, Mini didn’t offer the GP with a manual gearbox. However, the eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters is perfect for the track.
NEXT: 10 Most Ridiculous Automotive Features Born In The ’70s
Here’s Everything We Know About The 2022 Nissan 400Z
The 3.0 litre twin turbo V6 engine is likely to be paired for the most part with a six speed manual transmission.
About The Author
(77 Articles Published)
Martin is a seasoned content creator who has been writing about cars for over a decade, and has been in love with them for even longer. Growing up, Martin was surrounded by gearheads who instilled a deep love and understanding for cars in him at a young age. He loves to learn and write about all the developments happening in the auto industry – especially in the EV space. When he’s not writing about cars, he likes to spend quality time with his wife, kids, and fur baby.
From Martin Peter