PH Footnote: Continuation for the nation

There's been plenty to talk about in the aftermath of last week's Geneva motor show. From Toyota's SupraRacing concept, to McLaren's almost production-ready Senna GTR, via a host of tuner specials, plenty of brands found a way make a mark.

Of course, Geneva isn't just about what manufacturers are doing now, but what they plan to do in future, and few attract as much attention with their plans as Ferrari. Covering a wide range of topics, from the threat of quitting F1 to the room for improvement in its GT cars, the firm's press conference threw up an interesting moment when CEO Sergio Marchionne was asked about the potential for continuation models.

Now, evocation and replica models have been popular amongst certain buyers for years, particularly for cars like the Shelby Cobra and Ford GT40, offering owners a taste of their dream classics without the prohibitive expense of the real thing.

The current trend for 'continuation' is a different hand-beaten kettle of fish altogether though. Cars like Jaguar's D-Type and XKSS, Aston's DB4 GT and Lister's Knobbly may still offer a saving versus the real thing, but they're certainly not cheap. Pricing in the high hundreds of thousands rather than tens of millions still places them amongst the most expensive cars on the planet; these aren't third-party ways for the common man to enjoy a legendary classic, but manufacturer endorsed schemes for the one per cent to help a brand cash in on its heritage.

That's all well and good for Aston Martin, Jaguar and the like - especially when the cars being manufactured are replacing lost build slots - but Ferrari has always placed itself above such antics. It sells its heritage through its current lineup, whatever that may be, with a line of purebred prancing horses stretching back to Enzo himself.

It came as a surprise, then, when Marchionne was pushed on the prospect of entering that game, and replied "The answer is yes, but I struggle with the term 'continuation car'... What Jaguar has done with the lightweight cars is clever, but reinventing the 250 is a tough gig, and living off the spoils of the past is a bad habit to get into. But there's definitely a platform there, and hopefully we can show you something in the next few years."

It's likely that he won't be the only one to struggle with the idea of a continuation Ferrari, especially one as hallowed as the 250 GTO - but, as with the inevitable 'FUV', it seems that even Ferrari isn't immune to the lure of an additional revenue stream. This raises many questions: should Ferrari be doing it in the first place? How many 'new' examples should they produce? How will existing owners react? And with so many legendary cars to choose from, which Ferrari would you most (or least) like to see revived?

The broader question, though, is how long before continuation becomes commonplace? Could the trend filter down through the industry to, perhaps, a continuation Mk1 Golf GTI or an E30 M3? If David Brown can charge £100,000 for a 're-mastered Mini' and Land Rover can turn out a restored V8-engined Defender for £150,000, then the market is arguably already there. Should Toyota give us a few continuation examples of the old Supra alongside the new one? Can Mazda churn out a couple of dozen more Mk1 MX-5s? If the price tag - or, more specifically, the margins - are right, you could argue that the possibilities are almost endless...

Given the choice, what would you like to see plucked from a back catalogue and returned to a showroom? The Lancia Delta Integrale Evo II? The Audi RS2? The Mk1 Escort Mexico? Or is this stuff best left in the past (or else the classifieds)? As always, share your thoughts below...

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Comments (37) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Corkys 2 days ago

    Problem is that these continuations cannot be driven on the road. No point in a Supra or MX5 having this limiting factor.

    Nice idea though.

  • LotusOmega375D 2 days ago

    I think there are already enough non-original GTOs out there. I would suggest that most of the marque specialists across the globe have had their hands in building at least one of these. Wasn't the one that crashed at Goodwood last September also just a facsimile of the owner's real car? The interior looked all wrong to me.

  • Ryvita 2 days ago

    Corkys said:
    Problem is that these continuations cannot be driven on the road. No point in a Supra or MX5 having this limiting factor.
    That's a good point. But surely then the answer is to look to things that were homologated as racing or rally cars? Then there would be a point in having new stock of them to feed into lower level classic racing and track shenanigans?

    Subaru - Impreza P1
    Toyota - GT-Four ST185 Carlos Sainz
    Audi - Ur-Quattro
    Lancia - Delta Stratos
    Alfa Romeo - Giulia Sprint GT
    BMW - 2002 Turbo
    Ford - RS200
    Lotus - Cortina

    Edited by Ryvita on Wednesday 14th March 11:06

  • 250GTE 2 days ago

    I really can't see the point of a "continuation" GTO or SWB when there are already so many replicas out there.
    These are (sadly, but what's done is done) usually based on 2+2 60's V12 Ferrari and thus can be used on the road.
    A "continuation" car cannot as its a new vehicle that doesn't make current safety or emission regs.
    So its for race or display purposes only.
    Most people who wanted to race classic Ferrari without risking an original could have already bought a replica that is FIA acceptable, and probably have. There will be a few more I'm sure, but for somebody like me who doesn't race he idea of a road usable SWB replica does have appeal, a non road usable GTO or SWB is an expensive chocolate tea pot.

  • thegreenhell 2 days ago

    Corkys said:
    Problem is that these continuations cannot be driven on the road. No point in a Supra or MX5 having this limiting factor.

    Nice idea though.

    Things like the David Brown Mini and JLR Discovery mentioned in the article, as well as things like the Singer 911, are all based on an original donor car that has been restored and modernised, so as to retain the original identity of the donor car, and thus remain road legal.

    This is completely different to what Jaguar and Aston Martin are doing, where they are creating brand new examples of classic models, and have no legal identity as such.

    Also, looking at economies of scale and the manufacturing techniques used to produce modern cars, you couldn't just knock up a few brand new mk1 Golfs or MX5s without them being prohibitively expensive.

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