Prior Convictions: Back to the Future

News has reached PH towers of the launch of FCA Heritage, "a world of stories, events and services" surrounding old Alfa Romeos, Fiats, Lancias and Abarths.

Offering cars "reloaded by creators", then, which I think means 'rebuilt by mechanics, but near the factory', it is FCA digging into the back catalogue, restoring old cars, selling them to you, and creating some events around them. 

It is a place where, right now, you can buy an immaculately restored Alfa Romeo SZ. Which, given the wherewithal, is something I would do immediately.

It's happening because heritage is modern. Old is the new, er, new. Nostalgia, quite literally, ain't what it used to be: it is one of the biggest growth areas in the business.

FCA's venture, see, comes on the back of lots of other announcements. Jaguar says it'll make a series of D-Type Continuations. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity Jag said, with no apparent irony, about its third Continuation model in four years.

At the upcoming Geneva Motor Show David Brown Automotive, whose projects have so far involved recreating Minis and that weird Speedback GT thing, will launch another car. 

And so too will Manifattura Automobile Torino, who seem to have finally been given permission, from whoever they needed it from, to build 25 Lancia Stratos-esque cars underpinned by V8 Ferrari mechanicals.

Those are only this week's announcements. Aston Martin has been in on it too, Zagato also, while unofficially there are companies like Icon with 4x4s, Singer with Porsche 911s, and dozens of tuners, retailers and event-owners making classics a growth industry like never before, comfort-feeding our apparent unending fascination with the old-but-not-old. It's like some kind of automotive mid-life crisis, as we regress to avoid the muffin tops and lethargy brought to us by crash structures and emissions regulations.

All of which is fine, I suppose. Lovely, even. But is it right? Or does it stunt interesting new areas of the business because all of the interesting things are in the old section? 

Perhaps it is the car business moving as the horse business did more than a century ago, to become less about business, and more about leisure. I suppose we'll see, but I'd be surprised if it is a trend that goes away. There's little new in cinema. There are only seven basic plots in fiction. Today I will drink tea just like I did when I was twelve. Should we really be surprised that cars mirror life?



[Source: Autocar]


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Comments (26) Join the discussion on the forum

  • theholygrail 09 Feb 2018

    The Lancia Stratos thingy cloud9

  • Dale487 09 Feb 2018

    Jay Leno stated that the car saved the horse, it became a toy not a work animal and that the electric car will do the same for the petrol car - if its going to be a toy, why not have a classic/re-imagined or reproduced car?

  • RedAndy 09 Feb 2018

    theholygrail said:
    The Lancia Stratos thingy cloud9
    a tweak/bodykit and bigger tail lamps on a Lotus Evora and it's yours...

  • JeremyH5 09 Feb 2018

    I don’t think it stunts other development at all, it isn’t setting out to be mainstream, just the industry exploiting another niche product area.
    And very welcome it is.

  • anotherGreasyNut 09 Feb 2018

    I remember visiting an international scool in Regents Park or Hyde Park in London around 2006 and a student had make a 'homage' to the Lancia.

    Dull piece in many ways IMO crumple zones and emmissions both can be dealt with to a fair degree with a cage and a well tuned engine, how about things like the interior I doubt much of that would meet current regulations.

    A pal uses a BMW '02 as his daily it has a boot that will hold an engine and gearbox or two, never in 8 years as it broken down, gets mid 30's mpg partly down to the 5 speed box. Oh and no tax, congestion charge or Dart bridge tax either.

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