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Even if you don’t quite consider yourself to be a gear head, you likely still have an appreciation for classic cars. Most consumers feel some nostalgia reminiscing about their childhood road trips in the family wagon or remembering the beefy engine sound of Dad’s old muscle car. It’s that nostalgia that automakers are counting on to drive car sales today. Many classic cars are making a comeback with new styles, better technology, and innovative safety features. However, they still represent the old-fashioned brands that consumers loved years ago.

People sure do love their classic cars

A Chevrolet Corvette Stingray model on display at the 2019 Concours d'Elegance
A Chevrolet Corvette Stingray model | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Car and Driver reported metrics suggesting that baby boomers are responsible for today’s classic car collections, with roughly 58% of the five million vehicles still insured being owned by those born between 1946 and 1964. Furthermore, those classic car collections tend to reflect car sales and ongoing generational interest. So, why would so many Americans prefer the outdated tech, rough rides, and hard-to-find parts supplies for these older model beasts?

Drive Tribe says there’s a big difference between an old car and a classic car. A classic car offers a unique experience that makes drivers feel something special. That feeling far outweighs any mechanical or design drawbacks. The nostalgia of driving a 1964 Chevy Corvette or shifting the three-speed on the floor shifter in a 1965 Mustang Convertible surges endorphins for those who love them.

These classic models are making a comeback

Automakers rely on those strong emotional attachments to classic cars, and many are reintroducing fresh takes on old favorites. These five nameplates are making a comeback in a big way, and companies like Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis are hoping the latest renditions inspire ROI they can take to the bank. 

The Ford Bronco, the Ford Ranger, the Chevy Corvette ZR1, the Jeep Gladiator, and the Jeep Grand Wagoneer are all-new takes on classic cars available at dealerships in 2021. The Ford Ranger returns after a hiatus in response to the growing consumer demand for the return of a powerful and fun midsize pickup. Jeep brings back the pickup variation of the Wrangler with the Gladiator, harkening to the Comanche of years past. The Chevy Corvette ZR1 brings back the LT5 that enthusiasts love most. Many are excited to see the “woody” version of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, reminiscent of childhood grocery-getters. Lastly, the Ford Bronco returns in response to the growing population of collectors willing to spend big to buy classic car reinventions.

A blast from the past

Ford spent a lot of attention on resurrecting the Bronco. This 4×4 gem will feature a new style, upgraded tech, serious off-road chops. Logically, the Ford is using the Bronco fame to bring back the Ford Ranger, too. With the Ranger, Ford demonstrates it’s serious about competing in the midsize class with the likes of the Canyon and Colorado. Progressive’s Life Lanes quoted Ford officials, “we heard our customers loud and clear.”

Jeep has always been a niche favorite for top-off, rock-crawling, 4×4 lovers. Bringing back the Jeep Grand Wagoneer and the Jeep Gladiator speaks to a broader audience. Now, families can reap the rewards of four-wheel-drive Jeep fun with the Wagoneer. Furthermore, those looking for a functional midsize pickup can choose the Gladiator to get the off-road fun of a Wrangler fun right along with an economical truck bed. 

The Chevy Corvette has long been a classic car gem. There isn’t an auto auction lane that doesn’t usually feature at least one older Corvette model up for sale. Therefore, it’s no wonder that Chevrolet continues to bring back this iconic sportscar. While the styles and innovations shift with the times, the roaring engine power and pavement chomping prowess remain consistent. The Chevy Corvette ZR1 will surely end up in a few car collections.

Classic cars may satisfy the emotional component of vehicle appreciation. However, consumers do still need today’s efficiencies, tech, and safety. Maybe that’s why these five classic cars are making a comeback, allowing them to scratch both consumer itches. 


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