Cars have been rolling on U.S. roads for more than 100 years, and many auto companies, brands and nameplates have come and gone during that first tumultuous century of world wars, economic development, oil crises, ecological awareness and technological change. So why do certain stalwart vehicles remain popular throughout human and automotive generations? Why do some wheeled wonders not only survive but thrive despite bad economic times, changing tastes, social mores and public opinion? Nameplates such as Suburban, Charger, Mustang and Civic have been around for decades, while others such as Continental, Giulia and NSX disappeared temporarily and then came around again. Although the names have stayed the same, the products have undergone significant changes. Let’s look at some original models and compare them with their current counterparts.
1991 Acura NSX
Original Base Price: $65,000
This mid-engine 2-seat sports car from Honda’s luxury division challenged the exotic sports cars of the day when it went on sale in August 1990. The first production car with an all-aluminum chassis and body, the NSX drew power from a 3.0-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 engine producing 270 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque, mated with a 5-speed manual transmission. The NSX debuted Honda’s Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) system and featured PGM-F1 fuel injection developed in Formula One racing; it was also the first production car to use titanium connecting rods. Hand assembled by a team of special technicians, the NSX was the most expensive Japanese production car ever, costing a cool $65,000. In 1995 the new NSX-T added a removable roof panel and an optional Sequential SportShift automatic transmission. Only 49 copies of the 1999 Alex Zanardi Edition NSX were produced, which featured revised suspension, exclusive interior, exterior styling cues and finished in Formula Red. Production of the original NSX ceased at the end of 2005.
2018 Acura NSX
Current Base Price: $156,000
The 2018 Acura NSX is another groundbreaking car, powered by a Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive drivetrain that combines a mid-mounted twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 engine with three electric motors, melding the latest in hybrid technology with sports car design and performance. While the mid-engine V6 in the original NSX was mounted transversely, the new NSX features a longitudinal twin-turbo V6 combined with a 9-speed dual-clutch transmission and a Direct Drive Motor to provide additional torque. At the front, the Twin Motor Unit incorporates two additional electric motors that drive the front wheels independently, providing active AWD while continuously varying torque to the front wheels to improve performance, stability and response. The twin-turbocharged V6 delivers 500 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque, and total system output including the Direct Drive Motor and the TMU is 573 horsepower and 476 lb-ft of torque.
Alfa Romeo Giulia
Original Base Price: $3,595
The original Alfa Romeo Giulia was a sporty 4-door sedan produced from 1962 to 1978. Founded in Milan, Italy in 1910, Alfa Romeo developed a rich racing history, including five World Championships and 11 European Championships. With the Giulia, Alfa Romeo was one of the first manufacturers to offer a powerful engine in a lightweight 4-door car, creating one of the first sport sedans. The Giulia was a rear-wheel drive sedan, powered by a 90-horsepower 1.6-liter inline 4-cylinder engine with a 5-speed manual transmission. A total of 572,646 Giulias were produced and today the original Alfa Romeo Giulia is highly regarded by Alfa Romeo aficionados, along with the Giulietta Coupe and Convertible of the same era.
2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia
Current Base Price: $37,995
Alfa Romeo’s sport sedan returned to the U.S. market last year, offered in six trim levels ranging from Giulia base to the high-performance Quadrifoglio. The Giulia is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder unit producing 280 horsepower and 306 lb-ft of torque, combined with an 8-speed automatic transmission that shifts in 100 milliseconds. The top-line Giulia Quadrifoglio gets a 2.9-liter bi-turbo V6 engine rated at an impressive 505 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque which is available as low as 2500 rpm, making this the most powerful production car to come from Alfa Romeo. The Quadrifoglio sprints to 60 mph in a mere 3.8 seconds on its way to a top speed of 191 mph. The Giulia Quadrifoglio lapped the famed Nurburgring track in 7:32 — the fastest time ever recorded by a 4-door production sedan.
1975 BMW 3 Series
Original Base Price: $7,900
The first BMW 3 Series rolled off the assembly line in Milbertshofen, Germany, in May of 1975, arriving in North America in 1976 as a 1977 model. Internally known as the E21, the 3 Series in America was only available as a 2-door 320i, powered by a 110-horsepower 2.0-liter engine. More than 1.4 million sales of that first-generation 3 Series were recorded worldwide before the second generation came along in 1983.
2017 BMW 3 Series
Current Base Price: $34,900
More than 40 years later, the 3 Series has become BMW’s best-selling model line with more than 14 million vehicles sold worldwide. Currently in its sixth generation — codenamed F30 — the 3 Series is available as a sedan, wagon and Gran Turismo 4-door hatchback (2-door and convertible models are now named the 4 Series). The entry-level 3 Series is once again named the 320i with a 2.0-liter engine; however, this one puts out 180 horsepower. Unlike that first year of production when there was just one trim available, the current 3 Series can be had with all-wheel drive as well as a variety of engines, including a plug-in hybrid in the 330e as well as a 320-horsepower turbocharged engine in the 340i.
1985 BMW M5
Original Base Price: $47,825 (1988)
In 1979 BMW introduced the M535i with performance features that made it the predecessor to the actual M5 that came to market in Europe in 1985. The first M5 boasts a top speed of 153 mph courtesy of its 3.5-liter inline 6-cylinder engine producing 282 horsepower. Only 2,191 were built, making it one of the rarest M5s. The first generation M5 was only sold in the U.S. for the 1988 model year, powered by a 256-horsepower 3.5-liter double-overhead-cam inline 6-cylinder combined with a 5-speed manual transmission. All 1988 M5s sold in the U.S. were black with a tan leather interior, but black with a black leather interior was available for the Canadian market.
2018 BMW M5
Current Base Price: $102,600
The BMW M5 has come a long way since that initial model, and the ultimate sport sedan legacy continues with the introduction of an all-new 2018 M5. The sixth-generation of this powerful four door is the quickest and most technologically-advanced M5 ever offered. With a 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 engine producing 600 horsepower, the new M5 will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in a mere 3.2 seconds with 124 mph arriving in just over 11 seconds. Top track speed is listed at 189 mph. To help manage all that power, BMW has given the M5 all-wheel drive for the first time. The M xDrive system has been created specifically for the M5, offering three modes: 4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD with no dynamic stability control for those who care to burn a bit more rubber. Bespoke M compound brakes are standard, with M carbon ceramic brakes optional. The 2018 BMW M5 will go on sale in spring 2018; 400 M5 First Editions will be offered worldwide, with 50 available for the U.S. market.
2003 Cadillac CTS
Original Base Price: $30,695
When the CTS went on sale in late 2002 it introduced an all-new design language for Cadillac. It had sharp angles and an all-new grille, as well as vertically-oriented headlights and taillights. Cadillac billed the CTS as a world-class sedan and tested the new 4-door at the famed Nürburgring circuit. CTS was available with a Getrag 5-speed manual transmission as well as a new 220-horsepower V6 engine. The car became the catalyst that spawned the revival of GM’s luxury brand. Over the last 14 years, Cadillac has offered a coupe and a wagon to complement the sedan. The CTS-V was added for 2004 powered by a 400-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 engine with a 6-speed manual transmission.
2018 Cadillac CTS
Current Base Price: $46,495
The third-generation CTS sport sedan came to market for the 2015 model year and received exterior updates last year, including a new grille, new rear fascia, new 17-inch wheel design and new 18-inch V-Sport wheel design. The CTS has high-tech features including 4G LTE connectivity and wireless mobile phone charging. The base engine is a 2.0-liter 272-horsepower turbocharged four cylinder. For insane performance try the all-new CTS-V, which features a carbon fiber hood, Brembo high-performance brakes, magnetic ride control and a 640-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 powerplant — quite an advancement over that original CTS.
1967 Chevrolet Camaro
Original Base Price: $2,466
The original 1967 Camaro hit the streets in 1966 at the height of the muscle car era. Based on the Chevrolet Nova, the front engine, rear-wheel-drive Camaro got rushed to market to compete with the Ford Mustang, which had become an unexpected sales success. The first-year Camaro was offered as both a coupe and a convertible, with a long hood, short rear deck, 2+2 seating and a broad range of engine choices — from inline 6-cylinder units to big-block V8s — to appeal to a wide range of customers.
2018 Chevrolet Camaro
Current Base Price: $27,300
After an eight-year hiatus, Camaro returned to market as a 2010 model with styling cues heavily influenced by the 1969 Camaro. The current generation debuted as a 2016 model with a taut, more sculpted design that makes the new car look lower and wider than previously, with a narrower grille and headlights, as well as deep lines in the door panels that add depth. The Camaro is offered in four trim levels: LS, LT (1LT and 2LT), SS (1SS and 2SS) and ZL1, and all are available as either a coupe or a convertible. Power options range from a 275-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder that is standard for the LS and LT, to the ZL1 which occupies the top rung of the power ladder with a LT4 supercharged 6.2-liter V8 motor producing 650 horsepower, offered with a 6-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic.
1953 Chevrolet Corvette
Original Base Price: $3,498
When Chevrolet introduced the Corvette in 1953, no one could have anticipated how much of an icon this 2-seat sports car would become. Only a few hundred were built that first year, but the car was already special since it was the only American 2-seater on the market at the time, and it utilized a revolutionary new material called fiberglass. The first Corvettes were powered by a rather anemic “Blue Flame” 6-cylinder engine that produced just 150 horsepower. Two years later the Corvette received a more powerful V8 engine — it would never be offered with a 6-cylinder powerplant again.
2018 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Current Base Price: $56,590
The seventh-generation Corvette Stingray debuted as a 2014 model, bringing back the Stingray name in both convertible and coupe form with removable roof panels. The most powerful standard Corvette ever, the new Stingray is powered by 6.2-liter V8 engine producing 455 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. For a higher level of performance, Chevrolet brought back the ZO6, available as either a coupe or a convertible, powered by a 650-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine. The Corvette Grand Sport has also made a return, featuring a track-tuned aerodynamic package and an LT1 V8 engine rated at 460 horsepower with a dry-sump oil system and active exhaust. If more power is still needed, wait until next spring when the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 arrives, boasting 755 horsepower and a top speed exceeding 210 mph.
1935 Chevrolet Suburban Carryall
Original Base Price: $675
After experimenting with fixing a wagon body to a commercial chassis, Chevrolet launched the Suburban Carryall in 1935. With seating for up to eight passengers, the 2-door Suburban could be equipped with side-hinged rear panel doors or a tailgate. Power came from Chevrolet’s “Stovebolt” 6-cylinder engine producing 60 horsepower. Suburban is the oldest continuously-produced nameplate in the industry.
2017 Chevrolet Suburban
Current Base Price: $49,915
An all-new version of the Suburban was introduced for the 2015 model year —80 years after that first Suburban Carryall went on sale. One of the largest SUVs on the market, the 12th-gen Suburban can carry up to nine passengers with plenty of room for cargo. The current Suburban offers a bit more power than those 60 ponies in 1935 — the modern-day version has a 5.3-liter V8 rated at 355 horsepower. For 2017, the Premier replaces LTZ as the top trim level, featuring perforated, leather-trimmed heated and cooled driver and front passenger seats, and available 22-inch wheels. Front active aero shutters improve aerodynamics on the highway, and available options include a hands-free power liftgate, a rear-seat entertainment system and low-speed forward automatic braking.
1955 Chrysler C-300
Original Base Price: $4,100
The Chrysler 300 debuted in 1955 already at the top — the most powerful American car in production. The 300 got its name from the 331-cubic-inch 5.4-liter HEMI “Firepower” V8 that produced 300 horsepower, teamed with Chrysler’s relatively new “Powerflite” fully automatic transmission. This American marvel came with sport suspension, leather seats and was only available as a coupe in black, white or red. The sport coupe could hit 127 mph, setting the Flying Mile record in Daytona for production cars in 1955 — 7 mph faster than any competitor.
2018 Chrysler 300
Current Base Price: $28,995
The Chrysler 300 returned for the 2005 model year as a full-size, rear-wheel-drive powerhouse with a muscular, aggressive design offering both V6 and powerful V8 engines. The 300 has been refined over the years with updated headlights, a bold new grille and new safety and convenience features added for 2015. The 2018 model offers a standard 292-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine or an available 363-horsepower 5.7-liter HEMI V8 powerplant. An advanced all-wheel-drive system is available with both engines and includes an active transfer case and front-axle-disconnect system to improve fuel economy. A new Touring model lowers the entry-level price and features cloth interior and 17-inch aluminum wheels.
1966 Dodge Charger
Original Base Price: $3,120
Making its debut on January 1, 1966, the Charger had a Dodge Coronet chassis but its own body style — the brand’s first fastback, built as a high-speed street racer. The unique design evolved from the Charger II concept car shown a year earlier, featuring hidden headlights and four buckets seats. Standard power came from a 5.2-liter V8 engine with 230 ponies, but a massive optional 426 cubic-inch HEMI engine boasting 425 horsepower and 490 lb-ft of torque really put Charger on the map.
2018 Dodge Charger
Current Base Price: $32,495
The current Charger is a large 4-door sedan with sporty styling and a comfortable, spacious interior. Replete with plenty of high-tech features, Charger is available with an 8.4-inch touchscreen display, electric power steering, pushbutton start and a high-end audio system. And in keeping with Charger tradition, a few powerful engine choices are available, including the R/T Scat Pack with a 485-horsepower 6.4-liter HEMI V8, or the SRT Hellcat with a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 producing a mind-blowing 707 horsepower. With a top speed of 204 mph, the Hellcat is the quickest, fastest and most powerful production sedan in the world. For 2018 Dodge has added the GT AWD which comes standard with 300 horsepower V6 engine.
Fiat 124 Spider
Original Base Price: $3265
The original Fiat 124 Spider debuted at the Turin Auto Show in 1966 and was sold in the U.S. from 1968 through 1985. Considered to be one of the most affordable, mass-produced sports cars of the time, the Fiat 124 Spider was designed by Pininfarina and the design was so successful that the car was not extensively redesigned during its 19-year production run. A 2-seat rear-wheel-drive convertible, the Fiat 124 Spider was powered by a 1438cc twin-cam 4-cylinder engine with a 5-speed manual transmission and 4-wheel disc brakes. The water-tight soft-top could be lowered easily from the driver’s seat and the rear quarter-wipers improved visibility. Nearly 8,000 of the original Fiat 124 Spiders are still registered in the U.S. today.
2018 Fiat 124 Spider
Current Base Price: $24,995
The current Fiat 124 Spider arrived on U.S. shores last year, marking its return after a 30-year absence from the U.S. market. The result of a collaboration between Fiat and Mazda, the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider is based on the Mazda MX-5 Miata, but with Italian styling and Fiat drivetrain, suspension and tuning. The new Fiat 124 Spider was designed in Turin, Italy, and takes styling cues from the original 124 Spider, including the hexagonal upper grille, power domes on the hood and sharp horizontal taillights. The double-wishbone front suspension, multi-link rear suspension and steering are all tuned for a dynamic driving experience. The soft-top can be manually operated from the driver’s seat and stows behind the seats without a tonneau cover. The rear-wheel-drive 124 Spider is available in Classica, Lusso and Abarth versions, powered by Fiat’s 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo 4-cylinder engine that produces 160 horsepower (164 in Abarth) and 184 lb-ft of torque, combined with either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic. The 124 Spider Abarth also includes a sport instrument cluster, leather-trimmed sport seats, a sport steering wheel, performance-tuned suspension, a limited-slip differential, a gunmetal roll bar and 17-inch gunmetal aluminum wheels.
1957 Fiat 500
Original Base Price: 465,000 lire ($256 based on today’s exchange rate)
The Fiat Nuova (new) 500 was designed to develop and revamp Fiat’s product range following the devastation of World War II. The small Cinquecento (Italian for “500”) delivered on its mission to provide efficient, affordable transportation during Italy’s period of rebuilding and economic recovery. Introduced in July of 1957, the 500 was less than 10-feet long and had space for two. The small 2-cylinder engine provided a modest 13 horsepower. But the 500 was just what the public and Fiat needed, and almost 4 million 500s were sold before production ended in 1975.
2017 Fiat 500
Current Base Price: $14,995
Currently sold in more than 80 countries, the modern version of the 500 was launched in 2007 and 2017 marks the 60th anniversary of the original 500. Fiat’s subcompact 500, which combines Italian styling with efficiency and technology, is offered in both coupe and convertible versions, as well as the all-electric 500e, 5-passenger 500L and all-wheel-drive 500X crossover. The 500c convertible features a dual-layer power cloth top complete with wind deflector and an integrated rear spoiler. The 500 and 500c come in three versions: Pop, Lounge and Abarth. Options are no longer grouped in packages so owners can mix and match to personalize their 500c. The Fiat 500c is powered by a 101-horsepower turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir engine with a 5-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic. The 500c Abarth is powered by a 160-horsepower version of the turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir engine, also paired with a 5-speed manual transmission or an optional 6-speed automatic transmission. Fifteen exterior colors and nine interior color combinations are offered.
1948 Ford F-Series
Original Base Price: $900 – $1,500
Ford Motor Company began building trucks back in 1917, and the F-Series debuted as a 1948 model — the first all-new postwar vehicle line for Ford — with a redesigned cab and a new front end. The new trucks offered three new engines, a more comfortable seat and a one-piece windshield. The F-Series came in a wide range of cab and chassis configurations, from the half-ton F-1 through the 3-ton F-8.
2018 Ford F-150
Current Base Price: $27,380
Coming off its 40th year as the truck sales leader in America, the Ford F-150 received a refresh for the 2018 model year. The 2018 Ford F-150 is easily distinguished by its new grille and headlight treatment, as well as a new taillight design. Adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality is now available, as is Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection. Also available is an embedded 4G LTE hotspot that can handle up to 10 devices at a time. Powerplants for the F-150 get an upgrade, and a 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel engine is now available — the first diesel ever offered in an F-150.
Original Price: Unknown
The original Ford GT was a race car designed and engineered with a single purpose — to defeat Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in France. Backed by the full resources of Ford Motor Company, a virtually unlimited budget, proven racing partners and the world’s top drivers, it still took three years to achieve the goal. But in 1966 three Ford GTs swept the podium—finishing first, second and third at the 24 Hours of Le Mans — delivering the victory to Henry Ford II over Enzo Ferrari. At the 2002 Detroit Auto Show, Ford debuted the Ford GT40 concept with a design inspired by the original Ford GT race car, which evolved into the 2005 Ford GT production car. A mid-engine 2-seat sports car, Ford built the GT as part of the company’s 100th Anniversary celebration, powered by a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 engine combined with a 6-speed manual transmission.
2018 Ford GT
Current Base Price: $450,000
To celebration the 50th anniversary of Ford’s 1966 victory at Le Mans, the new Ford GT ultra-high-performance supercar is a showcase for Ford’s application of race technology, use of lightweight materials, aerodynamics and EcoBoost power. The mid-engine 2-seat coupe has the most powerful production EcoBoost engine ever: a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 producing 647 horsepower and 550 lb-ft of torque, combined with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The sleek body incorporates active aerodynamics such as a deployable rear spoiler. and the Ford GT makes extensive use of lightweight materials such as carbon fiber and aluminum. Even before the Ford GT went into production late in 2016, Ford returned to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a Ford GT race car based on the new Ford GT, winning the LMGTE Pro class 50 years after the first Ford GT win.
1965 Ford Mustang
Original Base Price: $2,368
On April 17, 1964, Ford showed its Mustang for the first time at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. The original sales forecast for this new sporty coupe was 100,000 units in the first year. Ford sold that many in just three months. Four different engines were available at launch, ranging from a 170-cubic-inch six cylinder making 101 horsepower to the classic 289 cubic-inch V8 with 271 horsepower.
2018 Ford Mustang
Current Base Price: $25,585
The latest-generation Mustang debuted for 2015 with a lower, wider stance; a lower roof height; wider rear fenders and a wider track. For 2018 the Mustang gets updated styling with a lower hood, wider grille and new front splitter designed to create what Ford calls “a meaner, leaner look.” In addition to the new look, the Mustang GT gets a more powerful 5.0-liter V8, now producing 460 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque, making it the most powerful Mustang GT ever. A new 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission geared to improve responsiveness and performance. Mustang is also equipped with “Drag Strip” mode that keeps the engine in peak torque, delivering a sprint to 60 mph in less than four seconds.
1973 Honda Civic
Original Base Price: $2,250
The oil crisis of 1973 created a sudden, huge demand for fuel-efficient vehicles in the U.S. — and the Civic was the right car at the right time. Honda’s tiny 2-door was very basic, equipped with an AM radio, disc brakes, a heater and reclining bucket seats. The Civic’s 1169-cc engine produced 50 horsepower but could deliver 40 mpg on the highway. A 4-speed manual or a 2-speed “Hondamatic” automatic transmission were available.
2018 Honda Civic
Current Base Price: $18,840
The Civic has changed considerably since 1973, although it’s still best known as a fuel-efficient everyday driver. One of the best-selling passenger cars in America, the tenth generation Civic debuted as a 2016 model in sedan and coupe versions with fresh styling, improved aerodynamics, new vehicle architecture, a more spacious interior and two new engines. Fuel economy is impressive — rated as high as 42 mpg with a new 2.0-liter turbocharged powerplant. Standard features include a 5-inch color LCD screen, a multi-angle rearview camera, a capless fuel filler, and Bluetooth HandsFreeLink and streaming audio. The highly anticipated Civic Type R with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine putting out more than 300 horsepower joined the lineup as the fastest, most powerful production Civic ever sold in America.
1989 Hyundai Sonata
Original Base Price: $10,294
Hyundai had the misfortune of entering the U.S. market at the same time as the Yugo, and while the Korean brand’s offerings were better, the two were often lumped together. Yugo did not last long, but Hyundai persevered and improved the quality of its offerings, introducing the Sonata to the U.S. market in 1988. Fun fact: It’s hard to believe, but the 1989 Sonata was designed by famed Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro. The midsize front-wheel-drive sedan shared a platform with the Mitsubishi Galant.
2018 Hyundai Sonata
Current Base Price: $22,050
Hyundai’s midsize Sonata has come a long way in the last few generations, with huge advances in design, equipment and technology to make it a highly competitive offering. The newest 2018 Sonata debuted at the 2017 New York Auto Show with a bold new front end that features a new “Cascading Grille” that will become a signature look for future Hyundai models. The updated Sonata receives a new rear suspension design and revised steering calibration designed to improve ride, handling and steering response. Sonata 2.0T is powered by a 245-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with a new 8-speed automatic transmission and standard 18-inch alloy wheels shod with Michelin tires. Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert is now standard for all trim levels. The Sonata Sport 2.4L receives a sunroof, leather-bolstered sport seats, dual exhaust and sport steering wheel with paddle shifters. Hyundai Blue Link now talks to Amazon Echo, allowing you to control your car inside your home, or wherever your Amazon device is located.
1945 Jeep CJ-2A
Original Base price: $1,200
While this wasn’t technically the first Wrangler, the CJ-2A was the first civilian Jeep and the resemblance to the current Wrangler is undeniable. Based on the military offering of the time, the CJ-2A featured several items not available on the military Jeep, including a tailgate, side-mounted spare tire, larger headlights and an external fuel cap. The CJ-2A was the first to use the 7-slot grille, a feature that has become a trademark of the modern-day Wrangler.
2018 Jeep Wrangler
Current Base Price:
Tracing its roots back to the original World War II U.S. military vehicle, the 2018 Wrangler stays true to its heritage in design and off-road capability while evolving with new fuel-efficient powertrains, improved on-road dynamics and advanced safety and technology. The 2018 Wrangler retains its 7-slot grille and round headlights, although the grille is taller and wider, and the outer edges now trace around the shape of the headlights, reminiscent of the original Jeep CJ. Both 2-door and 4-door versions are available in Sport, Sport S, Rubicon and Sahara trim levels. The 2018 Wrangler continues to boast advanced off-road capability with two 4-wheel-drive systems and — for the first time — a 2-speed transfer case with full-time 4-wheel drive. Three engines will be available starting with the 285-horsepower 3.6-liter V6, a new 270-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder and 3.0-liter EcoDiesel with 442 lb-ft of torque that will arrive in 2019.
1939 Lincoln Continental
Original Base Price: $1,325
The original Lincoln Continental was a one-off design based on the Lincoln Zephyr for Edsel Ford to drive on vacation in 1939. Interest in the car was high and the Continental went into production in 1939 — mostly cabriolets but a few coupes were also made. Over the years, the Continental name has served different roles, from the top trim level to a base model. In 1956 the Lincoln Continental Mark II launched Continental as a separate division. The Mark II was the most expensive car ever produced by Ford and only lasted for two years, when Continental merged back with Lincoln. Lincoln Continental models were produced from 1958 until the Continental was discontinued after the 2002 model year.
2018 Lincoln Continental
Current Base Price: $45,000
The Continental returned to the Lincoln lineup last year as the flagship of Ford’s luxury brand with a focus on quiet luxury and elegance. The new Continental offers a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that produces 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. The available all-wheel-drive system incorporates Dynamic Torque Vectoring to transfer torque between the rear wheels when cornering for better handling and stability. The focus of the interior is a quiet and relaxing experience for all passengers and offers available Perfect Position seats that can be adjusted up to 30 different ways with heating, cooling and available massage functions. The rear seats offer available adjustable recline, heating, cooling and massage as well. The outside door handles are an interesting and unique design element, moved from the traditional position in the door to the chrome trim below the windows and operated by microprocessor-controlled E-latch electronic door handle that releases the door; an available auto-cinch feature secures the door when closed gently.
1990 Mazda Miata
Original Base Price: $14,000
Twenty-eight years ago, Mazda stunned journalists at the Chicago Auto Show with the surprise introduction of an all-new lightweight roadster. The MX-5 Miata was an immediate hit. Codenamed NA, the Miata offered the fun of a European roadster with the reliability of a Japanese car. Features were quite basic — the only colors available were red, white or blue. The first Miata had a 116-horsepower 1.6-liter engine — an unimpressive number, but due to the car’s light weight and incredible balance it was still a blast to drive.
2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Current Base Price: $24,915
The most successful convertible of all time, the all-new fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata went on sale in summer 2015. Since the launch of the first Miata in 1989, more than 1 million MX-5s have been sold worldwide. New for 2017, the MX-5 RF is a retractable fastback with a power-folding hardtop that can open or close in just 13 seconds. While a power-retractable hardtop was offered for the third-generation MX-5, the new MX-5 RF features a fastback coupe design with cleverly disguised cut lines at the base of the roof that allow the rear section to raise up while the front section and rear window are stowed, then return to position for a different open-top experience. The new MX-5 is approximately 150 pounds lighter than its predecessor, making it lightweight, nimble and fun to drive. The 2017 MX-5 is powered by a 155-horsepower SKYACTIV- G 2.0-liter engine combined with a standard SKYACTIV-MT 6-speed manual transmission.
1960 MINI Cooper
Original Base Price: $1,340
The original Mini Cooper was the brainchild of Alec Issigonis — an engineer with the Morris company — who had the daunting task of designing a small, fuel-efficient but affordable car that could carry four passengers. By pushing the wheels to the corners and turning the engine sideways, Issigonis maximized interior space while at the same time created a car with excellent balance and handling.
2017 MINI Cooper
Current Base Price: $20,950
Considerably larger than the original version, the current MINI is still one of the smallest cars on the market. And like that original, the MINI is still front-wheel drive, fuel efficient and great fun to drive. MINI returned to the U.S. market in 2002 and has sold more than 750,000 cars in that time. Beginning with the MINI Hardtop, MINI has added the Convertible, Clubman and Countryman to the lineup. The MINI Hardtop was redesigned for the 2015 model year followed by the 2016 MINI Convertible. The base MINI coupe or convertible is powered by a turbocharged MINI TwinPower 1.5-liter engine 3-cylinder engine that produces 134 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque, while the Cooper S is powered by a turbocharged MINI TwinPower 2.0-liter engine that produces 189 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard with a 6-speed Steptronic automatic transmission optional.
1970 Datsun 240Z
Original Base Price: $3,500
In the fall of 1969 the first ‘Z’ car was introduced to the American market. The Datsun 240Z (the Nissan name wouldn’t be used in the U.S. until 1981) featured a 2.4-liter engine producing 150 horsepower teamed with a 5-speed manual transmission. Considered advanced for its time, the stylish sports car had 4-wheel independent suspension, magnesium wheels and front disc brakes.
2018 Nissan 370Z
Current Base Price: $29,990
The idea behind the Z car hasn’t changed much from the original, but performance has undoubtedly moved forward. As the name 370Z indicates, the current rendition utilizes a 3.7-liter V6 rated at 332 horsepower, available with either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed automatic transmission. The NISMO version boosts output to 350 horsepower. For 2018 Nissan is offering the 370Z Coupe Heritage Edition that honors the original Z, offered in two exterior colors: Chicane Yellow and Magnetic black, with yellow interior trim. The Chicane Yellow features black mirrors and gloss black graphics and the Magnetic Black includes gloss silver graphics. The 2018 370Z Heritage Edition also features updates that is standard for all 2018 370Z Coupes including new headlights, a new rear combination light treatment, and a new rear fascia paint scheme.
1964 Porsche 911
Original Base Price: $5,500
Designed as a 4-seat replacement for the Porsche 356, the 911 debuted as a prototype at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show. Originally named the 901, the moniker had to be revised to 911 after Peugeot insisted 901 was too similar to their naming convention. On sale for the 1964 model year, the 911 was motivated by an air-cooled 1.9-liter flat 6-cylinder engine making 130 horsepower — enough to give the new sports car a top speed of 131 mph. Within a few years, Porsche introduced the 160-horsepower 911S, as well as the 911 Targa.
2018 Porsche 911
Current Base Price: $91,100
Over the last 50-plus years the iconic 911 has become one of the best sports cars on the planet, offering amazing performance while remaining comfortable and useful as a daily driver. Redesigned for 2017, the current Porsche 911 is longer and lower with a wider front track than the previous model, with new features such as a new rear axle design, new electro-mechanical power steering, Porsche Torque Vectoring, and enhanced Porsche Active Suspension Management. The 911 is offered in multiple configurations of coupe and cabriolet, ranging from the base-level Carrera Coupe with it’s 370-horsepower engine to the extreme 700-horsepower 911 GT3.
1983 Toyota Camry
Original Base Price: $9,698
It was 1983 when Toyota began selling the Camry in America as a replacement for the Corona. Available as a sedan or hatchback, the Camry was equipped with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 92 horsepower. Buyers had a choice of a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. Camry could be had as a DX or LX, the latter equipped with such luxurious features as body-color bumpers, upgraded stereo, intermittent wipers and power-adjustable mirrors.
2018 Toyota Camry
Current Base Price: $23,495
Toyota has completely redesigned the Camry for the 2018 model year with fresh styling inside and out as well as the latest in high-tech safety features and a new lineup of powerful, efficient powertrains. The 8th-generation of the popular sedan, the 2018 Camry is available in a variety of trim levels ranging from the base-level L to the luxurious and powerful XLE V6. This top-level XLE is the first Camry to ever be available with more than 300 horsepower, thanks to its 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine. Camry has been the bestselling passenger car in America for the last 15 years, and is likely to earn that spot again this year.
1958 Toyota Land Cruiser
Original Base Price: $2,930
Originally developed in the early 1950s based on the Willys Jeep, the Land Cruiser was the first motorized vehicle to reach the sixth station on the trail to the summit of Mt. Fuji. Toyota’s iconic off-roader arrived on American shores in 1958 and rapidly became the best-selling Toyota in the U.S. Initially Land Cruiser was available with a soft- or hardtop, and a few years later a Land Cruiser pickup hit the streets.
2018 Toyota Land Cruiser
Current Base Price: $83,665
The current Land Cruiser retains the off-road capability of that first version — enhanced by the latest traction and stability systems. But Land Cruiser has become a fully-featured luxury SUV; in fact, there are no factory options —everything is standard. In addition to its off-road suspension and advanced 4-wheel-drive system, the 8-passenger Land Cruiser features leather seats with multi-stage heating, 4-zone climate control, a cooler box in center console, a high-end audio system with Toyota Entune and several advanced safety features.
1949 Volkswagen Beetle
Original Base Price: $800
The small 2-door rear-engine car first came to market in Germany in 1938, but didn’t arrive in America until 1949 — after WWII. Two Beetles were shipped to New York City (and subsequently sold) by Ben Pon, Sr., the world’s first official Volkswagen importer. Beetle sales were off to a slow start in America, but in 1958 the convertible arrived, boosting interest in the small German car. The original Beetle was sold in America until 1977 when the car no longer met more stringent safety and emissions standards. By the time the original Beetle ended production in 2003, more than 21 million had been built.
2018 Volkswagen Beetle
Current Base Price: $20,220
The contemporary Volkswagen Beetle is designed as a modern interpretation of Volkswagen’s most iconic model. The New Beetle joined the lineup for 1998 and the convertible version was added for the 2003 model year. The Beetle was refreshed last year with a revised exterior with more aggressive front and rear bumpers with chrome accents. For 2018 the Beetle gets a new 2.0-liter turbocharged engine producing 174 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Also added for 2018 is new Beetle Coast which features a unique Deep Sea Teal paint scheme, surfboard wood-look dashpad and “Pepita” houndstooth cloth seating surfaces.