Old-fashioned is starting to come back in style. Home design, fashion and even cars are all getting injections of old-school style. Everything seems to be ‘retro’ now, with new products being designed to be throwbacks of old products. It’s an ever-increasing trend in almost every corner of the market today and it’s not only hipsters anymore. It’s even starting to creep into the automotive field, with automakers trying to evoke the spirit of the past like never before. Cars like the BMW M2 and Porsche 911 R are two examples, even at very different price points. So are we finally starting to see the return of the old-school Driver’s Car?
I think so. Or maybe it’s just my blind hope, as things were previously getting bleak for the enthusiast.
For about the past decade or so, car manufacturers have been obsessed with technology. The more gizmos and gadgets that can impress naive customers on showroom floors, the better. That’s primarily been the motto of almost all automakers these days. Have you seen the Chevy commercials where seemingly real consumers, and totally not actors, are being shown useless features from some hipster-bearded know-it-all? One of the “consumers” claims that the Chevy Malibu has more features than his Audi. Maybe so. However, they never once drive the damn thing, in any of the ads. And don’t even get me started on Nissan’s “NASA-inspired” Zero-Gravity seats. For the past few years it’s just been about which company can produce the most ridiculously-name gimmicks that will attract simple-minded customers. It’s the sort of stuff that makes car enthusiasts rage. However, it seems as if that trend is starting to turn around and automakers are actually listening to the growing number of us enthusiasts.
BMW created the M2 recently, a car that is refreshingly devoid of useless gizmos. Porsche has just released the 911 R, which has almost none of the modern day acronym-heavy features that Porsche offers and it was sold out in moments. Alfa Romeo had the balls to sell its 4C in America, despite the fact that most Americans can’t even fit in it, never mind enjoy a Starbucks non-fat pumpkin spice latte in it. Hell, Audi just announced it would be bringing a manual back to its A4 in America. A manual, in a modern-day Audi. Madness. Even Chevy, who makes those aggravating Malibu commercials, has turned the Camaro into a proper driver’s car, instead of the sloppy pig it used to be. It’s so exciting, it seems to good to be true.
It seems as if the actual act of driving is again becoming increasingly popular and it’s showing. Obviously, technology will continue to remain at the forefront of our industry, with electric cars and autonomous cars becoming the next big thing. However, just as crossovers were the new big niche a decade ago, it seems as if proper driver’s cars are going to be that next big niche market.
Everyone loves retro and, especially with the way the world seems to be getting a bit out of control lately, people are wanting for the old times again, simpler times. It’s showing in so many aspects of the consumer market and the automotive market it starting to show it as well. Hopefully, the trend continues and we get more cars like the M2 and 911 R, driver’s cars that are unabashedly simple and fun.