What If? How Today’s Cars Might Have Looked in the Past

My son Ed sent me a link to a terrific set of What If renderings by Ruben Ooms that were posted at Autocar. It’s perfect for CC, given how we tend to live in the past here. And how better to enjoy 1972 than with a brand-new Porsche 999. It’s exactly what every Porsche enthusiast (or his wife) wanted back then, complete with air cooled boxer six in the back.  The high end version was called “Cayenne”, just as the top-end 911 was the Carrera.

Toyota’s response to the first energy crisis, the 1977 Prius, was a bit hampered by its lead-acid batteries, but for the times it was clearly…ahead of them. As well as with the times, such as the louvered rear window cover and body side graphics, in green, of course.

The 1979 Range Rover Evoque picked up where some earlier efforts at a sporty 4×4 “coupes” in the US had left off, like the dressed up versions of the Scout and Jeep. But Range Rover took it a whole lot further, as can be seen. It soon came to be known as the “Chelsea Sport Tractor”.

Although Peugeot was generally quite conservative back in the day, in 1955 they stepped out of their comfort zone with the 1007. A very advanced city car, it featured an upright body, a huge panoramic windshield, and most unusually, a sliding door. Unfortunately the windshield turned out to be more expensive than the price of a complete Citroen 2CV, so the 1007 was priced out of the market.

As we all know, electric cars were once the best selling kind in the early days of the industry. Henry Ford even had to buy a Detroit Electric for his wife Clara, as she wouldn’t drive (or start) a Model T. In this alternate universe, electric cars continued to stay popular right through the 30s, and the most ambitious was this 1936 Model S. It even featured a primitive electronic screen to display all the vital information; in black and white, of course.

Taking the electric alternative universe even further, here’s BMW’s 1956 I8 getting a charge. We”ll have to use our imaginations as to the capability of its batteries, but that’s a commodity never in short supply on this website.

How about a more attractive and fashionable alternative to the bizarre Citroen Ami 6? The 1962 Cactus features the latest fashionable fabrics on its sides and rear, although the year 1962 might be a bit ahead of the look shown here. looks more like 1966 to me.

The 1960 Alfa Romeo Mito TI imagines the company building a red-blooded version of the British Mini, but with a hot DOHC engine, 5 speed, and a few other attributes.

Here we see what Audi would have done in 1980 in response to BMW’s M1.

In response to the huge success of the VW, in 1955 Mercedes launched their new 119. Finally breaking with the traditional upright radiator shell, the 119 borrows the grille from the Mercedes L319 van/minibus, and introduces a compact tall body with maximum space utilization, a direct predecessor to the more recent A Class.

The 1965 Dodge Viper marked Chrysler’s bold Corvette competitor, something that Virgil Exner had long championed. But it wasn’t until his departure that Chrysler stylists used the Viper to set a new stylistic direction, but it still seems to include some of Exner’s favorite things, like the classic grille. Not “toilet seat” on the deck lid, though; Chrysler had moved on. And the Viper moved on, thanks to the new 426 Hemi under the hood. Take that, Corvette!