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Home > car news > 5 great cars that have come back from the dead

5 great cars that have come back from the dead

Just when they thought it was safe to go back in the showroom, these cars rose from the grave to terrorise all who faced the already-difficult decision of choosing a car to buy.

They were resurrected with good reason, of course; you can't keep a good model down for too long. Cars, like clothes, can come in and out of fashion, often leading to a decline in sales and the cancellation of production. But it was only a matter of time before these models came back from the dead...

Volkswagen Beetle (A5)


After an incredibly successful decade in the 1960s, the VW Beetle started to feel the pinch from new designs out of Japan and the US. Volkswagen found itself in something of a financial crisis by 1974, after several attempts to replace the Beetle were unsuccessful. Superminis from Europe were 'in', and the Beetle, sadly, dropped off the radar.

A new concept version was developed in 1994, leading to a rebirth in 1998 with the production of the New Beetle. That design, however, would only last for 13 years before being laid to rest once more. Unfortunately, it never even came close to the success of the original.

But the Beetle refused to be stepped on. In 2012, the New Beetle's successor - the "NEW New Beetle", if you will - was launched, baring a strong resemblance to the original Type 1 Beetle's shape, albeit with a lower profile. The convertible version arrived in 2013, and the R-Line performance version closely followed. Will the New Beetle deservedly flourish the second time around? Only time will tell.

Fiat 500


Everyone loves a birthday - especially a milestone like a 50th. In 2007, for the 50th anniversary of Fiat's Nuova 500, the Italian manufacturers gave us one heck of an amazing present - the new Fiat 500.

Production of the original city car was stopped in 1975 after a very successful 18-year run in Europe. It rested in peace for another 32 years before finally coming back to life, and the new model - complete with a retro style akin to the New Beetle - has proved very popular. Even though sales are still going well, Fiat released images for an all-new 500 design due on sale in 2016, with a modern interior including a large touchscreen to replace buttons.

Although it has a big challenge ahead if it's to outdo the current 500's success, it's great to know that this car won't be killed off any time soon.

Volkswagen Scirocco


It took 16 years for someone to chant the magic spell that would bring the Volkswagen Scirocco back to life ("I want a VW sport compact coupe! I WANT A VW SPORT COMPACT COUPE!"), but chant it they did. In 2008, the German manufacturer brought another model back to life, and it certainly isn't a decision they've regretted.

The new Type 3 Scirocco won "Car of the Year 2008" in Top Gear magazine, while the R model (released a year later) is also doing well. Just a couple of weeks ago, the Scirocco was named What Car? Magazine's used coupe of the year.

First deliveries of the revised model are being rolled out as we type. It has bespoke bumpers, 19-inch 'Cadiz' alloy wheels and a new-look dashboard. It may have come back from the dead, but the Volkswagen Scirocco looks more superhero than zombie.

Chevrolet Camaro


While it was only technically "dead" for less than a decade, it was still far too long to go without a new Camaro model. Chevrolet kept busy during the seven years following the end of production in 2002 while we in mourning, but in 2009 the good news came; the nameplate was being revived.

The fifth generation Camaro had a completely new design and platform; there was a unique spoiler, 20-inch dark grey wheels, and a 6-speed manual. It went on to be named the 'World Car Design of the Year' at the World Car of the Year awards.

A convertible model entered production in 2011, and an upgraded version came out this year with a slimmer grille. The Camaro model might now be 48 years old, but all that matters is how old you feel. The Camaro has the conviction and agility of a youngster.

Bristol Cars


It was a sad day in March 2011 when Bristol Cars went into administration. As the last remaining descendant of the Bristol Aeroplane Company, one of the most important British aviation companies which could once boast to having up to 50,000 employees, this was a hand-built luxury car company with a proud heritage. It was a shame to see it pass away.

But yay! It was bought little more than a month later by Kamkorp. Bristol hasn't produced a new car since the 2003 Fighter, but the exciting news it that a new model is being developed - predicted to launch in 2015. It has been coined 'Project Pinnacle' and is said to be an electric grand tourer. We can't wait.

While a zombie invasion might be cause to panic, there's no need to worry about cars coming back from the dead. Most of the time they look and drive better than ever.