As much as it boggles my mind, most Americans don’t really want unique, unusual, or special cars. Instead, people revert to the ordinary or the familiar when it’s time to buy a car. Just look at the blandness of the industry’s top sellers.
In the late 90’s, VW took a gamble (based on the reaction to their Concept One show car) and proposed that maybe another way to sell cars was to offer a product that reminds buyers of an automobile that they had owned, admired, or coveted, in the past. For the most part, they were right.
In my opinion, the most significant ‘retro’ car is the one that started the craze. The New Beetle:
Around the same time Ford jumped on the retro bandwagon with mixed results:
One raging success:
Even SUVs got into the mix (this is one of my favorite retro designs):