Categories: Business

What Makes A Long-Lived Model Iconic?

A cherry Ford Mustang or the Miata are more than just vehicles that take you from one place to the next. Some models never die off, even when the manufacturer puts them out of service. Forty years later, they show back up on the market, updated but with similar design features. Something about each car makes it interesting enough to endure the years. What makes a classic chasse?

It’s the Look
The way a car looks is the first thing anyone notices. The smooth lines of a Porsche make it iconic. The mark of a stallion brings out the individualism of the Mustang. It is the designer’s original concept that creates the look people dream of owning. The appearance doesn’t necessarily have to be beautiful. Eclectic drives the imagination just as well as grace. The first VW Bug is proof of that fact. Not a pretty car, but the Bug made a style statement that screamed cool.

It’s the Build
The structure of a car matters. The Volkswagen defined unconventional. The construction boasts a rear wheel drive and a horizontally opposed engine that sits in the back. Trunk storage lies is in the front of the car. Time and technology only expand on the concept that makes this model iconic. Today’s VWs have a water-cooled system to improve environmental and power performance. The build made the VW stand out and technology sustains the modern appeal.

It’s in the Marketing
Marketing creates an image in the mind that stays there. Chevy brags about reliability and Made-In-America patriotism while Izuzu uses comedy to get you to “trust them.” Sometimes the model is memorable because of the star attached to it. James Dean brought the Porsche Spyder to the forefront. James Bond made everyone want an Austin Martin. Even songs can lead to memories. Buick Regal created a name for itself with Bo Didley’s “I’m a Man.”

It’s in the Muscle
For some reason, muscle cars just stick. Not only do they stay popular, they evolve. Muscle cars started out as two-door coops with big engines like the Pontiac GTO. Americans have turned hot rods into an industry born out of the need for speed. Modern day muscle comes in many forms. The classics still exist like the Chevy Camero or the Ford Mustang, but even bigger cars are adding some muscle. The Mercury Marquis and Chevy Impala SS were part of the revival of muscle cars in the 1990s. Big V8 engines in trucks like the El Camino helped perpetuate the image.

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No one factor creates iconic appeal; it is a combination of things. It boils down to distinction and reputation more then anything else – that plus a little luck. One thing car manufacturers have figured out is if it works, keep it going. Classic cars are the new black in the automotive industry. The GTO, VW and Mustang are proof that iconic comes back.


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