Terrible Car Designs That Actually Worked | WheelHouse

– Hollywood is endlessly churning out horrible remakes of our
favorite movies ever year. Is the car industry any different? Car enthusiasts are some of the most nostalgic people out there. But when manufacturers started rolling out modern retro-inspired cars in
the late 90s and early 2000s, they got some mixed reviews. Some were actually decent and maintained the essence of the original design. And sometimes it didn’t work out. Actually, a lot of the
time it didn’t work out this whole mess started
out with one ratted-out, corporate baby boomer,
nightmare of a hot rod. The Plymouth Prowler. On paper, this car is legit. It was designed by Chip Foose
as a senior design thesis while he was attending design college. It was a unique car at a
time when American cars were boring clones of each other. Hot rods historically had
a V8, the flathead V8. And Prowlers would have a V8 too, if they hadn’t run into budget issues. Prowlers built after 1997
had an updated aluminum V6, making 253 horsepower,
and 250 and torques. That’s not crazy, but when you consider that the car weighs only 2,800 pounds, that’s what I like to call not bad. They were able to keep the weight down by using an all aluminum construction, which might of actually contributed to it’s demise in the long run. Making a car out of
aluminum is very expensive, especially back in the early 2000s. And after all was said and done, Chrysler didn’t have much money left over for things like the engine,
transmission, and interior. So they went to their parts bin. They used the engine and
four-speed automatic transmission from the 300M, gear lever
from a Dodge Intrepid, the radio from a Durango, and interior parts from a Dodge Caravan. The Prowler went from being
a completely unique roadster to being a vanilla Frankenstein. And they didn’t stop there. Chrysler was like “Hey, “what if we keep doing
this weird hot rod (bleep), “but we carry it over
to a passenger vehicle?” And that’s the genesis for one of the most
hated cars of this era. You already know what I’m talking about. The Chrysler PT, or
Personal Transit Cruiser borrowed the radical arch
grille from the Prowler. The cabin’s design was meant to evoke a 1930s wagon sort of vibe, and it didn’t. PT Cruisers were often seen
with vinyl flames on the side, chrome accents, and wood paneling. Not even a turbo-charged
version with 230 horsepower could make you forget
how goofy this car looked (engine revving) These new hot rods were the exact opposite of the cars they were paying homage to. They were watered down,
underpowered, and corporate. That’s not to say things
didn’t get better though. In 2005, Ford successfully pulled off a retro-futuristic reboot of the Mustang, and saved us from the
somewhat boring SN95. The new design called back to the fastback Mustangs of the 60s, and Ford’s updated engines definitely had some more ‘Stang in them. There were so many
special edition Mustangs of this generation. There was the GT350, the
Super Snake, the Boss 302. But those aren’t my favorite. That honor has to go to the Shelby GT500. I mean, how could you
not fall in love with it? It had a top speed of 202 miles per, and Carroll Shelby himself
had a hand in designing it. Actually he gave final
approval on that last one. And technically, that one
isn’t in the 2005 version. It still had a solid rear end, so that makes it a real Mustang. Am I right? You know what I’m talking about. At the time that it came out, I was the most powerful
production Mustang ever. The supercharged and inter-cooled V8 made 662 pretty evil horses. This thing is a monster,
and if I’m being honest, sometimes I pretend I’m driving this car instead of my Mustang. I guess there’s something to be said about redesigning a classic car, versus trying to make a brand new one look like it’s a classic. Which is what happened with the Prowler. But sometimes a company can screw it up, even if they’re redesigning
one of their classic cars. Which is exactly what happened with one of Ford’s other
cars, the Thunderbird. (upbeat jazz music) Ford debuted the 11th
gen Thunderbird in 2002 after a five year absence. The retro-futurist T-bird
was highly anticipated. But the car took way
too long to be released and it didn’t really live up to the hype. Personally, that thing looks all right. Ford wanted to market the
T-bird to older customers, surprised from the get-go, so
speed wasn’t their concern. Comfort was. Suspension was soft, and it only came with a five-seed automatic transmission. As was the case with the Prowler, the engine in the
Thunderbird wasn’t that bad. This was when Ford owned Jaguar. So it has 3.8 liter Jaguar
V8 pushing 280 ponies. It road on the Ford DEW platform, shared with the Lincoln
LS and Jaguar S-Type. Seems like it could scoot, right? Well, unfortunately, Ford
tuned the Thunderbird for Lazy Sunday cruising
and not for scooting. Although there was a
rumored supercharged version being developed before
production shut down. RIP. Another boomer design
nightmare is the Chevy SSR. Short for Super Sport Roadster,
is a hardtop convertible hot rod truck styled after the advanced design trucks of the 1940s. You know, you want the
utility of a hot rod with the performance of a small truck. Great idea. SSRs were in production from 2003 to 2006. One reason they’ve become a
popular collector car lately is because for the 2006 production year, Chevy started putting LS2s and Tremec six-speed manual
transmissions into the SSR, which is pretty sick to be honest. (engine revving) So I’m gonna move on to a modern redesign that wasn’t a failure at all. The new Beetle. (funky jazz music) The People’s Car has been bought over 21 million times worldwide since they started making them in 1938. Between then and 1979, a span of 41 years, not much changed in the
design of the Beetle. So when VW debuted the Concept One at the 1994 Detroit Auto Show,
people’s minds were blown. The design was futuristic and timeless. They started selling it in the US in 1998. It had a freaking flower
holder on the dash, and I think there was an
option to have flower wheels. But VW also offered some cool trim levels, like the ultra rare Beetle RSI that had all-wheel drive,
race-tuned suspension, and a freaking VR6 making 220 horsepower. That would be freaking dope, dude. (engine revving) one of our editors at Donut here, Bridget, has a sick Beetle R that
has a performance upgrade. Huge Beetle fan, and
her favorite is the GSR, a 210 horsepower version modeled after a racing Beetle from 1973. Freaking sick, I mean
look at those wheels. Look at the little angry eyebrow things. That’s cool. (upbeat pop music) A few other models worth mentioning are the 2008 Dodge Challenger reboot, which we all know and most of us love, despite it’s enormous size. My personal favorite being the
SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody, just the name alone. It also has 797 horsepower. And I’d also like to mention
Chrysler’s Crossfire SRT-6. It’s all right. There were a lot of fails that happened in the early 2000s, but overall, I would consider the
retro-futurist movement to be a pretty cool thing
that happened in car history. Thanks for watching Wheel House. Let me know in the comments what your favorite retro design car is. I want to know. Follow me on Instagram @nolanjsykes. Follow Donut @donutmedia. Hey, if you haven’t subscribed
yet and you like our videos, hit that Subscribe button. It really helps us out. Be nice, see you next time. I got to go work on a car.


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