30 Remodels That Improved on the Classics

a green ford mustang bullitt

We’re not beating up on the classics…actually. I take that back. That’s exactly what we’re going to do today. Classics are great and all, but let’s be honest for a second. After a while, the appearance gets stale, and we get tired of seeing the same old stuff pumped out year after year. Then, brands expect us to buy it just because they slightly changed the body? Nah.

We want something new and fresh, and these remodels show that we have a voice. It takes more than a “fresh coat of paint,” so to speak. These remodels took cars, trucks, and SUVs back to the drawing board to come out with something that truly blew us away. Some models get better and better over the years, and these 30 remodels kept up with what we, as customers, want the most.

1. 1991 Dodge Viper vs. 1996–2002 Dodge Viper

1991 dodge viper

(image via Wikipedia)

What was the 1991 Dodge Viper trying to be? A Mazda Miata? The hood of the Viper was so large that it made you wonder if bigger really was better. Then, the 1992 version came out, and it got even larger, somehow.

2002 dodge viper

(image via Wikipedia)

The Generation II Dodge Viper is where it’s at. It seriously improved the original leaps and bounds, turning it into a fully-fledged, respectable supercar. The side pipes were hidden behind bodywork, they received actual side glass and exterior door handles, and we can’t forget about the boost in horsepower and torque.

2. 1965 Ford Mustang vs. 2020 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500

1965 ford mustang

(image via Wikipedia)

Don’t get us wrong. The classic Mustang was nice even if we ignore the unloved stepchild called the Ford Mustang II. What a disaster, amirite? The OG ‘Stang debuted and 22,000 were purchased by buyers right there on the spot. Honestly, I can see why.

2020 ford mustang

(image via Facebook)

We’ve seen iteration after iteration of the Mustang since it came out in the ‘60s – some better than others. It’s hard to put your finger on just one, but the best is easily the 2020 Shelby GT500. Now, this animal roars in with 760 horsepower, a design that will make the strongest melt, and so much more.

3. Chrysler 300M vs. Chrysler 300C


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When the Chrysler 300M came out, people liked it for a luxury sedan, but it was far too over-priced for what people got. The V6 sounded great, but it wasn’t very responsive, and that made driving the thing feel sluggish like a land-yacht. It sorely needed a redesign.


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This list wouldn’t be complete without the Chrysler 300C. Many consider this model upgrade to be the thing that saved the Chrysler brand. The 300C fixed the sluggish issue by swapping out the engine for a top-of-the-line 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine, which produced a whopping 340 horsepower.

4. 1938 Volkswagen Beetle Type 1 vs. 2019 Volkswagen Beetle

1938 beetle

(Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images)

The classic Volkswagen Beetle wasn’t horrible, but it didn’t have any pizazz. We all loved Herbie (not the remake), but it’s time to put him to rest. The old model was ridiculously antiquated even for 1945. Fun fact: the original 1938 Beetle was designed by Hitler and the Nazis to be a cheap “everybody’s car.”

2019 beetle

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Sadly, the Beetle has been laid to rest (for a second time). Year over year, Volkswagen made improvements for this little scoot-about, but people were more interested in trunk space. The newer one has all the bells and whistles you’d expect including a bigger, better engine and the best tech.

5. 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing” vs. 1963–1971 Mercedes-Benz Pagoda SL

1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL

(image via Wikipedia)

The SL-Class was remarkable when it first hit the market, but you can’t keep doing the same thing without a redesign. It started production in 1954, and by 1989, the “redesigns” were stale. There was only one model in-between that really made the SL-class stand out.

1971 Mercedes-Benz Pagoda SL

(image via Wikipedia)

What we wanted to call out for the Pagoda is that nothing was an afterthought – not like the following and preceding models. Everything was delicately designed with careful lines to make it top-of-the-line. The Pagoda easily goes down as one of the best Mercedes-Benz to ever exist.

6. 1991 Acura NSX vs. 1999 Acura NSX Zanardi

1991 acura nsx

(image via Wikipedia)

One of the most dramatic redesigns of all time has to be the Acura NSX. When the NSX hit the market, everyone loved it. It was powerful and was considered the Ferrari of Japan. However, Acura didn’t keep up with competitors, and the NSX became lackluster.

1999 Acura NSX

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The only one that really stood out among the group was the Zanardi and, boy, did it do that in spades. It was lighter than the original but has a bigger engine than the original. The only problem with the Zanardi? They’re rarer than hen’s teeth.

7. 1966 Chevy Camaro vs. 2017 Camaro ZL1

1966 Chevy Camaro

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The Classic Camaro was great and all, but didn’t it look like a lot of other cars at the time? It didn’t look too unlike a 1967 Chevy Impala. Unless you know your stuff, could you spot the Camaro? Nah.

2017 chevy camaro

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Camaro’s have had upgrades galore, but few are better than the 2017 Camaro ZL1. First, it has the same engine as the Z06 Chevy Corvette – 650 HP, 6.2-liter V8 engine. Looking past the tech upgrades, it also looks like a supercar.

8. B8 Audi A4 vs. B9 Audi A4

B8 Audi A4

The B8 Audi A4 was a fine car, but it wasn’t anything to write home about. It was alright for your everyday drives, as long as you didn’t want anything with pizazz. Audi realized its mistake and came back with a new remodel, the B9 Audi A4.

B9 Audi A4

That was what we signed up to drive. This A4 brings back the fun in driving an Audi, and it can go toe-to-toe with the BMW 3-series. A lot of work obviously went into making it more refined and smoother to drive. It’s also a little larger, but it makes a huge difference.

9. 1966 Fiat 124 Spider vs. 2020 Fiat 124 Spider

1966 Fiat 124

(image via Wikipedia)

The original 1966 Fiat 124 Spider was beautiful. It was designed by Italian carrozzeria factory, and it floored everyone when it was debuted. It was sold as various models from the Spider 2000 to Pininfarina Spidereuropa. All good things come to an end, though.

2020 Fiat 124

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The Fiat 124 Spider cased production in the ‘80s. Thankfully, it was brought back in 2016. Overall, there were some great updates that call back to the original. It’s nimble to handle, fun to drive, and uses underpinnings of the Mazda MX-5 Miata that really stand out.

10. 1987 Jeep Wrangler vs. 2018 Jeep Wrangler

1987 Jeep Wrangler

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The Vintage Jeep was completely jacked. Sure, it was perfect for general-purpose use, but it was pretty ugly. The creators were thinking form over function, but you can tell that thing was made in like seven weeks. The 1987 Jeep Wrangler was great, classic, but it needed some improvements for the general population.

2018 Jeep Wrangler

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Year after year, the Jeep continued to improve itself. When the 2018 Wrangler released, it had so many new features that put all others to shame. The biggest was the zipper-less soft top and an easier fold-flat windshield. Of course, it has plenty of modern upgrades that are a cherry on top.

11. 1989 Mazda Miata vs. 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata

1989 Mazda Miata

(image via Wikipedia)

Miata has experimented with some weird designs over the years, including headlights folding into the hood. Exactly what everyone wants: one headlight stuck in the hood. You’ve seen it—we all have. Since the original Miata came out in 1989, Mazda has had immense success and they put that money back into the model.

2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata

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The 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata is one of the most powerful ever produced. What really made it stand out was the upgrades to the chassis and suspension. It included Bilstein shocks, stronger springs, wider tires, thicker anti-roll bars, and a strut tower brace. It may be from 2004, but it’s still one of the best Miata ever made.

12. 1957 Nissan Skyline vs. 2005 Nissan Skyline GT-R R34

1957 Nissan Skyline

(image via Wikipedia)

Few cars are as iconic as the 1957 Nissan Skyline. It looks like something royalty would drive around in, and in fact, it was called the “Prince Skyline.” Obviously. The only issue is that it didn’t stray too far from the original models in the upcoming years.

2005 Nissan Skyline GT-R

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The best Nissan Skyline is hard to pin down, but we’re going with the R34 in terms of improvements on the original. It has sleek lines, which was something the model sorely needed after years of the same stale appearance. It’s also massively powerful, supporting over 500 horsepower. It makes sense that it had a starring role in the Fast and Furious.

13. 1908 Model T vs. 1927 Model T

1908 ford model t

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The Model T was one of the first vehicles that were available to the public to buy. It was the most influential vehicle of the 20th century, but there were a couple of issues. One of the biggest was the lack of doors, which led to a ridiculous number of deaths.

1927 ford model t

(image via Wikipedia)

Vroom, vroom. If you don’t believe that the 1927 Model T is ten times better than the 1908 version, you need to check yourself. You’re seconds away from wrecking yourself. Improvements? Uh, doors! The 1927 version has doors. That means the rocks won’t kick back and scuff your patent leather shoes. Don’t even get us started on the hardtop. No more tears in the fabric.

14. 1975 Ford F-150 vs. 2015 Ford F-150

1975 Ford F-150

(image via Wikipedia)

The Ford F150 was huge when it hit the market because Ford only offered the F100 and the beefier F250. The middle option was a great idea. To this day the Ford F150 remains one of their best-selling trucks and one of the best-selling trucks in America.

2015 Ford F-150

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The 2015 version made the list because it dropped over 700 pounds! The 2015 Ford F-150 swapped to an aluminum body, which caused it to become 732 pounds lighter. This means the truck could get better performance from gas mileage to speed. Maybe that wasn’t important in 1975, but now, that is a pretty good perk.

15. 1989 Ford Taurus SHO vs. 2010 Ford Taurus SHO

1989 Ford Taurus SHO

(image via Wikipedia)

The Ford Taurus is a good car, so the SHO was sure to be a hit. Nope. The “Super High Output” sedan was a high-performance variant with a V8 engine. It was a bust at first. So that’s when Ford went back to the drawing board.

2010 Ford Taurus SHO

(image via Wikipedia)

The best one so far is easily the 2010 Ford Taurus SHO. That model later won “Car of the Year” by Esquire. It had the same powertrain as before but got some unique additions like the seating, side cladding, dual exhaust, and rear bumper. Appearances mean a lot!

16. 1998 Lincoln Navigator vs. 2015 Lincoln Navigator

1998 Lincoln Navigator

(image via Wikipedia)

When the Lincoln Navigator came out, it was designed to be a luxury Ford Expedition. It easily has the greatest cargo capacity of any other Lincoln, making it an instant hit. The only issue is that the Cadillac Escalade was better and sold more. A few more upgrades would put the Lincoln Navigator on the map.

2015 Lincoln Navigator

(image via Wikipedia)

Being a copy-paste of the Ford Expedition worked well enough, but people got bored after a decade. So, Lincoln decided to do a little refresh, and the 2015 model was born.  The Cadillac Escalade consistently outsold it, so Lincoln took a few “tips” from them. Luxury tech became standard, and the body got a few upgrades here and there. It was subtle, but it definitely improved the brand.

17. 1966 Toyota Corolla vs. 2018 E210 Toyota Corolla

1966 toyota corolla

(image via Wikipedia)

Everyone knows Toyota Corolla’s are reliable – that’s no surprise. The first generation was pretty remarkable, but it was simple. There weren’t a ton of luxurious additions, so there has been plenty of room for improvement.

2018 Toyota Corolla

(image via Wikipedia)

The new Corolla’s are really, really good. It’s available in a variety of models including hatchback and sedan. Because of all the upgrades, this car became one of the best-selling passenger vehicles in the world. As Toyota explores new fuel markets, it’s possible to get hybrid models and flex-fuel.

18. 2004 Porsche 911 997 vs. 2009 Porsche 997.2

2004 Porsche 911 997

(image via Wikipedia)

The 996 was a disaster. Porsche made some changes, and it didn’t pan out, so they came out with the 2004 911 997. The strange part is that designers were working on the body style in 1998, so after this long, it had to be good, right?

2009 Porsche 997.2

(image via Wikipedia)

The first generation was certainly better than the 996, but obvious improvements needed to be completed. The second generation was what people really wanted. The 997.2 had a facelift and featured changes like a new engine with direct fuel injection, a revised suspension system, redesigned PCM system with touchscreen and Bluetooth, and so much more. Pricing increased, but this was to be expected.

19. 2000 Ford Escape vs. 2017 Ford Escape

2000 Ford Escape

(image via Wikipedia)

The Ford Escape came out in 2000 and was a joint project between Ford and Mazda. Weird, right? Mazda released the Tribute, but the two were very similar (almost identical). Over the years, it became more separated from Mazda, mostly because the markets were totally different.

2017 Ford Escape

(Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

We have to admit that recent Ford Escapes are looking pretty sharp, and that’s all thanks to the 2013 remodel. Before this, the Ford Escape was getting boring. The boxy shape was fading out of style and made it look old and dated. Thanks to this change, Ford Escape sales have continued to outpace competitors. The best is the 2017 Ford Escape. The price point for the number of features is pure quality.

20. 1994 BMW M3 vs. BMW M3 E46

1994 BMW M3

(image via Wikipedia)

The European E36-generation of the BMW M3 wasn’t the same as the one that hit the market in the US. The one we got was less powerful (basically neutered), which honestly wasn’t the M3 we all wanted. That didn’t sit well with consumers, so it needed some upgrades.

BMW M3 E46

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Thankfully, BMW realized its mistake and created the E46. It brought life back into the M3 and gave us a quick-revving straight-six with over 330 horsepower. It’s one of the best M cars ever made, without a doubt.

21. 2010 Porsche Panamera vs. 2017 Porsche Panamera

2010 Porsche Panamera

(Jin Lee/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

The first-generation Panamera had an incredibly smooth ride, but its appearance? Well, it wasn’t up to par. It was shaped weird and even looked awkward at some angles. In 2013, it got a bit of a facelift, which helped a bit. Thankfully, Porsche decided to go with a full-on redesign for the second generation.

2017 Porsche Panamera


When the second generation came along, it fixed all those odd little errors. The 2017 Porsche Panamera blew everyone away. Thankfully, Porsche got rid of those odd trims, too. The last thing you want from your sports car is a hatchback design. Who honestly thought that was a good idea?

22. 2005 Aston Martin V8 Vantage vs. 2007–2012 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

2005 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

(Bruno Vincent/Getty Image News/Getty Images)

The Aston Martin Virage was supposed to be a replacement for its V8 models. The only problem is that it was uninspired. It looked like it was thrown together at the last minute with simple ideas we’d seen a million times. So, Aston Martin went back to the drawing board and came out with the Vantage. We wouldn’t have the Vantage if it weren’t for the Virage, and the former definitely out-performed its predecessor.

2012 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

(image via Wikipedia)

The first generation, unfortunately, had a lot of issues. The second generation came along and fixed all those problems, offering more bang for your buck. The best years are the 2009 and 2010 models, which give a great bump in performance. It was seriously lacking here before. Overall, Aston Martin really did a great job improving on the first generation.

23. 1963 Maserati Quattroporte vs. 2003–2012 Maserati Quattroporte

1963 Maserati Quattroporte

(image via Wikipedia)

When the Quattroporte first made its way to the market, it was extremely expensive. It was built like other Italian cars that had come out in the ’60s. Maserati realized it might have been a little too expensive, so they began making it cheaper (which made it uglier). The 1999-2001 model looked like your average sedan.

2012 Maserati Quattroporte

(image via Wikipedia)

Finally, the fifth generation came along to save the day. It improved on everything from the body to the engine, showing that Maserati was still a competitor to pay attention to. It started to actually look like the luxury people wanted. Naturally, there were other revisions that really helped boost the power and performance, making it demand respect rather than politely ask.

24. 1984–1989 Toyota MR2 SW20 vs. 1989–1999 Toyota MR2 SW20

1989 Toyota MR2 SW20

(image via Wikipedia)

The first MR2 that released on the market was small. It was built to be a sports car, which is great, but it didn’t have much in terms of an everyday livable vehicle. Racecar driving is great, but it isn’t everything to a car. So, Toyota was forced to change it up.

1999 Toyota MR2 SW20

(image via Wikipedia)

The second-generation SW20 was much better. The interior was larger, making it more livable, and it also had more amenities. Sports car plus everyday car equals success. The only unfortunate part was that America had to wait until the early ‘90s to get the upgraded model.

25. Chevrolet Corvette C4 and C5 vs. Chevrolet Corvette C8

Chevrolet Corvette C4 and C5

(images via Wikipedia)

The C5 was just a weird addition to the Corvette lineup. Sure, it was an improvement on the C4 in some ways, but we’re about to drag on those headlights again. The pop-up headlights never looked right on a Corvette, but that’s the least of our complaints.

corvette c8 design

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The C8 is a radical redesign from the ground up. It’s not just a bunch of cosmetic changes. The Corvette C8 is now a mid-engine design, meaning the engine sits behind the driver and the “trunk” is under the hood. The entire package truly looks like a racecar with its angular lines and low-slung appearance. Plus, the performance numbers the new C8 put up surprised even its own engineers, making it the fastest ‘Vette ever!

26. 2003 Cadillac CTS vs. 2015 Cadillac CTS

2003 Cadillac CTS

(image via Wikipedia)

When the Cadillac CTS hit the market, it was an odd size. It was too big to be called a small sedan but too small to be midsized. The ’03 CTS was in a weird limbo until Cadillac improved by creating the second generation.

2015 cadillac cts

(image via Wikipedia)

It got bigger, embracing the size, and was bumped up to the midsize category, giving it new engines and a gorgeous new design. With that, we lost the coupe and wagon, but oh well. The CTS had enough to offer to keep us happy. The 2019 CTS deserves its praise, but the one we think is near perfection? The 2015 Cadillac CTS.

27. 1987 Toyota Supra vs. 2020 Toyota Supra

1987 Toyota Supra

(image via Wikipedia)

The Supra obviously got its inspiration from the Toyota Celica, except it was longer and wider. Basically, why bother with it rather than the Celica? It took two more generations before the Supra had promise, and even longer after that before it became a decent buy.

2020 Toyota Supra

(image via Wikipedia)

By the fourth generation, the Supra had peaked. By the fourth try, the Supra was a speed demon and became one of the most modded JDM cars. When the newer ones came along, Toyota knew what fans wanted, and they could actually deliver.

28. 1972 Honda Civic vs. 2019 Honda Civic

1972 Honda Civic

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The Honda Civic fell into the same rut as the Toyota Corolla. It’s been around since 1972, and it’s been through tons of different sizes and shapes. The market favors a larger car, so the Civic followed suit, but it began to look and feel cheap.

2019 Honda Civic

(image via Wikipedia)

The 2016 Honda Civic redesign put Honda back on the market as one of the kings the compact car. Then, 2019 really gave it upgrades that consumers wanted out of a smaller sedan. It got a reboot that made it fun to drive thanks to new tech and a variety of trims.

29. Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG vs. Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG

Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG

(image via Wikipedia)

The C55 is a great classic car, although it’s been mostly forgotten. It had good performance at the time and was pretty understated, but there were obvious improvements to be made. The C55 didn’t have more power than others on the market, but it did have a big V8 torque. It was reliable, but that wasn’t hard when the engine wasn’t supercharged or turbocharged.

Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG

(image via Facebook)

The C55 was a good car, but can we talk about the C63 AMG? Sure, they both had naturally aspirated V8s, but the 6.2 liter was one of the best ever. It became an instant classic, making it one of the best redesigns in history. The C63 AMG also had improvements to the chassis dynamics and braking. The C55 may be more powerful, but the C63 had much more to offer.

30. McLaren MP4-12C vs. McLaren 650S

McLaren MP4-12C

(image via Wikipedia)

The McLaren MP4-12C was a great car, especially for McLaren’s first effort. The only problem was that it was very clearly made for a track and not for everyday drives on the street. McLaren listened to these complaints and came back with the 650S.

McLaren 6505

(image via Wikipedia)

The McLaren 650S had the same aggressive speed but improved on steering and calmed things down a little. It was like the 12C grew up and became more refined. The 650S can still go fast—having a top speed of 207 mph—but it isn’t all about speed. It added conveniences people asked for, and it sold like hotcakes in response.