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Top 10 car homages that don’t exist

  1. For the last quarter of a million years, we’ve been coming up with stuff: fire, religion, polo necks, that sort of thing.

    So it’s understandable that, after all this time, new ideas are a little hard to come by. Which is why we often forgive automakers for leaning on their old cars to promote their new ones.

    Which is precisely what Audi’s done with this very fast, very blue RS4 Avant tribute to the Avant RS2. It celebrates the latter’s 20th anniversary, it’s painted in the same Nagaro blue, has the same Very Blue interior, and there’s similar high-gloss black detailing outside plus a twin-oval exhaust tip. Just like the old one.

    We like it. But we think it’s a tad…. noncommittal. Where are the five-spokes? Where’s the bee-sting aerial? And funny little red bit connecting the rear lights?

    But instead of whingeing, we’ve come up with 10 ideas for alternative homage special editions. Build them, carmakers. You know you want to.

    No doubt we’ve missed plenty. What would be your perfect new-car old-car homage? Suggestions below please…

  2. The tribute car: BMW 235i

    The car its tributing: 
    BMW 2002 Turbo

    The 2002 Turbo was Europe’s first turbocharged production car. BMW didn’t want this fact to go unnoticed, so decorated its front bumper with the word TURBO written backwards so it was readable in the rear-view mirror of whatever it was tailgating. We need more of this ‘absurd excessiveness’. Which, incidentally, are the exact words one German SDP politician used to describe it when it was new. And that’s, plainly, brilliant.

    What the 235i Tribute Turbo needs:
    - Massive backwards Turbo stickers
    - Bolt-on wheel arches
    - Ducktail spoiler
    - Black-centred steel wheels
    - Absolutely no power until 4,000rpm

  3. The tribute car: Mercedes E63

    The car its tributing:
    Mercedes 300 E AMG “Hammer”

    More Eighties than Tom Selleck bumping INXS on a BASF 90, the deliciously German 375bhp, 407lb ft 300 E AMG Hammer was a proper supercar killer in its day (1986, fact fans). You have two years till the 30th anniversary, Mercedes.

    What the E63 Hammer needs:
    - AMG five-spoke split-rim wheels
    - Tyres with some sidewall
    - Black leather seats with controls inconveniently located on the inside bolster
    - Walnut, not carbon
    - One of those awful four-spoke AMG steering wheels
    - Pre-loaded Peter Gabriel and Human League MP3s

  4. The tribute car: Nissan GT-R

    The car it’s tributing:
    Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

    Launched in 1969, the C10 GT-R was the first proper, mass-produced hot Skyline. It got an S20 engine, which descended from the thoroughbred R380 racer’s GR8 unit - a high-performance DOHC 24-valver. It could hit 124mph and cover 400m from a standing start in 16.1 seconds. A proper legend that began the Skyline legacy.

    What the GT-R Skyline needs:
    - Black steel wheels
    - Mirrors mounted on the wing
    - Bolt-on rear arches
    - Ducktail spoiler

  5. The tribute car: Citroen DS3

    The car it’s tributing:
    Citroen Mehari

    It was effectively a Dyane (which was effectively a 2CV) without any bodywork. Instead, Citroen fitted corrugated plastic panels, which dropped its mass to 570kg. You could argue the Cactus is kind of its successor, but it’s still not quite enough. Or, rather, still too much…

    What the DS3 needs:
    - Some of the Cactus’ plastic panels
    - The roof off
    - The doors off
    - Actually, most of it off

  6. The tribute car: Fiat 500e

    The car it’s tributing:
    Fiat 500 Jolly Ghia

    The original Jolly was essentially a Fiat 500 built by Ghia to look like a fairground ride of a Fiat 500. The roof was made from an awning, the seats were made from the 19th century, it cost twice as much as a standard 500, and was generally employed ferrying extremely rich people from betwixt superyacht and chino vendor. A concept for the very car we’re after was created by Castagna, but we still want an official Fiat version.

    What the Fiat 500 Jolly needs:
    - Wicker seats
    - Awning roof
    - Whitewall tyres
    - Chrome hubcaps
    - Accompanying superyacht

  7. The tribute car: Toyota GT86

    The car it’s tributing:
    Toyota AE86

    The AE86 generation were made up of a Corolla Levin and Sprinter Trueno, and if Jeremy’s not already taught you, spurred Toyota to borrow some of the nomenclature’s equity for the GT86 - a similarly drifty, rear-wheel drive coupe. So why they hell hasn’t Toyota made a special to drive the point home?

    What the Toyota GT86 AE needs:
    - Two-tone black/white paint
    - Stickers on the bottom of the door that state number of cams, number of valves, and an inexplicable combination of letters
    - Stickers on the boot that say APEX, GTV, and DOHC
    - Pop-up headlights
    - Squidgy black rear spoiler

  8. The tribute car: Jeep Grand Cherokee

    The car it’s tributing:
    Jeep Wagoneer

    From the Griswold era of family luxe, the pine-sided Jeep Wagoneer SJ was the first proper premium SUV ever, pre-dating the Range Rover by seven years. While we wait for Chrysler to reintroduce the nameplate (coming in a few years, apparently), we think it’s high time we got a full-size, fully American posh off-roader.

    What the Jeep Grand Cherokee Wagoneer needs:
    - I Can’t Believe It’s Not Wood! vinyl cladding
    - White-letter tyres
    - Half-length chrome roof rails
    - A massive shiny face

  9. The tribute car: Golf GTI

    The car it’s tributing:
    Golf GTI

    Hush now, we know full well how much VW plunders its heritage already. But we’re not talking a cursory nod to the original like tartan seats and a golf ball gear knob. We want a GTI special edition that weighs 810kg and has Pirelli P-Slot alloys.

    What the VW Golf GTI 810 needs:
    - To weigh no more than 810kg
    - Pirelli P-Slot alloys
    - Switches that click like a snapped twig

  10. The tribute car: Bentley Mulsanne

    The car it’s tributing:
    Bentley Turbo R

    Performance cars have to be light and high-revving, right? Not if it’s a Bentley. In 1985, instead of ploughing deeper into the luxo furrow, the company decided its line-up was missing a sports car. And the rationale was admirable - don’t remove Bentleyness, do add colossal power and very lightly tweak the chassis. It culminated in a 300bhp and 400lb ft hypersaloon. Double these figures for the Mulsanne, please.

    What the Mulsanne Turbo R needs:
    - A similarly huge 17 per cent power boost, so at least 590bhp
    - To be available in Brooklands Green exclusively
    - Big red turbo stickers
    - Terrible alloys

  11. The tribute car: Lotus Esprit Concept

    The car it’s tributing:
    Lotus Esprit Essex Turbo

    OK, so we’re using our imagination a bit, but what if the stunning 2010 Esprit concept was a production car, and had its own Turbo special edition, just like the supremely wedgy Bond car that Hammond rather likes?

    What the Esprit Concept Essex Turbo needs:0
    - Yards of ruched leather
    - Ceiling-mounted CD player
    - Enormous Turbo decals
    - White-letter Goodyears
    - To smell a bit damp

What do you think?

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