AutoGuide Answers: Automakers We Want Back From the Dead

Sami Haj-Assaad
by Sami Haj-Assaad

It’s a sad, familiar feeling of loss of when someone or something is taken too soon.

A lot of automakers didn’t make it through the test of time and tough economies. We asked our editors to share their thoughts on automakers and brands that should come back from the dead. Here’s what they said:

Jodi Lai, Editor-in-Chief: Studebaker


“Back in its day, Studebaker made some really beautiful cars, and the company had a reputation for reliability and quality. Unfortunately, the last car to be made by the American auto company from Indiana was produced in 1967. Its pre-war cars were sights to be seen, but the company’s retro-futuristic post-war cars from the 1950s and 1960s are my favorite. The Studebaker Starlight above, for example, has a jet-inspired bullet nose, a design cue that I absolutely love.

But Craig stole my first answer. I love Delahayes and it has nothing to do with my obsession for all things French. Handbags, pastries, cars, whatever. I love it all.”

[Photo from Wikimedia Commons]

Dan Ilika, Road Test Editor: Saab

“Nothing makes me reflect with fondness quite like the sight of a Saab wagon. Gone too soon is one way I would describe this Swedish automaker, which is all but dead despite a handful of resuscitation attempts over the past decade. Saab always found itself somewhere between mainstream and premium brands, with stylish and sporty cars that didn’t cost a fortune.”

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Defunct Auto Brands

Craig Cole, Associate Editor: Delahaye

“The one automotive brand I’d love to see raised from the dead is Delahaye, a somewhat obscure French marque that crafted what could be the most beautiful cars in history. Arguably, the pinnacle of their design and engineering prowess is the Type 165, a stunningly ornate cabriolet that debuted in 1939 at the New York World’s Fair. With a body crafted Figoni and Falaschi, this luxury vehicle is long, low and almost unbelievably curvaceous. Seriously, have you seen those front fenders? With a hemi-head V12 and four-speed transmission, it probably runs even better than it looks. Just think for a moment, if this is what Delahaye could build eight decades ago on the eve of the Second World War, what they could do today with all the technology at our disposal?”

Sami Haj-Assaad, Features Editor: Triumph

“While I own a Scion, I didn’t exactly care much for the brand image or product lineup. Instead, one defunct auto brand that I remember fondly is Triumph Motor Cars. Not that I was alive to see them flourish, but looking back at the Triumph cars on the road, it’s hard to see how this brand disappeared. There are plenty of roadsters and sports cars that look wonderful and I always find myself drawn to them at local classic car auctions. If only I could get over that ‘unreliable’ tag that most old British automakers are branded with.”

[Photo Source: Primo Classics International]

Stephen Elmer, News Editor: Hummer

“The history of the automotive industry is vast and varied, with plenty of brands that couldn’t hack it. My love for everything off-road makes this decision pretty simple. I’d bring back Hummer.

Sure, the H3 wasn’t exactly an off-road champion, but everything that came before was. The H2 had a style and personality all its own and was fairly capable in the mud. The H1 was born for the military and could climb over or through just about everything. That’s the SUV that I’m looking for from Hummer. Something with tons of clearance, locking diffs and a do-anything attitude, like the old H1. Because more off-roaders are always a good thing.”

Jason Siu, News Writer: Pontiac

“My favorite dead car brand didn’t even die that long ago. Pontiac ended its production in 2010 and it’s a bit sad to wonder what could have been if it was still alive. Throughout its history, the brand has had some fantastic sports cars and even the G8 prior to the company’s demise was one hot sedan. Looking at today’s pony cars and with Dodge pushing out 707-horsepower Hellcat models, you can’t help but imagine that Pontiac would be doing for its GTO and Trans Am nameplates if they were revived.”

Sami Haj-Assaad
Sami Haj-Assaad

Sami has an unquenchable thirst for car knowledge and has been at AutoGuide for the past six years. He has a degree in journalism and media studies from the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto and has won multiple journalism awards from the Automotive Journalist Association of Canada. Sami is also on the jury for the World Car Awards.

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2 of 7 comments
  • Gordon558 Gordon558 on Mar 01, 2017

    The problem with most car companies is they are run by bean counters, not car people. The bean counters don't know and don't care about what it takes to sell a car, what the public likes and doesn't like. They just want the bottom line this quarter to look good. They can do that by cutting a few dollars out of car costs at the expense of quality, looks, performance, etc.

  • Perry F. Bruns Perry F. Bruns on Mar 06, 2017

    Hummer? Mmmmmno. The H1 was basically a de-militarized HMMWV, and is really good off-road for that very reason. It's terrible on-road, though, also for the same reason. The H2, however, was just a clapped-out over-built short-wheelbase Tahoe (GMT 912/913 vs GMT 920), but heavier, less efficient, and less reliable. If you want to go off-road without a Jeep, start with a Tahoe and add suspension bits to taste, and you'll probably still come in lower on total cost than a stock H2. The H3? Same recipe, applied to the already overweight first-generation Colorado.