Don’t call it a comeback! Top 8 cars risen from the dead - Select Car Leasing
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Don’t call it a comeback! Top 8 cars that rose from the dead

Volkswagen fans are applauding the return of the ‘Rok - and here’s some other vehicles that hit the comeback trail.


Last week VW confirmed that its Amarok pick-up - a vehicle discontinued in 2020 so that the German firm could focus on producing the electric ID.Buzz - was being reintroduced.

The new generation Amarok is longer and roomier than its predecessor, it’s bristling with tech, and you can even have a powerful 2.3 litre turbocharged petrol engine with power of 302 PS.


It’s a good time for VW to revive what is a leasing favourite, with the Mercedes-Benz X Class and the Mitsubishi L200 pick-ups having been recently dropped.

So, as we wait for the Amarok to hit the market later this year, here we run the rule over some other cars that were once jettisoned from ranges, only to make a triumphant resurgence.

Land Rover Defender


The Defender is proof that you just can’t keep a good workhorse down.

Land Rover’s once-utilitarian 4x4 enjoyed a 68 year life before production finally ended in 2016.

Those who loved the Defender’s boxy, rugged, agricultural charms sobbed into their Barbour jackets and dreamed of bouncing across ploughed fields.

But all that changed in 2020 when Land Rover opted to reinstate what it calls an ‘icon reimagined for the 21st century’.

The Defender has gone down a storm, winning the 2021 World Car Design of the Year prize at the World Car Awards and now being leased like hot cakes.

The interior is more comfortable than ever and you can enjoy a two-door ‘90’ model or a ‘110’ four-door variant.

Ford Puma


The original Ford Puma was a compact coupe that hit UK roads in 1997.

You might remember the famous TV advert that saw a CGI Steve McQueen piloting one through the streets of San Francisco.

There was also an awesome Ford Racing Puma variant that had aggressive body styling and power of 155 bhp.

Despite fans loving them, the old Puma was put out to pasture in 2002… only to be resurrected in 2019 as a small SUV with mild-hybrid tech.

Of course, the one petrolheads want is the Puma ST - which comes with power of 200 PS, a limited-slip differential, and a 0‑62mph sprint time of just 6.7 seconds.

BMW 8 Series


The original BMW 8 Series - the ‘E31’ if you’re a Beemer nerd - was an astonishingly good-looking coupe with an unmistakable ‘shark nose’ front end.

And when it was dropped in 1999, admirers spent the best part of 20 years keeping their fingers and toes crossed that it would rise from the ashes.

And so it did, in 2018.

While there’s a very different, and wholly modern aesthetic, there’s still a nod to the shark nose in the new 8 Series’ design and there’s still an abundance of power.

It’s now available as a two-door coupe, a four-door ‘gran coupe’, or a convertible.

And there’s power of up to 530 hp with the ‘M’ models.

Fiat 500


The Fiat 500 might not appeal to everyone, but it fills a really important niche in the family car market while offering retro styling to lease customers on a budget.

The original 500 was born in Turin in the 1950s and enjoyed great success for 25 years. It was even seen as a quirky 500 ‘Giardiniera’ estate and a 500 ‘Furgoncino’ panel van

The last of the old 500s was the 594 cc ‘Rinnovata’, a car that was dumped in 1976 as Fiat focused on its new ‘126’ supermini instead.

But back in 2007, Fiat realised it was missing a trick - and the modern 500 was reborn. The Italian manufacturer hasn’t looked back, selling more than 2 million of ‘em.

The 500 is now available as an attractive all-electric model with a range of up to 199 miles - yet the styling is as pleasingly nostalgic as it has ever been.

Maserati Ghibli

Don your rose-tinted spectacles, and let’s travel back in time to November 1966. It’s the Turin Motor Show, and a crowd has gathered around what’s being billed as a ‘new interpretation of the concept of a gran turismo car’.


It’s the Maserati Ghibli, a car created by Hall of Fame designer Giorgetto Giugiaro and named after a North African wind.

It was the exact opposite of ugly, and was lusted-after until being discontinued in 1972.

Fast forward to 2013 and Maserati decided to unveil a new Ghibli, ‘thus starting another success story’, the firm said.


The Ghibli is now a rival to the Alfa Romeo Giulia and the BMW 5 Series, and even entry-level models have power of 330 HP and a 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds.

Toyota Supra


Balls-to-the-wall, adrenaline-inducing sports cars are something of a dying breed these days, as more and more people gravitate towards fuel efficiency above all else.

Just look at the recent death of the raucous Nissan GT-R as proof of that fact.

So it’s a real joy, then, to be able to enjoy a car like the Toyota GR Supra - with the vehicle proudly wearing a name last seen on the fourth-generation Supra which ceased to be in 2002.

The GR Supra was launched in 2019 and is now a rival to the Porsche 718 Cayman and the Jaguar F-Type.

In base ‘2.0 Pro’ models a 2.0 twin-scroll turbocharged petrol engine delivers power of 254 BHP and rear-wheel-drive thrills.

Renault 5


The humble Renault 5 was a fixture on UK roads between 1972 and 1996 - and if you’re a reader of a certain vintage, chances are you know someone who had one.

As with all good hatchbacks, ‘hot’ Renault 5 Turbo and Gordini variants made the leap from rallying to the streets.

And early last year Renault announced that the 5 is going to be brought back to life as an all-electric, ‘ElectroPop’ vehicle.

It’s being tipped to debut next year, and the French firm is promising that it’ll be cheaper to produce than the Renault Zoe, which should make it affordable, too.

It’ll sit on Renault’s ‘CMF-BEV’ battery platform and could have a range of up to 250 miles between charges.

Vauxhall Manta

Earlier this year, Vauxhall confirmed that an all-new Manta will arrive in the UK by ‘mid-decade’.

The Manta was last seen way back in the late 1980s, having been launched in the 70s by Vauxhall’s sibling company Opel as a rival to the Ford Capri.

And so far we’ve seen two different versions of what the modern Manta might look like.

In July last year, Vauxhall teased the ‘Opel Manta GSe ElektroMOD’, a one-off prototype that combined retro styling with a thoroughly modern 147 PS electric powertrain.


If there’s a new Manta that looks anything like this… well, just take our money now.

But Vauxhall has rowed-back on that initial promise somewhat by saying that the Manta will actually be more of a futuristic-looking SUV crossover.


A Vauxhall spokesperson tells us: 

“A Manta, befitting the times we live in – emissions-free, versatile and a car that will appeal to the heart and mind. New Manta is set to be a fascinating and astoundingly spacious new interpretation of a classic.”


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David Hughes

Friday, 17/05/2024