The Retro Vroom

With new models inspired by old designs, automakers are banking on the lure of the cool--plus remembrance of drives past

The latest chapter in America's love affair with the automobile seems like an installment of Back to the Future. This time, though, Christopher Lloyd is not at the wheel of a time-traveling DeLorean. The car is neither a Porsche nor a Ferrari. No, this object of desire is...a Chrysler!

Detroit designers spent a postwar lifetime refining the low, long, rectangular shape once ubiquitous on American highways. Now they are finding that many car buyers want something different. What emerged from DaimlerChrysler's designers this year is an anachronism: a sleek, small, tall car with broad hints of pre-World War II models and...

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