Then vs now: Cars that won the profile pic challenge

Published September 10, 2021, 3:40 PM

by Inigo Roces

Yet another challenge is sweeping across Facebook asking netizens to post their first solo profile pic to compare with their current one. With Facebook having been formed as far back as 2004, we’re bound to see some incredible glow up comparisons.

Yet people aren’t the only ones who’ve undergone so much change. Some of the most iconic cars have also changed quite a lot too from their first appearance to their current form. We go over some cars you may remember from the past and give you a glimpse of what they look like now.

Land Rover Defender

For decades, it seemed like Land Rover’s most iconic off-road vehicle, the Defender, would never change. Based on a Willys Jeep and purposely kept simple to be as rugged as possible, little has changed in the decades it has been around. Of course, with crash safety and emissions requirements becoming more stringent around the world, Land Rover was motivated to give it its first major overhaul in eons.

Land Rover Defender 2020 Tanay, Rizal

The result is an unmistakably modern vehicle that retains hallmarks of the original with more modern elements. The new Defender retains its unmistakable silhouette, keeping the near-vertical windshield, tall cabin, and barrelside shoulders.

A bulbar has practically integrated into its grille. The roof rack also has a more functional rather than aerodynamic look. Nonetheless, when parked beside the originals, it still unmistakably a Defender. Best of all, it’s also got a few upgrades like LED lighting, a hybrid engine option, and a 4WD system that automatically adjusts to the terrain and traction available.

GMC Hummer

Starting life as a military vehicle, the HMMWV (Humvee) caught the public’s eye when it was deployed in Operation: Desert Storm. Public clamor spearheaded by no less than actor Arnold Schwarzenegger led to the creation of civilian versions called Hummers. Originally produced by military contractor, AM General, it wasn’t long before the rights to produce the vehicle were acquired by General Motors (GM), giving birth to the Hummer brand.

There was certainly no questioning the vehicle’s masculinity and off-road prowess. However, its massive size, thirst for fuel and unashamedly rugged appearance made it an easy target for environmentalists as the epitome of excess. The Hummer became the poster vehicle for conspicuous consumption and a disregard for the environment despite GM’s efforts to produce smaller, more efficient versions. The Hummer brand was eventually shuttered in 2010.

However, with the advent of electric vehicles, GM sought to turn around Hummer’s reputation and relaunch the vehicle as fully electric. The result is the Hummer EV, which boasts of looks and styling reminiscent of the classic. It’s still all about excess, being larger than much of its competition, and with torque reportedly at 15,600 Nm (4 times more than your average SUV). The Hummer EV is due to hit showrooms in 2023, but buyers are already queueing up for reservations.

Toyota Land Cruiser

Originally designed as a compact but capable off-road vehicle to rival the Willys Jeep, the first Toyota Land Cruiser could hardly be called luxurious. Yet over 70 years, it has steadily evolved to become the highly capable, luxurious SUV it is known as today.

In the Philippines, it’s often seen as a status symbol, relegated to a life on city streets despite the ability to take on rough roads. Perhaps it’s the vehicle’s use as escort vehicles, used by the Presidential Security Group (the Philippine’s Secret Service) in the 80’s that has led to this association.

Nonetheless, the Land Cruiser has steadily evolved over the years, offering its passengers supreme comfort and luxury without compromising its capable to go anywhere. The new 300 series is set to arrive in the country very soon. The vehicle will be offered in a V6 diesel, boasting of 300 hp and paired to a newer, smoother 10-speed automatic and 4×4 system.

Nissan Z

As muscle car fever was beginning to take off in the US, the Japanese brands sought to offer a similar experience, but in a more compact but affordable package. Among the first to offer these practical alternatives was Nissan, then called Datsun, with the 240Z. It was inspired by European sports cars, sporting a long hood, sloping rear, and circular headlamps carved into the nose. In Japan, it was called the Fairlady, a name meant to portray the vehicle as a dancing partner, because of its exciting handling characteristics that allow it to ‘dance’ with the driver on the road.

Though it didn’t make a splash when it first appeared outside of Japan, it soon gained a following particularly during the fuel crisis years of the 70s, thanks to the performance it offered at a fraction of the fuel consumption. It waned in popularity over the 80s and 90s, but soon found itself a favorite again when returning to its compact and practical roots, and retro redesign in the 2000s.

Nissan hopes to keep it popular over the coming years as the latest iteration is set to arrive soon. What has many enthusiasts excited is its styling which combines the iconic circular lights of the original, with the wide and unmistakable look of the 90s model. The new Z is set to arrive in 2023, powered by a Twin Turbo V6 producing 400 hp and a choice of 6-speed manual or nine-speed auto.

Lamborghini Countach

As far as dream cars go, there’s no denying Lamborghini’s place at the very pinnacle. The archrival of Ferrari made the boxy wedge shape vogue in the 80s, setting the stage for a whole army of supercar aspirants to follow. Nonetheless, few were as desirable as the Countach, whose poster adorned many young boys’ bedrooms in the era.

The supercar, with its outlandish looks and unapologetically wedge shape found itself the star of many movies and television shows of the time. It also put the raging bull brand on the map as a true super car maker that regularly put Ferrari on its toes.

Not one to remake its past models, Automobili Lamborghini made an exception this year with the 2022 Countach. Lamborghini has kept certain hallmarks like the long, low rectangular grille and headlights, as well as in the hexagonal wheel arches. The iconic NACA air intakes cut into the side and doors. The rear keeps its distinctive inverted wedge shape, integrating the new style of taillights. Unfortunately, this looker is limited to only 112 units. But with 800 hp and a top speed of over 355 km/h, it’s the one raging bull any serious collector (or child at heart) has to have.