June 26, 2014 5:15 PM | By MSN Autos
Reverse engineering

Automotive evolution doesn't always equal forward progress ….

You call that progress? (© Photo: Ford)
  • You call that progress? (© Photo: Ford)
  • 1962-1974 MG MGB (© Photo: British Leyland)
  • 1975-1980 MG MGB
  • Jaguar XK-E (© Photo: Jaguar)
  • Jaguar XJ-S (© Photo: Jaguar)
  • Alfa Romeo Alfasud (© Photo: Alfa Romeo)
  • Alfa Romeo ARNA (© Photo: Alfa Romeo)
  • Mitsubishi Eclipse (first and second-gen) (© Photo: Mitsubishi)
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Unlike skirt lengths or the “in” colours dictated by fashionistas, redesigned automobiles are meant to do more than just look different: they are supposed to be better. With intense competition as the catalyst, the relentless march of technology usually ensures that each successive generation of car or truck is faster and more fuel-efficient, safer, more refined and better built than its predecessor. Usually, but not always.

Sometimes automakers roll out their next, best creation and the reaction from analysts and enthusiasts is a unanimous “what were they thinking?” Not that it’s always the automaker’s own fault. Sometimes government regulations have forced automotive design to go in directions it didn’t want or know how to go. Changing social and economic conditions can have the same chill effect. And sometimes automakers simply choose to evolve a nameplate in a new direction to attract a different type of buyer than those who embraced the previous model.

Dig deep enough and you could find scores of designs that appeared to put evolution into the reverse. Here are a few that came to us top of mind ...

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