To keep up in competitive automotive segments, manufacturers issue new or substantially revised products every five to seven years. But when the segment lacks competition, money runs dry, or sales are dismal, a timely refresh often doesn't happen. The vehicles on the following pages have somehow escaped the typical auto lifecycle and stand in dealership showrooms like museum relics. They are the oldest new vehicles that you can buy.
Lincoln Town Car/Mercury Grand Marquis
The current generation of the Ford Crown Victoria, Lincoln Town Car, and Mercury Grand Marquis was fresh in 1998. While Ford only sells the Crown Vic to fleet buyers, you can still find the Lincoln and Mercury cars on dealer lots, getting more stale by the day. During the last notable update in 2003, Ford did place the trio on a revised platform, but these are far from modern cars. The Panther platform cars are still built using body-on-frame construction and ride on a live rear axle. Additionally, the 4.6-liter V-8 first appeared in the Crown Vic back in 1992. While it's gone through several modifications since then, the 239-hp output pales in comparison to many modern V-6 engines. And don't forget about the three-across front seat. Current plans call for all three cars to be dead by 2012, but don't believe it until you see it. Ford originally talked of canceling the Panther cars in 1985.
The Ranger currently populating Ford dealership lots was designed back in 1998 and has more than a few mechanical and styling aspects recalling even older models. Overseas, Ranger buyers receive an entirely different truck that was last redesigned in 2006. The current U.S. Ranger is scheduled to continue production through 2011, at which point the compact truck will either be cut from the lineup or replaced with the new T6 model being developed for foreign markets.
With its simple square lines barely differing from those of the original 1979 civilian G-Class, this Mercedes-Benz certainly looks the part of an old vehicle. However, this utilitarian truck may not seem that old to Americans; the G-Class first went on sale here in 2002. The last major redesign was way back in 1990, but updates over the years have kept the powertrain offerings fresh. Originally slated for discontinuation in 2006, the G-Class has earned an extension until 2015.