It’s official: the Maserati Gran Turismo is no more. Production has ended, with the one-off Zeda created to celebrate the N/A V8-powered coupe.
It stuck around for a lot longer than expected, however, with a surprise facelift in 2017 extending its life even further. The handsome but flawed beast brightened up Maserati showrooms the world over for 12 years, with the GT outliving many of its rivals.
That got us thinking - what other fast cars have stayed in production for an especially long period of time? We came up with a list of vehicles that made the grade, some still being built, some not.
Speaking of Maserati Gran Turismo rivals, we have to mention the Aston Martin DB9. Although it arrived a few years before the Maserati in 2004 and was a little more expensive, the two were natural sparring partners.
Aston Martin stopped building the DB9 in 2016, and while its successor - the DB11 - is a superior car overall, it arguably isn’t as sweet-sounding nor as good looking.
The R35 Nissan GT-R has already been around for as long as the Maserati and the Aston, and it stands to be kicking about for several more years to come. Its R36 replacement is still in the discussion phase - from the sounds of it, even Nissan doesn’t know exactly what it’ll be like.
The great irony is that the GT-R - lambasted by many a keyboard warrior for being ‘computer-driven - will be one of the most analogue supercars on sale towards the end of its life, going up against more technologically advanced and electrified competitors.
Nissan has not one but two ageing sports cars in its line-up. The difference with the 370Z is that its replacement will come along much sooner - Nissan has confirmed its existence, and the ‘400Z’ has even been spotted undergoing testing at the Nurburgring.
The Countach laughs in the face of the mere 12 year runs of the Gran Turismo and DB9. The initial LP400 models started leaving the factory way back in 1974, with the final 25th Anniversary editions built in 1990.
By then the V12 engine had grown from 4.0 to 5.2-litres, and the styling had grown ever more outlandish to match the appetite for excess in the 1980s. Regardless, it was still the same car underneath.
From one Italian wedge to another, we have the De Tomaso Pantera to consider. It lasted even longer than the Countach, with over 7000 units churned out between 1971 and 1992. Like the Lamborghini, its aesthetic evolved into something more aggressive are arguably less elegant, but the powerplant - a 5.8-litre Ford Cleveland V8 - was retained throughout the 21-year run.
This tradition of marrying Italian styling with American eight-cylinder propulsion will continue with the new De Tomaso P72, which will be fitted with a Roush-supercharged Ford Mustang V8. We can’t imagine it matching the Pantera’s production life, though.
Although the Charger switched platforms in 2011, the change from LX to LD was an evolution rather than an outright replacement. There is even a link (albeit a tenuous one) between the LX architecture and the W211 Mercedes E-Class, which is even older. TL:Dr - the Charger is ancient.
Does this bother buyers? Not one bit - the Charger is still a strong seller for Dodge, and the company has no intentions of replacing it. If it keeps adding new variants like the thoroughly silly Widebody Charger, that’s just fine by us.
Don’t be fooled by the 595/695 name currently pedalled by FCA - this dinky hot hatch is scarcely different from the Abarth 500 that first landed in 2008. What’s more, it’s based on the Panda platform, which is 16 years old. In car terms, that’s geriatric.
The Abarth 595’s advancing years are painfully obvious when you drive one, but it’s still an oddly appealing thing. Expect this one to disappear from the stable in the next year or so.
Can you think of any other excessively long-lived cars? Let us know in the comments.