Automotive anniversaries are often big news. Last year, the Chevrolet Corvette turned 60 and the Porsche 911 hit 50. This year, the spritely Mazda MX-5 Miata turns 25. The iconic Ford Mustang just turned the big Five-Oh, too.

But what about lesser anniversaries? Think about it: there are plenty of cars with birthdays that slide under the radar every year. And some automotive endeavors don't even last long enough to warrant a proper milestone celebration.

To that end, we're taking a look back to 2004 – just 10 years ago – to see what vehicles would be celebrating a decade of life, assuming they were still alive today. Do note, for this list, we've only included vehicles that launched for the 2004 model year, not calendar year.

Have a look below to see both iconic and easily forgettable cars that would be celebrating 10 fruitful years in 2014... if they were still alive.
Scion xA

Scion xA

What was it?Toyota jumped on this whole "millennial" bandwagon long before the term even existed. Scion was the Japanese automaker's youth-oriented brand, and along with the boxy-cool xB, the xA sought to bring new buyers into the showroom with its low MSRP and "Pure Price" no-haggle policy, not to mention its seemingly endless customization options. The xA didn't really sell like hotcakes, and it was succeeded by the xD for the 2008 model year. That replacement never really caught on, either, and now, its future remains bleak.

Do we wish it were still alive? – Maybe. We certainly like the idea of affordable subcompact hatches, but these days, plenty of other automakers are filling this space with well-thought-out products. But we still kind of liked the xA, when it launched. Kind of. Too bad it – perhaps like Scion as a whole – never really found success.

Porsche Carrera GT

Porsche Carrera GT

What was it? – A slick Porsche roadster with a hearty 5.7-liter V10 mounted in the middle. Despite only being produced for a couple of years (only 1,270 were built), the Carrera GT has become one of the most iconic supercars of modern times, and was recently back in the news during the unfortunate death of Hollywood star Paul Walker. It came packed with 612 horsepower, was able to hit 62 miles per hour in just 3.9 seconds, and topped out at 205 mph. Even by today's standards, that's some serious performance – stunning stuff back in 2004.

Do we wish it were still alive? – Heck yeah. The lucky few who drove the Carrera GT have long praised its potent performance and respected its difficult-to-master manners. Today, Porsche has given us the electrified 918 Spyder, and impressive as it may be, the Carrera GT will still have a very special place in our hearts.

Pontiac GTO

Pontiac GTO

What was it? – A rebadged Holden Monaro from Australia with decidedly banal styling. General Motors relaunched the historic GTO name for this rear-wheel-drive coupe, which was initially powered by a 350-horsepower 5.7-liter LS1 V8, an engine eventually scrapped for a more powerful, 400-hp 6.0-liter LS2 V8 in 2005. As for that styling, many folks declared it too conservative or anonymous (many comparisons about the GTO's rear end to that of the Chevy Cobalt were not unwarranted). Due to lackluster sales and poor reception from the American public, the GTO went out of production in mid-2006.

Do we wish it were still alive? – Not really. Following the GTO's death, General Motors gave us the rather excellent Pontiac G8 muscle sedan – another collaboration with its Australian arm at Holden. And even after Pontiac bit the dust during GM's restructuring, we now have the excellent Chevrolet Camaro if we want a two door and the SS if we want four doors. Both are well-tuned, properly potent rear-wheel-drive models with Holden performance roots.

Cadillac XLR

Cadillac XLR

What was it? – A softer, more expensive, more complicated version of the Chevrolet Corvette. In fact, despite being on sale the same time as the C6-generation Corvette, the XLR was based on the older C5 model. It featured a novel-for-the-time retractable hardtop, and loads of standard luxuries. A hotter XLR-V joined the lineup in 2006, with a supercharged 4.4-liter Northstar V8, producing 443 horsepower. But at the time, it was also one of GM's most expensive vehicles – near the end of its life in 2008, the XLR-V retailed for a staggering $101,300.

Do we wish it were still alive? – Nope. If we want a Corvette, we'll buy a Corvette. Besides, we currently have another overpriced Cadillac-reengineered version of a well-liked Chevy to contend with.

Chrysler Crossfire

Chrysler Crossfire

What was it? – Despite having bold styling, the Crossfire was plagued with old bones. Launching for the 2004 model year, it was based on the Mercedes-Benz R170 platform that underpinned the first-generation SLK roadster. With that came old-world technologies like recirculating ball steering (pretty much everyone else had caught on to rack-and-pinion by this point). Chrysler may have been responsible for the interior and exterior styling, but everything else was straight-up Mercedes SLK. Even the hotter Crossfire SRT6 featured the supercharged AMG engine found in the SLK. The Crossfire was plagued by extremely slow sales and was killed off after the 2008 model year. Some even found their way onto Overstock.com as part of a promotional effort. Oh, the humanity.

Do we wish it were still alive? – No way. It looked unique, sure, but that styling was purely love/hate. Dynamically, there wasn't anything to write home about, and at the end of the day, you'd likely have been better off just buying a used SLK, offering the exact same experience.

Mazda RX-8

Mazda RX-8

What was it? – The last of Mazda's rotary-powered production sports cars. The RX-8 followed in the footsteps of the storied RX cars from decades before, and was powered by a Wankel rotary engine. This high-revving, high-strung mill was an absolute joy to use, but proved problematic for many owners (the joke is that this thing drank oil as often as it did fuel). That said, we always praised the RX-8 for its excellent dynamics and surprisingly functional suicide-door and two-plus-two layout, expensive as it may have been.

Do we wish it were still alive? – You bet. Mazda is building truly great-driving cars these days, and the RX-8 would be right at home in the company's current lineup, if only there were a business case for it. Of course, rumors of a replacement continue to swirl, so it might not be long before we have a rotary-powered successor to enjoy.

Ferrari 612 Scaglietti

Ferrari 612 Scaglietti

What was it? – Ferrari's second aluminum-bodied sport coupe, following the 360 Modena. It was a properly beautiful Grand Tourer, with a two-plus-two arrangement and a 5.7-liter V12 underhood. It was one of the last of the classically designed Ferraris, with many critics saying the new cars have taken a more aggressive, ferocious approach. Ferrari discontinued the 612 Scaglietti in 2011.

Do we wish it were still alive? – Yes and no. We miss the beauty of cars like the Scaglietti, but Ferrari has since graced us with its de-facto successor, the F12 Berlinetta. With similar V12 force, rear-wheel drive and stunning handling, the F12 hardly leaves us wanting and proves to be a better all-around performer.

Chevy Aveo

Chevrolet Aveo

What was it? – A dreadful little subcompact from the not-so-great days of General Motors. The Aveo was cheap, but hardly cheerful. It looked dumpy, had a poor-quality interior, and was downright horrible to drive. The Aveo, built in Korea by GM's Daewoo arm, later spawned the short-lived Pontiac G3. And while the Aveo name may technically live on in other markets, GM decided to rebadge it as the Sonic in the US, perhaps washing the bad taste of its predecessor out of our mouths in hopes of relaunching its small car initiative here in our market.

Do we wish it were still alive? – It still is, sort of. The Sonic continues to thrive, and is one of the better small cars that GM has produced to date. The Aveo is dead! Long live the Aveo!

Ford GT

Ford GT

What was it? – A proper Blue Oval supercar. This mid-engined stunner paid homage to Ford's GT40 racecars of the 1960s, and it was simply amazing. It used a 5.4-liter supercharged V8 and a six-speed manual transmission, and was heavily praised by even the most famously finicky of car critics, including Jeremy Clarkson. To this day, it remains a true performance icon, and sells on the used market for well over its original starting price.

Do we wish it were still alive? – Yes. A thousand times, yes. When Ford killed the GT, it gave us the Mustang-bodied Shelby GT500, which while great (and now packed with 662 horsepower) just wasn't the same. We'd absolutely love to see a GT redux, and soon.


UPDATE: We mistakenly wrote that the Chevrolet Corvette turned 50 years old last year, when in fact it celebrated its 60th birthday in 2013. Also, the Ford Mustang celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, not in 2015. Further, the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta is a two-seater, not a 2+2. The text has been adjusted.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 142 Comments
      protovici
      • 5 Months Ago
      To start, I am not a GM fan, but the GTO could have been a huge success. Great all around car, but it had everyday looks about it and basically a cavalier on steroids styling. The weight prob didnt help either. Hard to beat a LS engine to. I also remember the Ford GT having a $85K inflation sticker attached to it LOL
        normc32
        • 5 Months Ago
        @protovici
        A 3,500 lbs car with 380 lb-ft of torque is golden today.
        The_Zachalope
        • 5 Months Ago
        @protovici
        One of the big factors that hurt the GTO was the price tag. Starting at $32,000 was a big shock to comparison shoppers.
      Jakes
      • 5 Months Ago
      More articles like this, Autoblog!
      Baron95
      • 5 Months Ago
      Corvette turned 60 last year. Not 50. You should correct your story.
      Ryan
      • 5 Months Ago
      Please bring back the Ford GT!!!
      Gorgenapper
      • 5 Months Ago
      The Chevy Aveo... oh dear God that was a horrible POS. I had one as a rental and the thing struggled to keep at 100km/h on the highway. Any faster and it would start to feel like a Fisher-Price toy car. You'd think the fuel economy on this thing would be good, but it's actually really bad for a small car (highway mileage) because it had to rev fairly high to maintain 100km/h. I could NOT wait to dump it at the rental lot when it was time to return it.
      SethG
      • 5 Months Ago
      In terms of the Aveo and Sonic, it is striking how similar they are from a design standpoint although you would never think it until you see them side-by-side. They are virtually the same exterior designs but tweaked enough so that the Sonic looks SO much better. It's amazing how small exterior adjustments can completely change the look of the car. Most importantly the improvements continue under the skin as well.
      Jay
      • 5 Months Ago
      Seeing that XLR brought back memories of my friends. What a horrible horrible car that was. Literally every time he drove it something would break. The top mechanism would never work correctly. I bet it was in the shop 20+ times for the top alone and had to be flatbedded at least 5 times dues to it not starting due to various electrical issues.
      Darnell Morgan
      • 5 Months Ago
      The F12 is really a replacement for the 599, not the F12. The Ferrari FF is the replacement for the 612.
        PatrickH
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Darnell Morgan
        furthermore, I can't believe some people found the 612 that attractive. By Ferrari standards it's not that impressive.
      kebler2005
      • 5 Months Ago
      He is wrong on the GTO. The GTO ended production due to airbag regulations and was meant to be a three year run since the 2003 showing. Just in case any of haven't noticed, the G8 and the current SS are in the same boat and being marketed poorly as usual. The GTO is not as heavy as he described. Compared to a Mustang, yes it is slightly heavier. Compare it to a Camaro or Challenger, this guy might wan't reconsider his false statement. I guarantee the GTO would out perform both the Camaro and Challenger (equally equipped and experienced driver included).
        James
        • 5 Months Ago
        @kebler2005
        The thing about the GTO was that it handled so much better than any of its other contemporary muscle cars, and its interior was comparatively luxurious.
      Ajr Ajr
      • 5 Months Ago
      "Do we wish it were still alive? – It still is" this whole article is lame & pointless
      Vassilis Alex
      • 5 Months Ago
      What a sound the Carrera GT had! One of the very best in the automotive history! By the way, the F12 isn't the 612's successor. That would be the FF. The F12 replaces the 599 which replaced the 575.
      robert
      • 5 Months Ago
      The GTO is a sleeper! Very dull on the outside , nice interiors, great seats, good handling, and one of the best sounding exhaust on a production car! Name another car that you could get in purple with purple leather. Even the gauges were purple!
        fordskydog
        • 5 Months Ago
        @robert
        The GTO is not really a sleeper. It is not that fast. I waste them in my WRX all the time. Great fun. A 350 hp 350 cu in engine is nothing to write home about these days, or even in those days. 0-60 in 5.5 seconds. I mean c'mon, if they wanted to build a 2-door V8 sports coupe (ANOTHER one), they should have given it the performance bargain that would have appealed to the prospective buyer. And that "styling"... wow. They just phoned it in on that one. Jeez, if they had just tried. If they had made it look more cartoon-like it would have done way better with the GM crowd.
        Nowae Amigivingittwo
        • 5 Months Ago
        @robert
        GM shoulda used that platform even more, they mighta not gone into bailout if they did.
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