You know where I'm planning to go soon but have never been? 2015. It sure sounds exciting, right? And while I, in my colossal hubris, think I have a pretty good idea of what the cars will be like in 2015, I've barely been here. But I know what has: Back To The Future Part 2. So let's learn from BTTF2 about what we can expect, automotively, this new year.
To clarify for those of you not well-versed in the Back To The Future series of movies (documentaries, I believe): in the second installment in the series, a time-traveling DeLorean is used to travel from 1985 to 1955 and then, eventually, to 2015. You can get a more detailed rundown of the plot and what happens in 2015 here, but for our purposes we can simply say that this is the best, most detailed view we have of the world of 2015, and as such there's a great deal we can learn about the cars that we'll be driving in just a few week's time.
Of course, this is an incredible resource, so let's examine it in detail:
Pontiac will make a comeback.
This may be the biggest shocker of all, seeing as how Pontiac's been dead and buried since 2010. But, there's a Pontiac dealer, clear as day, right there in that actual picture from 2015. The actual date of arrival in 2015 in the movie is in October, so that gives GM about 10 months or so to get the Pontiac dealership network up and running again. I hope that new Sunfire is as great as I'm imagining!
Hovercar conversions will be expensive, but still reasonable, considering.
I suppose it's also big news that cars will have flying capabilities, seeming via some sort of anti-gravity mechanisms. The cars don't seem to rely on aerodynamics to fly, and they can lift and hover sort of like a drone, but without rotors, so it looks like sometime before October 2015 we should see that technology introduced and spread around in a big way.
For owners of vintage cars like myself, I'm happy to see that conversions to hoverers are possible, at prices right around $40 grand. Sure, that's a lot, but you are getting a pretty substantial upgrade in what your car can do. It doesn't look like much effort has been spent on the aesthetics of the conversions, though.
There will be comebacks of some unlikely nameplates.
It's not really shocking when a car company brings back or makes a modern version of an iconic nameplate like the Mini or the Fiat 500 or the Thunderbird or Camaro or Mustang — but a Probe? It sounds weird to us now, but there it is, plain as day, a 2015 Ford Probe.
The 2015 Probe keeps the original's front end treatment, but updates the design with some heavily skirted rear wheels and a novel, seemingly opaque windshield-and-hood-covering body panel. It looks like it helps the aerodynamics a lot, at the expense of minor issues like visibility and boring shit like that.
Substantial, full-wheel covers will become the norm.
You know how pretty much everything today has alloy wheels with plenty of venting for brakes and all that good stuff? Kiss it goodbye, because come 2015 we're all going to be rocking bulky, fully-enclosed wheel covers that seem to even cover part of the tire.
Some of these, like the ones on this Jeep, seem large enough that they may be enclosing some sort of hub-mounted wheel motors or perhaps anti-grav components for the hover system. I think the big take-away here is that next year we're all going to have to be a lot more aware of curbs when parallel-parking.
Some of us will still drive archaic old Beetles in the future.
This is probably the only one of these predictions I would have been able to make myself, since I know what I'm going to be driving a bunch this year. I'm excited to get a set of those full-wheel covers for my Beetle, too. Since every car seems to have them, maybe they're some government-mandated thing? I guess we'll all find out soon.
The world of BMW customization will take a very strange turn.
BMW modifiers tend to follow a pretty specific set of aesthetic criteria, generally. Monochrome, body kits, clean lines, that sort of thing. There's not a lot of two-tone, graphical paint jobs, convertible conversions, or massive hood scoops. Looks like that's about to change come this year.
Also notable is the strange highly external propulsion system on this car. It's possible this is a hoverer conversion, or perhaps BMW is migrating their drivetrains to be electric, AWD systems that mount outside the car for easy upgrades and servicing. I'll check in at a BMW dealer in a month or so to get the full story.
We will finally be getting over our fear of vibrant colors and two-tones and graphics on cars.
Personally, I'll be delighted for this to happen in 2015. I'm sick to death of every other car being silver or white, and I can't wait to see more vivid colors, two-tone paint jobs, and dramatic graphics and stripes on cars again. Things were getting so boring! It's about damn time.
Plus, I really like the new option of colored, patterned tires. That feels fresh and new.
It looks like specialized police vehicles will become a thing after all.
In the past couple years, we saw companies like Carbon fail to sell their specialized police vehicles, and there seemed to be no way a small, low-volume company could ever compete with the Big Three Or So for making fleet vehicles like police cars. Looks like we were very wrong, since this cop car clearly appears to be a specialized vehicle.
Citroën is coming back to the US!
I saved this one for last, because I think it's the one I'm most excited about — Citroën hasn't been in the US since the early 70s, and I miss them every day. It looks like by 2015 they'll be back on our shores, selling what appears to be some sort of updated, retro-look DS, at least to fleets as a cab.
The new DS has a good bit of extra bumper protection and some very substantial looking door pillars, but the shape is all old DS, which is fine by me. I'm guessing the confusing dazzle-paint is the livery of the cab company, and not a Citroën factory option, but who knows.
UPDATE: Our own Travis Okulski thinks the full-wheel covers are part of hovercar-conversion tech, maybe by some other firm who does more integrated work than Goldie up there. The BMW side equipment is likely that as well. I'm willing to accept that, and very excited test my first hovercar before October.
UPDATE 2: Sorry, I meant to mention— Saab will be back, too.