The EV era is motivating automakers to bring cult-status cars back from the dead, be it the GMC Hummer, the VW Microbus/Bulli, VW Beetle or the Tata Sierra. With these developments, the anticipation for an electric Ambassador is at an all-time high and while on the subject of vehicles from the past, Great Wall Motors has just unveiled a new retro electric sedan called the Ora Futurist.
Designed by ex-Land Rover designer Phil Simmons, the Ora Futurist shows a British-style classic sedan featuring a diamond-shaped glasshouse and an overall statesmanlike appearance. The classic wheels, the flat roof and the teal body colour complete the old-school charm of the concept.
The front-end of the Ora Futurist looks little odd, with headlamps reminiscing the Ford Mustang and the closed-off quadrilateral grille harping back to the American sportscar. The bumper guard and the separately positioned round fog lamps are a nice touch, though. At the rear, a flat trunk lid, full-width, chunky tail lamps and a wraparound bumper protector lend an attractive style to the car.
The retro theme continues inside with round steering wheel featuring a vintage horn ring, steering column-mounted gear selector, round instrument panel and AC vents. Great Wall Motors has not skimmed one bit on using silver/chrome and applied even glass panels in considerable sizes at places. The instrument cluster is fully digital, and there’s a large floating touchscreen on the dashboard.
The Ora Futurist sits on a GWM’s new ‘Lemon’ platform (the company may want to call it differently in English-speaking markets). In an interview with sohu.com at the unveiling, Simmons said that it is a near-production concept. He said that whether the company launches it as an ICE model, a PHEV or a BEV will depend on the customer demand though China is asking for more pure electric cars each year.
Simmons candidly explained why the Ola Futurist has hints of the Ford Mustang. He said that he has worked at Ford Motor and witnessed several generations of the Mustang emerge in the past. He was in charge of a Fiesta project as well. One naturally gathers cues of the past cars after having worked on them or their brand for long stretches, Simmons said.
While China will likely get the Ora Futurist by the end of 2021, Great Wall is facing hurdles in the road to its launch in India. India has placed stricter rules for Chinese investments this year and government approvals for proposals from Chinese companies are facing delays following deadly clashes at the border in June.