11.04.41: NOSTALGIA is making a comeback.

'Thank the oldies' seems to be the latest message from the car industry, which, buoyed by the nostalgia boom and the much-vaunted revival of interest in arts, crafts and design, is enjoying a genuine renaissance with healthy sales of this year's models.

This latest generation of cars harks back stylistically to motoring's golden age (the 1960s), although the technology and propulsion systems are pure 21st century.

The control systems of these new models interface with the driver's brain and are designed to adapt to owner expectations. Drivers will no longer have to choose between buying either a sports car or a tough off-roader. They can now have both: a car with intelligent plastics that can morph and shape itself at the touch of a button.

But the real demand seems to be for mid-20th-century design. With much of the impetus for change coming from the influential pensioners' lobby, the strong heritage of European manufacturers meant they were always going to be best placed to profit from the global nostalgia-driven retro boom.

For the first time in more than three decades, cars are once again stylish and enjoyable to drive. DL