Do You Wish Automakers Would Go Back To Yearly Facelifts?


Buy a new 2023 car today when the model is fresh in the U.S. and provided you keep it clean and free from damage, you can pass it off as new for at least the next three years before the inevitable facelift arrives and makes your car yesterday’s news.

Sure, there are model year updates that sometimes bring extra equipment or additional colors, but generally cars remain the same until its time for the mid-life refresh. So it’s hard to get excited about that 2023 Tesla Model 3 when it’s all but identical to the 2022 car.

But for years Detroit worked on a system of annual makeovers. Sometimes the changes were small enough that the average non-enthusiast driver wouldn’t notice if you didn’t point them out, but they were alway obvious enough to let car geeks tell one model year from the next.

Related: What New Cars Are You Most Excited About In 2023?

The 1969-70 Ford Mustangs are the same car, but the ’70 is easily distinguished by the bisected fender grille on each front corner where the lights were fitted on the previous year’s cars.


Dodge Chargers built between 1968 and 1970 share the same basic body structure, but all three have different grille treatments and only the ’68 got the now iconic round rear lamps.


Cadillac changed the grilles on its cars every year throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, but the easiest way to tell one from another was by looking at the fins, the ones on the ’59 being the best known and most outrageous.


And then there’s probably the most famous three-year run of al classic Detroit facelifts, the ones that appeared on the Tri-Five Chevrolets built between 1955 and 1957.

Those yearly changes helped persuade drivers to trade-up annually rather than hang onto their cars, but it must have been an expensive process for both Detroit’s automakers and the car-buying public. It definitely made car-spotting more fun though. If you want to brush up on your classic car model-year changes the search function on the Mecum auction site where we found these all these images is a great resource.

Would you like to see annual updates brought back, or do you like that longer facelift intervals help your new car stay new for longer?


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