Lifecycle – Take a Ride in the Wayback Machine has helped connect Massachusetts drivers with cars for a long time. So long, in fact, that the site has been crawled and captured dozens of times by the Internet Archive.

To kick off a series of trips down memory lane, we’re taking you along for a ride in the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine and its snapshots of Look out for similar explorations of carmakers’ sites over the years, but for now, prepare for a trip into Colonial Auto’s past and see what a difference a few years can make!

Humble Beginnings – 2004 to 2008 had with a simple, straightforward design back in 2004, and it remained largely the same for four years after. Aside from some minor tweaks here and there, the snapshot that the Wayback Machine provides for June 2006 sums up the look and feel of during the Bush years:

Complete with sound effects of a roaring engine and some slick animation of a Subaru pulling into the frame, vintage was a great example of web design from years past.

Transitional Phase – 2008 to 2009 underwent the first in a series of changes in mid-2008. The elements of the page design remained pretty much intact, but the formatting shifted to include a major new feature: an inventory search right from the homepage, accessible through dropdown menus.

You’ll also notice the first appearance of Colonial’s famous “You can have it all!” slogan in this Wayback Machine screen capture from October 2008:

Putting aside the broken images (the Wayback Machine doesn’t always capture them), you can see that the site’s mostly the same aside from some reorganization. The look and feel was starting to get a little long in the tooth, which is why the site got a complete overhaul in early 2009.

New Look – 2009 to 2012

The next few years saw adopt and stick with a completely revamped design and layout that helped drag our site out of the mid-2000s and up to date. Featuring bigger slideshow images, interactive maps, and a more advanced inventory search, the 2009 version of was a showstopper:

This iteration of the site connected thousands of shoppers with new cars, and saw the group through explosive growth. But in January 2012, was ready for a change once again.

Next Generation – January 2012 to Present

We relaunched in January 2012 with a cleaner, leaner look, blazingly fast functionality, new social features, enhanced vehicle data and an improved inventory search, and, of course, bigger, prettier slides:

Up until this latest design, we pushed forward to keep pace with current trends in the web with every new version. But with our current site, we’re setting the standards. Cloud-hosted data for extra speed, a more interactive inventory search, clean-as-a-whistle design to minimize annoying distractions – the list goes on.

Nobody knows what next redesign for will feature, but you can rest assured that it’ll keep us at the forefront of automotive website design. And keep on the lookout for more website lifecycle posts in the future, as we go back in time to peek at how sites from Honda, Ford and other companies have developed over the years.

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