In composing aour rundown on the history of Gap Insurance, it stirred some nostallgic feelings in me I must admit. Thinking back to the late 1980’s and early 1990’s makes you realise how the world has changed in that time, not just Gap Insurance!

If you look back to the late 1980’s the UK car market was still dominated by traditional brands such as Ford’s and Vauxhall’s. The car showrooms were dominated by Escorts and Astra’s, Sierra’s and Cavalier’s. Manufacturers such as Renault, Nissan and Citroen were still seen as somewhat eccentric, although there customer base was very loyal.

The 1980’s car market

The decade that brought us Live Aid was also the decade of the ‘Hot Hatch’ in the UK. The earliest successes in this category were led by the VW Golf GTI, which can trace its roots back to the 1970’s. Towards the end of the 1980’s, it had been joined by the Peugeot 205, Vauxhall Nova, Ford Escort XR3i and Fiesta XR2. The term ‘boy racers’ was born, and aftermarket air filters and exhaust systems were all the rage, just to tweet that extra few break horse power.

1980's hot hatch

How things have changed in 30 years, although maybe not everything!

Then came the far east invasion. Honda were always well knwon for their reliability, but sportier cars such as the Prelude did turn heads. However, the Toyota range of sports coupes really did change the landscape. The MR2 was a nimble, mid ranged coupe, that was huge fun to drive. The Celica was its bigger brother, allowing more power, but a practical side too. The daddy of them all was the Supra, 3 litre engine certainly gave hussle to the muscle.

Unlike many of their European counterparts, the Toyota’s did not have the added charm of being ever so slightly unreliable. The Japanese certainly got their bullet proof reputation in place long before the Lexus crossed our shores.

Do we miss the 1980’s cars?

I think its fair to say that the cars in the 1980’s were far more individual than they are today. There is little doubt that they are fondly remembered, but perhaps time does fade some of the less savory aspects of car ownership in the 1980’s. How many of us have WD40 and TCut in our boots these days?

Still, at lease you could change a spark plug without taking an engine out back then!

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