Foul Reader Paul G. sent me these links to the Concours d’Elegance Suisse (here for the pre-WWII models and here for post-war) which show some magnificent cars — and a couple of howlers. Take this 1981 Daimler V12 Double Six “shooting brake” (a.k.a. station wagon to us Murkins):
On a tangential thought: I seem to be one of the few people of my vintage who actually enjoyed the 1980s. I liked the music, I liked the clothing, and I sure as hell enjoyed the lifestyle. (Remember, for me the 1980s straddled two continents: South Africa pre-1986, and the U.S. from 1987 onwards.)
The cars were… well, patchy. On the one hand, you had the pretty ones:
Ferrari 288 GTO
And then we had the wonderful Toyota MR2 (“Mister 2”)
…which unfortunately led other Japanese car makers to go all wedgey, e.g.:
Come to think of it, even the 288 was a wedge, but an Italian wedge (which makes all the difference).
Of course, there were also the 80’s cars which were horrible and disgusting:
…and we won’t even talk about the Cadillac Cimarron
Let’s go back to the goodies. First, the boxy-boxy look:
BMW E30 M3
Lancia Delta Integrale
Maserati Biturbo — the very definition of
Saab 900 Turbo
Volvo 740/760 Turbo (& wagon — you can’t use the term “shooting brake” for a Swedish car, it’s illegal))
Note that many of the above were quite decent performers — the BMW E30 is one of the greatest racing cars ever made, the Audi Quattro dominated rallying for years, and even the Volvo 760 Turbo had quite a bit of poke — but they’re all still pig-ugly as far as I’m concerned. Speaking of “ugly performance cars”, though, there were the Murkins:
Ford Mustang GT 5.0
Buick Grand National GNX
Both the above were quite hideous to look at, but at least they were fast. As were a couple of European entrants:
Merkur XR4i (a.k.a. Ford Sierra GT)
…which was underpowered — for rallying — but which still managed a 0-60mph time of 3.8 seconds, which compares well to the supercars of today.
Speaking of supercars, the 1980s did produce a couple of sublime models like the Ferrari F40
and the Lamborghini Countach
There were others (the above is by no means a comprehensive list); but these were the ones that caught my eye at the time. To my mind, though, no car captures the spirit of the 1980s quite like Toyota’s MR 2.
Go ahead and talk about your favorites, in Comments.