On the day of the funeral of controversial leader Margaret Thatcher it seems only fitting to look back at some of the Great classics that adorned the streets of the UK during the Thatcher years of 1979 -1990.
Not all are British may we remark!
Love her or hate her, Margaret Thatcher changed the face of the British Auto Industry.
Her policies led to dramatic shifts in home produced manufacture to simple assembly. The automation and the beginning of computerisation combined with the privatisation of the nationalised car companies, led to large losses of skilled labour forces and dencentralisation and rationalisation of motor industry supply services.
The encouragement for Japanese and European manufacturers to invest in the UK led to some new jobs and Monetarism encouraged high demand for high end goods.
All of these factors led to some interesting cars being driven on the streets of Britain….
At No 10 Maggies Den
Triumph Dolomite Sprint 1979-80
The Coventry built Sprint was the perfect car for the young aspiring professional or party member to be zipping around town in the early Thatcher years. With it’s twin SU carbs, the thrill of the acceleration symbolised new found success. The insurance cover didn’t come cheap.
Volkswagen Golf 1979-90
The mark 2 released in 83 was likely to be driven by young lady professionals with a copy of the Daily Mail and Cosmopolitan on the front seat. The GTi was the sought after model.
Rover 200 1984-90
Included as an example of the best of British after British Leyland was sold off. The Honda owned car was popular with the fleet market.
Porsche 944 1982-90
The wannabee Yuppie car was produced throughout Mrs Thatcher’s term of office and demand for it died along with monetarism in the recession of the late Thatcher years.
Despite being sold off in 1984, labouring Jaguar continued with the XJ series 3 and Margaret Thatcher was often seen waving from the back of a bottle green XJ6 or BRG sovereign. Second hand versions of a car that cost £40000 plus new were favourites of many a dad.
Mazda RX7 1979-86
Trade agreements with Japan allowed the direct importation of a quota of cars of which there was much demand for the beautiful Mazda RX-7. Mazda dealers started to operate throughout the UK. Disparagingly called the poor mans Porsche the RX-7 could out perform the 944 and the turbo versions compete with the 911. Relatively cheap to buy, the insurance was in the top group for the day.
Ford Escort 1979-90
Various versions of the Escort came out throughout Thatchers time in office. Perhaps the most popular was the xr3i of Harry Enfield’s Loadsamoney fame, driven by many a successful young small business man or woman.
Ford Sierra 1982-90
The workhorse of the economy, the family car and for a while a classic company car. Many a job came with one of them, sales helped under company tax breaks and demand from large multi national fleets for workers in the growing Financial Services sectors.
The car came with the wide Ford spec in a variety of models of varying insurance class. Middle-market cars have long symbolised Middle Britain. In later years a favourite for enthusiasts with the RS Cosworth models.
Vauxhall Cavalier 1979-90
Another family and company car favourite, the 2 litre version went .. well fast!
Seen on every estate in the country.
The ultimate Yuppie gadget, preferably the Carrera, very common in Clapham and Balham and seen everywhere throughout the UK. More dinky toys and remote control versions were sold than the actual model, as symbols of aspiration for the kids.
What are your favourite cars from eighties Britain? Let us know
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