BACK in the 70s and 80s, before driving-off, we’d pull the aerial up in order to get a radio reception. Once inside, we’d manually operate the choke and start the engine. After winding down the window and adjusting the wing mirror, a bit of strength was needed to turn the non-powered steering wheel.
Today’s cars are more reliable and there’s less faffing required to get moving, but there’s no mistaking the awe and beauty of some of the cars from back in the day. The car market has always been competitive and some of the advertising from yesterday-years go about taking their competitors apart in a sly and subtle manner.
In this short article, we’ll look at some of the cars advertising from yesterday-years – from the sexy to the all-out rip-speed beast.
A Sexy drive
Sexy is a matter of opinion but there were some cars where sexiness oozed from bumper to bumper. Their shape was unbelievably well-crafted and still turn heads when seen on streets today. Sexy could be served straight and undiluted or with a dash of adventure and sportiness.
The family drive
Having a car that could comfortably fit a family became a big boast. It was important that the passengers didn’t feel like a journey in the car was more like an endurance test rather than a pleasant experience. The Austin Allegro television advert boasted about having room for five, room to spare and room for long legs!
The cars on the posh end of the spectrum
Cars that really cut the mustard. Many of them were sleek and had that ‘company car’ look. Owners of cars in this category were made a quiet statement or two … ‘I’m classy and I know it’ and ‘I’m not average’.
The practical drive
Estate cars ruled when it came to having an extra bit of room. A bit extra room for those bulky flick-lock suitcases or for transporting weighty furniture. The Volvo was seen as a robust, reliable, safety-first type of car. Practicality was paramount for the owners of cars in this category – can be summarised as being no nonsense cars that won’t win any beauty contests but will do the job.
The all-out pedal to the metal cars
Practicality is left for dust when it came to these cars. Speed, speed and more speed was the only topic on the agenda. Drivers wanting to put pedal to the metal whilst making other motorists look like tiny dots in their rear view mirror. Today’s motoring advertisements cannot mention speed, fast or any words indicating that the driver could outrun other cars (safety reasons and discourage potential speed demons) but back in the day this was not the case … broom broom screech eat my exhaust fumes!
Power steering, automatic choke, parking sensors, onboard warning lights, CD players, MP3 players, central locking, heated mirrors, adjustable mirrors, automatic front windows – all of these come as standard with our modern cars. The question of ‘What’s the furthest you’ve gone in that car?’ has disappeared from our motoring discussions – reliability has risen to impressively high standards. Whilst all these advancements are a huge leap forward to making driving easier and enjoyable, there’s no mistaking the beauty, fun and the nostalgic feeling when you see a Yesterday’s Drive on the street.
Read about the Ford Cortina, The Austin Allegro and Ambassador and the Ford Capri in the nostalgic book ‘Section N Underpass’. It’s a must-have for memories of the 70s and 80s. Out now! Get the rundown and order your copy here: Enter the Underpass
Want more nostalgic motoring? Read about my driving 1989 driving experience here:The Highway Code: learning to drive in the 80s