What Happened To All Those 1980’s Cars?

November 8th, 2017

At Enthusiast we subscribe to a service that lists (almost) every passenger vehicle that has been officially sold in Australia since 1960.

Among the earliest listings are a lot of familiar names; cars like the Holden EH, XR Fairmont, Jaguar XJ6, Mini Cooper S etc that you can rely on to appear at one or more of the Display Days we visit during any year.

Scroll forward to the 1980s though and it’s easy to start thinking; “When was the last time I saw one of those?”

Once popular models like the Mazda 323SS, Ford Telstar TX5, BMW 733i and early Toyota Supra have become almost impossible to find. To that list you can add most of the 1980s Alfa Romeos, any pre-1990s Audi, early Datsun Skylines and Porsche 924s.

Looking to the UK where rust takes an awful toll on older cars, the statistics are frightening. Of the 4.1 million Ford Cortinas registered in Britain from 1962-82 just 3580 remained by 2016. A few hundred would probably survive in Australia as well. Also from Britain news that of the several thousand solid and well rust-proofed Volvo 265 Wagons sold there over several years, just TEN remain registered and running. Seen one of those in Oz lately?

The reasons why models that sold in significant numbers have become extinct or under threat are varied. Lack of spare parts or the high cost of any parts that still exist is often quoted as a reason why owners chose the wrecker in preference to the repairer.

The same applies to rust, especially where complex construction techniques intended to improve survivability in a crash make even quite basic models tricky and costly to repair.

Australia’s shift from Leaded fuel to ULP from 1985 and the phasing out of Super during the 1990s brought the lives of many quite decent cars to a shuddering end. Premium Unleaded fuel which older models generally needed was more expensive than the basic 91 Octane stuff. Keeping engine valves in good fettle without lead as a lubricant involved adding Lead Substitute to your fuel and that cost money as well.

If you do own a 1980s or 1990s survivor, and want it insured by someone who knows what it is and can even suggest a sensible value, click on one of our Quick Quote tabs and fill in your details.

Image: Courtesy of Gosford Classic Car Museum

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