Blog : We need a Revival set in the 1970s and 1980s

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

80s Revival (2)

I loved the Goodwood Revival – every last moment of it. There, I said it. Mind you, I do have a slight confession – before I’d made the pilgrimage down to West Sussex and experienced it myself first hand, I had been quite sceptical. I guess you could say I’m a child of the 1970s and, as such, it’s this decade and the one that followed, that really shaped my passions.

That’s why, Sports Racing and Grand Prix cars of the 1950s and 1960s, as beautiful, sonourous and valuable as they are, aren’t really what I relate to fully – 0r they weren’t until I’d been to the Revival. Now I appreciate them and, having experienced them first hand, close-up, fully understand just how amazing they are. The noise, the handling and, most of all, the looks, which more often than not has been shaped by a stylist, and not a rule interpreter, with an intimate relationship with sporting reguations. However, as much as I appreciate and adore the cars that star in the Revival, they don’t quite hit home with quite the same potency as their counterparts from the 1970s and 1980s.

80s Revival (1)

As we all know, most peoples’ obsession with old cars is enmeshed in their sense of nostalgia. So, the best cars that were making news, and winning races, when we were growing up – say, between the ages of six and 16 years old, are the ones the indelibly embed themselves into our souls. For me, that means the period of time that spans James Hunt and Ayrton Senna in F1, the Triumph Dolomite and Ford Sierra RS Cosworth in Touring Cars and Lancia Stratos and Delta Integrale in rallying. I suspect that there are many thousands of classic car enthusiasts out there who feel the same…

That sounds like a huge period of time to cover, we’re looking at around a 12-year span, one that’s far narrower than the Revival currently enjoys. Realistically, we’d open our alternative Revival to cars between 1970-1989.

That’s what I’d love to see in a single celebratory themed weekend of motor racing and pit and paddock action. Imagine an event – held at Brands Hatch (Goodwood was largely out of action in the 1970s and 1980s, while Brands regularly held F1 and Touring Car races) – that stars such gems as Group B rally cars, the fire-breathing F1 turbos, Group C Le Mans cars, and World Touring Car races starring M3s, Cosworths and 190s. The mouth waters just thinking about it.

I guess all I need to see that happens is a little bit of money. Anyone up for stumping it up for me? I can’t be the only one out there yearning for a 1970s and 1980s Revival. Surely?

80s Revival (3)

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

15 Comments

  1. If that day comes, I’ll be glad to leave the continent for a long weekend and visit Brands. Even then it should rain. Even for a steep price.
    I totally agree to a full 100% with every word you’ve written in this article. I’d like to add RallyCross, though. Until the Group B was banned there too. But those times where simply the best. Unadulterated fun. These day it’s all too politically correct, and seems like it’s only just to sell some soda, petrol, oil, or telephones by media-trained drivers. Except a few; Raikkonen to name one.

    – But I also think you opened yet another can of worms… 😉

  2. I completely agree with this idea – I mean who wouldn’t want to see a Bastos (whoever they are/were) a big XJ12 etc racing in anger. Just include the 90s as well.

    I also love Paul’s idea of Rallycross as well.

    Can I also suggest a different location to Goodwood as its just a long way from too many places. Donnington springs to mind or maybe a North Yorkshire mansion such as Harewood.

    Now how do we go about organising this? Seriously!

  3. Keith – anything that encourages racing SD1s out to play gets my vote. The best looking, best sounding (and according to Andy Rouse, the best-handling) tin-top racers ever. I’m surprised we don’t see more about in racing today. If only Leyland Cars had raced the SD1 in the late 1970s rather than the overweight XJ12 Coupe, it might have really been a motorsport star.
    For AndrewP – Bastos is a cigarette brand, better known in Continental Europe, especially Belgium – and oddly enough, Vietnam, where it started!

  4. indeed nice racing/rallying cars… twr vitesse, jag en 6R4… hopefully Jaguar will come back and give audi at le mans a run for their money…

  5. I would back your project 100% – that won’t help you a lot ‘cos I’ve got too many cars and not two pennies to rub together and Mrs Wolseley Man is looking at bungalows! (But to be fair she won’t be interested in anything that hasn’t got three garages and workshop potential – bless her)
    In the car park, if not in the show areas we will find for our utter pleasure and delight:
    A metallic Silver Star-fire Vauxhall Victor 2000 – one of the sexiest car shapes ever!
    A metallic Bronze Ford Cortina Mk 3 Estate – most balanced load lugger.
    A metallic Gold Sunbeam Stiletto – roundabouts king
    A bright yellow Simca 1000 Rally – have fun trying to catch the Stiletto
    A Daytona Yellow Mk 1 Ford Capri………..speechless!

    For me, the 70’s hold great nostalgia. Although it was the decade after I started driving, all this stuff was new and so much part of my life. The last of the 60’s generation cars I sold was twin-tone green Vauxhall 101 Victor VX4/90 with leather interior. I drove the first new generation Bedford CF in our area and sold one of the first FD (sexy) Victors.
    Now don’t get me started……..

    Lets get this show on the road!

  6. As Max has said, the Silverstone Classic showcases all eras of competition cars . The Jaguar XJR 15 this year cleaned up the Group C and emitted the most spine chilling noise .

  7. Having marshalled, competed and organised in the group B era, the memories and sounds are still quite vivid in the memory!

    I was a member of the Group B Car Club who held an annual track day at Castle Combe, which has since evolved into Rallyday and is actually on again this weekend.

    I fear the biggest problem of organising an event dedicated to the competition cars of the 70’s and 80’s is likely to be the thought police at the MSA.

    I think almost everyone will agree that it was the golden age of motorsport and without doubt there would be a huge demand for such an event.

    I went to Festival of Speed and Silverstone Classic this year, and much prefer the later. I personally find that the Goodwood events are becoming very elitist and coporate which obviously generates money for the organisers, but for me these events have now lost something, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks the same.

    I would certainly welcome an event that caters for the true enthusiasts who do not need much in the way of corporate creature comforts!

  8. Cars like the FD Victor( underrated car in my opinion) and Mark 3 Cortina GXL with four headlamps stood out and their coke bottle styling made them look futuristic and exciting, but underneath was simple technology that anyone could maintain. Nowadays the obsession with people carriers and crossovers and small hatchbacks has made cars bland and dull. In the eighties the launch of the Ford Sierra was big news, now Ford launching yet another SUV take on the Focus gets a paragraph in What Car?
    No one wants to go back to the days of cars that rusted away, or overheated on long journeys, but there just doesn’t seem to be much individuality in design now. Only Citroen, Nissan and SEAT seem to make mainstream cars that stand out, everything else seems to have a boring corporate look to them and what is the point of a crossover, a four wheel drive that isn’t?

  9. Glenn @11
    I had to read this several times – I could not believe I didn’t write it!
    Your view that the Victor FD was underrated is just so true. It is such a shame that so few are left, especially as they rusted much less than the MK 3 Cortina. When I was delivering them new, I found only one slight negative and that was the steering – it felt dead and low geared compared with the superbly light Viva of the same era. But – the shape, the interior, the dash, the engine, the ride, the handling – just brilliant!
    I think we just need a celebration of the Seventies. Based on just three aspects alone it could be an absolute winner:
    The cars. Shapes ran riot and individuality was evident from every manufacturer and nation. Take pot luck in a car park of just six cars and you might find a Renault 16, an Avenger, a Simca 1000, a Beetle, a BMC 1100 and a Citroen Dyanne. Not even a hardened anti-car left wing partially sighted eighty nine year old hill farmer could mistake one for another!
    The Music. Zepp, Deep Purple and Genesis vied for disc space with Carol Bayer Seager and Nucia Fox. The music was extreme and like the cars instantly recognisable – the first three bars would do it. I won’t compare with the stuff of today as I am not a musician. (But I know what I like to listen to)
    The Clothes. Especially for men! Going to work in a burgandy three piece suit, massively wide and bright tie, long hair down to my shoulders and a pair of George Webb shoes with 2 inch heels – and smoking a Sherlock Homes pipe. What we have got now? Have you tried going into M&S or your tailor and asking for a pale blue or burgandy colour suit?
    Come on now – let’s celebrate the very best in cars, music and style – the 70’s.

  10. Wolseley Man, I’m listening to the Sounds of the Seventies on Radio 2 with The Clash playing and it sort of reminds me of streets full of Mark 3 Cortinas, the odd Beetle, Vauxhalls, Hillmans, Datsuns and Morris Marinas. Also I found the FD Victor to be underrated, in VX 4/90 form this was a well equipped and powerful alternative to a top Cortina. It could rust, but was it any worse than any other car of the time and also looked like an American luxury car rather than a British family car.
    Seventies music ruled and was constantly moving forward, unlike the stagnant music of the last 20 years where the same dance beats, indie guitar sounds, rap and Metallica wannabes have dominated. A 1975 chart was very different to a 1970 chart and a 1979 chart would be even more different. It was an exciting time for music as new trends would emerge every few years.
    Also sitcoms like Porridge and The Likely Lads are still being repeated now and are fondly remembered as this was a golden era for comedy. Who in 40 years time will remember Dancing or Ice or Celebrity Big Brother, or would watch a repeat of any of these disposable, trash reality shows.
    Anyway I rest my case, the seventies were an interesting time.

  11. The fly in the ointment is where are all these cars.Will gollops bi turbo metro,the Jonn Welch astra,rs 200’s,205t16’s,
    dolly sprints,the list goes on but the car’s are just in are memories or books and our photo albums.

  12. Robert@14, there wasn’t the same rust protection in the seventies and many eighties hot hatches were stolen and destroyed by joyriders, or written off by their owners. The lack of rust protection on Italian cars in particular, otherwise very good cars, means such classics as the Mirafiori Sport, Fiat X1/9, Lancia HPE and Alfa Romeo Sprint Veloce are far rarer than MG and Triumph sports cars, which they totally outclass. Indeed in the late seventies I’d much rather have owned a futuristic looking Fiat X 1/9 than some MG throwback to the early sixties.

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