Looking back at a year that brought some true icons of motoring

The world was a pretty grim place in 1980, blighted by war, political unrest, urban riots and industrial strikes (plus ca change, eh?). But in the car world, the dawn of a new decade brought the dawn of a new era in motoring. An era of rapidly developing design and technology that made cars faster, safer, greener.

The average family car of 1989 seemed like a spaceship next to the average family car from the start of the decade. Put a Mk.3 Vauxhall Cavalier next to a Mk.1, and you will see what we mean.

Many of the cars launched in 1980 set a template that rivals spent the rest of the decade scrambling to match. Some became icons. Some did both. Whether that applies to the five cars highlighted here is open to debate, but all of them became an integral part of the motoring landscape in their own way.

To see what The Sunday Times judged the top cars of the 80s, please click here.

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