In part three of our look at the new cars of previous years we’re venturing in the ancient days of 1987, when Chucklevision was the hottest new thing on TV, Ford had just bought Aston Martin and a small Scandinavian furniture shop made its first venture into the UK.
Readers of a certain age will remember all the old Skoda jokes and this – one of the cars responsible for those jokes. Built to replace the rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive Estelle, the Favorit moved the drivetrain to the front and introduced bodystyling by Bertone. Sadly, it was still pig ugly and came with just one choice of engine – a 1.2-litre petrol. Launched as a five-door hatch, an estate version and even a pick-up followed later in its life. It was replaced in 1994 by the Felicia which was to be the last car built on a Skoda platform after the firm’s takeover by VW.
The last Ferrari to be signed off by Enzo himself, the F40 has gone down in history as one of the most spectacular supercars of all time. Even today the angular Pininfarina-designed body looks astonishing and the 478bhp from the twin-turbo V8 is a wholesome lump of power. Back in the 80s it must have been mind-blowing. With Kelvar and carbon fibre used in the construction and a cabin that lacked pretty much any creature comforts it was designed to be as light and quick as possible. And it was, with a 0-60 time of 3.8 seconds and a claimed top speed of 200mph. Debate rages about how good it is compared to rivals from Porsche and Lamborghini but the F40’s place as an icon is guaranteed.
From fire-breathing Ferraris to humdrum French saloons. Not as exciting as the F40 but the 405 was a huge car for the manufacturer. The large family saloon won the 1998 European Car of the Year Award nearly 20 years after Peugeot had last won the title. It was praised at the time for its dynamic handling, comfortable ride and broad range of engines, which included the 160bhp 1.9-litre unit fitted to the Mi16 hot hatch. Astonishingly, the 405 is still being built under licence in Iran, 20 years after European production stopped. And no mention of the 405 can go without a nod to the legendary clip of Ari Vatanen weaving his way up Pikes Peak in a 405 T16.