What if you could go back 35 years to 1987? The first thing a car enthusiast thinks are great cars on the street. The youngest are full-fledged youngtimers. The situation would of course be radically different depending on which country we were to perform this time transfer in.
It would look very different in Poland than in Germany, for example. The Walkman would have the same song: “Voyage, Voyage”, but in Poland it would be a radio recording, and in Germany – an original cassette! Anyway, you don’t have to go back in time to see what the streets of Warsaw looked like then – all you need is a search engine and archive video material on the Internet. However, if the trip were possible, we would be at the youngtimers rally.
In Poland this would mainly be our own cars, because in 1987 the streets were mainly driven by small and large Fiats. Of course in cities like Warsaw there were also many western vehicles and we do not only think of Mercedes W123, which taxi drivers and stalkers liked, because there were also much more exotic, for example Japanese cars. Some of them, of course, could be bought from us for foreign exchange for a long time, so they were rather offers for people who have one of the western currencies, for example, those returning from Saxony. In this way, cars of such brands as Toyota or Nissan were offered (for example, they were sold for some time in Pewex).
At the end of the 80s, the first Toyota showroom was in Poland
It’s no wonder, then, that the first real sales network that emerged in the 1980s was the Toyota chain. The first store was opened in Warsaw’s Radość at ul. Patriots, and the showroom itself was called “Toyota Radość” (the company still exists and still sells cars of this brand). Before that there was a gas station. It can be said that from 1987 new cars were sold in Poland in a way that is so obvious to us today. But if we were to go back in time, it would be worth visiting one of the then popular car markets.
Granted, 1987 was when hyperinflation started. It was she who increased the prices tenfold after a few years and they all became millionaires. Only then, in 1987, a million zlotys was still an asset that, of course, allowed the purchase of a Fiat 126p on the car market. If we were somehow in the room of one of the young car fans, say in Germany, there is a good chance that we would see a red Ferrari on his wall. In 1987 it could only be one model: the F40. In fact, there was only one car left, which was sniffed as often at the time – the Porsche 959. Anyway, both cars were a remnant of the rally group B (959 almost immediately, and the F40 because of the 288 GTO Evo model on the on the basis of which it is made).
Other iconic cars, such as the Lamborghini Diablo and especially the McLaren F1, did not appear until four years later. But 35 years ago, many more interesting vehicles were unveiled, such as the last high-end sedan produced by Opel. It can be said that this is the last attempt to return to the segment in which Opel had a say in the 1960s and 1970s. Unfortunately, the senator we’re talking about here wasn’t fully developed. The mere extension of the Omega A floorboard can somehow still be experienced.
We add that Audi did the same with the “cigar”, converting it to the top-of-the-line V8 a year later, but using an engine with more cylinders. Opel invested heavily in this car, and unfortunately there was not enough money for a new engine, which mattered in 1987. Suffice it to look at BMW, which threw a gauntlet on Mercedes in the second half of the 1980s by introducing the “seven” with a 12-cylinder engine.
Mercedes experiments with front-wheel drive delivery van
What did Daimler do then? In Germany and other European countries he started selling the first production front-wheel drive car, many years before the first A-class. It was a van, structurally reminiscent of the days of the NSU, but the fact remains. BMW only did this in 2014 with the 2 Series Active Tourer, but this manufacturer does not offer commercial vehicles. The Mercedes MB 100, produced in Portugal, did not last as long as the “duck”, very popular at our vegetable fairs, a model so durable that you can still find it.
What killed the MB 100? Corrosion of course. Some people laugh that in this model and the later Vito, Daimler tested the savings that were introduced for good in the “eyepiece” that debuted 8 years later, leaving it rotten in power. This is of course a joke. It is a pity that the MB 100 is so poorly protected against corrosion, because for example its engine from the OM616 series is very durable (we know it with some modifications of Mercedes passenger cars, such as the already mentioned W123). Corrosion also turned out to be the biggest problem of two cars, which also made their debut in the 80s, and we present them in the gallery. Both have front-wheel drive, but there’s a lot in between.
On the one hand, the Honda Prelude, a two-door sports car, somewhat related to the popular Civik, on the other – the pinnacle of Czechoslovak engineering thinking, the Skoda Favorit. In the case of Honda, it is worth noting that the German competition appeared later – Volkswagen Corrado debuted in 1988, and the Calibra, once popular in Poland, did not appear on the market until 1989. Plus, Honda could have had something that wasn’t available on any other car back then – a mechanical steering system for both axles.
Today you will find such a solution in selected Renault models, as well as in the top Porsche 911 Turbo S, but then it was an absolute novelty that no one else had. Honda only used this system in this version once in its history, because the next generation Prelude (penultimate, because this model never became a cult model and probably will not become one), sold since 1991, already had an electronically controlled 4WS system .
The second half of the eighties was the start of a good series for Skoda
However, such news cannot be counted on in the Skoda Favorit. On the other hand, if we look at what the car industry in Poland had to offer at the time, we start to see the new Skoda model in much more pink colors. The Favorit is a fairly modern model, the body and interior of which were designed by Italians from the Bertone firm.
At the same time, the Polish-produced top version of the Polish-produced Polonez received a new spoiler (MR 87 version), the small-scale Fiat 126p underwent a new facelift and a liquid-cooled BIS appeared. It is a pity that politics and money did not allow Beskid to go into production, which in 1987 received the final version with a BIS engine, but it was clear that the Tychy factories were being prepared for the production of Cinquecento, which was sent to the assembly lines. in 1991
So you have to judge positively what the Czechoslovak producer did at the time, because at the end of the eighties it was unprecedented. During this time, Volkswagen helped improve the Wartburg (1.3 engine from the Golf and slightly modernized body, debut: 1988), as well as the Trabant (1989).
It is difficult to say unequivocally which of the novelties shown in 1987 turned out to be the most spectacular. In terms of prestige – certainly the aforementioned BMW 750i with V12 engine. For collectors and Porsche enthusiasts it will be a slightly more modern interpretation of the Speedster.
Interestingly, it was not very popular at the time of its debut, but it is not surprising, since production took place at a time when everyone was waiting for the new generation of the “991”. It is also thanks to this that this vehicle was made in such a small number of copies and is very iconic today. Any rally enthusiast will tell you that in 1987 the Lancia Delta 4×4 made its most significant debut, achieving almost everything there was to do in this field of motorsport in the following years.
Back then, after the Group B era, the strict homologation regulations left everyone wondering what would happen to rallies and whether they would still be spectacular. This Italian car was the answer. Also worth mentioning is the BMW 3 Series, which got a station wagon for the first time in history. Nowadays it is impossible to imagine life without the premium middle class, but BMW was not the first.