The Way We Were Brighton, 1992

A su­per­mar­ket sweep of the car park of this newly opened Sains­bury’s store re­veals some hid­den late Eight­ies gems among the shop­ping trol­lies

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week -

‘The fi­nal few yu­gos were just £2999, mak­ing them eas­ily Bri­tain’s cheap­est new cars’ easTern Bloc Bar­gain chic

ome cars are con­sid­ered to be so mun­dane that they’re la­belled ‘shop­ping trol­lies’. And while we can de­light in this car park scene from 25 years ago, we’re sure there are plenty of read­ers who would level that de­scrip­tion at some of the makes and mod­els parked out­side this newly opened Sains­bury’s store in Port­slade, Brighton.

The two Volvo 340s are prime ex­am­ples – both are five-door mod­els, in­tro­duced in the UK in Septem­ber 1982. The red car on the left is parked next to a gor­geous pre-facelift 1981 Audi 80 in front of the canopy lead­ing to the front of the store. The sec­ond, in two tones (did some­one get car­ried away with the stonechip shield paint?) is al­most out of frame in the bot­tom-right cor­ner. The 2.0-litre GTL was a gig­gle, but we sus­pect that most of the cars, which were a main­stay in the UK’s sales charts through­out the 1980s, were powered by the more pon­der­ous Re­nault 1.4- and 1.7-litre four-pots. It would be an­other year be­fore

hosted by a young Dale Win­ton, aired on ITV, but al­ready we can see there’s been a clean sweep for the var­i­ous su­per­mi­nis parked out­side Sains­bury’s, with no fewer than three third-gen­er­a­tion Vaux­hall As­tras (which de­buted in Oc­to­ber the pre­vi­ous year) vis­i­ble. The first is in the bot­tom-right cor­ner (near the multi-coloured Volvo), the sec­ond is nearer the store, parked next to one of its MkII pre­de­ces­sors that’s wear­ing a set of oh-so-Eight­ies crossstyle wheeltrims, while the third is in a dis­abled bay next to a Mit­subishi Galant. The Galant’s black rather than colour-coded bumper rub­bing strips sug­gest it’s a vanilla ex­am­ple, with ei­ther a 1.8- or 2.0-litre over­head-cam four-pot.

Other su­per­mi­nis in the car park in­clude a Re­nault 5 parked next to the afore­men­tioned red Volvo 340 (we sus­pect that it’s a Cam­pus vari­ant), a Mini parked di­rectly op­po­site (a City E, per­haps?) a K10 Nis­san Mi­cra (the K11 was launched the year that this shot was taken), a pair of Fi­esta MkIIs side-by-side and, in the bot­tom-left cor­ner, al­most out of frame, a 1989 MG Metro (a Turbo, judg­ing by its body-coloured bumpers and al­loy wheels). Next to that is a Citroën AX – pos­si­bly a GT, if that grille is any­thing to go by.

The Mi­cra and Galant are by no means the only Ja­panese cars pic­tured, ei­ther. A red Honda Bal­lade, com­plete with a sun­roof, is di­rectly be­yond the facelifted Volvo 700 es­tate parked next to a Jaguar XJ6 Se­ries 3. Next to the Bal­lade, re­splen­dent in chrome, is what we sus­pect is a T12 Nis­san Blue­bird (though we’ll hap­pily be cor­rected here – let­ters to the usual ad­dress) and nearby is a fairly new Nis­san Primera. Across the other side of the road from these are a red Nis­san Sunny and a grey Honda Le­gend.

The left­most of the three yel­low cars in the cen­tre of the scene (the oth­ers be­ing a lightly dinged Re­nault 9 and a post-1980 facelift B310 Nis­san Sunny) is ar­guably the great­est odd­ball – a Ser­bian-built Zas­tava Yugo 45. Un­der­neath that dis­tinc­tive paint, it’s pure Fiat 127. The first Yu­gos were built in 1977, but didn’t be­gin ar­riv­ing in the UK un­til 1984.

Im­ports ended the year be­fore our photo was taken with the out­break of the Balkan War. The fi­nal few ex­am­ples sold in 1992 cost just £2999, mak­ing them eas­ily Bri­tain’s cheap­est new cars.

The cheap­est car in our scene, then, but not quite the old­est – we think that hon­our goes to the 1.5-litre Volk­swa­gen Golf GL MkI in the fore­ground, with its chrome and half-trim rear whee­larches, which was regis­tered in Oc­to­ber 1980. That said, it could also be the Jag, though we can’t quite make out its reg­is­tra­tion num­ber.

It’s sad to think that most of the cars in this scene have gone to that big car park in the sky, but the Sains­bury’s store is still go­ing strong and largely un­changed. Though the cars out front are now doubt­less a colour­less sea of grey…

The austin Metro won many friends, but there were plenty who still pre­ferred the Mini. Pro­duc­tion con­tin­ued to 2000. Volvo’s 340 be­gan life as a DaF, hence the op­tion of Var­i­omatic cVT trans­mis­sion. it would be­come a Bri­tish best-seller. with im­pres­sive han­dling, good looks, plus 4x4 and gTi op­tions, this Mit­subishi should’ve been a hit. it wasn’t…

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