Progress s a funny old game. Some of us march along at a merry old pace, some of us dawdle and meander somewhat more slowly. Before embarking on a life surrounded by classic metal I liked to think of myself as progressive. But age and old crocks have a funny way of changing things.
Today the world of progress is spinning faster than ever and none more so than in the world of cars. Or so I hear. Because in the funny old game that is classic car hire, progress is defined rather differently. As relatively modern cars become classics we’re starting to add 80s and 90s cars to our fleet. Most motorists revel in the latest Bluetooth technology and head-up displays, here at Great Escape we’re getting excited all over again at the prospect of central locking and electric windows. And power steering.
I’ve become so immersed in these old cars that these innovations really do feel like modern day progress. Which perhaps demonstrates how far cars have evolved since the 80s and early 90s. And, in all honesty, it is quite exciting. Because the 80s really were the turning point for in-car technology. Up until then progress was an in-car radio. Suddenly in the 80s cars had power steering, in-car ‘entertainment’ (that’ll be an auto-reverse cassette deck), electric windows, Central locking, electric seats and ‘digital’ clocks. Some even had heated seats. Not to mention proper heating and ventilation.
Cars of the 1980s are now proper classics. They may feel modern but that’s only because the 80s introduced technology that we recognise – electronics became commonplace and cars became noticeably more reliable. These cars may still be a far cry from self-driving modern day marvels but they’re much more closely related than the cars of the 70s which lacked the electronic advances of the 80s.
This sudden progress reflected advances in manufacturing techniques and technology. Fiat lauded it’s Strada as ‘built by robots’ (driven by morons…). Automation ruled. This was the decade of robots, electronics and automated machines, from car manufacturing to music. The resulting cars were more innovative than the ones they replaced and also more reliable.
So here at Great Escape we’re excited by progress. Sure, it’s progress circa 1981 but that’s how we roll here in the parallel universe that is classic car hire. We’re looking forward to adding more 1980s cars like our Capri, XJS’, Allegro and Saab 900s. These cars are bonafide classics that are tougher and more reliable than their forebears.