In what year/era did we reach "peak" car?

In what year/era did we reach "peak" car?

Author
Discussion

Jaguar steve

7,210 posts

174 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
1960s.

Massive road improvements with new motorways being built everywhere, very low car ownership and traffic volumes, cheap petrol and the working classes still went everywhere on the bus.

Downhill from there I recon... smile

tejr

1,618 posts

128 months

Wednesday 3rd March
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I reckon there were two peaks.. Mid/late 90s and again around 2005-2010... Cars in between had awkward infotainment systems which dated quickly and were starting to get a little too lardy without power keeping up until a few years later.

All of my fun cars are from these eras. To be more specific, Japanese stuff in the first peak.. German stuff in the latter peak.. Although German stuff was interesting in the late 80s/early 90s too.

MC Bodge

15,472 posts

139 months

Wednesday 3rd March
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white_goodman said:
General consensus seems to be early 2000s so far. Is this an age thing? Are we more drawn to cars that were current in our late teens/early 20s? Would someone that was born around that time think that cars from the early 2000s were crap and present day is where it's at?
I don't know, but I agree that early 90s-mid 00s were probably the best for normal cars. I've driven older cars, and newer.

There are some good (and some bad) reasons why current cars are not necessarily as pleasant/fun to drive, sit in, own and maintain at home.

Special mention to Ford for producing some excellent everyman cars during that era.

Edited by MC Bodge on Wednesday 3rd March 18:55

Richieboy3008

965 posts

147 months

Wednesday 3rd March
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1980s

Chubbyross

1,866 posts

49 months

Wednesday 3rd March
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As others have said I would go for anything up to 2010. After this driver aids have increased to a crazy degree and comfort, safety and emission laws seem to have squeezed out much of the joy of driving. I’ve just bought a fifteen year old Boxster and it’s a wonderful thing: so mechanical and simple. No, it’s not overly comfortable and the cabin is relatively basic but that’s a good thing in my opinion.

The spinner of plates

14,944 posts

164 months

Wednesday 3rd March
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Tickle said:
Late 90's early 00's
Agreed.

Although I'm going to have a wild swing in the dark here and suggest that PH is heavily populated by blokes in their 40's looking back fondly of cars they loved in their late teens / early 20s hehe

MC Bodge

15,472 posts

139 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
Modern cars are mostly just adding features for the sake of adding features.

The Internal Combustion engine has had its day.

chappardababbar

333 posts

107 months

Wednesday 3rd March
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The sultan of Brunei era. He was buying cars at the peak-car period. I never fail to be ASTOUNDED by the collection he amassed.

Lambos, Bentleys, Ferraris, Porsches, Mercedes omg that time was just incredible...

Muddle238

2,438 posts

77 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
white_goodman said:
General consensus seems to be early 2000s so far. Is this an age thing? Are we more drawn to cars that were current in our late teens/early 20s? Would someone that was born around that time think that cars from the early 2000s were crap and present day is where it's at?
Nah. I was born in the early 90’s, I still think cars peaked around 2000. As others have said, post-2010 it’s an accelerating downhill trend as cars become more digital, more intrusive and more complicated for the sake of adding tech. They’ve also become silly expensive.

For me, in my late twenties, there’s no appeal in a 70-reg or 21-reg over an 05-reg. Present day cars are just badge-engineered computers on wheels, not cars.

Eleu

17 posts

3 months

Wednesday 3rd March
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For me, it must definitely be around '95 to the late 2000's. All the cars that I salivate over come from this era. These include such gems as:

  • The MK2 MR2 (love that shape - I plan to pick one up and swap a Camry V6 into it)
  • The perpetually elegant E39
  • E46/E90 3.0l i6 petrol and diesel cars
  • 996 GT3
  • The S85 V10. Now that we are embedded in the age of turbocharged 4-cylinder engines, it seems unfathomable that this was ever a thing in a mainstream performance saloon.
  • The Carrera GT
  • Ferrari 456 and 550
I can say quite honestly that no new release has aroused my interest in the best part of 10 years (and that includes the GR Yaris). For the record, I'm in my late twenties.

Every day a journey

400 posts

2 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
MC Bodge said:
Modern cars are mostly just adding features for the sake of adding features.

Precisely this.

The other bit of the post I'll politely ignore.



Hereward

2,902 posts

194 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
The spinner of plates said:
Tickle said:
Late 90's early 00's
Agreed.

Although I'm going to have a wild swing in the dark here and suggest that PH is heavily populated by blokes in their 40's looking back fondly of cars they loved in their late teens / early 20s hehe
whistlehehe

Nostalgia is a powerful force.

SkodaIan

287 posts

49 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
In terms of 'enthusiast' cars I think we passed the peak some time ago, probably about 2005, as what's available now is all about the performance figures and look rather than how they drive.

However, cars which Joe Public who have no interest in cars buy, I think they are still getting better provided you stick to actual cars rather than pointless fashion SUVs or crossovers. The current Astra for example is a bit better than the previous version, which was a lot better than the one before, and the one before that (from the supposed "peak car" period of the late 90s) was rubbish. The Focus has gone downhill slightly since the Mk2, but is still massively better than the 90s Escort which preceded it. If you look like manufacturers on the up like Hyundai, Kia and to a certain extend Skoda, the cars on sale today are significantly better than what was on offer 10 years ago, never mind 20.

SidewaysSi

8,744 posts

198 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
All this nostalgia talk is a load of nonsense for some of us who have older cars and access to new stuff.

Same roads, same day, back to back. Choose your winner.

Crazy huh?

WonkeyDonkey

1,326 posts

67 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
I'd also go with late 90s early 00s.

When cars started ditching hydraulic power steering and a physical throttle cable is when cars started feeling a bit more numb.

Tickle

3,982 posts

168 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
Hereward said:
The spinner of plates said:
Tickle said:
Late 90's early 00's
Agreed.

Although I'm going to have a wild swing in the dark here and suggest that PH is heavily populated by blokes in their 40's looking back fondly of cars they loved in their late teens / early 20s hehe
whistlehehe

Nostalgia is a powerful force.
And now in our 40's we can afford said deathtraps cars laugh


kambites

61,064 posts

185 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
Depends on the purpose. For fun and styling, I'd say the 60s. For simple personal transport, I don't think we've got there yet.

SidewaysSi

8,744 posts

198 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
Some modern restomods are cracking though.

JPvanRossem

959 posts

30 months

Wednesday 3rd March
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Everything since the Bugatti Royale has been rather de trop

BritishBlitz87

351 posts

12 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
Depends. Personally I find the 90's and early 00's the worst period of car aesthetics, in fact it was probably that which made me get into classics in the first place. Look at streets scenes from that era and it's just a sea of blandness. Sure, an E36 3 series may drive like a dream, but it has about as much visual appeal as the crate it came in! At least modern cars have some visual interest, something to make you want the car even if it is an asthmatic 1.6l econobox.

The music and fashion was st then as well, probably the most nothingy decade of all time. boxedin

Peak style/desirability? Probably the 60's for the yanks, 80's for the Japs, 10's for the Germans.
Peak functionality? As everyone else said 90's and early aughts, for the same reasons too.
Peak fun? 60s provided you don't mind a bit of spannering.


Edited by BritishBlitz87 on Wednesday 3rd March 20:35