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

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

Author
Discussion

MC Bodge

15,407 posts

139 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
Every day a journey said:
The other bit of the post I'll politely ignore.
MC Bodge said:
The Internal Combustion engine has had its day.
So the internal combustion hasn't had its day?

austinsmirk

4,111 posts

87 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
Richieboy3008 said:
1980s
This. Because music also peaked then.

Exotic cars, high end brands really were rare

Seeing a rolls, a Porsche or a Ferrari was a big deal.

These days literally every thing is everywhere. Nothing on the roads ever is spectacular or stands out.

Chubbyross

1,837 posts

49 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
MC Bodge said:
Every day a journey said:
The other bit of the post I'll politely ignore.
MC Bodge said:
The Internal Combustion engine has had its day.
So the internal combustion hasn't had its day?
I think it’s still clinging on but only just. Another ten years and EVs will be king, sadly. I agree with your earlier quote though. Manufacturers are just adding stuff for the sake of it these days. The average white goods punter wants zero steering feel, easy brakes and simple connectivity. Government legislation demands better emissions and more driver aids. The car manufacturers are simply giving them what they want. Fans of driving for the sake of it are becoming so marginalised we’ll eventually be squeezed out altogether.

I don’t think it’s all doom and gloom though. It appears that a rare consensus seems to be apparent here on PH and peak car seems to be around the early 2000s. There will still be plenty of used cars for us to play with, as long as we’re allowed - it’s becoming increasingly difficult in London though. Drivers are being hounded off the road by our wretched mayor. But I’ll save that rant for another day.

Om

401 posts

42 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
white_goodman said:
However, I think that I have narrowed "peak car" for me down to a 5 year window of 2009-2013. You could still get an NA V8 in a small saloon/estate or a V10 in a big saloon, hot hatches were available with your choice of 4, 5 or 6 cylinder engines, manual transmissions were still fairly commonplace in performance cars but the autos were also very good by this point if you preferred. Diesels were quite good and fuel economy very impressive but not yet overly-complex. You could still get NA cars and hydraulic steering and generally, I prefer the styling of vehicles from this era i.e. not to say that I don't like or dislike the styling of some modern cars but there are many from this era that were never really replaced or what replaced them didn't appeal to me as much.

So, in your opinion, in what era/time period did we reach "peak car"?
What do you define as the 'era' though? The date the car was released or the period in which it was available?

From your list above, the 350z just scrapes into 2009 though it was released in 2002. It's successor the 370z was released in 2009 so slap bang in the sweet spot you highlight but is still in production now, so a modern car...

Apologies for picking holes in your thread, I just wondered if some clarification might help?

And to answer your question, I personally like cars that were released from the early 90s when modern technologies were in their early years up to those cars released in the early to mid 2010s prior to newer technologies (that have taken away from the driver experience and driver involvement) becoming mainstream. Unfortunately the sales figures for cars like the 370z suggest that I am in a minority and people want the tech. Competency beats character.

Om

401 posts

42 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
Every day a journey said:
1990s

Cars were individual. Not same shape with different badges.
I clearly remember a (I think) early 90s Car Magazine lead/cover bemoaning exactly this along the lines of being unable to pick out a Cavalier from a Primera from a Mondeo from a 405 from a Mazda 6 etc in a car park.

Plus ça change...

white_goodman

Original Poster:

3,644 posts

155 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
Om said:
What do you define as the 'era' though? The date the car was released or the period in which it was available?

From your list above, the 350z just scrapes into 2009 though it was released in 2002. It's successor the 370z was released in 2009 so slap bang in the sweet spot you highlight but is still in production now, so a modern car...

Apologies for picking holes in your thread, I just wondered if some clarification might help?

And to answer your question, I personally like cars that were released from the early 90s when modern technologies were in their early years up to those cars released in the early to mid 2010s prior to newer technologies (that have taken away from the driver experience and driver involvement) becoming mainstream. Unfortunately the sales figures for cars like the 370z suggest that I am in a minority and people want the tech. Competency beats character.
No, that's a fair point. You're right that the 350Z finished production in 2009, as did the S2000. 2009-2013 was kind of a compromise, as I was trying to narrow it down to a smaller window. For instance, the S2000 actually came out in 1999 but other cars that I like didn't come out until 2012 such as the B8 RS4, F12, 981 Cayman, GT86/BRZ etc. Broadly it's the 2000s for me then really but I think that some cars from the early 2010s did benefit from technological improvements/more modern styling trends without compromising driving pleasure. In the case of the 350Z, I was in my early 20s when that came out and seeing one for the first time in 2003 in that burnt orange colour made quite an impact on me, as it looked so different from anything else available at the time. The 370Z continued that design language and in many ways is probably a better car but in 2021 as a still current model, it looks very dated, whereas the 350Z gets a pass in the context of the time.

NickCQ

4,094 posts

60 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
The best cars were produced about 20 years ago as they struck the perfect balance of modern technology and character.
This was also the case 20 years ago and it will be the case 20 years hence.

Chewbacca NE

29 posts

8 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
1970 - peak muscle car and specifically the Hemi Cuda

Huff

2,673 posts

155 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
JPvanRossem said:
Everything since the Bugatti Royale has been rather de trop
Perfect.



As for myself/ daily of choice - BMW E39 V8. Only because I no longer have an E34 V8...
and my choice of 'fun' car is far more wilful than that, too.

All of them can be serviced/dissembled/utterly fixed, because they were the last gen of cars *designed* to be; all of them deliver(ed) an engaging 'drive.' I like them still - more than the more-perfected /characterless/tedious alternatives. ( and even some of those being 'faster' after trying them with a view to buy - nah, utter misses on the engagement scale.*

I buy cars to please me, not marketing perceptions, nor demographics. In other words, Senators, I am not now, and have never been, a member of the Jones-Appeasement society.

ETA:

  • let alone being actively hideous, gauche, and less-well assembled usually, esp since now they only have to outlast the finance package from the manufacturers POV... It's never been easier to acquire £40K + of disposable plastic 'seaside tat', dressed as a new car.

Edited by Huff on Wednesday 3rd March 23:02

churchie2856

292 posts

154 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
2004

Leon R

1,431 posts

60 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
Lexus LFA, 911 GT3 and Cayman GT4, Alfa Gulia Q, Yaris GR, Fiesta ST Mk7, Civic Type R, Ferrari F12, 812 and 458, 6th Gen Mustang, Lamborghini Aventador and Huracan, Mclaren P1, Bugatti Chiron.

Plenty of great post 2010 cars.

SWoll

10,827 posts

222 months

Wednesday 3rd March
quotequote all
mid to late 2000's was when things were at their best for a petrolhead I reckon, at least in my lifetime (45 this year).

6.2 litre C-Class, 5.0 V10 5-Series and 4.0 V8 3 series , 4.2 V8 & 5.2 V10 Audi estates, LFA V10, Carrera GT V10, Ferrari 458, S2000 2.2 etc. and then the slow slide into smaller displacement and forced induction began and I started losing interest.


B'stard Child

21,860 posts

210 months

Thursday 4th March
quotequote all
1990 to 2000

It where most cars I love reside

Yes modern cars are better at resisting tinworm, probably better built and have far more connectivity but they lack something - not even sure what it is they lack!!!

LuS1fer

37,497 posts

209 months

Thursday 4th March
quotequote all
When they stopped producing pop-up headlights. Corvette and Esprit in 2004 marked their sad demise.

Also when they stopped fitting CD players as standard or hid them in the glovebox. I hate tablets and USB drives.

Mr Tidy

13,704 posts

91 months

Thursday 4th March
quotequote all
Late 90s and early 2000s for me.

Enough useful features like ABS, and multiple air-bags - but no frippery like electric hand-brakes, lane control, adaptive CC, auto-braking, internet connectivity, multiple USB ports, etc.

That might be why I have a 55 plate and a 56 plate! laugh

tejr

1,618 posts

128 months

Thursday 4th March
quotequote all
I think another way to define it is when manufacturers started using v10s... LFA.. Carrera gt... M5...

I do like the end of the carb era too.. Cars like the pantera..

SWoll

10,827 posts

222 months

Thursday 4th March
quotequote all
LuS1fer said:
When they stopped producing pop-up headlights. Corvette and Esprit in 2004 marked their sad demise.

Also when they stopped fitting CD players as standard or hid them in the glovebox. I hate tablets and USB drives.
Yep, who wants instant access to 1000's of songs at their fingertips when they can have 15 or so instead on a medium that needs to be stored somewhere, swapped by hand when you get bored and kept clean or it skips. smile

MC Bodge

15,407 posts

139 months

Thursday 4th March
quotequote all
Interestingly, now that it is available to almost anybody who wants it -(and in a fairly benign and polished way, with little of the rawness, responsiveness and pollution(!) of the past) in hatchback, estate, SUV or even pickup truck form, "performance" no longer seems that exciting. Its just "meh" and a rarely used commodity.

I'm not talking about ubercar performance, with 300mph or 100-200mph in a few seconds, as that is pretty much academic.

Cars have now become a bit like Motorbikes, where all mid size bikes upwards will perform 'quite similarly' briskly up to 60/80mph on the road. The normal cars now often have good human/road scale performance and the "performance car" ability is often way above the human/road threshold. Mr average can drive a brisk car that will be quick 50-70 and may not allow Mr Enthusiast to nip past easily as he might have done past Mr Average in his 1.6 Cavalier in the past.

The performance versions with their even more powerful engines, big wheels and hard suspension being a little redundant (Awaits the usual response of 20" rims giving safety for motorways and 400bhp being the sweetspot for the road)


Edited by MC Bodge on Thursday 4th March 09:00

WackyWeaver

53 posts

2 months

Thursday 4th March
quotequote all
Easily now and it can’t even be argued.

Cars are now safer, faster, more reliable, more economic and filled with more tech than ever before.

You also have choices that never previously existed or did but weren’t a practical option (electric and hybrids)

J4CKO

33,403 posts

164 months

Thursday 4th March
quotequote all
You lot are in the main sounding like pensioners on Facebook rattling on about the good old days.

But instead of Quality Street and how small the tins have got or how Fish and Chips just doesn't taste the same unless its wrapped in newspaper its why the cars in the nineties were just so much better.

I think its in part the human condition, propensity for wistfulness and nostalgia, the desire for times past when we were younger and more carefree, though we tend to forget the cares we had then and just remember the good bits, plus your opinion on somethign be it music, film, cars or computer games, whatever is formed at the time based on what was around, I like old Commodore 64 games but by and large they were crap and I show them to my kids brought up on Xbox and PS games and they can get it, but they didnt grow up with it, it doesnt resonate and its not the actual game as its poo by and large, its my memory of those times. Kids now will form their own memories and in 40/50 years time will be waxing lyrical about how modern cars are crap and what you want is an original Model 3 or similar.

There is perhaps something in the simplicity of say nineties cars, coupled with improvements brought about from adding electronic engine controls, better rustproofing etc, but I dont subscribe to this modern = crap thing, its just too complex a subject and if some halfwit with a ropey old MK3 Escort tells me its so much better than a modern car I remember how crap the MK3 was when I was driving, valeting, flogging and fixing them.

I just feel I dont have to choose, I just like different cars from different eras for different reasons, I try not to get too reverential about stuff just because its old, thats how religions start.

I choose from 1950 to now, appreciate there were cars before then but meh, too old and needy.