80s Cars Around The World

Major Waffle 80s cars
Inspired by Michael Palin and the Top Gear specials, PetrolBlog has the idea of driving around the world in 80s cars. A mad idea?

It took five minutes to come up with the idea, inspired by watching Top Gear’s brilliant Vietnam special, which I finally got around to watching in June 2010. In doing so, I finally caught up with the rest of civilisation. When you combine the likes of the Vietnamese, American, Romanian and Bolivian specials you discover the blatantly obvious: there are some epic opportunities for a bloody good drive.

Life’s too short to confine yourself to the B3081 or Snake Pass. Life’s equally as short to do the driving in just a handful of cars.

The idea...

That’s it! Would it be possible to drive around the world using a different car for every country? Who knows? But it would be good fun trying.

So Around the World in 80 Cars was born. The idea was floated on Twitter, and I was greeted with a response that couldn’t have been better. Not even if I was offering an original Lotus Cortina free to the first person to respond. Blimey, could I have finally come up with a good, original idea?

Well not exactly. Deciding to do a little due diligence, using the power of the Google search box, I discovered that there are rumours circulating that the good ol’ boys of Top Gear County are planning something very similar. In fact, it has exactly the same name. Drat. I would have got away with it if it wasn’t for those pesky kids.

At this point I probably should have hung up my passport and driving gloves and retired to the drawing room. But oh no, I woke up the next day with an inspiration. I’ll call it 80s Cars Around the World. Almost genius. They’ll never know.

The pitch...

Peugeot 205

So here’s the pitch: 80s Cars Around the World is centred on the idea of driving around the world in nothing other than cars built in the decade that gave us red braces, shoulder pads and Spandau Ballet. Fortunately, the 1980s also gave us the likes of the Mk2 Golf GTI, Peugeot 205 GTi, Audi quattro, Saab 900 Turbo, Ferrari Testarossa, Lancia Delta Integrale and BMW E30 M3, so the trip should be epic.

To make things interesting, within each nation, a different car will be used to get from one border to the other. Along the way, the car will be road tested, whilst taking in the cultural and historical sights of significance. Or maybe just searching for the most exhilarating and breathtaking roads we can find.

Each car will be privately owned and driven by a loving owner, so we’ll effectively be hitchhiking our way across the world, using only cars made during the 1980s. And let’s face it: the 80s was a cracking decade in automotive history.

To add an extra layer, the car should ideally have an historical link with the nation in question. So for the European leg, consider an 80s Mini in the UK, a 2CV in France, a Quattro in Germany, a Saab in Sweden, a Skoda in the Czech Republic, a Lada in Russia, a Ferrari in Italy and a Monteverdi in Switzerland.

Further a field, how about a Mustang, Corvette and Cadillac in the US. A Beetle in Mexico and a Hindustan Ambassador in India. The list would go on.

The media...

Clearly, 80s Cars Around the World would make an excellent subject for a DVD and book. But 80 Cars Around the World will also be broadcast in real time via a blog and Twitter. So anyone can share the trials, tribulations and inevitable breakdowns.

The reality...

So when does the epic tour start? Well, that’s the thing. At the time of writing this piece, the idea probably stands as much chance of getting off the ground as Paris Hilton collecting a Nobel Peace Prize. There’s the sheer logistics of the thing. The planning stage would take months. Then there’s the time needed to complete the tour. And I haven’t even mentioned the cash required yet…

Unless there’s an oil company in need of some good PR right now or a wealthy football club owner who’s had enough of paying ridiculous salaries for 90 minute kickabouts in the park, the cash will be the biggest issue. I could probably get us as far as St Petersburg, but then I’d be needing divine inspiration to get any further.

The plea...

So 80s Cars Around the World will probably never happen. But, with a little momentum and a hell amount of luck it could just become a reality. If you like the idea, spread the word and be a part of it.

Then maybe there might be an original Mini Cooper heading for the White Cliffs of Dover to catch the early morning cross. Just maybe...

Get in touch via twitter.com/majorgav and spread the word using the #80scarsaroundtheworld hashtag.