Forty years ago, Chris Goffey was perched on the bonnet of a Talbot Solara talking about the “emergence of a new phenomena – the booted version of an already established hatchback design”.
The Solara was to the Talbot Alpine what the Derby was to the Volkswagen Polo, the Jetta was to the Volkswagen Golf, and the Trevi was to the Lancia Beta. Petrolblog hasn't written a book on Shatchbacks (yet), but when it does, Lord Goffey will be asked to write the foreword. In 1980, the Shatchback was still in its infancy.
After years of dominance, the humble saloon was making way for the hatchback, with France and Germany leading the way. Interestingly, the Solara outsold the Alpine, which suggests that not everyone was ready to say goodbye to the three-box saloon.
There's a lot to take from this clip from the short-lived TV show Wheels. It starts with the familiar Thames TV opening music, which, if you're old enough, will signal the start of a much-loved television programme. For me, the Thames TV tune precludes Rainbow, and nothing will change that. But before this turns into Rod, Jane and Goffey, back to the Talbot Solara.
Talbot Solara: Beards, boots and velour
Other lukewarm takes from the short video include the discovery that Chris Goffey owned a Talbot Alpine. These were the days before motoring ‘schlebs’ could afford to pick and choose from the world's most exotic cars (and Cold War fighter aircraft).
Goffey comments on the quietness of the Solara, crediting it to the “boot on the back”. Watch as Goffey chucks the Solara along a Swiss road, in a scene reminiscent of a low-budget Ronin remake. Then marvel as he demonstrates the cruise control function – something he calls an “unusual feature” – by waving his foot in the air and wiggling his toes. Such brilliance is missing from modern car review videos.
In just five minutes, Goffey takes us back to a distant age, which is something we could all do with right now. It's a video filled with velour, beards, snow and even a European-registered Ford Mustang.