Compared to the 1980s motorist, you might think you have all the advantages. Chances are that you have a smarter, faster, safer, more reliable car than you could have dreamed of four decades ago. And all that is true, but the 80s driver had something you don’t.
Bucketloads of naff car accessories.
As a 2020 driver, you’ll never know the simple pleasure of personalising your pride and joy with a wide range of tat. Oh sure, you could probably still buy this stuff and add it as a nice ironic touch… but that’s not really the same thing.
And that’s why we demand a return of the following items to the height of motoring chic.
1. Fluffy dice
Let’s start with the obvious. Fluffy dice hanging from the rear view mirror had a short but magnificent reign. Supposedly, the dice idea originated with airmen hoping for a safe return. How the fluff got added is a mystery: perhaps it stopped them from clacking together.
The simple fact is, everyone needs a distracting object bobbing around in their peripheral vision, so you should probably get some.
2. Amusing car stickers
You still see the odd amusing or instructive car sticker, but it’s nothing like the glory days of the 80s. Back then, everyone and his dog had a comical sticker announcing that their other car was a Porsche, or that 0-60 took six months, or wishing that their spouse was as ‘dirty’ as the car. Harmless and self-deprecating, let’s see a return of the pleasantly unfunny car sticker.
3. Beaded car seat covers
Standard issue for 80s taxi-drivers, beaded seats had a practical function: on summer days, they saved the car’s occupants from sticking to plastic seats that were hotter than the sun. It was also claimed that they massaged one’s back, which is probably stretching the truth. But apart from all that, they had a nice sort-of hippie vibe to them, and they’re sorely missed.
4. His and her windscreen visor
Young man: you’re 18 and, joy of joys, you have both a car and a girlfriend. But how do you announce to strangers that you’ve achieved success in these two areas of life? After all, your girlfriend can’t be in the car all the time! The 80s answer was straightforward: a green plastic strip attaching to the windscreen showing your name on the driver’s side and your other half’s on the passenger’s. Come on, this is so much cooler than posting selfies on Instagram.
5. Anti-static strips
Anti-static strips attach to the underside of your car and then trail along the road, helpfully dispersing the static electricity that otherwise builds on dry days. Can they prevent unpleasant electric shocks when alighting from the car? Yes, sometimes they can. Do they also, as claimed, prevent car sickness? No, of course they can’t. But let’s not miss the main point here: they’re something extra that you can stick on your car. Buy.
7. Visitor Stickers
By now, you should have got the idea that 80s motorists loved sticking things to their cars’ windows. And apart from advertising their sense of humour (see no 2) and relationship status (see no 4), stickers also demonstrated that you had been to Various Places of Interest. Penscynor Wildlife Park is a good example. Surveys show that during the 1980s, 96% of all Welsh cars carried a Penscynor Wildlife Park sticker.*
So, ask yourself this: does anyone looking at your car know that you’ve been anywhere at all? If the answer is ‘no’, it’s time to do something about it.
*Obviously, that’s not true.
8. Car Antenna Ball
As the name suggests, this is a plastic ball that was attached to the car aerial. When the car was moving, the ball swung around a bit. That’s pretty much it. For the committed driver, it meant another object swaying around in their peripheral vision. Incredibly, someone has written a short history of the car antenna ball, which you should read, before purchasing one.
The Welsh VW Specialist blog covers a wide range of automotive topics, from the contentious to the light-hearted. We are an independent garage specialising (as the name suggests!) in all the VW group marques, including Audi, Volkswagen, Skoda and SEAT. Welsh VW Specialists provide services, repairs and MOTs, delivering a main dealer level of care at affordable prices. To book your vehicle in, or for any enquiries, get in touch.