Written by : Will Bryan
Published on:: 27/10/2014
From boxy saloons to stylish crossovers, let’s take a look back at how the family car has developed over the last 60 years...
As the world slowly emerged from the shadow of World War II, the first motorway was introduced and petrol became available for leisure use again, cars got bolder and classier- looking. Gone were the boxy designs of the previous decades, replaced by curving bodywork that hinted at a sense of speed. The British car manufacturers took their cues from the US, and chrome, tailfins and plush leather interiors were all the rage when it came to the spacious family saloons on the fifties. Cars like the Rover 75-110 P4, Vauxhall Cresta and Ford Anglia were designed to accommodate the entire brood, and by 1959 the characterful and durable Morris Minor had become the first British car to sell a million units.
The sixties was a decade of cultural transformation, and the car industry rolled with the changes... The auto market diversified, new niches began to appear, and the Mini was borne. Not quite a family car but an icon that was designed to seat four & be cheap to run. Luckily, there were also plenty of options for those who wanted something a little bigger (which wasn’t hard!). The Ford Cortina became massively popular due to its affordable price point and stylish design, while the British Motor Corporation catered to conservative buyers by giving their popular Morris Oxford and Austin Cambridge saloons a facelift.
In the 70s, British car production as a whole took a nosedive and in 1979 it hit a 20-year low. People started looking more and more at foreign cars as an aspirational purchase. Car sales themselves never massively slowed, though. 1974 saw the launch of the immensely popular VW Golf and the familiar Ford Cortina continued to shift units by the bucketload, retaining the UK bestseller position right up until the end of the decade, with the Ford Escort not far behind in term of sales. And though the British-made Morris Marina might now have a reputation as one of the worst cars ever made, it was actually the third best-selling car of the Seventies.
Car buyers in the Eighties wanted their cars souped up and stylish. But also as cars grew a car for the family could be bought from the next class down. Ford continued to dominate, with the Escort stepping up to become the UK bestseller. However one of the most controversial family car shapes was the jelly mould design of the Sierra, which was especially appealing to those who wanted their car to look as radical as their hairstyle... The
In the nineties, cars (as well as shoulder pads) got bigger, with a wealth of models offering lots
The general Noughties trend was towards downsizing. More family car buyers began prioritising safety, value and low running costs, wanting a car that not only makes it easy for the whole family to get