March 26, 2012
A fascinating 2-part period-era documentary here from the 1980s focusing on the emerging computerized presence in F1. As the narrator aptly puts it – “Gone are the oily rags and the flat-capped amateurs… Here, computers, rubber, metalogy, synthetics, electronics and aerodynamics consume fortunes…”
Many have sustained that it was this exact movement/moment in F1 when the heavy focus on decimal-obsessed, precisional accuracy replaced the ‘fun’ aspect of racing… Few would argue that it definitely signalled the end of an era and the beginning of a new one that resides to this day though.
At nearly 2 hours in length (in 2 parts), it’s a bit of a long-haul, but I cannot stress how interesting this documentary is in exposing the newfound troubles, clashes and endless headaches that permeated throughout the sport in the ’80s when these technologies were new and fresh yet bewilderingly complicated for their creators…
Jean-Pierre Jabouille in the Renault of 1977 - the first-ever (yet highly problematic) Turbo F1 car
January 19, 2012
The 1980’s were undeniably desperate and challenging times for the various American automakers. Ever since the previous decade’s fuel-crisis and the follow-up onslaught of frugally economical (and lightweight/well-built) cars from Japan, Korea and Europe showing up on Dealer forecourts (and eventually owner’s driveways), the American automaker was forced to change and adapt with the times or be left out wondering what happened to their once-burgeoning command of the home-market.
K.I.T.T. made it alright for cars to voice-up their opinions and concerns.
Yet as the 80’s wore on and the ‘Big-3’ of the North American auto-landscape caught on (sort of) to the public’s desires and wants and subsequently dished out lines of wheezing, comically-sprung and legislatively-enforced under-powered vehicles, the overall mood of the automotive arena (as mirrored in the advertisements of the day) started to… shift…. in a rather strange and almost unsettling way.
Herbie the Love Bug - Genesis
Suddenly, cars from all walks of makes were awarded oddly bespoke identities and even started voicing their way into owner’s daily-driven rituals (step forward, yappy Nissan 300zx of the late-80’s). The car commercials of the time even went one step further with this odd phenomenon…
Here we have two shining examples of this ‘new and playful identity’ via Ford in 1986 when vehicular advertisements were cresting the brink of becoming absolutely ridiculous…