The Czech car market was quite limited before the revolution in November 1989. New cars often had to be waited for years, in addition, there were primarily Škoda models available, or cars from brands from the Eastern Bloc. On the contrary, cars from the West were a severely scarce commodity, available only through Tuzex and sometimes not at all. Think of the cars we could only dream about in 1989, because we could only get to know them on the pages of magazines. Only a few months later, however, they made it onto Czech roads after all.
Undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful BMWs in history is the first-generation 8 Series, presented in 1989 at the then Frankfurt Motor Show. The long front with tilting headlights is still handsome today. It entered the market as an indirect replacement for the 6 series, against which it was designed more luxuriously and with higher performance.
Propulsion was provided by eight-cylinder forks or twelve-cylinder forks, with a volume of up to 5.6 liters and a power of up to 280 kW. Even the top version of the BMW M8 was developed, the start of serial production of the top from the BMW M division was unfortunately prevented by the financial crisis at the beginning of the nineties, which also affected the plans for many other sports and super sports cars of other brands. After all, because of this, even the intended 8-series convertible was not realized.
Citroën has always been known for its unconventionally conceived cars. Among them is the Citroën XM, launched in the spring of 1989 as the brand’s new flagship. The novelty was available not only as a liftback, but also as a station wagon.
In addition to the unusual style from Bertone (specifically the designer Marc Deschamps), the Citroën XM also impressed with its technology, mainly the hydropneumatic chassis. After all, thanks to him, he won the title of European Car of the Year in 1990.
Citroën XM finally lasted in production until 2000, later replaced by the extravagantly conceived C6 model. During a relatively long career, 333,405 units of this car were produced. At the same time, this was much less than previously calculated – the original estimates intended up to 160,000 cars produced per year.
The Ferrari 348 is the last car with a fork eight cylinder developed during the era of Enzo Ferrari, the founder of the Maranell car company. It debuted at the 1989 Frankfurt Motor Show as a replacement for the 328, with styling cues from larger, more powerful Ferraris. The side “blinds” evoke the Testarossa, the wedge-shaped bow, in turn, the F40.
The drive was provided by a mid-mounted 3.4-liter V8 combined with a five-speed manual. It provided 221 kW, with later versions 235 kW. The compact supercar was available as a coupe, targa and convertible (Spider). It was produced between 1989 and 1995, when it was replaced by the Ferrari 355.
Lancia Dedra entered the market as a smaller alternative to the luxury model Thema, when it was supposed to replace the popular sedan Prisma. Simply put, it was a sedan based on the then Delta.
At that time, the brand was famous for its success in rallying. That is also why Dedra received a sharp version of the Integrale 8v, modeled after Delta.
However, this image did not bring much success to the car. The Dedra didn’t excite customers too much, it didn’t sell well outside its home Italy twice, neither the facelift nor the addition of a station wagon developed by the French coachbuilder Heuliez helped. Nevertheless, the Dedra lasted ten years on the market, and in 1999 it was replaced by the Lancia Lybra.
Land Rover Discovery
Land Rover Discovery has built a reputation as a great family SUV over the years, helping to co-found the category. It debuted in 1989, as only the third model of the Land Rover car company – after the off-road Land Rover (Defender) and the luxury Range Rover. The model range is part of the brand’s offer to this day, while even today’s fifth generation uses some stylistic elements of the original – be it the spare wheel located on the rear side or the increased space for passengers.
The first generation of this car presented at the 1989 Frankfurt Motor Show was largely technically based on the Range Rover of the time. Against it, however, the Discovery bet on smaller engines (although it was also available with a V8) and some simpler solutions, as Land Rover intended it to be a more affordable option to the Range Rover. The “Disco” debuted as a three-door model, later followed by a five-door brother or utility van.
Perhaps the most beautiful Opel of all time was presented in 1989, it was the Calibra coupe, which entered the market as a successor to the legendary Manta. Against it, however, the Calibra used a much more modern, even futuristic design with low headlights, signed by Wayne Cherry and Erhard Schnell. They bet on excellent aerodynamics, the drag coefficient was 0.26.
The platform from the first generation Vectra became the basis. The drive was provided by two-liter gasoline engines (later also with turbocharging) or the top-of-the-line six-cylinder with a volume of 2.5 liters. In Great Britain the Calibra was sold with the Vauxhall logo, in Australia it was Holden. There was also speculation about a possible sale with Saab signs, but that never happened. Not even the intended convertible was realized.
Large sedans are a segment that the vast majority of mainstream automakers have abandoned over the years due to declining customer interest. At the end of the eighties, however, the situation was different, as evidenced by the Peugeot 605 introduced in 1989, for example.
Stylistically, the car followed the smaller 405. Two-liter four-cylinder gasoline engines appeared under the hood, as well as three-liter six-cylinder engines. There were also turbodiesels with a volume of 2.1 and 2.5 liters, respectively, which were complemented by the basic naturally aspirated diesel two-one.
The Peugeot 605 was sold exclusively as a sedan, but a station wagon was also planned, which ultimately did not happen. The large sedan also served as a presidential special car, driven by the then French president Francois Mitterrand. In addition, the car became famous on the big screen as the star of the chase in the action film Ronin.
Porsche 911 (964)
The Porsche 911 is the dream of many generations of car fans. In 1989, the generation debuted with the internal designation 964, which differed from its predecessor in some ways. It was said that 85% of the components are new. It was, for example, the newly available all-wheel drive or the Tiptronic automatic transmission.
However, the air-cooled engines remained with this generation. Specifically, it was a six-cylinder with a volume of 3.3, 3.6 and 3.75 liters. A number of versions were available – Carrera 2 with rear-wheel drive, Carrera 4 with all-wheel drive, the lightweight Carrera RS or the legendary Turbo. In addition to the coupe, convertible and targa, there was also a speedster.