In February 1985 a Jaguar XJS rolled off the Browns Lane production line. The car was destined to come to New Zealand 11 years later, and ultimately join the Classic Rides fleet.
During its first decade in the UK it was clearly a well used car, clocking up almost 10,000 miles a year. Not surprising if you consider the pleasure of driving it – in the opinion of Motor Magazine back then: “the finest means yet devised in which to travel by road.”
That pleasure can still be experienced 35 years later, The Big Cat is available for hire from Classic Rides.
Also February 1985 saw the passing of Sir William Lyons at age 83, founder of Jaguar Cars, and a giant of the British motor industry. With particular ability as a stylist, cars he personally supervised included the XK 120, E Type, 3.8 saloon and the original XJ6.
Toyota launched the MR2 in Europe at the beginning of the year. MotorSport magazine said: “Toyota has built an extraordinary motor car, the car MG or Triumph should have been allowed to build.”
1985 also saw the ultimate evolution of the Lamborghini Countach. The 5000 Quattrovalvole 5.2 litre V12 delivered 450 hp, 298 k/h, 0-100k/h in 4.8s. All for a mere $100,000 (US), about $250,000 today.
Other new cars launched in 1985 included: Holden Barina, Honda Legend, Subaru Vortex, Honda Integra, Fiat Chroma and Hyundai Excel.
At the other end of the motoring spectrum, the Sinclair C5 electric trike went on sale in the UK January 1985. It was sold by electrical appliance stores through a deal with Hoover who built it for Sinclair Vehicles. It initially cost £400 with 100,000 units a year planned. An idea before it’s time and not a great success, less than 9,000 were sold when production ceased 8 months later. Perhaps doing only 15 mph with a range of 24 miles was part of the problem.
In October 1985, the TWR Jaguar XJS team finished 1st and 3rd in the James Hardie 1000 on the Mount Panorama circuit
The 1885 Formula One championship was won by Alain Prost driving a McLaren. McLaren also won the constructors championship.