Take a wander down Australia's motoring memory lane, following the changing face of motoring, from the 1950s through until the1990s. We look at the history of car manufacturing in Australia, the makes and models that have come and gone, and the iconic vehicles of each decade
A decade of great optimism in just about every aspect of life in Australia, the 1950s saw a rush of foreign car manufacturers - from Studebaker to Mercedes Banz - eager to set up car manufacturing plants in Australia so as to take advantage of the boom times.
The 1960s was a decade of great change and the motor vehicle industry played a major role in those changes. The decade began with the introduction of the iconic Mini and ended with the arrival of home grown muscle cars - the Holden Monaro, the Falcon GT and the Valiant Charger. In between came the beginning of the end of our preference for European vehicles with the arrival of the Japanese.
In the 1970s, the Japanese car manufacturers took a stanglehold of the Australian motor vehicle market. The nation had its fling with big V8 muscle cars until the fuel crisis of the mid 1970s hit, when Japan's every growing range of well equipped, economically priced four cylinder cars began to look a much more attractive proposition, particularly to the young generation of first car buyers.
The 1980s was the decade of the people mover - an idea conceived in the 1960s with Volkswagen's iconic Kombi van, and perfected in the 1980s by Toyota with the introduction of its 8 seater Tarago. Numerous big motoring names came in went in this decade - Chrysler became Mitsubishi, Datsun became Nissan, and when the dust settled, Australia was left with only four motor vehicle manufacturers - Holden (GM), Ford, Mitsubishi and Toyota.
The 1990s will be remembered as the decade when the motoring industry went high-tech. The world wide focus was less on style and more on fuel economy, technical sophistication and reliability. Now it was possible to have speed, safety and economy all in the one package.
A look at motoring body styles and what their names mean, then an A to Z of major car manufacturers and how and why those companies and the models they produced were named. The makes and models listed here are primarily those that are either presently sold in Australia or are no longer manfactured but were once sold in Australia. Makes and models not sold in Australia may not be included.
Microcars, or bubblecars or whatever you call them, were very much a product of their time, an era that came and went quickly, but has left the world with some unique, and strangely loveable collectors items. Soon after their demise, bubblecars became status symbols for people who love quirky things. Ironically, the reasons for their latter-day popularity is what caused consumers at large in the 1950s to turn their back on them.
The first of the Australian single level production line car factories was the Ford Motor Company Works at Norlane Geelong in 1925. The Geelong Ford factory was modelled on the company's 1923 assembly plant at Toronto, Canada, designed by Kahn. The original Geelong buildings from 1925 are the work of Melbourne engineers Fyvie and Stewart, in partnership with William Grassick, also an engineer.
Design by W3layouts