1987 in motoring

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1987 in motoring includes developments in the automotive industry throughout the year 1987 by various automobile manufacturers, grouped by country. The automotive industry designs, develops, manufactures, markets, and sells motor vehicles, and is one of the Earth's most important economic sectors by revenue.

United Kingdom[edit]

The Rover Group's Leyland Bus division became the independent Leyland Bus company as the result of a management buyout.

Ford released a facelifted version of the Sierra in February, updating the styling and adding a saloon version - the Sierra Sapphire. The unrefined and outdated 1.3 petrol engine was axed, and a 1.8 petrol engine added, while the old Peugeot 2.3 diesel was replaced by Ford's own 1.8 diesel.

The old style Sierra was briefly maintained - and the three-door version re-introduced - for a limited run of high performance Sierra Cosworths capable of 150 mph.

Jaguar brought out a facelifted version of its iconic XJ Series saloon range, which included a new luxurious "Sovereign" version.


PSA made two important car launches during 1987. The first was the Citroën AX, a small hatchback based around the running gear of the Peugeot 205. It went on sale across Europe in the summer, quickly attracting customers thanks to its distinctive styling, competitive price and low fuel bills. At the end of the year, PSA scored a winner with its Peugeot 405 family saloon, which replaced the long-running 305. With its Pininfarina-styled ultra-stiff bodyshell, excellent ride comfort, sharp handling, spacious interior, good equipment levels and impressive optional extras, the new car won the European Car of the Year award by a record margin. The saloon version was assembled at the Ryton plant near Coventry, while the forthcoming estate was to roll off French production lines.


The "Type Four" platform spawned its fourth and final car with the launch of the new Alfa Romeo 164. Powered by a swift and smooth 3.0 V6 engine, the new four-door saloon was arguably the best-looking car in a sector dominanted by the BMW 5 Series and Audi 100. Its Pininfarina-penned body bore a striking resemblance to Peugeot's new 405, and its interior was a big improvement on the plasticky, low-rent Alfa interiors that buyers had come to expect. A smaller-engined version was expected, giving a broader range which is within the financial means of more potential buyers.

Eastern Europe[edit]

Three years after it was launched in the USSR, the Lada Samara was finally imported to Western Europe. With 1.1 and 1.3 engines initially, (a more powerful 1.5 version came in 1988). Buyers could choose from three- and five-door hatchback bodystyles, both of which offered a spacious interior but ttrimmed with low-rent plastics and not feeling well built. Its engines were fairly economical but offered little in the way of performance. Ride and handling were little to be proud of, either but the Samara looked destined to prove popular in Europe thanks to its extremely competitive price which undercut all of the competition.


The big news from Japan was the launch of a facelifted Honda Prelude. The current version debuted in 1983, and the latest version had a more powerful VTEC engine which set new standards for refinement and performance. As ever, the car's exterior styling is dynamic and distinctive.

Toyota brought out the latest version of their reliable Corolla family car. The mechanicals were very much the same as before, and the Corolla offered the same virtues which made its predecessor such a success - solid build quality, cast-iron reliability, good equipment levels, ease of driving and excellent accommodation.

Mazda launched a new entrant into the mini-car market - the 121. Similar in size to the Ford Fiesta, it offerwd exceptional headroom and legroom within a cleverly designed high-roofed body. Three- and five-door hatchback bodystyle were on offer.

See also[edit]