Welcome to 365 Days of Motoring

An Everyday Journey Through Motoring History, Facts & Trivia

Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.

On This Day


Wednesday 14th November 1979

38 years ago

Vauxhall launched its first-ever front-wheel drive car - the Astra range of hatchbacks and estates - to compete in the growing family hatchback sector. It replaced the traditional rear-wheel drive Viva saloon, which had been produced in three incarnations since 1963. Initial production of the Astra took place at the Opel factory in West Germany, with production transferred to Britain in 1981. In 1983 they vamped it up to a GTE model which had a 1.8 litre fuel injection engine. The option to have a convertible was also introduced. The following year it won European car of the year with a more aerodynamic body shape.The third generation from 1991 focused heavily on safety features and introduced side bars and air bags. An all-new Astra came out in 1998, and to up the style stakes, Vauxhall commissioned the Italian designers Bertone to draw up a coupé version, which also resulted in a new convertible. By the era of the fifth generation in 2004, a lot more attention was paid to the interiors and they became much classier inside. This version also featured a folding metal roof for the first time. Just before the Mark 5 was launched, they put out a three-door GTC, sold as the SportHatch. 2009 saw the sixth generation which has been a huge success, perhaps due in some part to the recommendation from hit show "Top Gear" which awarded it the "most reasonably priced" car distinction. By June 2010 it was the best-selling car in the UK. The design for the Mark 6 is heavily based upon the Vauxhall insignia and one of the defining features is the clever use of storage areas for the top twenty most used car items.

Vauxhall Astra - 1979

Vauxhall Astra - 1979

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