Gene Hunt should get out of his Audi

17 February 2008

Ashes to Ashes actors plus Audi QuattroWriting in The Sunday Times today, actor Philip Glenister revealed how a 1983 Audi Quattro coupé wound up starring in Ashes to Ashes, the BBC drama set in 1981. DCI Gene Hunt’s new wheels are the result of a paucity of memory. “When we sat around discussing cars with the production crew and scriptwriters, trying to think of an iconic car that defined the early 1980s, the only thing we could come up with was a Mini Metro,” Glenister wrote. “I think it was me who suggested the Audi quattro. As a child I would spend hours watching rallying on Saturday mornings and it was always the quattro – usually in red and white or a rather strange orange colour – that would be tearing up the field ... Everyone agreed: the Audi quattro would be perfect.”

Opel MantasAs Glenister admits, the Audi would have been well beyond the pocket of an honest copper. Fortunately, his character isn’t an honest copper: “Hunt probably would have nicked it,” he added.

We are surprised that Glenister and the other creative geniuses behind the show weren’t able to recall a few more 1980s cars than the Quattro and Metro. Still, at least they got the colour – bright non-metallic red – spot on. The only other option would have been all-over white.

We aren’t totally convinced that Hunt would drive a car that was quite so unashamedly German, either. He doesn’t seem like a Vorsprung durch Technic kind of guy.

Ford RS1600iFor our money, Hunt should really be driving a Ford or a Vauxhall – brands that still gripped the hearts and wallets of the car-buying nation in 1981. We think Hunt would have gone for a B-series Opel Manta hatchback, conveniently released in 1981 – and not much more than plastic front and rear spoilers bolted onto a 1970s Vauxhall Cavalier Coupé. Or, if you preferred something a bit more, ahem, modern, there was the king of the XR3s – the Ford Escort RS1600i, also released into the wild in 1981.

Note, by the way, how dramatic sunset shots were absolutely compulsory for 1980s brochure shots.

Well, those are our two automotive icons of the early 1980s. What are yours?

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