1980s / Argentinian / Rewind

Rewind to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the early 1980s

We’re traveling back to Argentina in the early 1980s. The images below are press shots taken for the local launch of the Renault 18, but they do a good job of showing what the country’s automotive landscape looked like over three decades ago. We think these shots were taken in or around Buenos Aires; correct us if we’re wrong.

What car(s) can you identify in these pictures? What one(s) would you most like to have in your garage today? We’d go with the Sevel-built Fiat 600 R in the last shot and the Ford Falcon that’s parked in front of it.

Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1980s

Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1980s

Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1980s

Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1980s

Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1980s

Pictures kindly provided by Renault’s archives department.

9 thoughts on “Rewind to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the early 1980s

  1. well I’d just take an R18 to be honest – much maligned I recall yet every minicab of my youth was I recall an R18D of some sort – knowing cabbies that was down to economy and durability. Cabbies are seldom wrong.

  2. It’s always nice to see my country and their car culture. Yeah, sad times ’cause of the military dictatorship. Let’s focus on the cars:

    First picture: R18/Tail of an “older” Falcon (pre-facelift)/R6, front of a Chevy and possibly a Dodge 1500 coming through the right. I’m not entirely sure but i’ll place my bets on the white thing on the back being an early Fiat 147.
    Second: Lots of cars parked to the right, early Chevy, “Estanciera” (Jeep Wagon), Ford Fairlane. I’m not able to identify several cars due to the R18 there (only a R12 headlight), but at the back there’s a beige Falcon (another mid-life facelift) a Chevrolet pick up, another Fairlane, a “Torino” (our version of Rambler American) and a Mercedes Benz 608D.
    Third: (from the left, incoming lane) Old Valiant, another Estanciera, Dodge 1500 (green), brand new Ford Laser, Di Tella 1500 Taxi, yellow Dodge 1500 (small headlights, unlike newer models), the orange truck is a Scania (also locally produced like almost everything you’ll see). The last two white cars could be a Ford Taunus and a Fiat 1500, but that’s just a guess. The lone brown car looks like a Fiat 1100. On the other lane: Nice peugeots (404 and 504), Chevrolet pick up (C-10?), well the R18, two black Fiat 128s, a white Falcon and in the back i think that’s a Mehari.
    Fourth: Green Fairlane, white R18, the roof in the back looks very 504-like, late-facelift Falcon. This picture was taken at the entrance of the Sheraton Hotel, the Fords looks classy but the R18 stands in contrast as modern.
    Fifth: Green Falcon (those green Falcons were the ones used for kidnapping people by the military junta), Taxi Fiat 125, Citroen 3cv (local name for the one with 602cc engine), Fiat 600 (E?), Ford Taunus, blue and white Renault 12, Ford F100, another Fiat 125 used as taxi, Peugeot 404 and the last car could be a Fiat 133. On the front, behind the R18, there’s a Dodge 1500 with a bent bumper.

    Historic note: In those years the military junta (1976-1983) tried to improve the economy opening imports. Some makers just packed up and left the country, unable to compete (Chevrolet, Citroen), some added plastic parts to their 60s-70s products to make them look modern-ish and in line with foreign cars (Renault, Ford, Fiat, Peugeot), launched new cars (the R18 featured here) and there were new foreign brands avaiable (mainly asian, like Daihatsu, and some luxury offers from Europe like BMW). That’s why you see a brand new Ford Laser, for example. That situation ended abruptly in 1982 when a drunk dictator thought it was a good idea to start a war against one of the world’s greatest military powers. The sanctions imposed after the war quickly dried up the market of foreign cars and spares for those cars. So, like the Oldsmobile-diesel issue in the USA, there were an entire generation who prefered to buy domestic cars (no matter how crappy and outdated they were) to avoid getting their cars rendered useless for lack of spares. At the end of the eighties you could still buy a brand new Fiat 128, Renault 12, Peugeot 504 or a Ford Falcon.

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