No chain stores in this view of Friargate, Derby, early in 1985, with small businesses catering for TVs, carpentry, newspapers and cigarettes, art and picture framing, and computers all in one short stretch.
Cheap and cheerful like all contemporary Eastern Bloc cars, the 1978 Lada (cost new, £2056) dominating the scene was a prime example of ‘you get what you pay for’. There was no anti-rust guarantee and it shows. Seven years from new, tinworm on this example is taking over, typically in the front wings and possibly challenging the location of that nearside headlamp. Can you imagine any 2007-reg car looking as bad as this today? Performance though was competitive: This 1200cc version could manage a better 0-60mph time (16.8 secs) than a Marina/Ital 1300 or Arrow Minx/1500cc Hunter, although it wasn’t very economical.
Under a liberal coating of road dirt (probably a rep’s car), the MkII Vauxhall Cavalier estate parked behind is fairly new, registered in August 1984. The estate first appeared in September 1983 – only available with 1.6 petrol and later, 1.6 diesel units – but you see very few of this version today. Bringing up the rear are a 1978/79 Volkswagen ‘Bay’ Camper (one of the last of the German-built T2bs), another MkII Cavalier – this time a five-door hatchback – and an Austin Ambassador.
It’s obviously not a Saturday in this picture. Otherwise there’d be a small crowd outside Tudor Television watching Dickie Davies on World of Sport.