Interior Automotive: The Evolution of Car Interiors (1980 – 1990)

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1980 – 1990

The ‘80s were known for many car trends, including sunroofs and yellow bulbs, but drivers soon found some of the standout trends in the interiors of cars. New concerns with fuel efficiency and safety pushed buyers towards more generic and box line car designs. 

Plastic was also preferred for vehicle interiors of cars designed and produced in the 1980s. Cars of the time usually sported a wide range of wooden dash options or a smooth walnut veneer to make up for the luxury feel that customers thirsted after. 

1980 Citroën DS Pallas 6MW558

Carmakers leaned towards metallic paints as an option for coats instead of the vibrant hues that were once preferred. This shift in focus meant carmakers took ergonomics and interior designs more seriously even into the 1990s.

During the 1990s, car interiors were rounded, organic, beige, gray, and largely oval. Many of them added digital displays, which stuck until this day, and chrome and wood accents with analog displays would come much later.

1981 Mercedes Benz W126 Interior

Smart key fobs like the ability to help car owners know when to refuel or change oil, connectivity to Bluetooth and NFC(near field communication), etc. are some interior innovations that carmakers perfected in the latter part of this decade. 

Mercedes-Benz became the first carmaker to offer the tech, transitioning away from metal keys. You touched the starter button, and your car came to life.

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