QotW: What did you think cars would be like in 2020?

The digits we assign to years are, of course, arbitrary, but 2020 still seems like a very futuristic number. When the JNCs we love were still new, 2020 seemed like a distant tomorrow, where we’d travel by tubes or sleek flying cars. Who could’ve guessed that the most cutting-edge forms of transportation would be bulky top-heavy wagons or someone else’s car that you hail with your phone?

What did you think cars would be like in 2020?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What are the biggest changes to the Japanese classic scene in the last decade?

Except for Ant‘s answer about social media connecting fellow car enthusiasts, the unanimous verdict was that the biggest change for JNCs over the last decade had to do with Japanese cars being recognized and accepted as classics (with the prices to reflect that). Though this has been something JNC has championed, Danny Caldera showed us the other side of this double-edged sword:

I would have to say popularity. I remember back then scrolling through the classifieds seeing s30’s around the $1,000 mark. Same with s13’s, and they weren’t as molested. Now those numbers are a dream and I think that’s the biggest impact on me, is that these cars were a way for a J-tin enthusiast to easily get into, build and enjoy for many years. People cant keep a car nowadays for more than a season. But anyway, its a lot more money for the car and parts today (ex. AE86) Taking the fun/ thrill factor of going for an adrenaline night run in fear of losing such a big investment. I miss the laid back days of enjoying the cars and meeting their enthusiasts. It seems like a lot more people are in it for the money/ “cool points” of having a cool racer instead of genuine enthusiasm for the culture.

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8 Responses to QotW: What did you think cars would be like in 2020?

  1. Monte said:

    My parents had a 1972 Datsun 1200 sedan from brand-new. I grew up with it, and as I did so, witnessed the gradual modernisation of cars. Plastic bumpers, flush headlight housings, better aero and engine efficiency.

    By 1983, we had updated to a then-new Ford. Although new, it still trailed the style icons (Porsche, CR-X, Fuego, Sprinter and Scorpion to name a bunch). But it was a transverse, front-wheel drive at least, and that was considered “modern” in 1983.

    At that time, I felt aero, combined with turbocharging and (somehow) greater fuel efficiency would be the norm 30+ years down the road. Some of that is here, but who could have predicted the SUV contagion?

    A product of deep-seated emotional insecurities brought on by events of the past 20 years. None of which could be predicted in the 70s or 80s.

    What I envisaged is closer to some of the EVs, at least in terms of performance and aero.

  2. Jon said:

    Dome Zero is what cars were supposed to be like in 2005.

  3. エーイダン said:

    Rusted-out hulks powered by oversized rebuilt engines tearing down desolate, ruined roads as drivers shot at each other with rusty M16s and AKs.

  4. Bob said:

    At my age, I thought they’d be flying by now.

  5. Banpei said:

    I grew up with post apocalypse movies being the norm. Mad Max with it’s desolate roads due to oil shortage. Candy 2000 where only old oil guzzling Mustangs can be used to enter the deadzone. Escape from New York with the hilarious chandelier Cadillac. Blade runner didn’t envision things much better. This engraved the bleak future for cars in my mind: I was convinced oil powered cars certainly wouldn’t exist by 2020… Or even worse: car ownership would be exclusive to the filthy rich and the law only.

    So I’m happy to see that we’re still able to use and own these oil powered cars, but I’m equally happy to see the transition to EV nowadays!

  6. Ant said:

    When I was younger, I kinda figured we’d be all driving the stuff you saw in movies like BTTF2 and Demolition Man. Largely still land-based (rather than flying cars) but kind of futuristic-looking monobox things with large glasshouses and the ability to drive themselves on a button press.

    I guess in some ways we’re there. A Tesla Model S doesn’t stray too far from that general idea, though visually it’s perhaps a gentler evolution of cars of the past few decades instead and the self-driving tech isn’t as foolproof.

    Go back a decade though, and what I actually assumed the market would evolve into would be more similar to the first-gen Honda Insight. Small, very aerodynamic, lightweight, and by now, well over 100mpg.

    Instead everything has got taller, weighs two tons plus, and there’s a token effort at making cars more efficient by making a handful of them electric. I think I would have preferred my evolved first-gen Insight future…

  7. teddy said:

    1 word, 3 letters. SUV

  8. centinel said:

    Growing up in the 1970’s, I honestly thought we’d be living in gleaming, domed utopias teeming with cars resembling the Firebird III Concept and spotless freeways. It would be just like Syd Mead predicted (R.I.P). Instead we’re all in bigger, heavier, tanks that get worse mileage than a 1980’s CRX. Sorry, Syd, we failed you.

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