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Top Gear Philippines


People Power, coup attempts, Pope John Paul II's first visit, Lydia de Vega, double-decker buses. The '80s was quite a memorable time in our country's history, especially for those who were coming of age at the time. We could go on and on about the significant events of that decade, but this is an automotive website, so naturally we're going to look at the most memorable rides from that time.

And speaking of coming of age, this list looks at the most popular cars driven by college students at the time. So without further ado, put on your parachute pants and take a trip down memory lane. 

1) Mitsubishi Lancer

While the box-type is without doubt the most iconic Lancer (and arguably, car) from the era, the slightly older Celeste hatchback was also popular with young people. 


2) Mitsubishi Mirage

Long before the current Mirage became popular with millennials, the Cainta-assembled models of old were also taking students to and from their tipars


3) Toyota Starlet

What it lacked in size, the diminutive Starlet more than made up for in mass market appeal. Even today, old units of this hatchback can fetch big figures on the second-hand market. 


4) Toyota Corolla

The Corolla has a knack for being a hit with Filipinos (college students or otherwise) in any decade, and the '80s was no exception. The liftback variant was particularly popular back then. 


5) Toyota Corona

Students who wanted to look as tough as Robert Jaworski could either imitate his rough style of play on the court or drive his ride of choice, which was aptly nicknamed the "Macho Machine."


6) Isuzu Gemini

Back in the day, Isuzu wasn't known solely for trucks and MPVs, and its four-door Gemini sedan was widely used as a taxi in the country. That might've carried some stigma with it, but it meant that the car was reliable, cheap to maintain, and fuel-efficient—a perfect recipe for a great college car. For younger drivers, the two-door was usually their ride of choice. 


7) Opel Manta

If well-to-do students today can turn to cars like the Toyota 86 if they want a rear-wheel drive sports coupe, '80s rich kids had the option of the Opel Manta. 

Jason Tulio
Online Staff Writer
Like most guys, Jason inherited his love for cars from watching his dad talk about and tinker with them while he was growing up. Since then, he has leveled up into the roles of motoring journalist/wannabe mechanic/concerned motorist.
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