1985 Year In Review

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Holden Isuzu Piazza
The Holden Piazza, Italian design draped over Gemini underpinnings?

Peugeot 205GTi
The Peugeot 205GTi spawned a whole new category of car, but remains the "King of the Hot Hatch".

INXS were to finally break into the Top 10 with their hit "What You Need".

The Holden Piazza

When Holden decided to import the Isuzu Piazza in 1985 it must have seemed like a sure fire recipe for success. By then, they had been successfully selling the Isuzu derived Gemini, and knew the public would readily accept another. But the success story was never to materialise, despite the bravado of the Italian design.

Under the skin of the Piazza lurked a thoroughly conventional small Japanese sedan with double-wishbone front suspension, five link live-axle rear suspension and four-wheel disc brakes. While the rack-and-pinion steering was power-assisted, handling and braking were only average and Isuzu had failed to upgrade their effectiveness in line with the upgraded performance offered by fitting the turbo!

The motoring press soon realised the Piazza was ‘mutton dressed up as lamb’, and the expected sales were never to materialise. Huge price discounts were soon to follow, and for the first and only time (that we are aware of), Holden offered rebates to previous purchasers after they saw their cars resale value fall through the floor. But the death knell had been sounded, and despite it featuring as the grand prize on Channel 9’s “Sale of the Century”, the Piazza would disappear from showrooms across the country after little over a year.

Many believe the “Hot Hatch” category didnot begin until 1985, when Peugeot released the awesome 205 GTi. Styled by Pinnifarina, the 205 GTi featureddistinctive C pillars, headlamps and front grille,but it was the remarkable build quality (reminiscentof the 404) that made it irresistible to many.

The GTi was fitted with a 1.6 litre single cam motor developing 115 bhp, and the suspension was carefully tuned to deliver the best handling ever experienced. Steering was ultra-responsive and direct, and remains a benchmarkeven compared to today’s cars.

Formula One Championship:

Alain Prost (France) / McLaren-Porsche

1985 Bathurst Winner:

John Goss & Armin Hahne / Jaguar XJS

NRL Grand Final:

Cantebury (7) def. St. George (6)

VFL/AFL Grand Final:

Essendon (26.14.170) def. Hawthorn (14.8.92)

Melbourne Cup:

What A Nuisance (P. Hyland)

Wimbledon Women:

Martina Navratilova d. C. Evert Lloyd (4-6 6-3 6-2)

Wimbledon Men:

Boris Becker d. K. Curren (6-3 6-7 7-6 6-4)

The Movies:

  • Kiss of the Spider Woman
  • Out of Africa
  • Prizzi's Honor
  • The Color Purple

Academy Awards:

  • Best Picture - Out of Africa
  • Best Actor - William Hurt (Kiss Of The Spider Woman)
  • Best Actress - Geraldine Page (The Trip To Bountiful)

Gold Logie:

Rowena Wallace (Sons And Daughters, Seven)

The Charts:

  1. We Are The World - USA For Africa
  2. Into The Groove - Madonna
  3. Power Of Love - Jennifer Rush
  4. Crazy For You - Madonna
  5. We Built This City - Starship
  6. Live It Up - Mental As Anything
  7. A Good Heart - Fergal Sharkey
  8. I Got You Babe - UB40 & Chrissy Hynde
  9. Say You, Say Me - Lionel Richie
  10. What You Need - INXS


  • Louise Brooks (Silent film actress)
  • Marc Chagall (Russian-born French Painter and Stained Glass Artist)
  • Rock Hudson (Actor)
  • Frank Oppenheimer (Physicist)
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