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An old Ford Laser brochure will take you back to the ’80s

And show you just how far cars have come since then

Don’t you wish you’d kept car brochures before? PHOTO BY VERNON B. SARNE

This article will only make sense if you’re old enough to remember the Ford Laser, a subcompact car in both sedan and hatchback forms in the early 1980s. Based on the Mazda Familia—which was the first-ever recipient of the Japanese Car of the Year award—the Laser was sold in our market just before the American automaker pulled out of the Philippines due to political unrest.

Anyway, a friend who wishes to stay anonymous was able to recently acquire well-preserved copies of the car’s brochure and flyer from 1981. He purchased these from an eBay seller for $10 each, and was kind enough to lend them to us.

These car specs sound puny to modern folks. PHOTOS BY VERNON B. SARNE

One look at the flyer and you immediately get reminded of the Laser’s popular variants at the time, including the top-of-the-line four-door Ghia. And, oh, check out the specs from the ’80s. These cars were powered by 1.3- or 1.4-liter engines producing around 65hp and yielding some 17km per liter of fuel.

We find old hatchbacks to be better-looking than modern ones. We’re old-school. PHOTOS BY VERNON B. SARNE

Remember those classic five- and three-door Laser hatchbacks?

Automakers had long perfected the art of exaggeration in marketing materials. Funny! PHOTOS BY VERNON B. SARNE

Even then, exaggerated marketing claims were the norm. “You also experience confident control, as you might at the wheel of a sophisticated sports car.” Okay.

You may laugh now, but these features were desirable back then. Nothing was wireless. PHOTO BY VERNON B. SARNE

The things we take for granted now—like mud flaps, concealed tools and power side mirrors—used to be a big deal back then. And yes, anti-corrosion warranties were a must.

Car companies had to sell rustproofing then. PHOTOS BY VERNON B. SARNE

We dare say the Lynx, the Focus and even the Fiesta all pale in comparison to the Laser in terms of market acceptance in the Philippines. Those were fun times indeed. What do you remember with fondness from the 1980s?

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist since July 1995. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.