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Worthy Winners Of The European Car Of The Year

By raccars Published

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The European Car of the Year awards have been running since 1964 and have grown to become a prestigious event for auto manufacturers. To be eligible, new cars must be on sale in at least five EU countries and be expected to sell at least 500 units per annum. While the awards focus on rewarding the best everyday cars such as this year's Peugeot 308 rather than exotic supercars, a number of previous winners have gone on to gain classic status. Here are some of the worthiest winners over the past 48 years.

Renault 16

The 1966 award winner was unusual for its time, when hatchbacks and four doors didn't really go together. Its layout made it an engineering sensation, and it beat the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow to take the Car of the Year title.

Ford Escort

The Mk3 Ford Escort took the prize in 1981 after fierce competition with the equally excellent Austin Metro. It went on to become one of the best-selling cars of the decade and of all time in the UK.

Rover 3500 SD1

Launched in 1976, the SD1 caused a massive splash in the market thanks to its exotic styling and exciting performance, combined with an affordable purchase price. These qualities saw it beat the hugely successful Ford Fiesta to the Car of the Year prize in 1977 and fly the flag for British motoring at the time.

Fiat 127

Fiat has always produced superb small cars, and the 127 was one of the new brand of superminis that revolutionised the auto market of the seventies. It was Tardis-like inside and boasted a futuristic transverse engine layout that helped it to the Car of the Year crown in 1972.

Citroen CX

In mechanical terms, the CX was not actually at its best when first released in 1974, but that didn't stop it becoming 1975's Car of the Year thanks to market-leading levels of comfort, safety and stability and a wonderful driving experience. Its funky retro styling has seen it become a cult favourite among collectors.

Rover P6 2000

The first ever Car of the Year winner was an example of British auto manufacturing at its best. It drove like a dream and looked even better, setting new standards for compact saloons. Its 14-year production run saw it get more powerful and luxurious until it was succeeded by the SD1 in 1977.

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