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10 of the best retro car accessories

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June 19, 2023
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If you learned to drive in the 1980s, chances are your first car was pretty basic. OK, very basic. Plastic seats, metal steering wheels, no mod cons, no cassette player (what are CDs?) and a distinct lack of instrumentation.

So, a decade before the modification scene really kicked in, we did our best to personalise our cars with all manner of accessories. Obviously, at the time, we thought they were cool, but they mostly weren’t.

Specialist insurance broker Adrian Flux has been providing bespoke cover for modified cars since enthusiasts first decided their car just wasn’t funky enough.

Here are ten 80s car accessories that we thought improved the look of our cars.

1. Furry dice

Everyone loved a pair of pink furry dice hanging from the rear view mirror. You can still buy them today for a couple of quid if you have a sense of humour and you don’t mind being ridiculed by friends and neighbours. 

Read our blog to find out about 10 cheap and easy car interior modifications

2. Nodding dogs

Perfect for the rear shelf, the nodding dog was sure to raise a smile.  You picked a dog to reflect your own personality. 

The dog’s head was a little oversized compared to its body. Instead of a solid connection, it was spring-loaded sso the vibration of the car as it moved made the dog’s head nod.

3. Eyelashes on the headlamps

Eyelashes stuck on the headlamps added life and personality to your vehicle. They raised a smile, but it’s all getting a bit silly isn’t it?

retro car accessories

4. Personalised windscreen sun strips

Contrary to the name, the windscreen sun strip doesn’t shield the eyes from the sun. The windscreen sun strip represents a public proclamation of love and union between a couple. You know the sort of thing: “Del and Raquel,” “Ringo and Yoko,” “Donald and Ivana.” All well and good, as long as the relationship lasts! 

5. Rear bumper stickers

Typically sported on a bit of a banger and proclaiming “My other car’s a Porsche/Mercedes/Ferrari” (delete as applicable). Slightly more witty stickers were also available, such as “Be kind to animals, kiss a rugby player.” What a hoot!

6. CB Radio

CB Radio actually took off in the United States after the Second World War, but it didn’t really gain popularity this side of the Pond until about 30 years later. Which makes it one of the most popular, or annoying, 70s car accessories.

These 40-channel radios allowed drivers to communicate with strangers and friends while on the road – all users had unique names, or handles as they were known, and the CB Radio is said to have provided entertainment and safety on long drives.

Favoured particularly by truckers, CB Radio reached legendary status thanks to CW McCall and his mid-70s “hit” Convoy. 

Read our blog to find out how popular car modifications can affect your insurance.

7. Aerial-toppers

Rookie motorists took great delight in topping their aerials with a symbol to reflect their personality. It could be a tennis ball, a cat’s face, the sun or a skull and crossbones flag – whatever floats your boat. 

8. Rubber earth straps

Apparently they looked cool and were good for your health. Frequently seen dangling from back bumpers, the earth strips were said to prevent car sickness. Did they work? You’ve got to be kidding! 

9. Boot lid clingers

You’ve seen the kind of thing. Plastic fingertips or fake animal tails that clip on to the lip of the boot lid to make it look like someone or something is trapped inside. Did it have you fooled? 


retro car accessories

10. Go-faster stripes

The stick-on go-faster stripes ran down the side of the car or, if you wanted to go even faster, they ran down the middle of the bonnet and roof. You may be surprised to know that go-faster stripes didn’t make your car go faster, but they did make it look uber cool, didn’t they? 

Other classic retro accessories that didn’t make our top 10 include novelty gear knobs and massive Kenwood stickers in the back window (they might as well have said “steal my stereo”). Have we forgotten any?

If you think these retro car accessories are good (or bad) , read our blog to find out about car modifications that went wrong.

Insurance for your car, no matter what it looks like

No matter what your car looks like, the only accessory it really needs is bespoke car insurance from Adrian Flux. Whether you have a standard car or a modified one, call 0800 369 8590 for a swift no-hassle quote. 81.5% of all customers receiving an online quote in [[ FLUX_AVG_SAVING_DISCLAIMER_MONTH ]] could have obtained a cheaper quote over the phone. Alternatively book a callback at a time that suits you. 

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