Vintage Photo Outtake: Luton Airport Car Park, 1980

It’s a holiday weekend (in many places, not everywhere of course) and as one of the alternatives to gardening we gladly offer here, here’s a photograph of Luton Airport from, I suggest, 1980.

Why do I suggest this is from 1980? There’s a Ford Cortina Mk5, 1979-82 – in fact there’s a row with a Cortina Mk2, Mk3, Mk4 and Mk5 in it – a 1979 on Talbot Solara and an early 1980 on Vauxhall Astra Mk1 (or maybe a 1979 Opel Kadett D). But I can’t see a Ford Escort Mk3 or an Austin Metro, the UK’s two highest profile launches of late 1980.

This postcard is from the 1960s but it includes one view of the same location in an earlier time. Your challenge is to find the car you’d like to know was waiting for you when you arrive on the charter flight from the Costa Brava, and to see if you can spot the one I’d be most interested in looking at closely, if not owning.

Luton Airport is formally known as London Luton Airport, and passenger numbers have gone from perhaps 5 million in the early 1980s to over 18,000,00 pre-COVID with plans to get to 32 million. But this view is still recognisable, even if it is no longer a car park. The closest hangar is the head offices and hangar of easyJet, hence the striking orange colour. Sit on the right hand side of the aircraft to get a view of the old Vauxhall Motors factory (now the Stellantis van factory) as you leave on the south westerly runway.

You may heard that the airport’s new multi-story carpark was in the news last year – 1400 cars lost but only cars, not people.