During the revolutionary period of 1974-76, there was vigorous debate in Portugal regarding the role of automobiles in the desired new society. The dispute was reinforced by the first international oil crisis. Strong ideological rhetoric was deployed either to defend the potentially liberating role of the automobile or to condemn its 'bourgeois' underpinnings. This debate influenced social movements, policies, perceptions and views of social actors, thus contributing to market distortions, a short-lived disappearance of luxury and sports cars and to the creation of new models deemed to be adapted to the 'true' needs of the Portuguese. It also contributed to changes in automobile assemblage industry, road policy and delays in the implementation of road safety measures. Environmental, safety and traffic concerns were subdued, for a while, by a more essentialist approach to car consumption, with opposing interests trying to define the social spirit of automobile ownership and usage. The political turmoil of the period and the lack of coherent and durable policies account for the period being an intermission and not the beginning of a new trend.