It is common knowledge that cars have become more reliable, powerful, and admirable today. Technology has played a large part with innovation taking the other. However, there are some classic cars that we cannot afford to forget. In fact, you would still turn your head at the sight of some of these cars. This is because the cars had a great impact on car enthusiasts at the time of their reign and the mere sight of such is nostalgic.
The 80s was a time graced by events, it was a time when Mt. St. Hellens erupted, the Berlin wall came down, and great cars ran the streets. The automakers tried to merge the future with the past. It was a time when cars tried to revamp the classic style while others embraced technology which was the future.
Though cars are more environmentally friendly, edgy in design and even faster, they cannot beat the endurance of some 80s cars. Though this was the time period when strong regulations began flooding the car industry, some cars managed to overcome this burden and become something truly great. The following list consists of cars from the 80s that in one way or the other are better than cars in 2018.
20 Audi Quattro (1980)
The Audi Quattro makes it to the list as the first and the oldest model. This car gave Audi a reputation as a maker of all-wheel-drive cars. It was originally designed to race and not for daily use. It was, therefore, a reliable car with a fairly good handling ability. Most people who got to enjoy this car benefited from the rule of the race that at least 200 units had to be sold to the public. It is better than most cars in 2018 because it was the basis upon which future cars were based. Audi decided to implement the technology used in this car after seeing what the Audi Quattro could do on the rallying stage.
19 Lincoln Mark VI Continental (1981)
If you have a chance of coming into contact with this car, its style makes it clear that it's not for just anyone. The vinyl roof, swivel headlights, and the porthole windows show it's a car designed for the executive only.
This was an 80s luxury coupe and its beautiful design and long body matched its reputation.
The Lincoln Mark VI was among the first cars that embraced technology seen in modern cars such as trip computer and remote controlled lock (Keyless Entry System). The “Auto Lamp” feature that was introduced through this model was meant to give drivers an easy time.
18 Honda Accord (1982)
The Honda Accord is among the bestselling models from Honda and this was for good reason. The car had good reliability which most drivers would jump at quickly. The car was both durable and reliable because Honda prioritizes the engineering stages of their cars as well as the engine. The Honda Accord introduced style in the lacking period by modernizing its interior and exterior. It also saw the upgrade in the existing line of auto transmission from three-speed to four-speed. The interior consisted of pure style with leather seats, power door locks, and windows which is proof that the team behind this car was really committed.
17 Porsche 944 (1982)
The Porsche 944 was first produced in 1982 and made sales through to 1991. It came as a replacement to the 924 which, though it sold well, was poor in performance.
To overcome the bad reputation, Porsche decided to make a complete overhaul and this saw the birth of the 944.
The 944 used the basics of the 924 but the chassis was now stiffened up with some suspension improvements. The front and rear bumpers were worked on to give a wider look to the body and a rubber rear wing made it even cooler. To give an equal weight distribution, its transmission was fitted at the rear.
16 Lexus LS400 (1983)
The production if this car started as a flagship project but would yield one of the greats. The Lexus LS400 proved the ability of the automaker as an equal in the luxury cars category. It has a well-utilized space, increased comfort, and is quite luxurious. It also came with a bundle of reliability features as with any other vehicle from the automaker. It was powered by a 4.0L V8 engine and anyone who loved earlier models definitely fell in love with this one. The car is spacious and, therefore, very useful as a family car and very effective as an everyday car.
15 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS (1983)
The Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS was a good-looking sports coupe. The introduction of this car was aimed at rekindling the Chevy muscle car. It came with a 5.0L V8 engine with a power of 180hp.
In terms of style, it boasted a lower lip spoiler, an integrated bumper, and different front fascia.
To enhance its stability, the suspension on the 1983 Monte Carlo was made stiffer. The great suspension and its fair horsepower made this car a favorite for many. If you are looking for performance, looks, and reliability in a classic, the Monte Carlo SS is a good place to start.
14 Ford Thunderbird Turbo (1983)
Ford has always had a reputation for making great cars. The Thunderbird Turbo brought two important aspects of a car together, aesthetics and dynamics. The turbocharged beast incorporated great features from the special fuel injection ports to its rare Mustang GT engine. The 2.3L turbocharged engine spiced up its power by adding a boost from the 145hp in older models to 190hp. It has a great handling ability which makes it a fun one to drive though it has a low collectability rating. It has a great design with its sharp front and cool headlights.
13 Jeep Cherokee XJ (1984)
The Jeep Cherokee is featured in this list for its hardy ability. It is nothing like most SUVs and also a perfect choice for off-road adventures. It has proven abilities and continues to roam American and European roads.
Unlike cars in 2018, the Cherokee is highly durable and has that Jeep toughness.
It is the kind of vehicle that you will need for all the heavy carrying and handy jobs. The car's parts may break down more than others and may be hard to replace but in terms of power, this car can't compare to the ones out there.
12 Nissan 300ZX (1984)
The second generation of this car may not have been as stylish as the first, but it was still named as import car of the year by Motor Trends. It was the first to incorporate new technology such as the four-wheel-drive functionality. It was also designed using CAD and other computerized techniques. The car is different, therefore from its predecessors and most classics because it was among the first to embrace technology. In terms of power, the car is fitted with a 3.0l V6 engine with optional turbocharger. The car has improved performance from the innovation employed in its making.
11 Camaro IROC-Z (1985)
The Camaro IROC-Z is strong and looked good from any angle. It grasped attention with some people calling it a pony car while others viewed it as a muscle car. All in all, the car was a great performer and cannot compare to most cars today.
The IROC-Z came with a lot of changes starting with the brake light that was located in the upper area of the back hatch.
To emphasize the power of the IROC-Z, the 2.5l engine was dropped and was replaced by a 2.8l V6 engine. The stylish look of this car was later upgraded with the introduction of a convertible.
10 Mazda RX-7 FC
This was the first Mazda with a turbocharger and this meant only one thing: that it was going to be great. It featured a higher compression ration with great styling and fantastic engine management. It was also lightweight and could produce power of up to 200hp which is a big boost from the previous models.
Considering other cars with an inline engine, the Mazda Rx-7 was significantly more affordable.
To reach a wider market, the engineering team adopted a Porsche-inspired design for the car which means that its styling is also state of the art. It also had a great steering ability making it easy and convenient to drive.
9 Honda Integra Type R (1986)
When the Honda Type R was introduced, the automaker had intended it for the race tracks. That is why it came with a minimized weight to boost its speed. It also incorporated performance enhancements including suspension and engine turning. It was however decided that the vehicle would be made to suit the wider market. It is equipped with the 1.8l DOHC VTEC 4-cylinder engine. Additionally, this car got the power it boasts about from larger body, higher compression, lifted camshaft, and exhaust manifold. For these reasons, the Honda Integra Type R is definitely a better car than any in 2018.
8 Porsche 959 (1986)
Porsche 959 was initially designed as a race car not like the sport car it is today. It is; therefore, right to think that this car came with reliability and performance. It was also used to test new technologies like the four-wheel drive system. It proved its performance by winning the Paris-Dakar rally across the desert thrashing its competition, like Mercedes and Land Cruiser. That notwithstanding, it recorded a top speed of 197Mph which earned it a position at the top. It had been the fastest car in the world until the release of the Ferrari F40 which hit 202Mph.
7 Jeep Wrangler (1987)
Jeep has always had people's attention and not only because of its off-road toughness but iconic design as well. It is a reliable utility vehicle that is also cool to ride even in town. It is the kind of car that will help with all the heavy loading but is still cool enough to appear at an event. In terms of design, the Jeep Wrangler comes in handy with its unique rounded headlights but with a modified grille. The Jeep Wrangler is a descendant of the army model and, therefore, has guaranteed power.
6 Ferrari F40 (1987)
The Ferrari F40 is one of the greatest cars ever made with its mid-size engine and a carbon-fiber chassis. Under the hood, it came with a V8 twin-turbocharged engine that could give 471hp. During this era, it was Ferrari's most expensive and most powerful as well as its fastest.
In fact, this was the last model to be personally approved by Enzo Ferrari.
It takes on the styling of the 288 GTO Evoluzione having been designed by Leonardo Fioravanti. It was a great competitor to the then speed bully, the Porsche 959. Its exterior material used for the body was intentionally used to give it a light weight.
5 Dodge Charger Shelby (1987)
This hatchback model was a comeback for the Dodge Charger. It came as a front wheel drive and five-speed transmission though there was also a three-speed transmission offered. It was similar to the Omni 024 but with a slightly larger engine. Under the hood, it was fitted with a 2.0l turbocharged SOHC engine with a horsepower of 148. It could reach the 60th mile in less than 7 seconds. Its turbo was only available with the manual transmission and the engine was not intercooled yet this car rocked. The car did not weigh much and this was a plus in terms of speed.
4 Buick Grand National GNX (1987)
The Buick GNX was a great successor to previous muscle cars because of its stunning performance. Installed with a V6 turbocharged engine, it could give up to 300hp though Buick recorded it as 276hp at the time. The intercooler mechanism boosted this power and was a great improvement from the past versions. It was also greatly designed with a spacious trunk which is an advantage for such a high-performance car. It took less than 4 seconds to accelerate from 0-60 miles. The Buick Grand National was a great car not only because of its performance and cars in 2018 should look up to it.
3 Callaway Sledgehammer (1988)
When you think of the Callaway Sledgehammer, power and performance will fill your mind. The 1988 beast adopted the Chevrolet Corvette design. The top speed of 255mph that it recorded earned it a spot among the fastest cars in the world for a long time. It was also a powerhouse with up to 898hp which was overwhelming for an 80s car. It was also coupled up with some adjustments to make it efficient that included bolting on Koni shocks and lowering its suspension by an inch. Its aerospace body kit was designed by Paul Dutchman.
2 Geo Prizm (1989)
The Geo Prizm was best known for reliability. However, this should not be surprising given that it was developed by GM and Toyota. It was actually a version of the Toyota Corolla though was also marketed as a Chevy at some point. It came in an array of greatness with its consistent four-door model. It had a 130hp, 14-inch wheels, sports suspension, and twin-cam engine, it used the 4A-GE engine. It included rear stabilizer bar to keep hold of the 1.8l wide engine complemented by wider tires. The Geo Prizm included an optional four-speed automatic transmission on top of the common three-speed.
1 Trans Am Turbo (1989)
The Trans Am Turbo found favor in the eyes of many for its speed and handling ability. Like the Buick Grand National, it was a favorite among car enthusiasts for its performance. It adopted the V6 engine from Buick and the turbochargers definitely boosted its power.
It came with unique headlights and a cross-drilled crankshaft.
Its horsepower was rated at 250hp though it was said that the car was capable of delivering even 300hp. It is a great 80s car and can easily match most of the cars on the streets today. While only 1,555 of the make were made, their performance legacy will live on.
Sources: kiplinger.com, realclearlife.com, motor1.com