What car comes to mind when you think of an 80s car? Perhaps the DeLorean, Dodge Caravan, Buick Grand National or the Mercedes-Benz Wagon? Whichever it is, it must be one that evokes feelings of nostalgia for what was one of the the greatest decades with groundbreaking and prominent cars. A few of these cars have somehow faded into oblivion, and forgotten from our consciousness. This was a decade of strange music and fashion, but also cars that according to today's standards may look uncool, underpowered, and lack most of the modern convenience features.
Either way, these cars offered enough to have plenty of fun, though few of them appreciated in value in the first two decades. Most aren't considered as collectibles and their style may have also been rendered obsolete in this day and age. Some of the cars that were considered cool during the 80s era included the Lotus Milan, Pontiac Fiero, and Mitsubishi Eclipse, while others like the Suzuki Samurai flipped over. Most midsize cars of that time also looked and delivered average performance, let alone not having modern small car perks.
In fact, if you were lucky, you'd get a radio, or climate control, or even an engine that could cruise you and get highway speeds. Consequently, not many of them made it out as bona fide classics that you could resell for more than you got it for. Here are the wheels that made the decade great but have been forgotten over time.
20 1970 Buick Estate
This 1970s estate wagon were built at the plant in Arlington, Texas that produced pickups and SUVs. Despite being one of the greatest American wagons, the 1970 Buick Estate is also known to be the domestic market's muscle canon. The Buick Estate is powered by a 455ci V8 engine that produced 370-hp 510 lb-ft of torque.
The engine’s power was taken to the rear wheel through its HT400 automatic transmission.
The jumbo-sized family car had a respectable wheelbase which was a solid 124 inches, and featured Woodie side panels with G’s famous clamshell flip out/flip-down tailgate. Also available was the twin-bench seating with an optional third row which would be specified for the base models.
19 Ford Centurion
If you want a two in one vehicle then Centurion can be a great choice for you. Centurion was based on White Pigeon and was produced by MI. Centurion which was part of Ford Bronco and F-Series chassis. The ‘80s Centurion Classic was made to respond to the commonly known GM’s Suburban and Tahoe. The back of this car is a Ford Bronco while its front is from Ford F-150/F-350. Centurion came with either 5.0-liter or 5.8-liter V8 engine and all-wheel drive that was optional. The larger platform of the car came with a bigger engine, then the C350 came with either 7.3-liter diesel or a 7.5-liter V8 engine. The company ended the production of Centurion in 1996 after Ford’s Expedition came, and provides a good off-road ability and a quite comfortable ride.
18 Ford Maverick
Ford Maverick is a sport-styled compact car, which was designed with a long hood, fastback roof and a short deck and was released half a decade later after its original long bonnet, short deck Ford Mustang. According to Topspeed, the Maverick was originally slated to be either a full Mustang replacement, or the newest restyling of the Mustang. Maverick's internal and external resistance indicated that this car was overtaking Ford Falcon.
Some changes were done from 1973-1975, which saw the 170 cid engine dropped in 1973, and replaced by 200 cid l6 standard engine.
Other adjustments include improved brakes and optional chrome grille became standard. Other added features included AM/FM stereo, aluminium wheels and front bumper. The 1974 had no much changes except for the rear federal bumpers and larger trunk with a higher deck.
17 Chevrolet Kingswood
Chevrolet back in the days was known to be producing any car design with any engine. In 1969, they brought in the Kingswood family wagon into the picture. Under the hood of the Kingswood was a fire-breathing 427 V-8 engine rated at 425-hp. Also available engine option was 427-ci V8 that was rated at 390 horsepower. Kingswood is said to sprint from 0 to 60 in 8.4 seconds and to take to the quarter mile in 15.8 seconds. It was a full-sized wagon fitted on an Impala Chassis having two or three row seats. The engine's power flows to rear whitewalls through a three-speed column-shifted manual transmission. This wagon also came with power rear windows, power windows and locks around the cruise control and Freon-powered air conditioning.
16 1965 Pontiac 2+2
If you have never heard it or seen it but there is only word that can describe this muscle car- the best big Pontiac of the decade. Its performance shines within the larger B platform. The four-seat car is powered by a high-compression 421-ci V-8 connected to a high Tri-power carburetor and was listed at 376-hp.
The engine was mated to heavy-duty three-speed gearbox with floor-mounted Hurst shifter 3.42:1.
Other features include the heavy-duty springs and shocks with additional interior appointments. According to How Stuff Works, the 2+2 exterior featured a Catalina hardtop that needed a full fastback roof line, front-end styling which was better than 1964 model while its sharply defined lower-body sculpturing lent more rakish air to its features.
15 1969 Oldsmobile Rallye 350
Rallye 350 is one of the most obscure muscle cars in history, designed to compete with Road Runner and other affordable muscle cars. Rallye 350 features a Sebring Yellow paint job together with colour-matched bumpers and dramatic satin black graphic packages, twin-snorkel fiberglass hood and decklid spoiler. Street Side Classics says the car is fitted with expensive features which include the designer clothes in the interior. To add on to its muscle car credentials, it comes with dual buckets and centre consoles and its chairs have an upscale pattern that is comfortable and stylish. Its 350-ci V-8 which is rated at 310 horsepower can push it from zero to 60 in just 7 seconds. The engine is married to a TH350 3-speed automatic that transfers power to the car’s 12-bolt rear. Its 3.23 gears allows the car to cruise smoothly on the highway. Some of the features that aren’t standard on this car include the FE2 performance suspension setup and Rallye 11 wheels.
14 1969 Ford Torino Talladega
Torino Talladega is considered as a NASCAR special and was built to win races. After a serious modification of the 1968 Ford, Topspeed notes, the 1969 featured a hand built set of longer front folders that extended its snoot hence resulting to a droop front end. Its grilled was taken forward and mounted with flush that was made possible by a special stamped bracing. The bumpers were fitted with special parts.
Over 740 of these cars were made and featured in only three colours: red, white and blue.
Talladega’s interior was simple, featuring black vinyl/cloth seats that was bench like. The interior has no tact or clock, no AM/FM or and track. The car is mounted on an argent coloured steel wheels that has white side wall tires, front disk brakes and open 3.25 rear ends. Under the hood of the Talladega is a 428 C.I Cobra Jet engine rated at 335 horsepower, and mated with a powerful C6 auto transmission.
13 1968 Plymouth Barracuda 426 Hemi
1968 was a great year for those who love the Plymouth car powered with a V-8 engine. This car came with a HEMI engine, which was part of a high-performance package. This car, which was built at Hamtramck Michigan, had steel bodies with its seam sealer, sound deadening and insulation removed. The car had grey primer and its front panel had its fiberglass that was painted black. On the hood of the car was a functional air scoop, while inside was a basic interior featuring a standard black upholstery with no heater and radio. It featured a lightweight Boston Companion buckets instead on front seats. The rear seats were completely removed to feature a cardboard panel. According to Supercars, the car's chassis modification was restricted to Super Stock rear springs and heavy-duty shock absorbers. The Plymouth’s 426 HEMI engine has an A833 standard transmission case with modified Super Stock internals.
12 1964 Mercury Comet Cyclone
Cyclone is the upscale version of the Ford Falcon that is an optional hot performance pack. The intention of building this car was to replace the Edsel, and was made available as a coupe, sedan or a two-or-four-door wagon. It came with straight six engine choices and just 390 cu in the V8 remained. Also availed in the car was a “Toploader” 4-speed gearbox alongside the 8,000 RPM Rotunda tachometer. The other available feature was the axle ratios with 3.89:1 and 4.11:1 gears. This engine came with either a 2- or 4-barrel carburetor and it makes between 275 horsepower and 335 horsepower. This car was later updated with new sheet metal making it resemble the larger Mercury, while the interior came with standard features such as bucket seats, console, tach and a simulated wood steering wheel.
11 1970 Chrysler Hurst 300
Towards the end of the ‘60s saw the muscle car craze reach a fevered point. The car market wanted more powerful cars and therefore automakers to high performance cars, Street Muscle magazine notes. The 1970 Chrysler Hurst 300 is eight and half feet-long that dropped a great performance from its V-8 engine.
The 1970 model of the Chrysler came with many modifications put across its C-Body.
It featured a mid-60s full-size streamlined car. To cope up with the heavy size of the car, Chrysler was fitted with a powerful 440 cubic inch V8 engine that was paired to a three-speed TorquelFlite automatic transmission as a standard. Some of the modifications done to the Chrysler after partnering with Hurst included a fiberglass hood that had functional recessed twist locks, non-functional hood scoop and 300H emblems on both sides of the hood’s power bulge. The car’s rear deck lid has an integrated spoiler to at rear fenders mixed with new aerodynamic elements.
10 1993 GMC Typhoon
1993 GMC Typhoon was released in 1992 and it doesn’t belong to the classic era and down two-cylinder. This SUV boasts of being one of the five fastest SUVs ever produced in the car industry. Between 1992 and 1993, Car and Driver says 2,200 of this vehicles were produced. Under the bonnet of the Typhoon is a standard 4.3-liter V-6 engine, with an addition of Mitsubishi TD06 turbocharger that produced 280-hp and 360 lb-ft of torque. It wasn’t only the engine that allowed for exceptional performance but also its 4L80E transmission that sends its power to its unique all-wheel drive system that has a fixed 35 percent front, 65 percent torque split. The SUV sprints to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds faster than many other high end sports cars.
9 Chevrolet Chevelle SS
This car came at a time when there was change ongoing for muscle cars. According to Muscle Cars, this followed Detroit’s drift toward muscle pretenders and was a budget SS with a cutesy name, its own exterior graphics, and 14-inch tires. The V8 choices ranged from 307 V-8 to the Turbo-Fire 400-cube small block, and though production totals are sketchy for the 402 and 350-cube SS Chevelles, some sources place the number at 60,000.
Its production fell to 24,946 later on, but no muscle car ever had a higher volume for a four year run.
The LS-5 454’s rating was 270 horsepower, while the Turbo-Jet 400 came in at 240 net hp. All LS-5s were mated to the Rockcrusher four-speed, while the other V-8s got either the three- or four-speed manual, depending on horsepower, Muscle Car adds.
8 Ford Falcon
Ford is one of the leading car producers locally, and in 1960 they produced something magnificent - their first compact model - the Ford Falcon. Falcon was an instant best seller; a character it must have picked from its modern body style and exceptional performance, what with its wide options of economical six-cylinder engines. Though it was an affordable car, Motor Junkie says it would still appeal to buyers. As time went by Ford introduced more powerful models powered by V-8 engines. What also made Falcon more interesting was the introduction of the convertible body style. With the introduction of the Mustang, the appeal of Falcon began to decline since they shared the same platform with similar engines and therefore most people turned their attention to a better looking Mustang. The production of Falcon therefore ended in 1970. Over two million of Falcon were produced with different body styles.
7 Oldsmobile Toronado
It is impossible for classic car enthusiasts to forget the Oldsmobile even if they closed their brand back in 2000. Oldsmobile is considered to have stolen the show with technology, styling and luxury it combined in its cars. It would be remembered for the cutting edge of GM in one occasion and presented models what were much a head of their time providing power and style in the automotive market, Motor Junkie notes. One of the models that carry this reputation was the 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado. It is large and powerful with a twist due to its front wheel drive, and features an attractive design having a low roof and hidden headlights. The coupe is powered by a 455 V8 engine rated at 385-hp. Toronado introduced a superb driving experience that left its competitor’s in a gaze. The first two generations of this car were cool and later introduced Cadillac Eldorado having a different grille.
6 Chevrolet Corvette C4
Chevrolet Corvette C4 is a true 80’s classic car that was introduced in 1984. Motor Junkie says it features a wedge-shaped body, bright colors, a rear hatch and pop up headlights. This car isn’t just funny stereotype or a GTA Vice City games but a saviour to the Corvette when it was at the brink of closure.
It came with various updates which included a new chassis, modern design and contemporary digital dashboard, as well as an enhanced engine.
Chevrolet was later turned into a world class sports ca, with superior performance and handling, which was better than those of luxurious European cars. The chassis of this car was too good that it is still used in the modern C7 generation. Six years after its production, Chevrolet introduced a ZR-1 with 400 hp and performance that was better than Ferrari.
5 Dodge Neon R/T
Neon doesn’t have much to offer but it has some few features to be a little proud of. It is fitted with a 150-hp version of Neon’s 2.0-liter SOHC 16-valve four that would enable the car dash from zero to 60 in 7.6 seconds. Neon has a skidpad at 0.82 g and had a stopping distance of 178 feet from 70 mph. What would will impress you in the Neon is its ability to rotate in hard cornering since its over steering was just a lift off the throttle and its balance too was superb that was made easy by a long wheelbase. The car is mounted on a P195/50TR-16 Goodyear Eagle tires, with an interior that was cheap and provocative, and full of noise levels at full throttle. Critics say that its engine was bottled in a reluctant shifter which wasn’t too amazing according to Car and Driver.
4 Chevrolet Impala SS
This high-spec Impala SS can't easily be forgotten because of its stately appearance and cop-car derivation. However the 1994-1996 Chevrolet Impala SS will be put into the archives as the finest muscle cars. SS made its debut at Detroit Auto Show in 1993. It came sporting black paint, and fitted with flashy wheels, powered by a 300-horsepower LTI engine. When these cars came into the picture they knew very well of the big role that was awaiting them. It's predecessors came fitted with big-block hp, amazing styling and other good features.
The Impala came with a 260-hp LTI V8 engine with sequential-sport fuel injection paired to a 4L60-E 4-speed automatic.
Its torque was rated at 330 lb-ft at 3,200 rpm. The Impala lacks a manual transmission option though. The 1994 Impala sprint 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds meaning it is almost half-second faster than a BMW 540i. When it made its debut it came with any color of one's choice.
3 Ford Taurus SHO
Ford Taurus SHO boasts for being one the best-selling car in America at one particular point. It was powered by a Yamaha-built V6 capable producing 200-hp and 200 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired to a Mazda’s five-speed manual that sends its power to the front wheels, and pushes the car to run from zero to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds, on the way to a quarter-mile time of 15.2 seconds and a top speed of 143 mph. It features a hood taken from the Mercury Sable and its front fascia was redesigned to allow better breathing and cover the its fog lamps while the subtle side skirts manifest the rocker panel. Its SHO has fully redesigned independent suspension with firmer dampers, stiffer springs, thicker anti-roll bars and harder bushing. According to Hemmings, the car stands on a 15-inch alloy wheels that has unique lace design and covers 215/65R-15 Goodyear Eagle GT+4 tires that was made to provide a reasonable blend of all-season grip and durability.
2 1985-1992 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z
This third generation Chevrolet came into the picture in 1982 and it was an exceptional machine. Its styling and handling were good too but its engine was lackluster, hacked off of the older designs.
The base model of the Camaro was powered by 2.2-litre Iron Duke four engine that was rated at 90 horsepower.
The V-8 engine inline, 5.0-liter small-block featured a freaky cross-fire fuel-injection system and produced just 165 horsepower, Popular Mechanics notes. This generation featured a five-spoke 16-inch wheels and put around massive Goodyear radial tires. Under the hood of the IROC-Z was a 5.0-liter small-block V-8 engine having tuned port injection system that increased its energy output.
1 1983-1988 Ford Thunderbird
The awkward and boxy Ford Thunderbird was redesigned for the year 1980. It was considered a beautiful machine but currently it will be remembered as a midsize luxury sweepstakes. Ford was redesigned in 1983 but retained the same chassis as that of the 1882. It was dressed in a covering that that was conceivable, and the redesign wasn’t that pleasant since it was futuristic and aircraft-like, Popular Mechanics notes. This new design was a new Turbo Coupe version that many people loved. The success of 1983 model made ford to go ahead with same aerodynamic and daring 1986 Taurus. Its bullet shape was very effective in the NASCAR stock car racing.
Sources: caranddriver.com, roadandtrack.com, hemmings.com