1980s Popular Cars

If you are a fan of classic cars, we have got the ultimate list for you! Take a look back at some of the most popular cars from the 1980s and find out why these models remain iconic.

1980s Popular Cars
1980s Cars

Welcome back, fellow time-travelers! Today, we're taking a trip down memory lane to explore the popular cars of the groovy 1980s. A decade that gave us iconic movies like "Back to the Future" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", the 80s were a time of big hair, bold fashion choices and of course, cars that turned heads on the roads.


1986 Porsche 959: The Supercar of the Neon Decade

1986 Porsche 959 on race track

Let's start our engine revving journey with the sports car category and what better way to do it than with the dazzling 1986 Porsche 959. This beauty wasn't just a car, it was a rocket on wheels. Known as one of the most technologically advanced cars of the time, the Porsche 959 was the epitome of speed and luxury, cruising its way into the hearts of the elite.

Red 1986 Porsche 959

The 959 boasted a twin-turbo six-cylinder boxer engine that could accelerate from 0-60 mph in a breathtaking 3.6 seconds. It was a technical marvel, featuring an innovative 4-wheel drive system, sequential turbochargers, and a body made of lightweight materials like aluminium and Kevlar. In essence, it was a road-hugging spaceship, ready to take off at the green light.

Design-wise, the Porsche 959 retained the classic lines that Porsche enthusiasts had come to love, but added a modern twist befitting the decade of DeLoreans and Rubik’s Cubes. This was a car for the go-getter, the risk-taker, the Wall Street Wolf who wanted not just a car, but a statement piece.

With production limited to a mere 292 units, the Porsche 959 was as exclusive as it was impressive. So, here's to the 1986 Porsche 959, a car that was as rad as the 80s themselves!


1980 Audi Quattro: The Everyday Hero Car

Silver 1980 Audi Quattro

Switching gears from sports cars, let's venture onto the tarmac of the everyday motorist and meet the 1980 Audi Quattro. This wasn't just a car, ladies and gents, it was a revolution on wheels. The Audi Quattro was the David that challenged the Goliaths of the automotive world and emerged victorious.

Black 1980 Audi Quattro

The secret behind the Quattro's success was a nifty piece of tech known as all-wheel drive. Although the concept wasn't new, Audi was the first to successfully market this technology for passenger cars. This advancement made the Quattro a wizard on the road, boasting superior grip and handling irrespective of weather conditions. It was as if the gods of Olympus themselves were holding the car in place.

Aesthetically, the Quattro had an understated charm. With its boxy design and crisp lines, it was a child of its time. Yet, there was an elegance to its simplicity, a beauty in its practicality. This was a car for the everyman, a reliable workhorse that could brave the storm and come out looking like a thoroughbred racehorse.

So, here's to the 1980 Audi Quattro, the unsung hero that became a symbol of the 80s and transformed the automobile industry forever. Because sometimes, the cars we drive every day are the true champions.


1984 Toyota MR2: The Affordable Sports Car

Red 1984 Toyota MR2

Let's jet across the pond to the Land of the Rising Sun to spotlight the humble yet exciting Toyota MR2. Introduced in 1984, this compact, mid-engine marvel brought a taste of the sports car experience to the everyday driver, without breaking the bank. The MR2 was the proverbial hare amongst the tortoises, proving that sports cars need not be inaccessible dreams.

Black 1984 Toyota MR2

The MR2, or 'Midship Runabout 2-seater', was powered by a 1.6L inline-four engine, a little dynamo that punched well above its weight. It offered dynamite performance in a small package, making it a hit among driving enthusiasts and the youth of the time. The MR2 combined the nimbleness and agility of a lightweight car with the power and stability typically associated with heftier sports cars.

Design-wise, it bridged the gap between the flamboyance of the 80s and the sleek aesthetics of the following decade. Its angular, wedge-shaped body made it stand out in a crowd, and the pop-up headlights were the cherry on the cake, a nod to the prevailing trends of the 80s. This car was the poster boy of affordable sportiness, coveted by young and aspirational drivers seeking a dash of adrenaline in their daily commute.

So here's to the 1984 Toyota MR2, a wee little firecracker that brought the thrill of sports car ownership to the masses. Because in the grand theatre of the 1980s automobile industry, even the supporting actors had starring roles!


1982 Ford Sierra: The Futuristic Family Car

1982 Ford Sierra

Now, let's rev our engines and head back to the UK to give a nod to a classic that redefined the concept of family cars - the 1982 Ford Sierra. This was no ordinary family wagon, but a car that looked straight from the year 2000, arriving a little ahead of time. Ford Sierra was a car that dared to be different, and boy, didn't it just stand out!

light blue 1982 Ford Sierra

The Sierra was powered by a range of engines, from a humble 1.3L for the budget-conscious motorist to a brawny 2.8L V6 for the speed enthusiast. Regardless of engine size, every Sierra offered a smooth, comfortable ride, making it a favourite among families and company car drivers alike. It also introduced aerodynamic design and electronic fuel injection to the mainstream, setting a new standard for the segment.

From a design perspective, the Sierra was nothing short of revolutionary. Its aerodynamic 'jelly mould' design was a far cry from the boxy lines that were de rigueur in the early '80s. There was something futuristic, even a bit spaceship-like, about its smooth curves and sleek profile. The design was so radical that it initially caused a bit of a stir, but as with all trendsetters, the Sierra was simply ahead of its time.

The Ford Sierra was more than just a car. It was a symbol of the era, encapsulating the spirit of change and technological progress that defined the 1980s. So here's to the Ford Sierra, a car that dared to challenge conventions and, in doing so, became a classic of its time. Because in the 1980s, even family cars could be cool!


1984 Ferrari Testarossa: The Poster Child of the 80s

1984 Ferrari Testarossa - Red

No discourse on 1980s cars would be complete without mentioning the Ferrari Testarossa, the red-headed Italian beauty that was the poster child of the decade. Immortalised in numerous films, TV shows, and bedroom wall posters, it was the epitome of 80s excess, and we loved it for that.

Red 1984 Ferrari Testarossa

Under the hood, the Testarossa boasted a 4.9L flat-12 engine, delivering a heady mix of speed and sound that was pure, undiluted Ferrari. With a top speed of 180 mph and a 0-60 time of 5.2 seconds, it delivered a driving experience that was as exhilarating as it was terrifying. This was a car built to thrill, and it did just that with aplomb.

Yet it wasn't just the scintillating performance that made the Testarossa a legend. Its design was equally astonishing. From the side strakes that adorned its flanks to its wide and low stance, the Testarossa was a design marvel. With its pop-up headlights and a rear end wider than a lorry, it had a futuristic look while still embracing the flamboyance of the 80s.

The Testarossa was a car for the bold, the brash, the ones who wanted to make a statement, and what a statement it was. It was aimed at the filthy rich, the business tycoons, the sports stars, and the rock gods of the time. It was unabashedly flash and power-packed, fitting perfectly into the era's cultural norms. So, here's to the Ferrari Testarossa, a car that defined a decade and revved its way into our hearts. Because in the 1980s, if you were going to be excessive, you did it with style!


1982 Ford Mustang: The American Dream Machine

Red 1982 Ford Mustang

Crossing the Atlantic once more, we land in the heartland of America to salute a true icon of the 80s – the 1982 Ford Mustang. Loved by many and adored by all, this muscle car born of American soil was the epitome of the American Dream. The Mustang was the motorised equivalent of apple pie and baseball, a symbol of freedom, power, and unabashed braggadocio.

silver 1982 Ford Mustang

The third generation Mustang, colloquially known as 'Fox Body Mustang', was powered by a variety of engines, starting from a humble 2.3L inline-four to a roaring 5.0L V8. And oh, the V8! If you wanted to feel the raw, untamed power of a true American muscle car, this was the one for you. With this beast under the bonnet, the Mustang sprinted from 0-60 in a blistering 6.3 seconds. It was a car that didn't just move, it galloped!

Design-wise, the Mustang was a product of its time. Its angular lines and broad shoulders gave it an aggressive and masculine look, whereas its low-slung body and flared wheel arches hinted at its sporting prowess. Inside, the Mustang was all about comfort and convenience, making it a car you could drive every day. And who wouldn't want to do just that?

The Mustang wasn't merely a car. It was a statement, a declaration of one's love for power and freedom. It was targeted at those who took life by the horns, who dared to dream big and live large. It was a car for the go-getters, the mavericks, the ones who wouldn't settle for ordinary. So here's to the Ford Mustang, a symbol of American tenacity and resolve. Because in the 1980s, dreams were meant to be chased at full throttle!


1982 Chevrolet Camaro: The Undeniable Contender

1982 Chevrolet Camaro

Taking the spotlight now is the Chevrolet Camaro, a car that stood its ground in the 1980s as an undeniable contender in the muscle car battle. This American powerhouse was the dream ride for the rebellious youth and the adventurous at heart. In an era when synth-pop was booming and neon colours were the rage, the Camaro was the perfect ride to complement the spirit of the decade.

black 1982 Chevrolet Camaro

The 1982 model saw the introduction of the third-generation Camaro, which, like its long-standing rival - the Ford Mustang, featured a complete design overhaul. Powered by engines ranging from a modest 2.5L inline-four to a boastful 5.0L V8, the Camaro had variants to suit all types of motorists. But it was the muscular V8 that truly set pulses racing. It was a car that celebrated speed, embodying the audacious spirit of the 80s.

Design-wise, the Camaro was a sight to behold. It had a sleek, streamlined look, with a low-slung body and sharp angles that gave it an aggressive yet futuristic appeal. But it wasn't all about looks; the Camaro also introduced fuel injection and a four-speed automatic transmission - features that were ground-breaking at the time.

The Camaro was targeted at those who refused to blend in, the rule-breakers, those who revelled in the fast life. It became an icon of 80s pop culture, featuring prominently in films, TV shows, and music videos of the era. So here's to the Chevrolet Camaro, a car that embodied the rebellious spirit and technological innovation of the 1980s. Because in the 80s, if you were going to break the rules, you did it at top speed!


1984 Ford Escort RS Turbo: The Everyday Hero

white 1984 Ford Escort RS Turbo

Next on our nostalgic journey is a car that might not have the Italian flair of a Ferrari or the American muscle of a Mustang, but it commanded respect and admiration in its own right. Ladies and gentlemen, we present the humble yet heroic Ford Escort RS Turbo - the everyday hero of 1980s Britain.

Black with blue stripe 1984 Ford Escort RS Turbo

This turbocharged titan was powered by a feisty 1.6L engine, making a respectable 132 bhp. While these figures might not sound hair-raising today, back in the 1980s, this was hot hatch territory. And believe me, it was a hoot to drive! The Escort RS Turbo took less than 8 seconds to sprint from 0-60 mph, and it did so with a charming growl that was music to the ears of car enthusiasts.

But the RS Turbo wasn't just about straight-line speed. It was an everyday car with a sporting pedigree. Its design blended practicality with performance. The boxy shape was typical of the 80s, but there was a sense of purpose to it. The wide wheel arches, the bonnet vents, the sporty alloy wheels - every element hinted at the performance beneath. And let's not forget that signature spoiler, which added a dash of drama to the otherwise understated design.

The RS Turbo was targeted at the working class who wanted a dash of thrill in their daily commute. It was a car that made performance driving accessible to the masses. So here's to the Ford Escort RS Turbo, a car that proved that you didn't need deep pockets to enjoy the thrill of driving. Because in the 1980s, being an everyday hero was just as cool as being a superstar!


1983 Ford Escort XR3i: The People's Champion

white 1983 Ford Escort XR3i

Cruising into the scene is the vivacious Ford Escort XR3i, a car that has become synonymous with the hot hatch phenomenon of the 1980s. This quintessentially British motor wasn't just a car; it was a symbol of aspiration for the working classes, a statement of intent that said, "Yes, I too can have a slice of the performance pie."

red 1983 Ford Escort XR3i

The XR3i was powered by a zesty 1.6L fuel-injected engine, churning out a respectable 105 bhp. It might not sound like much today, but back in the 80s, this was plenty enough to get your blood pumping and your heart racing. The car's performance was further enhanced by its lightweight design, allowing it to nimbly dart around corners with the agility of a hare.

Design-wise, the Escort XR3i was unmistakably a child of the 80s. Its angular design, peppered with sporty cues like the broad wheel arches, large rear spoiler, and distinctive alloy wheels, was a clear statement of its performance-oriented DNA. Inside, the car was equally appealing, with comfortable seats, clear dials, and a driver-focused layout that was both ergonomic and functional.

The XR3i was more than just a hot hatch; it was a symbol of cultural change. It was the car of choice for the ambitious blue-collar worker, the young executive on the rise, the person who wanted more than just a means of getting from A to B. So here's to the Ford Escort XR3i, the people's champion of the 1980s. Because in that decade, aspiration was the name of the game!


1982 Mercedes-Benz W201: The Pinnacle of German Engineering

1982 Mercedes-Benz W201

Shifting gears now, we cruise into the land of autobahns, bratwurst, and impeccable engineering. We come to a car that radiated elegance, sophistication, and an undeniable air of authority - the Mercedes-Benz W201, fondly remembered as the 190E. This was no ordinary car; it was a beacon of German engineering, a symbol of status, and a clear statement of intent.

Red 1982 Mercedes-Benz W201

The Mercedes-Benz W201 was powered by a range of engines, from a modest 2.0L inline-four to a burly 2.5L inline-six. But the variant that truly stole the limelight was the 2.3-16, developed in collaboration with Cosworth. With a punchy 185 bhp under the bonnet and a top speed of 143 mph, this was the luxury car that found its home on the racetrack. But it wasn't just the performance that set the 190E apart. Its outstanding build quality and the peerless ride comfort it offered were what truly defined the Mercedes-Benz experience.

Design-wise, the W201 was a cut above the rest. Its sleek profile, rounded angles, and chrome accents exuded an aura of understated luxury. But amidst the elegance, there were hints of sportiness too - the low-slung stance, the wide wheel arches, and the distinctive alloy wheels all hinted at the car's performance capabilities. Inside, the cabin was a sanctuary of comfort, with plush seating, refined materials, and a host of technological features that were light-years ahead of its time.

The W201 was a car for the discerning, for those who sought perfection in every detail. It appealed to the successful business executive, the high-flying entrepreneur - it was a car for those who had arrived. So here's to the Mercedes-Benz W201, a car that embodied German precision and luxury in the 1980s. Because in that decade, the pursuit of perfection was in full swing!


1980 Renault 5 Turbo: The French Powerhouse

sporty 1980 Renault 5 Turbo

Let's steer this trip down memory lane onto the chic streets of Paris as we introduce the audacious Renault 5 Turbo, a car that not only redefined the hatchback genre but also put the French auto industry in the global spotlight. This car oozed Gallic charm and performance, a cheeky number that could run rings around its rivals.

1980 Renault 5 Turbo

The Renault 5 Turbo was powered by a mid-mounted 1.4L turbocharged engine, delivering a whopping 160 bhp. Given the lightweight frame it was housed in, you can imagine the thrill this car delivered. Nought to 60 mph? Easily achievable in under 7 seconds. Zipping through the winding roads of the French countryside or darting through city traffic, the R5 Turbo was more than up to the task.

The design of the Renault 5 Turbo was nothing short of revolutionary. Bulging wheel arches, a widened track, and a rear-end that could make any car enthusiast weak in the knees all combined to create a silhouette that screamed ‘rally car’ in a distinctly French accent. And that was exactly what it was meant to be, a road-legal rally car that you could drive to work. One could argue that it was the original hot hatch.

The Renault 5 Turbo was targeted at the young, adventurous driver who wanted a car that was practical for everyday use but packed enough punch to make every drive an adventure. It was a car that introduced the thrill of rallying to the ordinary motorist. So, here's to the Renault 5 Turbo – because in the 1980s, who said that practicality and performance couldn't go hand in hand?


1984 Chevrolet Corvette (C4): The American Dream on Wheels

Red 1984 Chevrolet Corvette (C4)

Let's put the pedal to the metal and cruise across the pond to the land of the brave, where All-American horsepower has its own legacy. The time has come to drop the top, feel the wind in your hair, and introduce the Chevrolet Corvette (C4) - the embodiment of the American dream on wheels. This car wasn’t just a sports car; it was a shining beacon of American engineering and democratized luxury.

blue with white stripe 1984 Chevrolet Corvette (C4)

The heart that powered the Corvette C4 was a 5.7L V8 engine, a powerhouse that roared to life with an impressive 205 bhp at its disposal. While this might not sound particularly stellar by today's standards, back in the '80s, it was enough to leave many of its European counterparts eating dust. This was a car that offered a sheer unadulterated driving experience, no less part due to its unique suspension system and the introduction of the groundbreaking "Uniframe" construction.

Design-wise, the Corvette C4 was an absolute stunner. With its sleek lines, sculpted contours, and a removable roof panel, it exuded a sense of freedom and speed that was quintessentially American. The pop-up headlights and digital dash display were a nod to the technological advancements of the era, making the Corvette a proper spaceship among earth-bound cars. Inside, the driver-centric cabin, decked out with all the creature comforts of the day, made every ride a journey to remember.

The Corvette C4 was targeted at the everyday American who wished to tackle life with a bit of flair and speed. It was also a dream car for many around the globe who craved American muscle and the pursuit of the true-blue American dream. So, here's to the Chevrolet Corvette (C4) - a car that defined a generation and held the American flag high in the world of sports cars. Because back in the 1980s, if you had a Corvette, you weren't just driving; you were living the dream!


1981 Ford Capri 2.8 Injection: Britain's Affordable Sports Coupe

1981 Ford Capri

Let's return to the land of afternoon tea and the birthplace of the Beatles, where the Ford Capri 2.8 Injection reigned as Britain's go-to affordable sports coupe in the 1980s. A car that was unpretentious and accessible, the Capri brought the exhilaration of sports car driving within reach of the ordinary Briton.

white Ford Capri

The beating heart of the Capri was its 2.8L V6 engine which, together with the Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system, produced a healthy 160 bhp. These figures might seem modest today, but back in the day, these were numbers to brag about amongst your mates down the local pub. The Capri was a vehicle that offered a joyously raw and honest driving experience, with a rear-wheel-drive setup and a 5-speed manual transmission.

In terms of design, the Capri was a true Brit with a distinct American twist. It had the sleek, flowing lines of a European coupe but carried the muscular stance of an American muscle car. With its stretched bonnet, squat rear end, and quad round headlights, it had an unmistakable and enduring road presence. The interior was a no-nonsense affair with a clear focus on the driver, offering a dash layout that was practical and straightforward.

The Capri appealed to a broad audience, from working-class heroes looking for a bit of fun to the young professional seeking a stylish, performance-oriented daily driver. So, here's to the Ford Capri, a car that brought sports car thrills to the people without breaking the bank. Because in the 1980s, driving a Capri meant you were part of a motoring icon's legacy!


And there we have it, a nostalgic journey back in time to the automotive wonders of the 1980s, an era that offered the perfect blend of style, innovation, and performance. From the luxurious elegance of the Mercedes-Benz W201, the audacious charisma of the Renault 5 Turbo, to the all-American muscle of the Chevrolet Corvette (C4), each car encapsulated the spirit of its era and the aspirations of its drivers. But more than just machines, these vehicles were an essential part of the cultural fabric of the decade, turning heads on the streets and etching memories in the hearts of those lucky enough to drive them. So let's raise a toast to the 1980s, an era that truly revved up the automobile industry and gave us some of the most iconic cars that still resonate in the hearts of car enthusiasts around the world. Because as much as we look forward to the future of mobility, it's always worth taking a glance in the rearview mirror to appreciate how far we've come.