Greatest 80s vehicles: the 30 biggest vehicles of the Eighties – Information by

Greatest 80s vehicles: the 30 biggest vehicles of the Eighties

The Eighties: a decade of huge hair, pink braces, shoulder pads, New Romantics, cell phones the scale of bricks, and the idea that greed is sweet. Greed is superb. Palms wrestled with Rubik’s Cubes, whereas the well-known Sinclair ZX Spectrum put residence computing on the fingertips of a nation.

A few of the new Eighties know-how, such because the microwave, stays in use right this moment. Different improvements, such because the video participant, ‘ghetto blaster’ and pocket tv, usually tend to be seen on an episode of Stranger Issues.

It was a decade of immense change. A brand new technology of music lovers might be wired for sound due to the Sony Walkman. Most of the highest-grossing movies stay fashionable right this moment: E.T. the Additional-Terrestrial, Again to the Future, Ghostbusters and Beverly Hills Cop, to call however 4.

If one form of automobile may encapsulate the spirit of the Eighties, it might be the new hatchback. Sports activities vehicles and coupes had been out, because the UK embraced the front-wheel drive hatchback with a souped-up engine, go-faster stripes and bodykits. The Volkswagen Golf GTI kick-started the revolution, with the Peugeot 205 GTI, Ford Escort XR3/XR3i and Vauxhall Astra GTE following go well with.

The new hatch was inexpensive to purchase, low-cost to run and an enormous quantity of enjoyable. Sadly, it was additionally fairly tough to deal with on the restrict and alarmingly straightforward to steal. The worth of automobile insurance coverage rocketed as motorists paid the value for a automobile crime epidemic.

We’ve pulled collectively an inventory of 30 of one of the best vehicles of the Eighties. From fleet favourites to efficiency heroes, and sports activities vehicles to supercars, these are among the vehicles that made the 80s such a formidable decade for motoring.

Ford Escort

Ford occupied three of the highest 4 slots on the checklist of the best-selling vehicles of the Eighties. The Escort was prime canine, with some 1.6 million vehicles offered throughout the last decade. It was all change for Ford’s fashionable household automobile, with the Mk3 Escort debuting within the Eighties as a front-wheel drive hatchback.

There was an Escort for everybody, from a lowly base mannequin hatchback or property, to a efficiency gem match for royalty. Princess Diana famously took supply of a black Escort RS Turbo. Again in the actual world, Britain’s working and center lessons bought their kicks within the XR3 and XR3i. 

Ferrari F40

To many individuals, that is the archetypal supercar of the Eighties. The pin-up star for a technology of younger petrolheads. Constructed to have fun Ferrari’s fortieth anniversary, the F40 was the final new-car unveiling attended by Enzo Ferrari earlier than he died in 1988. Such was the demand for the stripped-out and hardcore F40, Ferrari constructed 1,311 examples – way over the deliberate 450.

Beneath the carbon fibre, Kevlar and aluminium physique was a 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine growing 471bhp. It was sufficient to ship the F40 to a prime pace of 201mph, hitting 60mph in beneath 4 seconds.

Austin Metro

Even probably the most ardent of British Leyland followers would battle to label the Austin Metro as top-of-the-line vehicles of the Eighties, however it was some of the important. Launched within the Eighties as a alternative for the Mini, it was promoted as ‘a British automobile to beat the world’. It’s one other automobile with a Princess Diana connection, albeit throughout her days as Woman Diana Spencer.

There have been 5 fashions obtainable at launch: commonplace Metro, L, HLE, 1.3S and 1.3 HLS. The MG and Vanden Plas fashions are probably the most fascinating, however when the Metro died, the Mini lived on.

Porsche 959

If the Ferrari F40 was the supercar at its analogue greatest, the Porsche 959 was a imaginative and prescient of supercars of the longer term. Like so many efficiency icons, the 959 was constructed for homologation functions, particularly the corporate’s deliberate involvement in Group B rallying. This by no means occurred, however the 959 did obtain a one-two on the gruelling Paris-Dakar in 1986.

Based mostly on the 911, the 959 used an air-cooled flat-six engine with a pair of turbochargers, plus an electronically-controlled four-wheel drive system. The technical tour de pressure may hit 60mph in simply 3.7 seconds, earlier than reaching a prime pace of 197mph.

Audi Quattro

Few vehicles can declare to have modified the form of motorsport, the system for efficiency vehicles and the fortunes of a whole firm. The Audi Quattro of 1980 did simply that, regardless that it was loosely based mostly on the standard Audi 80 and sourced its energy from the 200 saloon’s 2.1-litre turbocharged engine.

It was the Quattro’s four-wheel drive know-how that led to Audi’s dominance of world rallying. The primary road-going variations arrived within the UK in 1981, initially as left-hand drive fashions. It was so costly, it’s a must to marvel how Gene Hunt may afford to purchase one. Hearth up the calculator.

Ford Sierra

Ford shifted almost 1,000,000 Sierras between 1982 and 1993, making it the fourth best-selling automobile of the Eighties. It didn’t get off to one of the best of begins, with motorists reluctant to embrace the daring styling, which appeared at odds with the conservative Ford Cortina. The ‘jellymould’ styling should have seemed otherworldly in 1982.

Success adopted, helped by a mixture of sturdy fleet gross sales, victories on the observe and the legendary RS Cosworth. The Sierra dominated saloon automobile racing within the Eighties, forcing race authorities to tweak the foundations to let the remainder of the sphere catch up.

Fiat Panda

Fiat’s orders for the legendary Italian designer had been easy however bold: “Giugiaro, make me a ‘French-style utility automobile which is an identical in weight and manufacturing prices to the Fiat 126 however which clearly is bigger and extra snug.” His response was easy however sensible: the Fiat Panda.

Unveiled on the 1980 Geneva Motor Present, the Panda was a triumph of fine packaging and low-cost development. Using cheap flat home windows saved cash, whereas the versatile inside featured deckchair-style seats and a easy dashboard. The plucky Panda 4×4 was a success with Italian hill farmers and residents of the Alps.

Peugeot 205 GTI

Few vehicles have aged in addition to the gorgeous Peugeot 205. Typically wrongly credited to Pininfarina, the styling was truly an in-house job, with Paul Bracq chargeable for the inside. The Italian styling home labored on the 205 Cabriolet. Nevertheless, there’s one variant of the 205 that stands head and shoulders above the others: the GTI.

In the present day’s costs mirror the truth that the Peugeot 205 GTI was the best scorching hatch of the Eighties. Two engines had been obtainable, and though the 1.9-litre model will get probably the most consideration, some individuals choose the stability of the 1.6-litre automobile.

Lancia Delta Integrale

Lancia dominated the World Rallying Championship within the late-80s and early-90s. It was all down to 1 automobile: the Delta Integrale. By the hands of the likes of Juha Kankkunen and Miki Biasion, the four-wheel drive and turbocharged Delta was nearly unstoppable on the world’s rally circuits, kick-started by the Delta HF in 1987.

In contrast to the wild Stratos and 037, the Delta was based mostly on a humble, Giugiaro-designed five-door hatchback, however the excessive bodykit and large arches of the later variations gave the Integrale actual presence. It died in 1994 and proved to be irreplaceable.

Toyota MR2

The Toyota MR2 was Japan’s first mass-produced mid-engined sports activities automobile. “Not often if ever have we been so completely assured a few new Toyota mannequin as we’re concerning the MR2”, stated Toyota’s gross sales supervisor at its UK launch in 1985. The ‘Midship Runabout 2-seater’ was unveiled in Japan in 1983, earlier than happening sale in its home market in June 1984.

It launched within the UK with a 122bhp 1.6-litre 16v engine sourced from the Toyota Corolla GT, which may propel the MR2 to 60mph in 8.2 seconds. The MR2 put to mattress any ideas that the new hatch would kill the sports activities automobile.

Honda CRX

One street check described the Honda CRX as a “100bhp grown-up go-kart that defies just about all makes an attempt to be pigeon-holed”. The compact buzzbox was a shortened Honda Civic with an aerodynamic hatchback physique and the styling of a coupe. Energy was sourced from revvy 1.5-litre and 1.6-litre petrol engines.

The Mk1 made means for the equally sensible Mk2 (pictured) in 1987, a automobile adequate to rival any scorching hatch of the period. The CRX Del Sol of 1992 was a softer tackle the CRX recipe with an progressive ‘targa’ roof.

Saab 900 Turbo

The Saab 900 technically arrived within the Seventies, however it deserves a spot on this checklist. Basically, the 900 got here of age within the Eighties, with Saab growing the Turbo into an iconic efficiency automobile. The 175bhp 900 Turbo S arrived in 1984, adopted by the limited-run 185bhp Carlsson in 1988.

Hatchback and saloon variants had been joined by the 900 Convertible, which grew to become some of the fashionable four-seater convertibles of the 80s and 90s. The Saab 900 bowed out in 1993 with the Ruby particular version. It was the tip of an period for the progressive Swedish firm.

Renault Espace

Whereas Renault can’t declare to have invented the MPV, the Espace was Europe’s first mass-market individuals service. In contrast to van-based MPVs of the previous, the Espace was designed from the within out to supply most inside area and flexibility. It may have been a Peugeot, however when the rival French firm shunned the advances of Matra, Renault grabbed the baton.

Europe had by no means seen something prefer it, to the purpose that the Espace made a disastrous begin. Gross sales within the first month totalled 9, as European motorists failed to understand the idea. Attitudes modified, with the Escape inspiring a brand new breed of family-friendly autos.

Vauxhall Cavalier

The Vauxhall Cavalier was one of many vehicles to learn from the lukewarm reception to the Ford Sierra. Many consumers shunned the Sierra and turned to the conservative Cavalier, serving to it to develop into the UK’s third hottest automobile of the Eighties. There was a time when the Little Chef automobile parks had been crammed with Cavaliers with a coat hanger dangling within the rear window.

The Mk2 Cavalier noticed fleet consumers by means of a lot of the decade, earlier than the curvy Mk3 Cavalier arrived in 1998. Though humble fashions had been the preferred, the SRi and GSi variations supplied some enjoyable on the way in which again from the gross sales convention.

Lancia 037

The rear-wheel drive Lancia 037 upstaging the four-wheel drive Audi Quattro to win the 1983 title is among the biggest tales within the historical past of the World Rally Championship. It was the final rear-wheel drive automobile to win. 

In an interview, Walter Rohrl stated it was his favorite rally automobile. “From the pure driving view it was the Lancia 037. It was a automobile made for my styling of driving – I don’t prefer to steer. I consider the one secret in driving is to steer as little as potential”. A complete of 207 road-going Stradale variations had been constructed.

Porsche 944

Porsche designed the 924 as an inexpensive sports activities automobile for Volkswagen, however when VW pulled out of the deal, bosses in Stuttgart had been left with a automobile with no goal. The corporate purchased the rights and created an inexpensive model of its personal. Some argued that it didn’t really feel like a real Porsche, which led to the event of the 944.

This was the sports activities automobile the 924 ought to have been: wider, decrease, stiffer and sharper. A brand new 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine delivered the efficiency, which gained a turbocharger for the launch of the 944 Turbo.

Ford Capri 2.8i

No different nation embraced the Ford Capri fairly just like the UK. It delivered glamour and practicality to the household man, with the Capri having fun with its increase years within the Seventies. Time appeared to be operating out when 1978 gross sales slumped to a 3rd of the overall in 1969. The launch of the Mk3 gave the Capri a brand new lease of life, with the two.8 injection offering a a lot wanted shot within the arm.

It was adequate to propel the Capri again into the highest 10 gross sales chart, albeit with the backdrop of a rising picture disaster. The 280 ‘Brooklands’ marked the tip of manufacturing in December 1986.

Mercedes-Benz 190

It will be straightforward to underestimate the importance of the Mercedes-Benz 190 (W201). Whereas there’s no denying the brilliance of the bigger vehicles – the W124 may have secured a spot on this checklist – the corporate lacked a presence within the compact government phase. The 190 was Mercedes’ reply to the BMW 3 Collection.

Mercedes spent a reported £600 million on its growth to make sure the ‘baby-Benz’ shared all of the hallmarks of its bigger siblings. A presence in motorsport led to the launch of efficiency vehicles such because the 190E 2.3-16 and a couple of.5-16 Evolution fashions.

Volkswagen Golf GTI

No checklist of nice vehicles of the Eighties can be full with out the Volkswagen Golf GTI. The Mk1 Golf GTI had popularised the idea of the new hatch within the late 70s and early 80s, however the Mk2 was a extra rounded product. Who can neglect the enduring tv advert starring Paula Hamilton?

It debuted with the 1.8-litre 8v engine from the unique Golf GTI, however the launch of the 16v in 1986 despatched the Golf to the highest of the new hatch league. The 205 GTI was marginally extra enjoyable, the 5 GT Turbo was quicker, and the Escort XR3i had extra common enchantment, however the Golf GTI was the entire bundle.

Renault 5 GT Turbo

So many different scorching hatches may have made this checklist. The Fiat Uno Turbo is an underrated gem, the Daihatsu Charade GTti was the world’s strongest 1.0-litre automobile, whereas many individuals may have fond reminiscences of the Vauxhall Astra GTE. Nevertheless, the Renault 5 GT Turbo stands out as a real nice.

Turbocharging was an enormous deal for Renault. The 18 Turbo was one of many pioneers of the idea of a turbocharged household automobile, however the 5 GT Turbo had much more common enchantment. A prime pace of 125mph and 0-60mph time of seven.5 seconds delivered sturdy High Trumps credentials.


Understated to the purpose of anonymity, the E28 BMW M5 was one of many biggest efficiency vehicles of the Eighties. It was refined by design, with BMW understanding that the automobile’s mature viewers would favor a sombre-suited saloon to something too outlandish.

Its 3.0-litre straight-six engine lifted from the M1 supercar produced 278bhp. It was the right match for the chic chassis, making a bundle that was formidable sufficient to problem the world’s biggest sports activities automobile. It was additionally one of many world’s first Q-cars.

Citroen BX

The saddest a part of the Citroen BX story is how few are left within the UK. Greater than 2.3 million examples had been constructed between 1982 and 1994, however this hasn’t stopped UK numbers falling to crucial ranges. Because the outdated saying goes, you don’t know what you’ve bought till it’s gone.

Marcello Gandini of Lamborghini Countach fame dealt with the styling. Who remembers the tv advert displaying Gandini leaving his home, strolling previous a Countach, then driving to work in a BX? The launch of a diesel model caught the eye of fleet consumers.

Alfa Romeo GTV6

Like so many different Alfa Romeo fashions, the GTV6 was removed from excellent, however on the fitting street, and in the fitting circumstances, you wouldn’t need to be in another automobile. Key to its enchantment was a chic Busso V6 producing 160bhp, which delivered top-of-the-line soundtracks of any efficiency automobile.

Launched in 1981, the GTV6 may hit 60mph in 8.8 seconds, earlier than reaching a prime pace of 127mph. Nevertheless, outright tempo was much less necessary than the sweet-sounding symphony and the wonderful dealing with.

Volvo 240

Though it was born within the Seventies, the Volvo 240 grew to become a central a part of household life within the Eighties. Strong development, absolute security and a boot massive sufficient for any antiques truthful made the Volvo property the right household wagon earlier than the arrival of the MPV and the SUV.

Rear-wheel drive meant that it was additionally fairly respectable to drive, particularly when you opted for the GLT variant. The Volvo 240 Turbo grew to become a profitable race automobile, with Thomas Lindstrom and Gianfranco Brancatelli profitable the 1985 European Touring Automotive Championship.

Toyota Corolla AE86

The rear-wheel drive Toyota Corolla AE86 secured back-to-back British Touring Automotive Championship victories in 1986 and 1987, with Chris Hodgetts steering the automobile to victory. His automobile featured a 1.6-litre twin-cam engine producing 190bhp, with the road-going variations making do with 123bhp.

It arrived in 1983, simply because the market was embracing front-wheel drive scorching hatches. Whereas some rivals might be described as ‘blunt devices’, the AE86 featured the likes of all-round disc brakes, coil springs and a limited-slip differential. In the present day, the AE86 is a legend of the drift scene and costs mirror this.

Lamborghini Countach

Many would argue that the unique LP400 is peak Lamborghini Countach. Marcello Gandini’s masterpiece was at its greatest in its purest type, with out the wild and outlandish addenda of the Eighties. Nevertheless, the Countach one way or the other managed to reflect the tastes of the 80s – the flared arches and big spoilers had been the massive hair of the automotive world.

The LP500S launched with energy sourced from a 4.8-litre V12 producing a mighty 375bhp, whereas the Countach Quattrovalvole (QV) upped the ante with 455bhp and a 183mph prime pace. Lamborghini known as time on the Countach with the Anniversary of 1990.


Even the E30 BMW M3’s left-hand drive solely standing didn’t cease it from changing into some of the fascinating efficiency vehicles of the Eighties. It was homologated to allow BMW to go racing in opposition to the Mercedes-Benz 190E Cosworth and Ford Sierra RS Cosworth, with energy sourced from a four-cylinder, 16v engine derived from the six-cylinder unit within the M1.

Inside a yr of its launch on the 1985 Frankfurt Motor Present, gross sales had exceeded the 5,000 items required for homologation functions. To fulfill demand, BMW launched Evolution and Evolution II fashions.

Audi 100

Audi started the last decade with the world’s first mass-produced four-wheel drive efficiency automobile, however the Quattro wasn’t the one spotlight of the 80s. Take the Audi 100, which arrived in 1982. On the time, it featured one of the best aerodynamics of any manufacturing automobile, whereas light-weight development and the choice of four-wheel drive set it other than rival choices.

It was additionally the primary saloon to characteristic flush-fitting facet home windows, which helped the 100 to attain a record-breaking drag coefficient of 0.30cd.

Bentley Turbo R

If you happen to’ve ever puzzled what it feels prefer to drive a five-star lodge room at 135mph, the Bentley Turbo R is an effective place to begin. It arrived in 1985 as a growth of the outdated Mulsanne Turbo, with extra energy due to the fitment of Bosch gas injection. The suspension was additionally upgraded to take the Turbo R even additional away from the platform-sharing Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit.

Its immense efficiency was sourced from a 6.75-litre V8 engine, with the highest pace electronically restricted to 135mph. Gross sales had been excellent for a hand-built automobile, with some 4,815 examples leaving the manufacturing facility.

Lexus LS 400

We conclude our have a look at among the greatest vehicles of the Eighties with the Lexus LS 400. It arrived on the 1989 Detroit Auto Present and would develop into one of many defining vehicles of the Nineteen Nineties. It was the results of near-obsessive ranges of growth, with Toyota decided to upstage the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Nothing was left to likelihood.

A becoming strategy to finish this characteristic and the right segue to a possible have a look at one of the best vehicles of the Nineteen Nineties. The LS 400 can be one of many first vehicles on the checklist, swiftly adopted by the Mazda MX-5. The sports activities automobile could have arrived in 1989, however it went on to outline the automotive decade that adopted.

Have you ever ever owned any of those Eighties classics? Tell us within the feedback…

Powered by Auto Categorical

Greatest 80s vehicles: the 30 biggest vehicles of the Eighties – Information by


To Top