The 1980s were a defining era for so many things: music, fashion, and even cars. Technological advances and cultural shifts meant car manufacturers could be a little more experimental, which brought new range to the vehicle market. Sleek sports cars hit the roads while rugged off-roaders headed for the countryside. The new wave of car production focused on stylish design, innovation, and plenty of fun. While many cars from the 80s have faded into the background to make way for the new, there are some that have withstood the test of time.
The DeLorean DMC-12 became a cultural icon when it starred in "Back to the Future." In the film, the car was transformed into a time-travel machine. And while the real-life car isn't quite that advanced, it does have some incredible features. The DMC-12 is renowned for its futuristic style, with gull-wing doors and a stainless steel body. Although very few were made, the DeLorean remains a true touchstone of the 80s.
The Ford Mustang was a cultural classic throughout the 1960s and beyond, but the modern version of the car was launched in the 80s. Newly evolved, it was sleek, aerodynamic, and had a powerful engine. It has since become a top choice for car fanatics and even shows up in movies like "Gone in 60 Seconds," furthering its popularity.
The Lamborghini Countach was the definition of wealth and abundance during the 1980s. The bold, wedge-shaped design stood out from the crowd, while the V12 engine made it one of the most powerful cars of the decade. The car produced an impressive 455 horsepower and was highly sought after by car buffs. It has since featured in movies like "Cannonball Run" and more recently "The Wolf of Wall Street."
Truly iconic since the 60s, Porsche continues to be a desirable option for car enthusiasts to this day. The Porsche 911 grew incredibly popular during the 80s, thanks to its powerful rear engine layout. The car has become a pop culture classic after audiences saw it in action in "Bad Boys" and "Risky Business." It also became a common choice on the racetrack; winning numerous championships around the world.
Chevrolet produced the Camaro to directly compete with Ford's Mustang in the 1960s, but the car surged in popularity during the 80s. The third generation began production in 1981 and was a full 277 kg lighter than its predecessor. After featuring in the "Transformers," the powerful engine and muscular styling of the Camaro became a top choice for the modern-day car fanatic.
Toyota isn't so well known for its sports cars, but in the 80s, the brand veered from its usual practical models and introduced the Toyota MR2. The car was lightweight and had innovative, responsive handling. Toyota's aim was to produce a car that was both fun to drive and good on fuel. Movies like "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "The Wizard" cemented the MR2 into pop culture history.
The Ferrari Testarossa was sleek, low-slung, and powerful, so it's no wonder that it instantly became a symbol of wealth for the elite. After featuring in "Miami Vice," the car gained pop culture status. Elton John, Rod Stewart, OJ Simpson, and Mike Tyson own one, to name just a few. Ferrari named the car after the 250 Testa Rossa, a famous World Sportscar Champion.
The Cherokee is a rugged, SUV-style car with a boxy design and four-wheel drive, making it suitable for driving on varied terrain. The car appears throughout movie and television history in action-packed stunts, and it's still a popular choice today. It was marketed as a sportier version of the Wagoneer and typically appealed to a younger audience. The Jeep Cherokee is said to have paved the way for the modern SUV.
Dominating the European sports car scene in the 1980s and 90s, the Acura NSX (also known as the Honda NSX) was revolutionary. Designed to compete with the Ferrari V8 engine range, the Acura was more reliable and affordable. Made from lightweight aluminum and titanium, the car was sleek, aerodynamic, and fast. The Acura NSX was featured in popular movie franchises like "The Fast and the Furious" and "The Avengers."
With powerful engines, responsive handling, and German engineering, the BMW M3 was a high-performance sports car that quickly became a favorite for car lovers. Originally, the car was designed with a coupe body style but was later updated to a convertible, making it even cooler. Automobile Magazine listed the M3 in their 25 Greatest Cars of All Time list in 2007.