Cars

The Most '80s Cars of the 1980s

Published On 10/02/2015 Published On 10/02/2015

The 1980s: a decade marked by ridiculous excess, easy money, hard drugs, and far too many neon colors. It's no surprise the 1980s also saw some of the greediest, wildest, and quite frankly, weirdest cars the world has ever seen. These are the 15 most quintessentially '80s of them all.

Flickr/Axion23

Vector W2

It had the name of a tax form and the styling had all the subtlety of hurling a neon-orange brick through a window. The W2, with its fighter jet interior, will perpetually be in the running for Most Outrageous Car of All Time.

Flickr/JamesDPhotography

Lamborghini Countach

Okay, technically the Countach also gets props as one of the most '70s cars of the '70s. That just speaks to how timeless it is. Was it fast? Not by today's standards, certainly, but it gave its Italian arch rival a good run for the (considerable) money back in the day.

Flickr/That Hartford Guy

DeLorean DMC-12

Made from the same material as half the appliances in your kitchen, the DeLorean starred in one of the most beloved movies of the decade. It's in an infamous group of cars that had all the potential in the world, and never managed to fulfill it.

Flickr/Dein Nordrhein-Westfalen

Porsche 959

What's more 1980s than the greed is good philosophy? The 959 won its class at the 24 hours of Le Mans, but because that's not enough, it also won the grueling Paris-Dakar Rally.

Wikimedia/Jonrev

Pontiac Fiero

Pontiac's ad campaign during the '80s led with "we are driving excitement." That wasn't false advertising, considering that the earliest Fieros developed a bit of a reputation for catching fire (thanks to oil leaking onto the piping-hot exhaust).

Courtesy of Ford

Mustang SVO

The SVO was Mustang's attempt to go slightly upscale, competing against sportier European models, where power took a back seat to handling prowess. By the end of the SVO's run, it had over 200hp, and a cultish following that maintains its quirky status today.

Flickr/Dave S

Chrysler LeBaron

Having a LeBaron in the '50s was like having a Mercedes or a Lexus today. But if you had a LeBaron in the '80s, you probably worked in retail. Chrysler utterly ruined it when they put it on a chassis known as The K-Car, notoriously one of the worst cars ever made. But at least those vinyl faux-wood stickers were durable enough to outlast America's love affair with... vinyl faux-wood stickers on cars.

Flickr/Mangopulp2008

Aston Martin Lagonda

If you're unfamiliar with the Lagonda, no, this photo isn't squished. The car's edges are just that razor sharp. For years, this car was known simply as "that one time Aston Martin made a crazy-ass four door." 

Courtesy of Toyota

Toyota MR2

Outside of a few enthusiast groups, the MR2 is one of the least-understood and least-appreciated cars of the 1980s, quite possibly due to confusion with similarly named '80s icons like Mr. Coffee and Mr. T.

Flickr/Andy Murray

Saab 900 Turbo

Saab, much like Rolls-Royce, made a lot more money producing some of the worlds finest jet engines than it did producing cars back then. Unlike Rolls-Royce, it wouldn't quit bragging about that fact. The 900 Turbo wasn't a fast car, but Saab sure as hell promoted it as such, aligning it with its jets every chance it got.

Flickr/That Hartford Guy

Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham

The Fleetwood Brougham wasn't the best Cadillac of all time by a long shot, but it had one thing going for it aside from the badge: if you were an '80s gangster needing to transport bodies, the Brougham had one hell of a trunk.

Flickr/Intensivtäteraggressor

Pontiac Firebird

C'mon. The car also known as Knight Industries Two Thousand had to make this list. It wasn't particularly fast, but it was sleek, and oozed charisma.

Flickr/Chad Horwedel

Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z

The Firebird's sibling didn't have quite the same sleekness, but it was more down to business, in an incredibly '80s way. The IROC-Z, named to celebrate the brand's sponsorship of the International Race of Champions, was the Camaro to have.

Flickr/Scholing Uteman

Subaru BRAT

No, this isn't a Subaru knockoff of an El Camino. It's a sweet little all-wheel-drive number that had optional rear seats and one hell of a celebrity endorsement in the form of President Reagan, who drove one around his California ranch until he got a Jeep.

Flickr/Pittou2

Ferrari Testarossa

Maybe you thought the DeLorean was the most narcotic-fueled vehicle on this list, but that means you've forgotten about the Testarossa. Enzo Ferrari himself gave a black one to the producers of Miami Vice, who promptly repainted it coke white, ostensibly because it looked better on television.

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Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor, and can be found on Twitter. He would definitely hang the DeLorean Coke poster in his office.

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