We distinctively remember the 1980s for all the over-the-top albeit really cool stuff such as outlandish fashion sense, angular hairstyles and ridiculous music videos, but let’s not forget that the decade has also given us plenty of all-time greats in the world of motoring. Take the American built DeLorean DMC-12 for instance – an otherwise massively flawed car that shot to fame through the popular Back to the Future movie franchise.
But besides the quirky, misconceived and gull-winged DeLorean, the 80s were also a time when we had truly great cars from the best of guys in the business; cars that we would genuinely want to drive and be seen in.
Photo Source: CarAndDriver
The 930 may have originally arrived in the mid-70s with a humble 3-litre turbocharged flat six motor dishing out 256bhp, however, it was in the early 80s when Porsche really upped the ante and started delivering more powerful and much faster versions of the 930. In fact, by 1984 Porsche were selling 3.3-litre 930 Turbos which could hit 0-100kmph in 4.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 280kmph - that’s simply too fast for its day if you ask me.
Perhaps the most worshipped small Japanese coupe of all time (sorry Toyota MR-2, sorry Mazda MX-5), the Toyota AE86 remains a 128bhp, lightweight rear-wheel drive cracker of a machine that’s claimed to be as easy to tame on the limit as it is to maintain as a daily driver. The AE86, or Hachiroku (as the Japanese call it) was so good that many never really got over its demise, despite the arrival of its modern day equivalent – the GT86.
Photo Source: FlickRiver
Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth
You know you’ve got yourself a winner when you take a mundane family sedan, plonk in a 225-odd bhp race engine with just about enough suspension to keep the thing on the circuit and best of all - stick what’s quite possibly the single most badass rear wing of all-time.
There’s a sizable chunk of enthusiasts that still considers the Sierra RS500 as the best Cosworth developed car ever.
Nissan R32 GT-R
If you’re a fan of the existing R35 GT-R, you’ve got to give it to its origin – the R32 GT-R. Now I know Nissan only started making the R32 GT-R in 1990, but it’s worth noting that the brand had prototypes up and running by 1988, with the first six Nismo developed cars built in 1989. The rest 554 Nismo R32s were made in 1990; all finished in gunmetal grey colour.
Like most high-performance Japanese cars from the early 90s, the R32 GT-R was quite intriguing. First of all, its infamous RB26 straight six engine developed 320bhp – 40bhp more than the specified output limit as per the Japanese automaker’s gentlemen agreement towards speed laws. Nissan, rather cheekily, sold the R32 without citing its actual power output which allowed this four wheel drive coupe to hit 100kmph from standstill in under 5 seconds.
BMW E30 M3
With its timeless silhouette, ‘box flared’ wheel arches, wider track and an immensely capable drivetrain, the E30 M3 unarguably is among the most collectible M cars of all time. The motorsport-derived four cylinder engine didn’t have an outrageous amount of power (it only made 210bhp) but the sweet handling chassis and the rev-happy nature of the engine range made this original M3 a crowd favourite almost everywhere it went.