The 80s are probably one of the richest eras in history. If you take a look at all the crazy (and good) stuff that’s been going around back then you’d think that today we’re all boring, sad and peaceful. You had Madonna, Depeche Mode, the Aliens, Star Wars…and the list goes on! Remember those ridiculous rock bands with girly hair? Or those one-minute-long solos? Yep, the 80s were truly amazing, and if you were lucky enough to catch even the slightest glimpse of the awesomeness I bet you do miss those times once in a while. And while pop stars, rock bands and scary movies pretty much dominated the hearts and minds of the American folks, the automobile industry had a lot going on too, and the legendary supercars from the 80s are the heritage. Aha, you might not say “Cars!” when asked about this outrageous decade, but the truth is, a lot of the modern-day “super-tech” was engineered while you were listening to David Bowie and watching Master Yoda bring the balance back on the other side of the screen. Personally, I remember my toy cars that I really loved to crash in the back yard 🙂
Bringing Supercars Out Into The World
True, the majority of vehicles back then was pretty bad, unreliable and used to break down on every step of the way, but, if you look close enough, you’ll see that there were some drop-dead killer supercars that you could enjoy…if you could afford them, of course. Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche, Jaguar, Lotus – all those big-time manufacturers were investing big-time bucks into ridiculously expensive luxurious cars because they knew that the demand was there, even if the regular folks couldn’t see it. I have to say that in order to roll out an all-new supercar on the market today a company has to spend TONS OF MONEY and about 5 years on production – imagine how much more it took for the leaders of the pack to create the following babies. The legendary supercars from the 80s were, in a way, the pioneers of the highly profitable and super-risky segment of the automobile industry, even though we had solid models from way before. But, as you’ll learn today, the 80s were rocking luxury and dope like no other era in history. So, only for today, the 80s are back, my friends!
#1 -The Lamborghini Countach
Mr. Kanye West, one of the biggest names in contemporary Hip-Hop (and one of the most controversial people of our generation) brags in a song that he owns not one, but two Lambo Countach supercars. So, why this sudden love confession? Let’s see: I gotta say that this gorgeous model was introduced to the world in mid-70s, so, technically, it’s not even a car from the 80s. However, it was the “role” in the 1981 Cannon Ball Run movie with none other than Burt Reynolds that made this Lamborghini hustler a big bang on the market. Hands down, the most amazing feature of this supercar was the then-unique butterfly doors that went up and looked super dope. I can’t really imagine a cooler moment in the last couple of decades – truly. Everybody wanted to own a Countach, you know? The model was equipped with a strong V12 that was mounted backwards for improved weight distribution. Overall, there were 1997 model made, and Mr. West owns 2. Now you get why it’s so valuable? Production ended in 1990, but up to this day this ground-breaking Lambo still looks better than most contemporary models. What can I say – It’s one of the legendary supercars from the 80s! And it doesn’t get better than a pimped out Lambo.
#2 – The Ferrari Testarossa
Ferrari, one of Lamborghini’s biggest rivals in the industry, has a strong contestant from the 80s as well. Remember the Testarossa – the Miami Vice ride that fellas used to fall in love with? It still looks damn good 4 decades later! I have to give it up to the team of engineers/designers, because it’s one thing to keep the, say, Toyota Camry or Ford Fusion roughly the same for 1-2 decades, but to keep a supercar fresh for FOURTY years you gotta have some futuristic vision, my friends. The Ferrari hasn’t aged a bit, well, except maybe for the cabin, but retro is popular these days, so, who knows, maybe that was the initial plan? Under the hood you had a 4.9-lit engine that was good for 390 Horsepower and 361 pound-feet of torque. The original model could go from zero to 60 miles per hour in quick 5.2 seconds, however, in the 90s the company introduced an improved edition that could do the same in 4.7 seconds and had a max speed of 196 miles per hour. Overall, this is considered to be one of Ferrari’s finest cars to date, and, with a fan-base that still loves it like crazy, the Italian brand once again showed the world that they’re the kings of supecars.
Legendary Supercars From The 80s -#3, The Porsche 959
Germany strikes back, folks. Porsche has been at it just as long at the Italian studs have. And with the 959 they made some serious buzz and got that street credit from true auto enthusiasts. Now, even though today the car looks a bit outdated, back in the day the Porsche 959s were killin’ it on the American roads, not to mention they were quite affordable, especially compared to the Lamborghini and Ferrari rides. Besides, at the release date, this sprinter was the fastest street legal car out there! It was a rear-engined sports coupe with a twin-turbocharged V6 engine (good for astonishing 444 Horsepower) that could reach a top speed of 195 miles per hour. The cooling system was pretty advanced as well: you had the cylinders being cooled by air and the head by water, and that’s how the 959 was so strong and so fast. It’s safe to say that performance was its strongest selling point and the key to success. Lightweight aluminum was heavily used in construction for reduced weight (and improved speed, handling and efficiency). Aerodynamics were also class-leading and added to the overall sporty attitude of the car. Again – while today you could call it a bit dated, that still doesn’t change the fact that the 959 was Porsche’s biggest win on the American (and world-wide) market. Definitely one of the legendary supercars from the 80s. Germany stand up!
#4 – The Jaguar XJ-S
Jaguar, England’s finest, knows a thing or two about manufacturing epic supercars as well. True, there weren’t many XJ-S models roaming the streets in the United States, but the rare appearances sure did make folks turn their heads and envy those behind the wheel. So, yeah, the exterior design was one of a kind and certainly did have a big impact on the industry. In addition, along with the Jaguar’s trademark pretty looks, the car also featured a mighty-mighty V12 engine that pumped out 262HP and was paired to a 3-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain was strong enough to fly the XJ-S from zero to 60 miles per hour in 6 seconds sharp with a max speed of 150 miles per hour. It’s a bid said to report that after the XK8 came around the XJ-S had to retire. Still, we all remember its eye-catching looks, the impressive powertrain and that UK-only sense of style. Those front headlights could haunt you in your dreams and make you commit – for life. We’re talking about legendary supercars from the 80s today, and while it might not be as iconic as the Lambo, the Ferrari or the Porsche, it definitely did leave a big mark on the auto world, and we call that legendary.
Legendary Supercars From The 80s -#5, The Lotus Esprit
The Lotus Esprit was a wonderful car – in every possible way. It hanged around for 28 straight years and managed to win over a legion of hardcore auto fans who still call it the best to ever do it on this planet. This beautiful little thing first appeared at the Paris Auto Show back in 1975 and hit production the next year. During the 80s the engineers equipped the Esprit with a turbocharged engine that was only good for 150 miles per hour; even the fiberglass body couldn’t make it go any faster. However, strong performance was never part of its charm: folks loved it for the unique design that still holds its own in 2016. By the way, the Lotus starred in the James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only. However, it was the Lotus Esprit S1 that really made the fans go crazy. Aha, it was that futuristic vehicle that could just as easily turn into a submarine with missiles on it from the next 007 movie – The Spy Who Loved Me. I mean, come on, who needs speed and acceleration when you can go for a swim, right? And shoot missiles! Alright, my friends, this concludes my list of legendary supercars from the 80s. I hope you had fun reminiscing of the old days with me. Don’t forget to share your lists in the comments if I forgot your favorite cars!
Watch this video: 1980s Supercar Powertest – Top Gear – BBC