5 Gems of the 80s
Among a long list of some fairly terrible cars, the 80s also gave us these five gems
The 80s were a relatively quiet time. The Gulf War was still a decade away, we had already gone to the Moon and back but the technological boom was still around the corner, still in the making, still waiting to happen. However, some things did happen. In 1982, Italy won the World Cup for the third time, which is only relevant if you're Italian or a football fan. In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell down. Am I forgetting anything? Well, there's also something else. In 1987, I was born, which is completely irrelevant unless you're me or my mom. Mind you, 1987 saw the birth of another Italian made "thing"...
Ferrari F40 (1987)
photo credit: decappottabiliontheroad.com
...yes! It is the Ferrari F40. Arguably one of the best cars to ever sport the Prancing Horse badge. Fans absolutely love the F40 and then they would, it is raw, pure and possibly the prettiest cars Ferrari ever made. It had a 2,9 L V8 with 478 BHP, coupled with a 5-speed manual gearbox. It was built (in limited numbers) from 1987 to celebrate Ferrari's 40th anniversary and it immediately became an icon. When it was new, it cost the equivalent of around $800k today and as it happens, it has appreciated in value. Nigel Mansell, British former F1 driver, sold his in 1990 for a record-breaking £1 million. If you want one these days, you have to break the piggy bank and come out with a cool million pounds (and it may not be enough). And more to the point, you have to find somebody who's actually willing to sell. Good luck.
Mazda MX-5 (NA, 1989)
photo credit: Mazda pressroo
The world's best selling convertible grew up in the 1990s but was actually born in the 80s. The first Mazda MX-5 (production code NA) was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show on February 10, 1989. Twenty-one years and four generations later (you can now buy the ND, production began in 2015), it is still the best-selling two-seat convertible sports car in history and over 1 million Mazda MX-5s have been built. The reason why it became such a huge success is simple. It is a combination of ingredients that created the perfect recipe. It is light, cheap to buy, cheap to run and fun to drive. It is that easy. It is also fundamentally unbreakable and reliable. Easily one of the most important cars in the world.
Lancia Delta Integrale (1988)
Lancia Delta Integrale Martini Racing - photo credit: commons.wikipedi
First introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1987, it was an evolution of the Delta HF 4WD and they called it the "Integrale" (in Italian, 'trazione integrale' means four-wheel drive). it had a different braking systems, different suspensions and its 1995 cc turbocharged engine developed 185 BHP. It was built specifically to win the Rally World Championship and it did just that. Five times, with 35 wins. It became a legend in the Rally World and it also became an icon to the eyes of the fans. In yellow, red or with the mythological Martini Racing Livery.
BMW M3 E30 (1985)
photo credit: BMW blog
This was it. Inception, genesis. The beginning of a very, very long story of very, very good cars. This was the first M3 ever made. The first M3 had a 2,3 L with 200 BHP and it was also available as a convertible or a coupe (the saloon version was introduced in 1994 with the E36). An amazing car with no frills, it was fast, and furious, and ferocious. But in a good way. One of the world's greatest cars, and one that still lives on today. The M3 E30 is important not only for what it was, but also for the heritage it created. There have been M3s for 30 years and there are surely going to be M3s for many, many years to come.
Porsche 959 (1986)
photo credit: wikipedia
The 959 was something else, it won everything from Dakar to Le Mans. In its days, this was unbeatable. It had a twin-turbocharged 2,8 L flat-6 (with various power outputs from 515 to 585 BHP) which made it the fastest production car in the world in its time, and good enough to get it from standstill to 60 in 3,6 seconds. It is one of the best cars in the 80s because it is one of the best cars in history.
Special mentions to DMC DeLorean DMC-12, Porsche 944, Delta S4, Ferrari 288 GTB and Audi Quattro