How Well Do You Know These Classic '80s Cars?


By: Steven Symes

6 Min Quiz

Image: youtube

About This Quiz

How much do you know about the era when cars had just as wild a style as the big bangs everyone wore? We're talking about the '80s!

Most people would laugh if you started talking about how the 1980s were an influential time for the automotive industry. After all, the decade usually gets overshadowed by the "glory days" of the 1960s and 1970s, thanks to a plethora of muscle cars that dominated the scene back then. Sure, the '80s had no such vehicles, but that doesn't mean it was an automotive wasteland. In fact, in some ways, the decade boasted more interesting and original designs than just shoving a huge engine in a smaller car.

In the 1980s, with increased emissions standards from the government and gas prices high, automakers were forced to get creative. Computer technology was starting to explode, and that had a huge influence on the cars. Designs started to get all futuristic, too, with different engine layouts, strange doors, and all kinds of geometric shapes on car exteriors. Really, vehicles from the 1980s have their own unique flavor, one that you must acquire an advanced taste to truly appreciate.

Put on your parachute pants, cue up your favorite song on your INXS cassette, and test out your knowledge of 1980s cars now!

What compact Acura car launched in 1986?

While the first-generation Acura Integra isn't as celebrated as the second, it was still quite influential. With a price tag under $10,000, you could get either a three- or five-door car that was economical and a blast to drive. Can you ask for anything more?


AMG transformed a Mercedes 300E into this fire-breathing sedan.

The Hammer was a 300E on the outside, but crammed under the hood was a massive 5.5-liter V-8 ripped straight out of the S-Class. This wolf in sheep's clothing was only made from 1986 to 1988, but is highly celebrated today.


Audi went rally racing with this bad boy, proving that all-wheel drive and turbocharging are a great combination.

The Audi Quattro really punctuated the point that all-wheel drive, when paired with turbocharging, makes for an explosive combination. Even by today's standards, the S1 model with 591 horsepower is impressive, showing that Audi was truly ahead of its time.


They call this special M car an E30.

The first BMW M3, which had the chassis code E30, launched in 1988 and ran through 1991. It wowed with flared fenders, a body kit, and a rear spoiler, plus an upgraded engine and revised suspension for an all-around blast to drive.


This Camaro had the heart of a Corvette.

The IROC-Z only ran from 1985 to 1990, but the upgraded version of the Camaro still has a cult following. It used the 5.7-liter V-8 from the Corvette, although it wasn't quite as potent at a peak 220 horsepower.


This sleeper only came in black.

While the Buick Grand National was pretty impressive, the GNX really wowed everyone in 1987. Among the items strapped to the 3.8-liter V-6 engine was a Garrett AiResearch turbo, and a heavier-duty transmission, with peak output being somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 horsepower and 360 lb.-ft. of torque.


You might associate this car with time travel.

Even non-car people can quickly spot a DeLorean, remembering it for its iconic role in "Back to the Future." With a run that lasted only from 1981 to 1983, the DeLorean went out with a huge controversy as the founder was accused of running drugs, but later was vindicated in court.


This was the last project personally overseen by Enzo Ferrari.

The F40 was a stunner when it hit the market in 1987. This final project of the man who started the legendary company sent him off with a bang, with a design that was like no other, complete with a twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-8 that pushed 478 horsepower.


This Ferrari featured a flat-12 engine mounted in the middle.

While some people aren't fans of the side strakes, if you look past the styling, you'll realize this Ferrari was quite impressive. The 4.9-liter flat-12 engine pumped out 380 horsepower, which was excessive when the Testarossa debuted in 1984


This American muscle car has a body style associated with a certain wild canine.

Of all the Fox-Body Mustangs, which are becoming collectors' items, the GT 5.0 is the most iconic. It was made from 1987 to 1993, when the Fox-Body came to an end. Even Vanilla Ice used to rap about rolling around in his 5.0.


This Honda hatchback exemplified lightness and practical fun.

While the CRX Si, which Honda said technically was part of the Civic line, certainly provided practical transportation, it was also a lot of fun to drive anywhere. The Si model launched in 1985, adding fuel injection for greater efficiency and performance.


This iconic Jeep was named after a Native American tribe.

Launched in 1984, the Cherokee brought some practicality to the Jeep lineup. It featured a completely enclosed interior, plus you could get it with four doors and a good cargo area, making it more practical for families and just driving around town on weekdays.


While originally made in the 1970s, this Lambo was still being made and turning plenty of heads in the 1980s.

Just about every male child in the 1980s owned a poster, folder, or Trapper Keeper with an image of the Countach emblazoned on it. The car launched in 1974, but was still in production and very much relevant in the 1980s, finally meeting its end in 1990.


This Mazda was very much fashioned after two iconic Porsches of the time.

The most iconic of the second-generation RX-7s, which lasted throughout the 1980s, was the Turbo model. It launched in 1987, boasting a twin-scroll turbo and a hood scoop set to one side, combined with advanced handling dynamics.


This performance car gave Mitsubishi a reputation in the United States.

Even though Mitsubishi had been making performance vehicles for Chrysler, most people didn't associate the brand with automotive performance. The Starion helped change that perception, thanks in large part to the 2.6-liter four-cylinder engine that worked with a big turbo for impressive acceleration.


This famous 911 featured some serious forced induction for the time.

Thanks to 11.7 psi of boost from the KKK turbo, the Porsche 944 Turbo's 2.5-liter engine outdid the 5.0-liter V-8 in the 928. In fact, the car could do 0 to 60 in a little more than five seconds and the quarter mile in a little more than 13 seconds, which was impressive in 1986.


This Porsche supercar was a technological wonder for its time.

While the Porsche 959 wasn't the most powerful car for the 1980s, it did boast 444 horsepower and was one of the smartest. Among the innovations it introduced, were sequential turbos, a 6-speed manual transmission, programmable all-wheel drive, body panels reinforced​ with Kevlar, adjustable ride heights, etc.


This mid-engine Toyota has often been mistaken for a European exotic.

Launching as a 1985 model, the MR2 changed how people thought of Toyota. Not only did the 1.6-liter four-cylinder rev all the way to 7,500 rpm, the interior was surprisingly spacious. In 1988, Toyota added a Roots-type supercharger, increasing engine output significantly.


This performance hatchback from the Land of Chocolate still wows drivers today.

When the GTI arrived in America, the Rabbit had transformed into a soft little hatchback the Germans thought Americans wanted. But the GTI, with its razor-sharp handling and explosive acceleration, proved that enough people in the US appreciate a car that can really carve up the road.


This was the next generation of the 'Vette, launched in 1984.

The Corvette C4 launched as a 1984 model, transforming America's sports car into something far more modern. Among the cutting-edge tech were​ an electronic gauge cluster, electronic fuel injection, and a completely independent suspension. It set the stage for the Corvette transitioning into the digital age.


GM wowed enthusiasts when it debuted this mid-engine car.

When the Fiero launched as a 1984 model-year vehicle, it was the first two-seater to wear the Pontiac badge since 1938. It also marked the first time a US automaker mass-produced a mid-engine car, making it highly innovative for the time.


Mitsubishi launched this iconic SUV in 1982.

In October of 1981, Mitsubishi showed it wanted to help people play on trails by unveiling the Montero at the Tokyo Motor Show. At very first, the SUV was only available as a three-door model, but Mitsubishi followed that up with five-door models consumers found to be more practical.


This iconic Toyota sports car finally came with its own platform in 1986.

Before 1986, the Supra was technically a version of the Celica lineup. Finally, Toyota decided to make the car completely separate, starting with the 1986 model year. The car received a more powerful 3.0-liter V-6 engine, and a Turbo model joined the mix in 1987.


What front-engine Porsche is often regarded as the best among enthusiasts?

Launched in 1985 and production running until 1991, the 944 Turbo boasted plenty of power, plus excellent handling, rear-wheel drive and an overall aerodynamic body. This setup makes it a common sight even today in grassroots motorsports.


What Audi model was at the center of false unintended acceleration accusations in the '​80s?

In 1986, "60 Minutes" ran a report about the supposed unintended acceleration issue for the Audi 5000. As a result, Audi pretty much was done selling cars in the United States, until the late 1990s. After the scandal, Audi decided to change the 5000's name to the 100, matching what it was called in Europe all along.


This "four-door sports car" replaced the Datsun 810.

At first called the Datsun Maxima when it launched in 1982, this sedan actually has roots dating back to the 1981 model year, when it was called the 810 Maxima. This car has enjoyed non-stop production since, now in its eighth generation.


This Ferrari arguably set the stage for the F40 to have been made.

A product of the early part of the decade, the Ferrari 288 GTO was developed to meet FIA Group B rules, potentially for a run in rally races. It pushed the 308 GTB's platform to a new level, making changes like mounting the engine longitudinally and slapping two turbos into the mix.


Ford almost killed the Thunderbird, but a dramatic redesign came in what year?

The Thunderbird went through a redesign for 1980, but it was a complete flop. While the car still used the same platform as the Fox-Body Mustang, the 1983 model sported a curvy body, which spiked sales. That success encouraged Ford to go in a similar direction for the 1986 Taurus, and the rest is history.


Mercedes broke into the entry-level luxury vehicle market with what model?

Before 1984, Mercedes was associated with large, boat-like luxury sedans your grandpa would drive. The 190E was small, agile, and helped give the brand a more youthful appeal, something that is still a force in the company today.


What model marked Hyundai's entrance into the US market?

The 1986 Hyundai Excel wasn't anything special, especially the 86-horsepower 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. It was ugly, too, but it sold for under $5,000, making it popular with people who wanted cheap, basic transportation. It also gave the South Korean automaker a foothold in this market.


What pickup truck had a name that made it sound like it hit the gym frequently?

Most people don't realize that the Hardbody's name came from the double-wall bed it sported. It took over where the Datsun 720 truck left off, providing a smaller and affordable pickup for people who wanted something practical.


What car-based pickup was available as a Dodge in the '80s?

The Dodge Rampage was made from 1982 to 1984, making it fairly rare. It was a subcompact, unibody pickup that looked like a car from the front, while a Mitsubishi four-cylinder engine provided power.


What was the first minivan?

Technically, the Chrysler Town & Country was launched at the same time, because Chrysler loved to sell the same vehicle under three or four brand names at the same time. But this was a truly iconic family hauler that came out in the 1980s.


This was a hot French hatchback.

Peugeot launched the iconic 205 hatchback in the 1980s, but the most notable version was the GTI, which came out in 1984. It boasted 104 horsepower, which wasn't bad f​or the time and how much the car weighed, plus a highly-connected experience that made the driver feel at one with the car.


What was the most tuner-friendly version of the Toyota Celica?

This small and lightweight hatchback had the engine up front, but sent all power to the rear wheels. Tuners still love toying with this car, which takes modifications rather well. That fact alone has kept the AE86 relevant among enthusiasts today.


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