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Classic Cars from the 1980's

The 1980' was an iconic decade that saw us introduced to pop music, bad fashion (think perms, baggy trousers and fluorescent colours) and the coming of age Corey Feldman film, Stand by Me, Lost Boys, Goonies anyone? It was the era that saw the likes of Michael Jackson and Madonna propelled to superstardom. It was the decade we enjoyed many classic TV shows, The A-Team, Miami Vice, Knight Rider and of course who can forget Dallas which provided us with the biggest TV mystery of all time, who shot JR again? In Britain we led the way when it came to comedy with arguably the best British comedy made to date Only Fools and Horses airing for the first time in 1981.

It wasn't all entertainment though; the 1980's saw the most watched wedding of all time, as Prince Charles and Lady Diana got married at St Pauls Cathedral watched by a global audience of billions. Here in the UK we preferred to watch the king and queen of the cobbles Ken & Deirdre Barlow say I do, as they pulled in 24 million viewers for their nuptials. It was the decade which saw the death of Beatles legend John Lennon, Karen Carpenter and reggae star Bob Marley, and the birth of footballing god Lionel Messi, pop diva Beyoncé and erm Kim Kardashian. In Government we had just entered the beginning of an 18 year Thatcher rule, whilst in the U.S. her 'political soulmate' Ronald Reagan held office at the White House.

Like 80's fashion and politics though 80's cars are something of a topical debate. The cars may have had exotic names such as Allegro, Sierra and Montego but the names very often didn't match the car. Cars in the 1980's were more practical than anything else; apart from Luxury cars the styling was pretty dire compared to today's cars. It has been revealed recently though that 1980's cars are making a comeback; Forbes revealed that a lot of men growing up as teenagers in the 1980's want to relive their youth through cars.

So we have decided to relive a bit of our youth with these classic 1980's cars:

Ford Serria

The Ford Sierra was a replacement for the extremely popular Ford Cortina of the 1970’s; it was released in 1982 and ceased production in 1994. Many fans of the Cortina found the Sierra a far cry from the stylish Cortina and nicknamed it the ‘Salesman’s Spaceship’ due to its high fleet sales and long body shape. It was a firm favourite with the Irish though as it won ‘Irish Car of the Year in 1983. The Ford Sierra had three series Mk 1, 11, and 111. Today the Sierra is somewhat of a collectors car as the number of them registered is vastly diminishing.

Austin Maestro

The Austin Maestro is a classic 1980’s 5-door hatchback that was quite the seller in its heyday. It first hit UK showrooms in 1983 before finally ceasing production in 1995. At its time the Maestro was hailed as a stylish, contemporary and practical car. One of the things that made the Maestro stand out apart from its mini-caravan like styling was the digital dashboard that featured actress Nicolette Mackenzie’s synthesised commands. Today the Austin Maestro is on the endangered car list as there are thought to be as little as 1000 on the road and 1000 SORN’d Maestro’s (Statutory Off road Notification).

Audi Quattro

When you think of the name Audi you conjure images of style, class and luxury, but that certainly wasn’t the case back in 1980 when they released the Audi Quattro. It had a square boxy style unlike the curved aerodynamic Audis of today. Although the Audi Quattro may not have been great looking it was a game changing car in the World Rally Championships as it became the first sports car with all-wheel drive. The Audi Quattro could reach 0-100km/h in 7.1 seconds, after the Audi Quattro all-wheel drive technology was soon introduced to all rally cars, firmly establishing the Audi "Vorsprung durch Technik" slogan.

Lada Riva

Anyone younger than 30 may not remember the name Lada, they were withdrawn in the UK in 1997 and haven’t been heard from since. The Lada Riva was probably the bestselling model thanks to its low cost and vast internal space. What makes the Lada Riva a classic is its very unusual style, basically a box on wheels, and many say it drove the way it looked rough and ready! When the Lada Riva was first introduced in the UK in 1981 it had great sales but soon the likes of Hyundai, Kia and Daewoo began introducing cheaper and stylish rivals. This along with strict new EU rules on emissions put the final nail in the coffin for the Lada.

DeLorean DMC 12

Most of us will remember the DeLorean from Back to the Future, and the fact is if it wasn't for its fame as a time travelling machine in the films it probably wouldn't have been so famous. The DeLorean was the one and only car made by makers John DeLorean's Motor Company and was produced from 1981-1983. Unlike the other cars on our list the DeLorean is still available to buy albeit pre-owned from De Lorean, so if you want to feel like Marty & Doc climbing in through the famous roof winged doors then get the wallets out it will only cost you around £30,000.

This is only a handful of classic cars from the eighties, whether you loved them of loathed them you can't deny they bring back memories – if nothing else!

  • Volvo 240 (could fit a football team in the back!)
  • Fiat Panda (Police Cars)
  • Ferrari F40 (Jeremy Clarkson's favourite supercar!)
  • Lancia Delta Integrale (World Rally Championship Classic)
  • Lamborghini Countach (was actually made in 1974 but it just looks so darn good!)
  • Ferrari 288 GTO (Tom Selleck Moustache required)
  • KITT (It spoke!)

By Jenna Niblock