The Eighties was a coming-of-age decade for many people who thrived on bad music and considered ‘The Breakfast Club’ to be a cinematic classic.
The threshold for noteworthy cars also got lower than Jed Clampett’s legendary “snake’s belly in a wagon rut” during the 1980s in the opinion of many car guys, but MyStarCollectorCar believes all was not lost in the automotive department during Madonna and Cindy Lauper’s musical heyday.
For example, the Chrysler Imperial was resurrected in time for the 1981 model year and continued for two more years as the Mopar flagship. The cars were sold only as a two-door coupe model and were a sporty luxury car choice for Chrysler customers.
The 1981-83 Imperials had a unique design that featured a traditional short rear deck and long hood that was perched over a front grille with hideaway headlights. These cars were loaded with every creature comfort available to an early 1980s car buyer who was able to write bigger checks at his local Chrysler dealership.
Another car that blazed its own path in the early 1980s was the Ford Mustang. The Mustang from this era was famously known as the Fox Body Mustang and actually hit the dealerships in 1979. Fox Bodies evolved into a performance monster during the 1980s with hotter engine options and upgraded handling packages for the pony cars.
The Fox Body Mustangs left a lasting impression on young car kids during the 1980s and are a popular choice on their adult wish list.
The 1984 Corvette is another solid example of an Eighties car that blazed a new path for the iconic sports car from General Motors. The ’84 Corvette was completely re-engineered from its predecessors and offered a completely different driving experience with its newly designed chassis that gave the Corvette better handling in faster situations.
In 1984, the Corvette was the fastest North American production car on the planet (top speed 140 mph) and was even able to outgun the Porsche models in brake tests when it was time to rein in this beast.
However, the gig was up for Corvette when the legendary Buick GNX blazed onto the scene in 1987. To add insult to injury, the GNX was equipped with a six-cylinder engine that could beat up any North American car equipped with a V-8 — including the Vette’s.
The Buick GNX was an excellent example of the early era of an efficient balance between horsepower, electronic upgrades and inter-cooled turbo boost. The results were spectacular and made the limited edition GNX an instant automotive legend in 1987. The Buick GNX was lean, mean and unbeatable on the street.
The last car on our list of 1980s rides will surprise many of our readers because few car guys looked twice at them. In fact, few people even looked once at a Dodge Omni or Plymouth Horizon four-door sedan during their heyday in the Eighties. Unless they had a box shape fetish.
People definitely noticed the limited edition 1986 Omni GLHS when one of these highly unlikely road rockets blazed by them on a highway. The nondescript hot rods were the result of a collaboration between Chrysler’s performance division and legendary builder Carroll Shelby.
The two co-conspirators (Mopar and Shelby) managed to coax about 175 horsepower out of the small four-banger in the GLHS. The result was a car that could hit 152 mph upon request.
The GLH models (factory version) of these cars were fast and furious in a wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing way. The GLHS versions were simply fast and insane.
MyStarCollectorcar would like to salute these famous cars from the 1980s. They almost made up for the fact that Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ album was incredibly popular during that sad musical era.
BY: Jim Sutherland
Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.