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Thread: Which 1980s cars can be regarded as classics?

  1. #1
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    Which 1980s cars can be regarded as classics?

    Interested in any opinions on which cars built in the 1980s can be regarded as classics, either now or in the future?

    Myself, I'd nominate the Ford Sierra RS500, Audi Quattro, BMW M3. The Sierra and BMW for their track successes and current day desirability. The Quattro because it redefined the direction of both high performance road vehicles and rallying. The Subaru Impreza WRX, Mits Lancer Evos, Lancia Delta Integrale, etc, would not have been produced if the Quattro hadn't paved the way.
    Any comments?

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    I think the technical term for classic is 20 years old...at 30 or 40 it becomes antique.

    I think there are plenty of cars that can be considered collectable...eg datsuns, early nissans, mazdas, etc. etc.....there are plenty.

    However, I do believe that they all must be considered classic based on their age.

    Does that mean a 1983 Camry is a classic? Yes, in the same way that a shitbox from the 1960's is classic.
    And Iraaaaaaaaaaaan

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    The most interest is De Lorean. It was very modern car for that time.

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    if i'm allowed to say any car from the 80's, i would say that the ferrari f40 was very classical in the sense that it had a huge influence on later supercars (it was a major supercar at the time).

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich
    I think the technical term for classic is 20 years old...at 30 or 40 it becomes antique.

    I think there are plenty of cars that can be considered collectable...eg datsuns, early nissans, mazdas, etc. etc.....there are plenty.

    However, I do believe that they all must be considered classic based on their age.

    Does that mean a 1983 Camry is a classic? Yes, in the same way that a shitbox from the 1960's is classic.

    Matra refers to his Alpine which is only 10 years old as being a classic in another thread. However, I take your point. Most 80s cars wouldn't be regarded as classics yet. However, which ones are likely to be classics. I think the three I mentioned will be. Obviously any Porsche, Ferrari or Lamborghini will be classics. Also, such cars as the BMW 635 CSi, Mazda RX-7 series 1, Peugeot 205 GTi, VW Golf GTi Mk 1 & 11, Mecedes 190E 2.3-16. I guess I'm not referring to everyday cars which will only fit the "classic" definition once they become scarce. I'm referring to something a bit special, for any reason.

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    Volvo 240 Grp. A
    2.1 Turbo engine
    340hp and 260km/t

    The Volvo 240 Turbo. It performed well in it's group despite the fact that it's engine was smaller than the other cars in the group. Since it was fitted with a turbo the size of the engine was multiplied by some number I don't remember, and thus it was forced to drive in another group.

    I am going to follow up on this post when I get home, since the information is not sufficient.
    Probably the only UCP member without a car D:

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    Given that I find it difficult to think of most of the cars of the time in the past tense, thinking which of them could be classics requires some effort.

    The Audi Quattro is indeed deserving, and is also the most likely to deserve the title of “car of the decade” for the 1980s.

    The Porsche 959 and Ferrari F40 can rightfully be coinsidered classics as well, despite their looking just as new now as they did then.

    Most everyday cars from the 1980s will have to wait before we can discern true classics among them.
    But some of them stand out at least in terms of style.
    The Audi 100 of 1982 is certainly a design classic, in a modern and harmonious sort of way (which is lacking in many present-day cars of the same category), with its combination of straight lines and curves.
    The slightly smaller Ford Sierra of 1983 marked the beginning of a new streamilining fashion quite reminescent of the 1930s. Based on the Probe III concept car developed in the framework of the West-German “Auto 2000” project, it had great influence on Ford's North-American styling, indicating that ideas would flow more often than before, from Cologne to Dearborn.

    I'd add the Renault Espace, not as a minivan, but as a monocorps.

    Then there are some rarer species like the DeLorean DMC12 or the original Ventur(y)i.

    I believe that the Pontiac Fiero deserves to be mentioned as well, as the very idea of making a mid-engined sporty coupé in North America, a few years after the ’80/81 oil crunch (not the most favourable time and place for such cars), was a feat in itself.

    I admit a certain partiality towards the early-80s Mercedes 200~300/E/TE. They just look fine to me, but I wouldn't call them “80s cars”.

  8. #8
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    I consider lots of '80s cars to be classics, including mine, the Nissan S12-series Silvia (200SX in the U.S., Gazelle in Australia).
    Other '80s Classics, IMO, include the MkII Supra, Ferrari 308/328, the 86-89 Honda Accord which skyrocketed the model into prominence, the Lamborghini Countach which was the ultimate supercar for most of the '80s, the first-generation RX-7, the BMW 6-series, the Jaguar XJS, and of course the AE86.

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    I would vote for the first generations for a lot of models, such as the celica, corolla, civic, and the like. I think these are the cars that started and ended an era. To elaborate, the ended the heavy, big engined and underpowered cars of the fuel crisis age and ushered in the uber-economical ricers that we have today. They changed the face of automobiles the world over, most notably the American car makers. I think people will eventually start collecting these cars and refurbishing them.
    And Iraaaaaaaaaaaan

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    Group B models are classics
    We work to live, and to live is to drive a BMW 330i at speed.

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    Classic is a very loose term. It applies to what the person saying it thinks of the car. I have heard of Writers calling the 205 a work of genius and seriously flawed in the same paragraph! it's a subjective thing, it depends on what aura the car created for itself, for example, the Corvair aura, and what good/bad the car did. Most 80's cars fall into the Boring catagory, while some rise to infamy.
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  12. #12
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    I'm going to expand on my ideas for this thread. I'm going to list all the 1980s cars that I think are either classics or will be classics and the reasons why I think that.

    First, an explanation. I consider a "classic" to fall into one of four catagories. 1.Rarity. Any rare car will probably be a classic. The newer rare cars are "collectors" cars. Any supercar or exotic will enivitably fit into this catagory. So will "homologation specials".
    2. Age. Any car reaching a certain age (25 years in Australia) is considered a classic for registration/insurance purposes. All cars eventually reach this stage. That will partly explain why some people think Hillman Avengers are classics...
    3. Significance. Any car that was significant for some reason will be held in higer regard. The Audi 100/Ford Sierra fit this catagory. I'll explain why below.
    4. Enthusiast. Plenty of otherwise ordinary or obscure cars are held in high regard by enthusiast groups.

    Next a disclaimer. No car built in the 1980s can be regarded as a classic on age grounds. Some will be from next year. Anyway, I have less time for the age criteria. For example, I don't consider Datsun 120Ys to be classics even though they meet the age criteria. AND they never will be.
    However many 1980s can be regarded/or will be regarded as classics on the other three grounds.

    I hope the following list is controversial. Feel free to tell me why you feel certain cars should not be on the list. OR, tell me that I've missed out some cars.

    Anyway here's my list.

    European:
    Alfa GTV6 (1981-86). Reason for qualification: enthusiast. The GTV6 is gorgeous. Has a fantastic engine. Also a race winner.
    Audi Quattro (1980-1990) Reason for qualification: significance, enthusiast & rarity. The oldest examples will meet the age qualification from next year as well. I cannot imagine there is anyone in this forum who does not know about the Quattro. Nor can I imagine anyone in this forum trying to tell me that it isn't a classic. The Quattro was one of the first successful production AWDs (there were a few Subarus). It was the first AWD car to have success in motorsport (winner of the manufacturers title in the WRC in 1982 and 1983, drivers title in 1983 and 1984). It lead to Audi having the confidence to introduce AWD into its entire range, therefore making AWD mainstream. It paved the way for the Subaru WRXs and Mits Evos. And it was very high tech in other ways, especially with the Turbocharged 5 clyinder engine. The later 20-valve engines were even better. There is no doubt in my mind that the Audi Quattro was the "Car of the 80s". Now, anyone out there want to tell me its not a classic?
    Audi 100 (1982-91). Reason for qualification: significance. It was the most aerodynamic car of its time. Its body shape helped influence car design for the next decade. It had advanced body construction making it very light for its size. It made front wheel drive popular in large European saloons. They may not be rare or enthusiast cars, but will meet the age qualification in 2007.
    BMW 635CSi (1980-89). Reason for qualification: enthusiast. Will qualify on age grounds next year, and they must be getting pretty rare. A race winner in the ETCC. One of the best BMWs of all time in my opinion. Classic styling.
    BMW M3 (1986-1991). Reason for qualification: enthusiast, significance. A barely disguised race car for the road. The M3 was built with one aim in mind. Win the World Touring Car Championship. This it did. Built to a formula. Light weight. Powerful 200 bhp engine. Helped to kill the ETCC.
    Ford Sierra (1983-1992) Reason for qualification: significance. Very aerodynamic cars, which, like the Audi 100s, had a major influence on the style of cars to follow. Otherwise, very ordinary, and much to common. The mechanicals didn't match the styling, carrying over very ordinary Cortina underpinnings and engines.
    Ford Sierra RS500 (1987) Reason for qualification: rarity, significance, enthusiast. Only 500 built. Another race car for the road. Won the 1988 ETCC, won the 1988 & 1989 Bathurst 1000, 1989 Spa 24 hour. Helped kill the ETCC and Group A. Very powerful 200 bhp engine, lightweight and very quick (0-100 in about 6 seconds). Not many left now. Most have been modified, stolen, crashed or rusted. Hopefully the few remaining ones are saved. I want to buy one in the future...
    Lancia Delta Integrale (1988) Reason for qualification: rarity, enthusiast. Winner of the WRC in 1988 & 89.
    Mercedes 190E 2.3-16 Reason for qualification: enthusiast. Possibily significance. Probably the first "cheap" performance Mercedes. Did well in saloon car racing.
    Peugeot 205GTi (1985-early 90s) Reason for qualification: enthusiast. One of the best hot hatches ever. Has many fans. Will eventually be rare and meet the age criteria as well.
    Rover 3500 SD1 Vitesse (1982-86) Reason for qualification: enthusiast, significance. Race winner in the 85 & 86 ETCC. One of the last of the fast, rear drive Euro saloons.
    Volvo 240 Turbo (1983-86) Reason for qualification: enthusiast, rarity, significance. Championship winner in the 85 ETCC. Won many races. A very unusual car for Volvo to build at a time when their reputation was for solid, boring, safe cars.
    VW Golf GTi Mk11 (1983-1991) Reason for qualification: enthusiast. Excellent follow up to the original. Will eventually qualify for classic status on rarity and age grounds.

    Others are: any Porsche (except the 924 and base 944); any Ferrari; any Lamborghini; any Aston Martin; any TVR; any Lotus; any Alpine. All exotics can be considered "classics" on rarity value alone. Also, any Group B special - ie Ford RS200, MG Metro 6R4, Peugeot 205T16.
    Also, some of the more ordinary cars like the Peugeot 505, Renault 5GT Turbo, BMW E30, Ford Escort RS and XRi, Citroen CX, Alfa 75 Turbo, Mercedes 500SL will have considerable enthusiast following.

    Japanese
    Mazda RX7 Series 1 (1978-85). Reason for qualification: age, significance, enthusiast. Also starting to become rare. Could also be considered a 70s classic, but the majority were built in the 80s. Most significant Japanese car since the 240Z in my opinion. Helped keep alive the light weight, cheap, performance car formula the British were so good at. Saved the rotary engine. And they look good.
    Mazda MX5 (1989-1996) Reason for qualification: significance, enthusiast. Reignited the old Lotus Elan formula. Too new in some ways, but already has a massive enthusiast following.
    Nissan Skyline GTR R32 (1989-93) Reason for qualification: significance, enthusiast, rarity. A technological tour de force that finally killed of Group A racing. Fantastic road car. No shortage of enthusiast/fan clubs.
    Toyota Corolla AE86 (1983-86) Reason for qualification: enthusiast, significance. Has a cult following. Also, unbeaten for many years in the mid 80s in the 1600 cc Group A class. Helped to make the 4 clyinder 16 valve layout popular.
    Toyota MR2 (1984-89) Reason for qualification: enthusiast, significance. Followed the Fiat X1/9 formula and bought cheap, mid-engined sports cars to a far greater audience.

    Others such as the 1986 Mazda 323 Turbo 4WD, Subaru RX Turbo, 1989 Nissan 300Z, 1986-92 Toyota Supra, 1986 Nissan Skyline GTS-R, 1984 Nissan Skyline DR30 Turbo, 1982-89 Mitsubishi Starion Turbo, 1982-88 Mitsubishi Cordia Turbo and 1988 Honda Civic GTi may all have enthusiast followings, but none are rare enough or significant enough in my eyes. They'll qualify when they meet the age criteria, and their numbers thin out. The 1986-89 Honda Accord became the top selling car in the US, but I don't think this is a good enough reason to consider it a classic.

    US
    Chevrolet Corvette No explanation necessary. Rare, enthusiast, significance and age.

    I'll also say that any Chev Camaro V8, Ford Mustang GT V8, Pontiac Trans Am V8 will qualify (as long as its the V8) on enthusiast grounds. The Ford Mustang SVO Turbo from 84 is rare and would qualify on those grounds. The Ford Taurus SHO would probably also qualify.

    However, I consider most US cars of the 1970s and 80s to be ugly, overweight, low tech machines designed to appeal more to bean counters than enthusiasts. The exceptions I've listed above. Sorry if that offends any fans of 80s US cars.

    Australia

    Not a great decade for Australian muscle cars.

    Any Brock Holden Commodore. Rarity and enthusiast value based on the fact they were modified by Australia's most successful touring car driver.
    1985 Holden Commodore VK Group A. Rarity/enthusiast. Only 500 made. One of the quickest Aussie cars in the 80s. 0-400m in around 15 seconds. Won the 1986 Bathurst 1000.
    1987 Holden Commodore VL Group A. Rarity/enthusiast. Only 500 made. Not as quick as the VK due to different tune for unleaded fuel. Won the 1987 WTCC round at Monza and Bathurst.
    1988 Holden Commodore VL Group A TWR. Rarity/enthusiast. Only 750 built. First fast Commodore built without any input from Peter Brock, following the split between Holden & Brock. Won the 1990 Bathurst 1000.
    1982 Ford Falcon XE ESP 5.8 V8. Rarity/enthusiast/significance. Last V8 production car built by Ford Australia until reintroduced in 1992. Has started to build a cult following and they are rare.

    Ok, thats my list.

    I intend for this thread to be for those of us who actually like 1980s cars and want to discuss them. For those that think there were no good or memorable cars built in the 80s, I remind you about the Ferrari F40/Porsche 959.
    Last edited by motorsportnerd; 04-03-2004 at 04:00 AM.

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    uh, i think you've misunderstood your own thread a little bit.

    In no way is a camaro or corvette rare enough to be considered a classic. In addition, they are poor excuses for their older brothers from the 60s and even the 70s. In 10 or 15 more years when a good example is indeed rare, then maybe I would reconsider your comment. Just to lay out an example, I counted some 58 camaros between 30 miles north of the NC/South Carolina border and Myrtle beach. Seemed like everybody had at least one in their backyard. We stopped the game when we spotted an IROC.

    I disagree with your comment of every exotic. There are plenty of ferrari 308's and 328's that don't impress me much. I wouldn't kick one out of bed, but it doesn't thrill me the way some other cars do for a quarter of the price.

    I also disagree with some of the choices you made. You said cars from the 80's....I'm thinking early, MAYBE mid-eighties, but you're bringing up the skyline. Perhaps in 20 years, yes, but right now that car is still modern. Miatas-same thing. I'm not sure I have much faith in the MR2, I find it disturbingly ugly (not it's later evolution, the 90-93 or whatever). I agree that some may find it to be a classic.

    In addition, don't throw crap on all American automobiles. I agree they made some crap, but so did Japan. I fail to see the alure of the Ae86, but maybe that's just because I'm uneducated in its history. It seems that people fawn all over any car that comes out of Japan with RWD. It's not new technology folks, it's something many manufacturers have been doing for ages. Just because a car is RWD doesn't make it special in my eyes. Besides, there were lots of good cars coming out of the us in the 80s. I would offer up the AMC Spirit AMX, the Buick Grand National, the Chrysler GLHS and Daytona GLHS. I fail to see how an underpowered yet big engined rustbox would appeal to any bean counter (mind defining what a bean-counter is?).

    Maybe I'm wrong, but I just don't really see it the same way.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorsportnerd
    Australia

    Not a great decade for Australian muscle cars.

    Any Brock Holden Commodore. Rarity and enthusiast value based on the fact they were modified by Australia's most successful touring car driver.
    1985 Holden Commodore VK Group A
    . Rarity/enthusiast. Only 500 made. One of the quickest Aussie cars in the 80s. 0-400m in around 15 seconds. Won the 1986 Bathurst 1000.
    1987 Holden Commodore VL Group A. Rarity/enthusiast. Only 500 made. Not as quick as the VK due to different tune for unleaded fuel. Won the 1987 WTCC round at Monza and Bathurst.
    1988 Holden Commodore VL Group A TWR. Rarity/enthusiast. Only 750 built. First fast Commodore built without any input from Peter Brock, following the split between Holden & Brock. Won the 1990 Bathurst 1000.
    1982 Ford Falcon XE ESP 5.8 V8. Rarity/enthusiast/significance. Last V8 production car built by Ford Australia until reintroduced in 1992. Has started to build a cult following and they are rare.

    Ok, thats my list.

    I intend for this thread to be for those of us who actually like 1980s cars and want to discuss them. For those that think there were no good or memorable cars built in the 80s, I remind you about the Ferrari F40/Porsche 959.

    not only was the XE ESP the last V8 ford for a decade, but it was also the last model to take the locally built 351 which is prefered by drag racers over the cleveland engine. my additions would have to be the HDT Calais Director and the HSV Walkinshaw
    I am the Stig

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    I happen to think cars like the corvette could only be considered classic on age grounds, judging by how popular they are, the only reason some are considered classics is rarity. Not many decent looking corvettes still exist later than C4, and ones starting from that date seem to be as common as the average Malibu.

    The AE86 is an amazing car. It may not be new technology being rear-wheel drive, but it has been the starting point of a major driving scene in japan and worldwide, Drifting. it's more what the car created than the actual car.

    as for MR-2, only original 1986/89 model with Supercharger need apply, again it's just too common to be considered a classic.

    Audi 100 and Ford Sierra fall into the same catagory as the Corvette for me. Popular classics. cars which have mass appeal yet are still groundbreaking and interesting.

    evidently Motorsportnerd has thought about this way too long and hard to have come up with his list, because you can't just have a reason-based system for classics, it's often down to personal preference. I often consider old PanelVans to be crass, while the owner considers them to be utterly classic. Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder, so is Classic Status.
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