Random Thought- 80’s Cars I actually liked.


Yes, that’s an odd way to open a new post, but it’s been a LONG while since my last blog post. A very. long. while.

Mostly because I’ve been busy, and really haven’t thought of much to post about.

That happens.

But one thing that’s been floating around in the back my my head is cars — mostly because I’ve been hot for a 1981 DeLorean. Have been for the last 30 some odd years, and now I’m SO close to getting one. Finally.

So this made me think about all the cars that came out in the 80’s, or more specifically, the one’s I actually thought were pretty cool, and still kinda sorta hold up more 30 years later give or take.

One is considered a classic, is hard to find in good shape (or at all) and when completely restored demands roughly equal in today’s dollars what it sold for back in 1981.

Of course I’m speaking of that stainless steel wonder, The DeLorean.


The DeLorean was the brain (and love) child of automotive design executive, John Z. DeLorean. I could go on about DeLorean, the person, but there’s plenty online that covers his history. And no, he was not a cocaine dealer or shipped cocaine over in his cars.

Cool things about the car (since this is a blog post on car design) that make it stand out and still causes people on the road to act crazy when they see it (let’s take a photo while driving!), or swarm it in parking lots, sometimes passing over Lamborghini’s and still has that “Oooo” factor:

Gullwing Doors. Stainless steel skin over a fiberglass tub. i-Frame chassis. 6 cylinder PRV engine, and room for a driver up to 6′ 7″ (I know as I’m that tall and fit comfortably, more so than in most modern cars or even earlier cars), though it was basically designed for someone 6′ 4″ tall, like John DeLorean.  The tension bars for the doors were designed and made at Northrop Grumman and CRYOGENICALLY hardened…i.e. let’s freeze someone and thaw them out 100 years later “cryogenically”. Yep, turns out cryogenics is not just for making people pops.

And it was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Lotus.

Thus the confusion at times with the Lotus Esprit from the Bond film. It’s not the same car. Nor is it a Bricklin. Or even a Cadillac Eldorado.  There was actually a guy who argued with a DeLorean owner that his car in fact was this one from the movie “The Spy Who Loved Me”, you know, the one that turns into a submarine..

.The 007 Lotus Esprit ‘Submarine Car’, used in the James Bond movie "The Spy Who Loved Me" is pictured in this handout photo. esprits1_tswlm

Yes, I now see how it looks JUST LIKE A DELOREAN…

Okay, maybe a little…

A new DeLorean had an MSRP of $23,000 (it was supposed to be $12k). Today, a nice running one in decent shape goes for about the same, and a restored one that looks showroom new goes for about $45,000 and up.

Not too shabby.

Ford EXP

Next up, a car I had that I thought was pretty cool, but turns out it wasn’t, though some people have done some cool stuff with it (like dragster funny car cool stuff).

The Ford EXP. My best guess is the EXP meant Experimental. Or not.


I actually liked it and it still looks kind of neat. Will it ever make it to classic status in another 10 or 20 years? The AMX Gremlin and AMC Pacer kind of have a cult following, so maybe.

This had a little 4 cylinder in it, 2 seat hatchback. Sort of Mustang of the 80’s look.

Ford Mustang SVO

Which leads me to the Mustang Cobra SVO, with a 2.3 liter inline 4 cylinder turbo-charged engine.  I test drove one, and it was a blast, back when turbo-charged cars weren’t all that common.

Chevrolet Corvette C4

Speaking of cars I owned and actually hold up 30 some odd years later, I give you the mid-80’s Corvette C4.


This was introduced in 1984 with a new body style, digital dash, removable glass top that stored away in the back area (there were slots for it), and a hood that opened up all the way similar to a Jaguar XKE.  It came with a Doug Nash “4+3” transmission – a 4-speed manual coupled to an automatic overdrive on the top three gears.

Ford Probe

Back to Ford’s, I thought the Probe concept was kinda cool.


And the production car, at the time, was something I liked as well.


Turns out a lot of people still like it as it’s found every so often nicely modded..


Buick Reatta

Scoop nose, thin tail lights (well, thin for the time), and possibly the first production car with a Heads Up Display..

1988 Buick Reatta1990.buick.reatta.1493-e5010e46e57a6e94764518813bd1858c3.jpg~original

And then one more car we had and I totally dug when it came out, though this isn’t really a car. It’s a minivan. Now, we all know that minivans are the harbingers of the apocalypse, but you have to admit for something out of the 80’s, it still holds up pretty well, so much that they command a high price even nowadays.

The Toyota Minivan


Yep. A minivan. The TV station I worked at had a few in their fleet. These came with lots of room, standard mag wheels, could drive down a sidewalk (don’t ask me how I know…), and came in a standard, panel, and even 4X4 lifted version. In Japan they even had a 4×4 with skylight windows like this:


And that my friends are some of the cars from the 80’s that I liked, and still do.

And now for some more DeLorean photos…

images-3images-2imagesimages-1Corvette DeLorean-3IMG_1965IMG_1925

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4 thoughts on “Random Thought- 80’s Cars I actually liked.

  1. These are great Greg! One of my favorites was Bond’s submarine car. Wow, and Maserati’s and Ferrarri . Reminds me when we used to play “Claim it” on the playground as kids. We’d sit at the top of the jungle gym and watch the cars drive by the street in front of our school. When we saw one we liked we’d just “claim it!” Ha…miss those days. Check these out. http://www.1000sel.com/index.php/porsche-911-930-935-ii

  2. I agree with you about the C4 Corvette. I had my 1989 convertible for 17 years. I received compliments about it right to the day I sold it this past September. The gentleman that bought it also has an appreciation for the C4.

  3. Here are my favorites from that decade:

    1978 – 81 Chev Malibu 2-door Coupe – Clean crisp styling, rear wheel drive, and V8 power make it a modern version of a ’55 BelAir. But leave off the landau vinyl roof and oversized body side moldings thanks.

    1982 – 92 Camaros – The base model looks the best to me, clean and uncluttered without the add-on body cladding and the large rear spoiler. Like the Raymond Loewy designed Studebaker lowboys, the third generation Camaros and Firebirds are still sought after for Bonneville record attempts. I understand that their aerodynamics were better than the later model Camaros.

    1984 – 96 Corvette – Dave McLellan and the Corvette team did a great job developing the C4 Corvette. I like the later models best, mainly because of the change to tuned-port injection and the improved dashboard and interior design.

    1981-94 Maserati Biturbo Coupe – I recall seeing a Biturbo at the Seattle auto show in the early 80’s. The slightly raked-forward styling and short deck makes it look like it is ready to pounce.

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