Car Culture & Entertainment

Are the 1980s the Best Decade in Automotive History?


Throughout the 1980s, video games gave folks the thrill of real racing action…sort of. (Image/

The 1980s were a decade of continued automotive innovation, as features like fuel injection, turbocharging, and airbags became commonplace.

The use of digital dashboards increased as well, predicting the modern adaptive gauge clusters we have today.

And it’s often said that the 1980s were the golden age of car tech, where aftermarket car audio systems exploded in popularity. In-car phones, CD players, and TVs added new levels of automobile luxury.

In terms of performance, the 1980s gave gearheads a little bit of everything.

The Buick Grand National and Chevy Monte Carlo SS were the last holdouts of the vintage GM A-body muscle car.

Honda expanded the fledgling sport compact market with the Civic Si.

The Porsche-derived Ruf CTR “Yellowbird” became the first street-legal production car to break 200 mph.

And the Mustang GT (re-introduced in 1984) duked it out with the new Camaro IROC-Z (1985) in high school parking lots across the county.

The decade delivered the ubiquitous Chrysler K-cars, Ford Taurus, and Chevy Cavalier—and no discussion of the 1980s automotive world is complete without mentioning the minivan.


Ever ride in one of these beauties? Thank the 1980s. (Image/Consumer Guide)

In pop culture, cars were everywhere too—from the Back to the Future DeLorean to the Ferris Bueller Ferarri 250GT. And don’t get us started on a certain 1958 Plymouth Fury with some self-destructive tendencies.

Who can’t immediately identify K.I.T.T., the Trans Am from Knight Rider or the A-Team’s GMC van? And if you had enough quarters, Atari’s Pole Position and Sega’s Out Run introduced you to the thrill of motorsport.

So—pop a Billy Ocean cassette into your tape deck, crank up Get Outta My Dreams” and vote the 1980s as the Best Decade in Automotive History.

1981 DeLorean DMC 12 drivers side


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