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Cool Cars of the 80s


The 80s were a time of fast living and David Lee Roth. They were also a time of some iconic exotic cars that are just now coming into their own as collectors' items.


DeLorean DMC-12
Josh Berglund
Few cars scream 1980s like a Delorean. If you're not an exotic car historian, you at least now this unpainted steel wedge from its star turn alongside Michael J. Fox in "Back to the Future." In case it comes up at your next bar trivia night, the Delorean had already died an ignominious death by the time the movie came out. John Delorean struggled to get the car made, finally ending up with a factory in Belfast, Ireland, during The Troubles. It is really hard to incentivize your workforce to churn out cars with electronically operated gullwing doors when partisan fighters are lobbing Molotov cocktails over the fences of your property.

Ferrari F40

Ferrari F40
Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday to Ferrari, happy birthday to me. Wouldn't we all build ourselves an iconic super car with a rear wing that could serve as a banqueting table for our birthdays if we could? As you might be able to guess from the name, the F40 was Ferrari's present to itself for surviving four decades in the tumultuous exotic car business. They only ever built 400 of these cars, with a price tag near a half million dollars. And you had to supply the cake and candles yourself.

Ferrari Testarossa

Ferrari Testarossa
Kristen Hall-Geisler
Maybe no other car on this list is more 80s than the Testarossa. It has side strakes like Eddie Van Halen's guitar strings and a V12 engine -- the first Ferrari to have that many cylinders since 1974. The gas crisis of the 70s wasn't very kind to super car manufacturers, nor were the safety standards enacted in the United States. Bumpers schmumpers. Just don't run into anyone, duh. You can credit famed Italian design house Pininfarina for those side intakes, which actually are necessary to move air around to cool the rear-mounted engine. Also, they look freakin' cool.

Lamborghini Countach

1985 Lamborghini Countach QV
Oh, those doors. When they open up, they open up. If you didn't have a poster of the Testarossa in your bedroom, you had one of these. It was kind of like the Ford-Chevy wars for hormone-ravaged teenage boys with grandiose dreams. Another tip for your trivia night: "Countach" is a mild swear word in Italian, a kind of "holy crap!" As if you'd ever say something so demure if you encountered one of these Lambos in real life. That's like meeting "Risky Business"-era Tom Cruise and saying, "I very much enjoyed your lip synching abilities and sock sliding prowess." Amazingly, the Countach lasted quite a few years, with several variations in the 70s and 80s.

Porsche 944

1990 Porsche 944 S2
Bonhams Auctions
The Porsche 944, like Rodney Dangerfield in "Caddyshack," didn't get no respect. You half expect to find Bill Murray stalking a wily 944 in order to beat it senseless with a golf club. It wasn't the poor 944's fault it was based on the 924, which had a rotten Audi engine in it. The 944 was intended as an improvement, an apology, if you will -- and it was. It had great handling and plenty of pickup, but it never made it with the big-time Porsche guys. Still, it was the kind of car a caddy with a good head on his shoulders could dream of and possibly buy, unlike the Testarossa and Countach. Its starting price in the early 80s was just a hair over $20,000.
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