Idiots Guide: Best Sports Cars of the 1980’s

The 1980’s were an interesting decade for automobiles in general. In truth, some of the sports cars of that era were unforgettable in all of the best ways possible. This list consists of sports cars, both foreign, and domestic that were priced under $60,000. In short, cars that the average American might conceivably purchase for daily driving. Enjoy a quick drive down memory highway, and please feel free to disregard posted speed limits.

#8. Chevy Corvette  / 1988 

1987 Chevrolet Corvette

Let’s be honest, during the 1980’s the classic American Corvette brand wasn’t being produced to the same lofty standards of decades prior. Nevertheless a Corvette is a Corvette, therefore it’s inclusion on this list was a forgone conclusion. As time goes by the heart grows fonder.

#7. Mazda RX-7 Turbo / 1987


Mazda RX-7‘s  revolutionary ‘Rotary Engine’ was able to put out a robust 200 hp / 205 ps (Series 5 Turbo). That’s nothing to sneeze at considering the relatively light weight body and frame. It produced considerably more power than traditional inline engines for it’s time. Cool car.


#6. Nissan 300 ZX / 1988


Nissan’s 300 ZX Turbo was a notoriously fun car to drive. It was very fast. The 300ZX twin-turbo edition holds the E/BMS land speed record with a neck snapping 260.87 mph  at the Bonneville Speed flats.

#5. Chevy Camaro Iroc-Z / 1987

1980s iroc z

Where I come from (East Coast) the Chevy Camaro Iroc-Z is legendary. Sure it was a bit heavy with lines that were a bit gaudy, nevertheless, it was a very cool car. The 350 edition The 350 L98 engine could boast a 225 hp @ 4400, with 330ftlb of torque @ 2800. Additional power with hydraulic roller lifters.

#4. Toyota Supra Turbo / 1988 

1988 Toyota Supra

If I may be permitted the opportunity to bare my soul, this author has had a crush on this vehicle for quite some time. The Toyota Supra Turbo was and still is…sick. Let’s talk about the inter-cooled turbo charged 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine that married 230 hp to 240 torque lb·ft. Outstanding sports car lines, with exceptional road handling and blistering track speed. There are a litany of reasons why the Toyota Supra is great. Trust me.

#3. Ford Mustang GT 5.O / 1988 

1988 Mustang GT

The Ford Mustang GT series was the quintessential ‘bang for the buck’ American sports car. To ride in a 1980’s Mustang 5.0 was to feel the rumbling ponies under the hood speak to your soul. It contained an attractive low cost with high performance. It’s hair raising 225 hp and 300 ft·lb of torque, allowed little time for sleep. Quite simply, a classic.

#2. Pontiac Trans Am GTA Edition / 1989 

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Pontiac Trans Am GTA 350 was Big, Fast, and full of Muscle. We’re talking about 0–60 mph in 4 1/2 seconds. A standing quarter-mile time of 13 1/2 seconds with speeds hitting over a 100 mph. It’s horsepower rating was circa 300 hp. Yes, it was notorious for cosmetic issues such as blistering fiberglass. It was also not a huge seller due to lackluster marketing, and limited production. Regardless, this was a serious American muscle car, and a true 1980’s American sports car diamond.

#1. Buick Grand National Turbo GNX / 1987

1987 Buick Grand National

The turbo-charged Buick Grand National was a ‘sleeper’ car that nobody could ever sleep on. This sedan styled sports car was exceptionally fast. Armed with superhero aesthetics, and blinding back end speed, there was always a special ‘Insider’ aura that surrounded it. There were only about 1,600 of the 1987 model produced. Those who did purchase this car experienced a quarter mile time of 13.2 seconds. With speeds of 104 mph, to go with a 0-60 mph time of about  4 1/2 seconds. Fast. Super fast.

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