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Wilson's Auto Restoration Blog

Five of Our Favorite Classic Cars and Trucks from the 1980s


It’s hard for us to believe that 1980 was almost 40 years ago!  It seems like yesterday to many of us…

The 80s were a great time to be alive and the cars we enjoyed in those days were interesting to say the least.  For much of the 70s, car producers were focused on making smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles that produced less emissions.  When the 80s came along there was somewhat of a muscle revival.

Japanese manufacturers were also making some noise with their sporty Toyota Supra, Nissan 300ZX, Mazda RX-7, Acura Integra and the Toyota MR2.  The Europeans were also putting out some tuff stuff as well.  The Audi Quattro, Porsche 944 and the BMW M3 were all beasts, but came at a hefty price.

While these are all great cars, we are just focusing on the rad rides that were made for the good ol’ USA.  So, here are our favorite five classic cars and trucks from the 1980s.

1986 K5 Blazer


Some of ya might have preferred the Ford Bronco, but we’ll take the K5 any day.  Second generation Blazers were tough as nail and easy to work on in case ya worked it too hard.  My best buddy Lon had one and he pushed it to its limits.  Whether ya needed to tow a big boat or go mudding with your buddies.  The Blazer would get ya there and back.

1984 Chevrolet Corvette C4


The Corvette has been an icon of American speed since the 50s and the 1980s were no different.  While we might prefer the first three generations of Corvette the most, the fourth generation Corvette brought a whole new look and redesign of the car.  Many features of the new design are still incorporated on the Corvette C5s, C6s and C7s of today.   Regardless of generation, Chevrolet has always made the Corvette exactly what an American sports car should be…  Fast, loud and proud!

1986 Buick Grand National


As odd as “Buick muscle-car” may have sounded back then, the Grand National could easily compete with Corvettes and other high-end sports cars.  A turbocharged V-6 under the hood provided plenty of power and speed.  The intimidating black paint job made the Grand National just much more threatening.  This monster was definitely considered to be one of the cars to beat during its prime. It was a working man’s supercar. In all honesty, if I had to choose only one classic from the 80s, my choice would be a 1986 Buick Grand National.

1987 Ford Mustang 5.0


Like the Corvette, the Mustang has made a name for itself since its inauguration in 1964.  The 1980s brought the third generation of the Mustang that brought a new look to the ever-famous pony car. Built on Ford’s Fox platform (and thus commonly referred to as the “Fox” or “Foxbody” Mustang), it came in a coupe, a hatchback, T-topped or the incredibly cool convertible.  It was the 1987 – 1993 models that really stood out and had every kid wishing they could own one.  These years were very lucrative for the Mustang aftermarket industry as well.  There so many extras available that you could actually make a one-of-a-kind machine.

1989 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z


No list of 80s classics would be complete without the infamous Chevy Camaro IROC- Z.  Models in the early 80s left a little to be desired but as the decade continued, the IROC improved with it and by 1989 it had progressed into a sweet street machine. It ultimately was fitted with a 5.0-liter small-block V8 with a superb tuned port injection (TPI) system that boosted its output up to 215 horsepower.  A 5.7 liter version was also available and in comparison tests at the time, the TPI-equipped IROC Camaros were always quicker than their arch enemy, the 5.0-liter Mustang. They IROC handled better too.

Of course, there are others that could have easily made the list.  Shelby Zs, Trans AMs and even some Cadillacs would make pretty cool collectors nowadays.  And don’t forget about Jeeps and pickups of those days.  There are a lot worth mentioning.  These five however, are our the ones that give us the fondest memories.

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