Cars From Your Childhood - Was the 80s the best decade?

Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari F40, Zakspeed Capri – these were the posters I had on my bedroom walls when I was a kid in the 80s.

What were your dream cars?

For me, the 80s was one of the best decades for cars – as well as music and movies.

Yes, sometimes they may not have driven as good as they looked – but my god they looked great!

From my perspective, cars were iconic: posters were for sale in most shops, you could buy toy cars of almost any car, almost every other advert on TV seemed to be a car. Who remembers a Peugeot 405 driving through flames to “take my breath away” – my dad worked at Peugeot at the time, so maybe it’s just me!

Cars caught our imagination, and that’s why so many iconic television series and films used recognisable cars – We Tom Selleck driving a Ferrari 308 GTS in Magnum, the A-Team driving around in a GMC van, the V8 Interceptor in Mad Max, the Bluesmobile in Blues Brothers, Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters, the Ferrari 250 GT California in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Batmobile from Batman, General Lee, KITT, and of course the DeLorean.

As well as so many iconic cars across media, we had so many cars available to various walks of life.

Hot Hatches

It was such a great decade for cars, we’d seen the birth of hot hatches in the 1970s, with the Renault 5 Alpine and the Golf GTI – but it wasn’t until the 80s that hot hatches really took off!

We had the Mk2 Gold GTI, the Peugeot 205 GTi, Renault 5 GT Turbo, The Vauxhall Astra GTE, Ford Escort RS Turbo, Lancia Delta Intergrale, Ford Fiesta XR2, Citroen AX GT and so may others. Even the likes of Mazda, Talbot, and Suzuki made hot hatches.

Yes, I might be writing about these cars from a United Kingdom point of view, so were hot hatches prevalent in your countries?

Fast Saloons

We had the E30 M3 – which is probably my favourite M3 ever, we also had both the Sierra and Sierra Sapphire Cosworth, and someone decided to throw a V12 in a XJR-S. There were loads of fast saloons during the 80s, I’m sure I’ve missed loads or maybe even your favourite car of all time?

Super Cars

Super cars have been around since the 1950s, pretty much when Mercedes released the 300SL, however in my opinion it wasn’t until the 80s that these cars caught the imagination of children and car enthusiasts.

We had the Ferrari 288 GTO, Porsche 959, Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari Testarossa, RUF CTR Yellowbird, Ford RS200, Lotus Esprit Turbo, and of course the Ferrari F40. I think I had a picture of most of these on my bedroom walls.

Racing Cars

Where do I start? The Audi Quattro, Nissan Skyline R32, McLaren MP4 (numerous versions), Lotus 98T, Williams FW11, BMW M1 Procar, Zakspeed Capri, any Group C car, the list could go on and on.

There’s too many to mention and I literally could talk about iconic 80s racing cars all day. I loved that there was insane turbos on some of these cars, I loved that aerodynamics took a giant step forward in this decade and I loved that BBS wheels were on pretty much everything!

Can another decade rival the 1980s for cars?

The great thing about most of these cars, is that they are available for you and I to drive today in a racing sims. Yes, I love driving modern day race cars, but for me there’s something special about stepping (virtually) into so many iconic cars of my childhood.

What cars would you like to see in a sim?
About author
Damian Reed
PC geek, gamer, content creator, and passionate sim racer.
I live life a 1/4 mile at a time, it takes me ages to get anywhere!


I'm 51 now but I clearly remember my love for(and still have) Lancia Delta S4, Porsche 959, Ford RS200, 205 Turbo 16, Manta 400, Sportquattro, Porsche 956/962, 288GTO-->Evoluzione(see avatar), RUF CTR, 190e 2.3-16, E34 M5, Benz 500E etc.
Greates supercar ever though still is McLaren F1(LM/GTR) in my book.

Edit I forgot Lancia 037....

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When I was a kid I only knew two things for sure:
  1. When I am all grown up I am going to figure out how large the universe really is.
  2. Once I have figured out the above it's time to buy the car of my dreams: The General Lee from the TV Series The Dukes of Hazzard. (Warning, don't click the link as the rabbit hole will open up)
General Lee Dukes of Hazzard.jpg

One day you shall be mine #01

And to answer your question Damian. For me the 80s was the best era for almost everything: cars, culture, civilization, music :inlove:, movies, TV and even the first brilliant video games.

Then again the 90s were pretty damn good as well :)
'Can another decade rival the 1980s for cars?'

The 60s: 250SWB, 250GTO, 330P4, AC Cobra 289/427, GT40, 908/917K, DB4GT /GT Zagato, Jag MkII(my dad had one 40 years ago), E Type etc.

And I want to see an Aston DB4GT (not the Zagato) in AMS2 or in AC:)

No doubt this is the one and only. Why? It was my first car ever and after I drove it on the public roads -when I was 18 and earned my drivers license- it was 'upgraded' to do some banger-bang competition. Best time ever in my own 'race car'. I was so happy and proud.


PS picture as reference, not my own car.
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I think the 80s and 90s were where technological evolution and revolution most came in. 00s, 10s and 20s are simply refining/improving things.

Same with video games really, there were some experiences in 80s and 90s that really shifted the goalposts (F1GP for instance), nowadays it's refining physics, raytracing, etc, and adding depth through extra modes (oh and online everything).

Sorry, went off cars topic for a bit there! I was growing up in the 80s so cars were more noticeable for me in the 90s, though I can see that huge advancements were made though the 80s.
I'm very much a fan of whats going on right now, that goes for music and film too.

I don't know what it is but I really struggle to get passionate about things that have happened and I very look forward to the next thing that's coming out.


I mean come on...

Also Le Mans Hypercar class is another reason I think my argument wins.
No doubt this is the one and only. Why? It was my first car ever and after I drove it on the public roads -when I was 18 and earned my drivers license- it was 'upgraded' to do some banger-bang competition. Best time ever in my own 'race car'. I was so happy and proud.

View attachment 512106

PS picture as reference, not my own car.
Ha! My first car was a 1981 goldy-yellow Golf 1 1.1 back in 1988

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Talks about 80's race cars and shows a BMW M1 Procar. Which is from 1979...... and mentions the Zakspeed Capri which first raced in '78.....
I remember back in the 80s, a friend of my dad's, who ran the local Ford showroom, turned up in a Capri 2.8 Injection which had been supercharged. My dad took us out for a crazy spin in it - I'll never forget it, the acceleration and the sound the supercharger made. Good times..
Ford Capri 2.8i - SOLD - Absolute Classic Cars - Google Chrome 22_10_2021 11_39_41 (3).png
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YES it was the best decade, BUT maybe because i was a kid in the 80s. And nearly every humen (which was lucky enough to have a good childhood) loves to remember things of his/her childhood.

I loved the cars, the music and the games, the car card games of these time. I still love watching Group B, F1 and other motorsport of the 80s, and i remeber more of the Mexico 86´football world cup, than all WC´s which followed :inlove:

My first beloved cars (Honda CRX ED9) ever was bulit in 1989 and looks almost like this one:


  • crx.jpg
    85 KB · Views: 172
For me each decade had a great set of memorable cars - 70s, 80s, 90s, and so on. But Im curious what people will tell in this thread, this might be interesting.
First motorsport I remember was DTM, early 90s, and Quartett card games is which you'd win every round with the McLaren F1 - just like you would win every race in Need For Speed with it.


Appreciation for stuff like Group-B, Group-C and so on only really came when I was older. Can't say what I like most these days, tho overall (as one may guess from my mods) it's bonkers home builds only skirting the regulations they ran under
I assume this thread OP is in his mid 30s-50s because most of these people who think the 1980s are wonderful is born before circa mid-1980s - I will never forget the amount of rose tinted 'documentaries' that was all over the media in the 2000s, they all bang on how wonderful the 1980s. Most of the now 60 something guys think 1960s and 1970s cars are the best
Maybe he should got out his Roland TR-808 to do some backing beats and the E-mu for those 19 style voice sampling whilst he yap on how wonderful the 1980s is
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Talks about 80's race cars and shows a BMW M1 Procar. Which is from 1979...... and mentions the Zakspeed Capri which first raced in '78.....
Whilst this is like calling the 1979 TV series 'Mobile Suit Gundam' an 1980s anime - its worth of note that the Capri from 1978 was a Class 2, the best part of their career was when they became Class 1 cars from 1980
Most of M1s' non-Procar careers did not begin until 1980
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