Car design - both body and performance - follow trends. While the 1960s were known as the ear of high-performance muscle cars, the 1970s were more about economy and value. Car culture sometimes reflects the Zeitgeist of U.S. culture of the time - and the fastest cars of the 80s are no exception. In a decade about greed, flash, and conspicuous consumption, 80s sports cars were showy and fast - and this decade marked the explosion of high-performance machines.
Ferrari Testarossa - 1986
With a dead 5.0 second zero to sixty acceleration, the Testarossa is the quintessential 80s car for conspicuous consumption. The twelve-cylinder, mid-engine sports car reaches a top speed of 180 miles per hour and uses an exclusively manual transmission. The car is low-slung, with a low center of gravity and has weight distribution just about equal. A white Testarossa has a claim to fame as the preferred car for Don Johnson on Miami Vice. Stylish and fast, this car features signature side strakes, which have become a popular after-market body kit.
Dodge Viper Concept - 1989
First debuted as a concept car in the 80s, the Viper's V-10 engine produces 400 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque, giving it massive pickup and 0-60 in 4.8 seconds. While the Viper didn't officially go into production until three years later, the concept debuted at car shows in 1989. It's been featured as a pace car in the Indianapolis 500 and is one of the "Most American" cars in production - meaning that more than 75 percent of the parts and made in the U.S.
Ferrari 288GTO - 1985
With a twin-turbo V-8 engine, the 288GTO was at one point the fastest car in the world. Although it's not technically allowed to be imported to the U.S., several have made their way overseas to America's highways. It's set the high bar and reputation that Ferrari enjoys today. The car weighs a scant 2500 pounds with 395 horsepower - crafted to be light and fast. It was initially designed to be a racing model, but this particular series never took off. As a result, this model has remained a road car for the auto connoisseur.
Lamborghini Countach LP5000 QV - 1985
This model is designed in the "Italian Wedge" style, capturing the trends of the mid-eighties and promises fast, aerodynamic style. The rear-mounted engine is a V-12 and, combined with the rear-wheel-drive of the sports car, packs a huge punch. In fact, the Countach goes from 0 to 60 in 4.6 seconds and has a top speed of 182 mph. Lamborghinis are characterized by the "scissor doors" that open up and out, rather than out to the side. The extra-wide chassis and need to large door frames is one reason, but the other truly is style - these doors just look cool.
Buick Regal Grand National - 1986
Yes, it's a Buick. No, this isn't a mistake. The Grand National outpowers both the Ferrari Testarossa and the GTO - and gives Lamborghini a run for its money. The turbo-powered V-6 produces 289 horsepower (less than many other cars on this list) yet still manages to get from zero to sixty in 4.7 seconds. How does it feel to drive the boxy behemoth around? Well, the steering is crisp, the ride is well-balanced, and the chassis is sturdy. So when you need to haul ass away inconspicuously, the Grand National might suit you better than a flashy spider.
Porsche 911 Turbo - 1986
0-60 in 4.6 seconds from a turbo-charged and inter-cooled engine help this little speed demon go fast - and stay fast. The 6-cylinder engine is rear-mounted with an utterly independent suspension, making this car extremely nimble. The design, created by the Volkswagon company - is reminiscent of the Beetle, but that's where the similarities end. The curved profile and side start to scream "iconic 80s wealth. Named "the best premium sports car on the market" by Car & Driver, the Porsche 911 has made every list of coolest cars, from tops sports cars of each decade to the "Car of the Century" poll.
Lotus Esprit - 1989
This car provides American speed-addicts the highest specific-output piston engine at 120 horsepower per liter. Small, wedge-shaped, and lightweight body design helps this 4-liter engine race from zero to sixty in 4.9 seconds. The unique polygonal shape is known as a "folded paper design," crafted by designer Giorgetto Giugiaro. The car has played a supporting role in films from Pretty Woman to a convertible submarine for James Bond. Tight design and responsive steering make this car maneuverable over hairpin turns without losing speed - a true pleasure to drive.