8 Iconic 80s Supercars That You Must Drive Before You Die


Easier said than done, sadly.

If you manage to get behind the wheel of just one of these iconic supercars, then you're to be commended. You don't see any of these cars on the road often. That's because there weren't that many to begin with. Welcome to the world of 80s era analog supercars. They adorned our bedroom walls as posters (perhaps they still do) and are still highly sought after. This was the era before advanced electronics and computers took over for the driver. And if you ever get to drive any of these icons, be sure to safeguard that memory forever.

Built from 1984 to 1987, the Ferrari 288 GTO was the homologated version of the 308 GTB. Just 272 examples were produced, and Ferrari reserves the "GTO" moniker for only the very best. This was one of them. Power came from a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V8 good for 400 hp and 366 lb-ft of torque. Top speed was 189 mph and a 0-60 time in the upper 4 second zone. Sadly, the 288 GTO never got the chance to race.


No formal introductions needed here. The Porsche 959, produced from 1986 to 1989, was for a time the world's fastest street-legal production car. Top speed was 197 mph. Power came from a 2.95-liter twin-turbocharged flat-six that produced 450 hp, which was sent to all four wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.


Production lasted for only four models years, ending in 1981. Just 453 were built. But the M1 began a whole new era for BMW. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro with chassis development done by Lamborghini, the M1 was powered by a twin-cam 3.5-liter six-cylinder with 273 hp. Top speed was 162 mph. The M1 even had its own racing series, called the BMW M1 Procar Championship.


Although originally launched in 1976, it wasn't until the 80s when the Lotus Esprit really hit its stride, thanks to being turbocharged. That started in 1980 and continued until the end of the car's life in 2004. Perhaps the true 80s Esprit Turbo many are most familiar with was launched in 1987. But no matter what your Esprit Turbo model year preference is, the car will forever remain a supercar classic.

Launched in 1985, the Lamborghini Countach 5000QV featured many improvements but, most importantly, it was the first time a US market version was built. Yes, there were those styling changes in the front and rear bumpers to meet US safety regulations, and yes, they were kind of ugly (the one pictured here was for Europe). Still though, this was the Countach made for America, and carried a then base price of $100,000 - not including the $5,000 rear spoiler, which was optional.

Some have called the F40 the greatest Ferrari of all time. It may be hard to disagree. Launched in 1987, it was at the time the most powerful and most expensive model the Italian carmaker built. Powered by a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 with 471 hp and mated to a five-speed manual, the F40 was the last Ferrari old man Enzo Ferrari presided over. Just 1,311 examples were built, most of which sell for millions today.


We had to include a Corvette in this list, and this one definitely qualifies: the Callaway Sledgehammer ZR1. What makes it so special? A top speed of 254.76 mph. And that close-coursed speed record was accomplished with none other than John Lingenfelter behind the wheel. It kept that record for the next 25 years. Starting off as a Callaway Corvette, a number of modifications were done, and by the end output was around 898 hp and 772 lb-ft of torque.

It may be one of the most recognizable Ferraris of all time. The Testarossa was launched in 1984 and stayed in production (despite a couple of name changes) until 1996. Powered by a mid-mounted, 4.9-liter flat-12, output was rated at 390 hp and 361 lb-ft of torque. Top speed was 180 mph. Alongside the Lamborghini Countach, the Ferrari Testarossa is perhaps the most recognized of the 80s supercars, and remains a fan favorite to this day.

Join The Discussion



Related Cars

To Top