10 Most Powerful Production Cars Of The ’80s

When you think of the ’80s and then think of powerful production cars which are the classic cars of today, eyebrows are raised. The 80s was the time when the Malaise era had ended, and things were limping back to normal, the key being limping and not rushing. People were a little iffy about putting down big money on powerful cars and in the muscle car category, automakers were simply not churning out power as they did in the ’60s.
This is why, on the list of the most powerful production cars of the ’80s, you are likely to see a lot of European names, because they did not have it as bad as the US did, after the fall of the muscle cars. Do keep heart though, because Buick and Pontiac did save the day, even if they were not a Porsche or Ferrari.

10 1987 Porsche 959


1987 Porsche 959 Komfort Sports Car
Via: BringaTrailer

At its debut in 1986, the game-changing Porsche 959 was not only the world’s fastest street-legal production car but was also way ahead of its times. It led in terms of technical innovations, including features like active suspension and a sequential twin-turbocharged engine.


1987 Porsche 959 Komfort 2-Door Coupe
Via: BringaTrailer

Claiming a staggering speed of almost 200 MPH, it went head-to-head with the reigning prancing horse of the time. It carried a twin-turbocharged 2.8-liter flat-6 mill that hammered out a massive 444 horses and 369 lb-ft of torque, for a 3.6-second waltz to 60 MPH from start.

9 1986 Aston Martin V8 Vantage 580 ‘X-Pack’


1988 Aston Martin V8 Vantage 580 'X-Pack' 2-Door Coupe
Via: Reddit

Dubbed as “Britain’s First Supercar”, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage was lightning fast with a 0-to-60 MPH time of just 5.3 seconds and a top speed of 170 MPH. However, the timeless yet formidable ‘X-Pack’ upgrade (with an ‘X’ suffix in the engine number) introduced in the autumn of 1986 was something else.


1988 Aston Martin V8 Vantage 580 'X-Pack' Grand Tourer
Via: ClassicTrader

It got Cosworth pistons and Nimrod racing-type heads boasting over 400 horses. It could be further tuned to up to 450 horses with plenty of after-market upgrades making it the most powerful production Aston Martin built in that era.
Related: The 10 Best Cars From James Bond Movies, Ranked

8 1989 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am With Buick Turbo V6


1989 Pontiac Firebird 20th Anniversary Turbo Trans Am 2-Door Coupe In White Paint
Via: BringaTrailer

The single-year Buick Turbo V6-armed 1989 Firebird Trans Am was one of the hottest cars of the 1980s. It was GM’s best way to celebrate the Firebird Trans Am 20th anniversary as it smoked the Corvette with its insane acceleration back in 1989.


1989 Pontiac Firebird 20th Anniversary Turbo Trans Am 2-Door Coupe In White
Via: BringaTrailer

The 3.8-liter turbocharged V6 milled out 250 horses, but in the real world, it was about 300 horses, enough for clocking a 0-to-60 MPH time of just 4.6 seconds on the way to a top speed of 162 MPH. Mind-blowing for the late 1980s.

7 1985-1988 DeTomaso Pantera GT5-S


1988 DeTomaso Pantera GT5-S Sports Car In Rosso Corsa Paint
Via: BringaTrailer

In 1985 De Tomaso rolled out the GT5-S and stunned the automotive world by launching the greatest Pantera of all time. The suffix “S” in GT5-S stood for “steel” as it was furnished with a single piece of flared steel fenders instead of the fiberglass ones that featured in its older sibling, the GT5.


1988 DeTomaso Pantera GT5-S 2-Door Coupe In Rosso Corsa
Via: BringaTrailer

It was powered by a stout 5.8-liter naturally aspirated Ford Cleveland V8 pumping out 350 horses and 333 lb-ft of torque enough for a 0-to-60 MPH sprint of 5.3 seconds. The transmission duties were handled by a deft 5-speed ZF fully synchronized manual which made way for a flawless drive.
Related: These Are The Coolest Wedge-Shaped Classic Cars Ever

6 1986 Porsche 911 Turbo Flachbau (930)


1987 Porsche 911 Turbo Slantnose (Flachbau) Sports Car In Guards Red
Via: Mecum

Porsche introduced a special edition of the already successful 930 Turbo called the Flachbau, also known as “flat nose” or “slant nose”, in 1986. In case you don’t know, the 930 Turbo produced between 1975 and 1989 is commonly known as the 911 Turbo in the auto bazaar.


1987 Porsche 911 Turbo Slantnose (Flachbau) Sports Car In Guards Red Paint
Via: Mecum

Apart from its distinctive flat front, these handmade cars also featured a larger 3.3-liter turbocharged engine cranking out a whopping 330 horses. With this massive leap in horsepower triggering a 0-to-60 MPH sprint of 4.7 seconds and 171 MPH tops, it became the fastest mass-production car at the time.

5 1981-1984 Ferrari BB 512i


1984 Ferrari 512 BBi Sports Car In Red Paint
Via: Mecum

Nicknamed BB, for the Berlinetta Boxer, the 512i fascinated Ferrari fans in the first half of the 1980s. This last of the BB-series ‘Rari received an upgraded fuel-injected 4.9-liter flat-12 powerplant thrashing out 335 horses and 333 lb-ft of torque.


1984 Ferrari 512 BBi Sports Car In Red
Via: Mecum

The newly-introduced Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system offered better performance and a flawless driving experience. This formidable formula resulted in a phenomenal performance of 512 BBi in its heydays. The 0-to-60 MPH record was set in just 5.4 seconds, and it could hit a top speed of 174 MPH.
Related: Here Are The Most Beautiful Classics Of The ’80s That Went Totally Unnoticed

4 1988 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary


1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Sports Car In Red
Via: Mecum

Launched in 1988, the 25th Anniversary Countach co-designed by Horacio Pagani was the ultimate Countach of all time. It was Lamborghini’s best way to end its production too. With an insane acceleration of 0-to-60 MPH in 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 183 MPH, it was the Countach’s fastest avatar ever.


1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Sports Car In Red Paint
Via: Mecum

Apart from the distinctive front and side spoilers, and updated air vents, it got a one-of-a-kind 5.2-liter V12 naturally-aspirated engine putting out an astounding 449 horses and 369 lb-ft of torque.

3 1987 Ferrari F40


1980s Ferrari F40 Sports Car
Via: Wikimedia Commons Will Ainsworth

In 1987, Ferrari celebrated its 40th anniversary, by making the fastest, most powerful, and most expensive production car, ever, the F40. The small-capacity 2.9-liter V8 engine with a parallel twin-turbocharged design churned out 471 horses and 426 lb-ft of torque, however, the high-revving US-spec F40 was rated at an enhanced 477 horsepower.


1980s Ferrari F40 Sports Car
Via: YouTube

With this dangerously fast powerplant, the F40 danced towards the 0-to-60 MPH target in just 3.8 seconds on the way to a mindboggling top speed of 201 MPH.
Related: Ranking The Fastest Sports Cars With Pop-Up Headlights Ever

2 1986-1987 Buick Grand National


1986 Buick Grand National 2-Door Coupe
Via: Mecum

In the low-horsepower performance-choking 1980s, Buick Grand National was a God’s gift to the power-crazy autophiles. In 1986, Buick slotted in a Garrett air-to-air intercooler to add more turbo boost, taking the power output to 235 horses. When further retuned, the engine cranked out an additional 10 horsepower. This reprogrammed 1987 model with a 3.8-liter V6 finally made 245 horses and 355 lb-ft of torque.


1986 Buick Grand National 2-Door Coupe
Via: Mecum

It was enough for a 4.9-second 0-to-60 MPH joyride that could leave behind the Ferraris and Lamborghinis of the time. It instantly became the most sought-after production car by GM in the mid-80s.

1 1987 Buick GNX


1987 Buick GNX 2-Door Coupe
Via: Mecum

The McLaren-tuned GNX had to be the best of the Buick’s litter of cars as it was the final year for the Grand National. Buick wanted the Grand National to go out with a big bang in 1987. The super-high-output GNX, “Grand National eXperimental” for GNX, wore a turbo intercooled 3.8-liter V6 jetting out 276 horses and a staggering 360 lb-ft of torque. However, in the real world, it was well over 300 horses and 420 lb-ft.


1987 Buick GNX 2-Door Coupe
Via: Mecum

It recorded a stunning 4.7-second 0-to-60 MPH time leaving behind supercars from Ferraris and Lamborghinis biting the dust.


The Classic 1965 Shelby Mustang GT350 2-Door Hardtop
10 Most Powerful Production Cars Of The ’60s

Read Next


About The Author

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: