Big 3's '80s vehicle fans speak out
Maybe I was harsh when I likened the 1980s to the Dark Ages. Certainly,
readers responded enthusiastically when I asked you to nominate exciting
and memorable cars the Big Three built in that decade. And maybe Sen.
Barack Obama was right when he singled out the Ford Granada as one of
the worst vehicles Detroit ever produced. Nobody wrote in to defend the
car that he learned to drive in and recalls unfondly as a tin can,
anyway. Here are some of the '80s vehicles people did speak up for:
"You may laugh but I loved my 1982 AMC Eagle SX4. With its stout inline
6 and AWD it ran on any pavement condition like it was on rails. It also
had good enough ground clearance that I did some mild off-roading, too.
Kind of like the grandfather of mini-SUV/crossovers."
"A real neat '80s car is my 'Arrest Me Red' 1985 Mustang GT, the last of
the carbureted Mustangs and a factory hot rod."
"The best car I ever owned was my 1988 Ford Thunderbird that I bought
off my brother-in-law."
"The 1979 to 1985 Buick Riviera was a splendid, elegant automobile. The
perfect doctor's car. I had a 1985, black with a deep burgundy
interior...drove it five years without a hitch."
"I have to nominate the 1983-86 Thunderbird TurboCoupe. When it came to
styling, this Jack Telnack aero bird was a game changer. I have seen
this car listed on top 10 lists of most influential designs."
"I would like to add two cars to your list, the 1980 Chrysler LeBaron
and the 1980 Plymouth Volare. My parents owned each of these cars and
they are what I learned to drive in. They each had the famous slant 6,
which almost seemed bulletproof. The Chrysler is in my dad's garage
waiting to be restored."
"I feel that any list of praise for cars of the '80s should include the
1982-86 Thunderbird and Cougar. The Thunderbird actually ushered in the
aerodynamic look 4 years before the Taurus did in 1986."
"My fondly-remembered first new car purchase was a red Chevy Monza
Spyder powered by the 3.8L V6. This was a great small car with tenacious
handling, decent power and 24 m.p.g. on the highway."
One reader who said he is a fan not only of the cars but of the pop
culture from the '70s and '80s submitted a long list of cars and
included pictures and advertisements. The list included everything from
the Cadillac Cimarron and Ford Country Squire to the Chrysler K car.
"The idea that quality and reliability was suspect is on target, but I
think that's why I'm attracted to those cars that died out quicker
rather than later," he said. "I know those cars were pretty much
disposable but I would love the looks I would get."