Can You ID These '80s Cars From a One Sentence Description?
By: Ian Fortey
Image: Wiki Commons by Will Ainsworth
About This Quiz
Depending on your point of view, the 1980s either produced some of the best cars ever or some of the most hideous. And every so often, like with the Dodge Omni Shelby, it did both at once. A few of the designs of that decade have stood the test of time and are still around today. Cars like the Toyota Camry and the Hyundai Elantra started in the '80s and became huge. Others, like the legendary DeLorean, fizzled out quickly but earned a place in history thanks to pop culture. And then there are cars like the Plymouth Caravelle that are all but forgotten today.
Whatever your opinion on '80s design aesthetic, you can't deny that there were at least a few really cool models from the decade and also some exceptional performance vehicles as well. Its unique place at the end of the muscle car era and the beginning of the turn towards fuel economy and eco-friendly vehicles made it an amazing time in automotive history, and one that won't be soon forgotten. But that also implies you need to remember these cars, so let's see how many you can recall just based on a simple one-sentence description. Take the quiz and see what you can do!
Wiki Commons by Thilo Parg
This car had gull-wing doors and could travel back in time, at least on film. What was it?
Lotus Elan M100
Few cars are as easy to recognize as the DeLorean, named after its infamous creator John DeLorean. Despite being an American sports car company based in New York, the company assembled them at a plant in Ireland.
Do you know the name of this car designed as the first four-wheel-drive rally car?
The Quattro part of the Audi Quattro's name is a reference to the car being four-wheel drive. Rally cars were not permitted to be four-wheel-drive vehicles in the years prior to the Quattro's production, but when that changed Audi made the car to compete and for street driving.
Can you name this 12-cylinder mid-engine sports car?
The Ferrari Testarossa hit the scene in 1984, and between then and 1996, when its production run ended, almost 10,000 of them were produced. Ferrari is known for limited production runs of their cars, so the Testarossa was one of their most mass-produced ever.
They named which luxury car for a stretch of the Le Mans race course?
Rolls Royce Wraith
Bentley produced the Mulsanne from 1980 until 1992 and named it in honor of the company's racing history. Between 1924 and 1930, Bentley had actually won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race an impressive five times.
Though most people just call it an IROC, the IROC-Z was a Camaro model introduced in 1985. IROC stands for "International Race of Champions," and the IROC-Z was an option for the Z28 Camaro. It came with tweaked suspension, shocks and a lower height.
Which of these was the first K-Car marketed by the Chrysler Corporation?
The Plymouth Reliant and the Dodge Aries were the same car, just rebadged with different names. They were introduced in 1981 and became the first K-Cars, which meant they were all built on what would become a popular platform at the time.
In 1980, which of these was the only American-made four-wheel-drive passenger car on the market?
AMC's Eagle was produced from 1980 until 1988. They were famous not just for their all-wheel-drive capability but their raised suspension, which gave them a curious, almost bug-like appearance. You could also get them with wood trim to complete the '80s look.
Do you know which of these was the first American-built compact pickup from the Big Three?
The Chevy S-10 pickup was first produced for the 1982 model year as a replacement for the Chevy LUV. The LUV was a compact pickup truck, but it was actually a rebadged Isuzu KB, so when the S-10 was made domestically, it became the first of its kind.
In 1986, which of these was the fastest passenger sedan in the world?
The AMG Hammer was more widely known as the Mercedes AMG, with "Hammer" being a common nickname. Why did anyone care to nickname this particular car? Because they'd taken a 5.6-liter 360 hp V8 and crammed it into a midsize sedan, making a performance monster. Shown here is a 1987 Mercedes AMG Hammer Wagon.
In 1984, this was the top-selling model from its manufacturer. Do you know it?
Pontiac sold over 122,000 Pontiac 6000s in 1984, making it their most popular model. Despite its popularity, not everyone was a fan. In the 1987 movie "Robocop," there's a commercial for a car called the 6000 SUX that is a direct dig at the Pontiac.
Which car, introduced in 1982, has been the top-selling car in America for the past several years?
The Toyota Camry has been a massive seller for Toyota year over year for ages now. In fact, they've sold over 300,000 units in America alone every single year since 1994, often cracking 400,000, and that's not including hybrid sales.
An M88/3 dual overhead cam straight-six engine gave which of these cars a top speed of 158 miles per hour?
The BMW M6 was produced from 1983 until 1989. North America and Japan got the cars with the easy to remember "M6" moniker while in Europe, they opted to call them the harder to recall BMW M635CSi. Regardless of the name, they were built as the performance version of the 6 Series.
Can you name this front-wheel-drive sports car that was rebadged as the Chrysler Laser?
The Dodge Dayton was named in honor of the Dodge Charger Daytona from the 1960s and '70s. The Charger Daytona was named in honor of the Daytona 500 race, and the Daytona 500 race was, of course, named for the town of Daytona Beach, Florida.
Which of these 1987 muscle cars was produced in conjunction with McLaren?
Ferrari 288 GTO
Buick Grand National GNX
Word is that at some point in time at the 1985 Indianapolis 500, representatives from Buick and McLaren got together to talk shop and came up with the idea for the Buick Grand National GNX. The car had 300 horsepower, and it could do a 1/4 mile faster than a Ferrari F40 or a Porsche 930.
This car was introduced in 1984 to be a fuel-efficient, eco-friendly rival to similar Japanese and European imports. What was it?
It's one of the most ubiquitous cars of the 1980s, and the Ford Tempo had a 10-year run from 1984 to 1994. Though considered an example of ugly '80s engineering these days, it sold over 2.7 million units in its decade of existence.
Which of these cars officially has "Goes Like Hell" as part of its name?
Dodge Omni Shelby
The proper name for a Dodge Omni Shelby, designed in part by the legendary Carroll Shelby, is the Dodge Omi GLH. The original name was set to be the Coyote, but Shelby didn't like that. He chose the initials GLH for "Goes Like Hell." And it did!
Which of these cars was Plymouth's first front-wheel-drive sedan?
The Plymouth Caravelle was introduced in Canada in 1983 and then made its way to the United States by 1985. The name, though French in appearance, is from the Portuguese "caravel," which was a kind of quick and agile sailing ship.
The back of which of these cars had a load capacity of 1,145lbs?
Chevy Monte Carlo SS
The Dodge Rampage, also rebadged a couple of years later as the Plymouth Scamp, was one of those cars that had the back half-sawed down into a flatbed, like a pickup truck. Even though Chevy's El Camino was more widely known, the Rampage was one of several vehicles designed with a similar flatbed concept.
What was the name of the mid-engine sports car that was Pontiac's first two-seater since 1938?
The Pontiac Fiero was the first mid-engine sports car mass-produced by a U.S. manufacturer ever. It featured composite panels, speakers hidden in the headrests and fold-down headlights as well. Despite its innovations, it's still regarded as one of the uglier cars of the 1980s by some, while it's beloved by others.
Introduced in 1985, which of these cars is sometimes credited with saving Ford from bankruptcy?
The Ford Taurus was a massive project developed by Ford that took years to develop and billions of dollars. It was the first Ford to be developed by engineers and designers together rather than separately, and it was hugely popular. The first generation sold over 1 million units.
$400,000 was the suggested retail price for which of these cars back in 1987?
The Ferrari F40 was produced to celebrate Ferrari's 40h anniversary, hence the name. It was the last car personally approved by Enzo Ferrari before his death. Initially, only 400 were planned, but they ended up producing 1,311 of them.
Do you know this car that was also sold as the Pony, the Presto and the X2?
The Hyundai Excel was meant to replace an earlier Hyundai model called the Pony. Despite that, in European markets, the Excel was branded as the Pony even though the two cars were different. In the U.S., it was also rebadged for a time as the Mitsubishi Precis.
The sides of which of these cars have been compared to cheese graters?
Just because it's a Ferrari doesn't mean people won't make fun of it, and that's what happened to the Ferrari Testarossa. It was introduced in 1984 and featured some very prominent side strakes on the doors, which were compared more than once to cheese graters or egg slicers.
In 1986, which of these became the world's fastest production car with a top speed of 197 mph?
The Porsche 959 was built for racing, but the International Automobile Federation has homologation rules that require manufacturers to make a certain number of street-legal versions of any race cars they produce. The normal top speed of the 959 was 197 miles per hour, but some models could reach 211 mph.
Which of these cars were raced in Nascar a year before the public was able to buy them?
Ford Mustang GT 5.0
Chevy introduced the Lumina in 1989, and it caused quite a stir among race fans as a result. Because the Lumina was new, and the public hadn't seen it yet, people apparently wrote letters complaining about Chevy having an unfair advantage with their new aluminum car.
This compact sports car was named after an 18th-century racehorse. What is it?
Mitsubishi introduced the Eclipse in 1989. Despite the easy inference that it's named for the astronomical phenomenon, Mitsubishi has said that the name Eclipse is a reference to an English racehorse that retired undefeated after 18 races and is part of the pedigree of most modern Thoroughbred horses.
Which car had unique plastic body panels and vertical sliding doors?
The BMW Z1 is a convertible roadster produced in 1988. While novelty doors are not unheard of in cars (including things like gullwing doors and butterfly doors), the doors of the Z1 actually drop down into the door sills, much like how the windows of a normal door slide down into the panels when opened.
Do you know the name of this V8-powered sports car that was designed to be an affordable alternative to other models?
De Tomaso Pantera
Ferrari 288 GTO
It's one of the lesser-known Lamborghini models, and the Jalpa was meant to be a more accessible car than something like the Countach, which was their flagship at the time. It was cheaper and had fewer bells and whistles, but word is it was easier to drive than a Countach.
Which of these was also sold as the Dodge Conquest?
Mitsubishi sold the Starion from 1983 until 1989. Chrysler sold rebadged versions of the Starion in North America as both the Dodge Conquest and the Plymouth Conquest for several years alongside the Mitsubishi Starion.
Honda introduced this car to replace the Quint in 1986. What is it?
Honda's Integra has proven to be one of Honda's most popular models ever. It made "Car and Driver's" 10 Best List six different times, the first in 1987. Numerous publications from "The Telegraph" to "Motor1" to "Road and Track" have called it the greatest front-wheel-drive car ever made.
Which two-seater convertible sports car cost $55 million in development costs?
Lotus Elan M100
Lotus began producing the Elan originally in 1962, but production ended in 1975. It was started up again in 1989 with the M100 model. The engine and transmission were designed by Isuzu, giving the car a top speed of 137 miles per hour.
Chevy designed which of these cars at the same studio responsible for the Corvette and the Camaro?
Chevy introduced the Beretta in 1987. For a time, it was a rather popular car and a convertible model even served as a pace car at the Indianapolis 500 in 1990. GM was sued over the name of the car by Fabbrica d'Armi Pietro Beretta, the company that makes Beretta handguns.
Though this car had been available since 1969, in 1983, a Super Sport version was made available. What was it?
Chevy Monte Carlo
The 1983 Chevy Monte Carlo SS was the only major upgrade to the model for the 1983 year. The SS had been unavailable for 12 years prior to that. The upgrade included the European color options, new front design and a V8 engine.
Do you know which subcompact Toyota model was sometimes marketed as the Corolla II?
The Toyota Tercel was actually introduced in 1979 but rose to prominence throughout the 1980s and was sold until 1999. The name comes from the Latin word for "one-third," since the car was smaller than its counterparts.
You might know this car better as KITT from the TV show "Knight Rider." What is it?
Ferrari 288 GTO
Pontiac Trans Am Firebird
KITT, and his less popular evil car counterpart KARR, were both Pontiac Trans Am Firebirds from the car's third generation. The third generation was produced from 1982 until 1992. A Firebird Trans Am was also the pace car at the 1980 Indianapolis 500.