Automotive technology was evolving rapidly in the eighties, and the thought of an electric-powered car was quite intriguing. The problem was that battery technology was still in its infancy at this point and a full-fledged electric car would have been too costly to mass-produce. Another problem was that the potential electric cars were either downright ugly or impractical for most consumers.
The early adoptions of electric cars didn’t have very much range and most of these cars were concepts or very low production models. Nowadays the electric cars are everywhere with companies like Tesla bringing these models to the mainstream.
Blind-spot monitors have become the norm in most modern vehicles, but there was a time when this technology was in its infancy. The earliest blind spot monitoring systems were simplistic devices that would beep when the vehicle was too close to something. This was an easy way for the driver to park without all of the fuss that comes with looking out your blind spot.
The current blind-spot monitoring systems have managed to change the way that we drive. These new technologies have continued to make driving a much safer experience, and the blind spot is one of the most crucial parts of driving a car.
Early leather and cloth seating in the 1980s were notorious for either being too hot or too cold. Now there are all kinds of unique features such as air-conditioned seating and ventilated seating for those hot summer days. The adaption of ventilated seating has made the hot leather seats a much more comfortable aspect.
For those that live in a hot or cold climate, these seats are a lifesaver, especially if you spend a lot of time in your vehicle. The ventilated seating that we find in vehicles these days have changed the way that we drive for the better.
In the ’80s, you had to have a conversion van or a limousine to get any kind of an infotainment center. The VCR that you could have built into your car would make camping trips great and enjoyable during this period. The infotainment center never caught on with regular consumers until the turn of the millennium. Now you can get an infotainment center in just about every car on the market.
For family trips, the infotainment center can make things a lot more enjoyable. No longer do you have to count slug bugs or license plates, because you can watch a movie or stream your favorite podcasts for the whole family to enjoy.
With gas prices skyrocketing during the 1980s, the need for cylinder deactivation was a real one. Initially seen on the Cadillac and a few other choice cars, this was a unique technology that would cut off cylinders to the car. Initially, technology was very hard to get right and reliability was questionable at best.
However, cylinder deactivation has been renewed in the last couple of decades. Cylinder deactivation these days has brought about the most fuel-efficient pickup trucks on the road. You’ll find cylinder deactivation technology is most larger displacement vehicles on the market today.
The most notable feature of eighties cars were the gullwing doors introduced on the Delorean. These were thought to be the “future” and for the most part, you couldn’t miss them. Unfortunately, the automotive design changed for quite some time but the gullwing doors are making a comeback these days, most notably on the Tesla Model X and a few other supercars such as the Ford GT.
While gullwing doors were a notable feature of the era that defined movies like “Back To The Future,” the resurgence is a cool feature for many modern drivers. Gullwing doors are perhaps one of the most unique features of ’80es car design that has lasted to this day.
Most notable on the Lamborghini Countach and a few other supercars from this decade were the extreme spoilers you’d find hanging off of the rear. Sports cars have always managed to invoke the emotions of their drivers, and the spoilers of the ’80s were a notable hallmark of the era. Extreme spoilers are starting to make a resurgence in new models such as the Honda Civic SI.
Because of the rise in crossover vehicles, you only see spoilers on certain vehicles, from the Civic to the newest crop of supercars coming out of Germany. The oversized spoilers of the eighties are making a comeback like never before.
Remember the Nissan hardbody truck or the Toyota 4×4 of the eighties? The truck that Marty Mcfly drooled over? Well, these trucks have made comeback in the current era. Take the Ford Raptor, for instance, a truck that is more at home in the desert than on the way to the grocery store. Chevy has also jumped into the mix with the Silverado Trail Boss, and Nissan is offering the Frontier Desert Runner.
Baja trucks were a notable part of the eighties that were fun to drive and cheap to maintain. The fact that these trucks are making a comeback is a sure sign of the times. If you longed for one of these trucks before, there has never been a better time to get a modern incarnation.
Although crossover vehicles are the bread and butter of the automotive industry today, there was a time when these vehicles were originally introduced. One of the first crossovers was the AMC Eagle, an offroad-inspired wagon. With its high ride height and aggressive look, the Eagle was an interesting concept and caught on with consumers. It wasn’t until decades later that these crossovers have become the norm.
Just another interesting part of the automotive industry that managed to catch on once again with a new generation of consumers, the Eagle was a defining part of a new generation of vehicles that were on the horizon.
The eighties birthed a resurgence in high horsepower cars that pushed the boundaries of performance. Take the Buick GNX for example, as well as the Lamborghini Countach and several other special-edition cars. During the nineties, cars with extreme horsepower ratings had died off once again, but they are now making another resurgence.
The Dodge Demon is one notable example, as well as the Ford Mustang GT500. These cars are the next generation of powerful performance vehicles. You can’t go wrong with a fun-to-drive car that has a boatload of performance.
A lot of the cars that came out of the ’80s were turbocharged, especially cheaper low-end models. These turbocharged cars were notoriously fun to drive and cheap to own. Automakers are starting to move back to this formula to get the most performance out of four-cylinder engines. Chrysler was one of the first domestic automakers to embrace lightweight turbocharged cars.
With the benefits of a turbocharger, you can get more power and performance out of a cheap, lightweight engine. The turbocharged engines of today are a welcome addition to the automotive landscape and the future of cars.
Another interesting feature of sports cars in the ’80s was Targa tops. Whether it was the Corvette or the Fiero, these were an interesting part of the automotive industry. The Targa top gives you the joy of a convertible without affecting the overall ride quality or stability of the sports car.
Targa tops have been making a comeback on some of the most notable exotic sports cars that are hitting the road right now. This is an influential part of the automotive industry that will continue to please enthusiasts. Another interesting thing about Targa tops is that it is one of the most notable parts of the original Corvette models that featured them.
The Rotary engine is one of the most ubiquitous parts of the automotive industry. The unique design is highly regarded in the performance community and was a pioneering feature of the Mazda brand early on. Rotary engines have managed to carve a niche in the automotive industry that still rings true to this day. The unparalleled performance and durability of the engine have survived in one form or another for decades.
Rotary engines are just one aspect of the eighties that has managed to make a comeback. But when you think about engine technology and recent advances, you can’t go wrong with a rotary engine and the performance it brings.
A lot of automakers have decided to dip into the well of the past, and part of this has been done with retro revisions. Whether it is the special edition Mustang 5.0 or the Bullitt model, there are plenty of retro-themed cars on the road. The retro-themed vehicles have been making waves for the last couple of decades. Buyers flock to these cars because they remind drivers of a better time in their lives.
Retro redesigns are getting a bit redundant, but as long as the automakers keep these fresh they should maintain footing. Automotive design has evolved a lot, but an iconic design is something that will stay fresh for quite a long time.
Take a look at the Jeep Wrangler and the new Ford Bronco and you’ll see something in common. The same open-air design that was rampant during the eighties when it came to compact SUV models. The Jeep Wrangler has maintained an iconic style while the Ford Bronco has been completely revised. These compact SUV models are only going to spur even more offerings as the future goes on.
In the 1980s we had the Suzuki Samurai, the Geo Tracker, and more. These SUVs were the pinnacle of style and offered a unique driving machine for a new generation. The open-air SUV is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to relive the eighties.
For a long period, the station wagon had lost its footing as the family car. But after the minivan had lost its dominance and crossovers made their mark, automakers are doubling back to the station wagon. Whether you want a performance model or an off-road model there are plenty of unique station wagons to choose from. The station wagon might not be the dominant force it once was, but there is still a resurgence for these vehicles.
Time will tell how the station wagon will manage to fare this time around, but this is one eighties theme that has been making serious inroads. The station wagon was always an instrumental part of the automotive industry in one form or another.