Here Are The Most Beautiful Classics Of The ’80s That Went Totally Unnoticed

There are plenty of memorable, beautiful classic cars of the ‘80s. The Chevy C4, the Buick GNX, the Ferrari Testarossa, and the Delorean DMC-12 are just a few we can name off the top of our heads. Not only were these cars super cool, but they were also stunning to look at and came with decent, if not superior power.

But there are also plenty of beautiful classics of the ‘80s that slipped under the radar, for various reasons. Some of them did not do all that well and were produced in limited numbers, others were not right for their time.

The ‘80s was also a tentative, tiptoeing time from the auto industry that was still nursing its wounds from all the craziness of the malaise era. This was not a decade of true automotive superiority. Still, these beautiful classics from the ‘80s did not deserve to go unnoticed, and we’ll tell you why.

10 1986-1993 Lamborghini LM002: Lambo’s First SUV

1989 Lamborghini LM002 SUV
Via: BringaTrailer

The V12-armed LM002 was more popularly known as Rambo Lambo. It was Lamborghini’s first SUV and used the same engine that also powered the Countach of this era. The macho 5.2-liter V12 cranked out 444 horses and 368 lb-ft of torque in the LM002.

1989 Lamborghini LM002 5-Speed SUV
Via; BringaTrailer

Power was sent to all four wheels through a 5-speed manual transmission to achieve an astonishing 0-to-60 MPH sprint in just 7.7 seconds. These are exceptional figures for a war machine that’s about 6780 pounds in weight, but it remains an obscure rarity for most. Plus, you have to agree that is one of the most beautiful classics of the ’80s.

Related: 10 Most Powerful ’80s Cars Anyone Can Buy

9 1989-1991 BMW Z1: Exotic Allure

1989 BMW Z1 Roadster
Via: BringaTrailer

The original Z-badged BMW debuted in 1989 as a 2-seat convertible titled Z1. With near-magical disappearing doors and a wedge-shaped appearance, it looked gorgeous and ahead of its time. However, this beautiful 1980s classic went unnoticed.

1989 BMW Z1 Roadster In Traumschwarz Metallic
Via: BringaTrailer

There are two reasons, first, it never reached the US shores, and second, it didn’t do well in other markets either. There are a few imported examples at Hemmings for about $50,000 worth every penny, for this is one of the most beautiful classics of the ‘80s.

8 1987-1989 Dodge Shelby CSX: A Dodge On ‘Roids

1989 Shelby CSX-VNT Sport Compact
Via: BringaTrailer

The 1980s and 1990s were the halcyon days for Chrysler as they belted out many models. The Shelby CSX, as in the Carroll Shelby eXperimental, was a product of this decade. It was a good-looking Dodge Shadow that was put on steroids by the American automotive legend, Carroll Shelby.

1989 Shelby CSX-VNT Sport Compact In Red
Via: BringaTrailer

Production was limited to 500 models, so it later became one of the rarest Dodges we ever had. They are affordable in the classic car bazaar nowadays and can be a cool addition to any classic garage. Plus, they are one of the most beautiful classics of the ‘80s as well.

Related: 5 Coolest Shelby Cars (& 5 That Just Weren’t Right)

7 1985-1989 Merkur XR4Ti: Call It Mare-Koor

1987 Merkur XR4Ti 3-Dooor Hatchback
Via: BringaTrailer

In the mid-1980s Ford developed the front-engine Merkur XR4Ti that was essentially the European Ford Sierra coupe homologated for the US car bazaar. As a performance-oriented 3-door hatch wearing an exceptional bi-plane rear spoiler, it was a real delight to drive.

1988 Merkur XR4Ti Turbocharged 3-Door Hatchback
Via: BringaTrailer

This rear-wheel-drive rally-bred XR4Ti used a turbocharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine between the front fenders cranking out 175 horses when mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The car had so much to offer that it featured on many top lists, but it got sidelined because of fuel injection troubles.

6 1988-1989 Mazda 323 GTX: Limited Production

1988 Mazda 323 GTX 3-Door Hatchback
Via: Mecum

The Mazda 323 GTX was another rally-bred car that reached the US shores in the late 1980s. At the time it had everything a real gearhead could ask for including an all-wheel-drive, a standard lockable planetary center differential, a manic turbocharged engine, and an affordable price tag.

1988 Mazda 323 GTX 3-Door Hatchback In Red
Via: Mecum

The 323 GTX was a member of Mazda’s long-running Familia line of small cars, but it was different. Its DOHC 16-valve turbo-four motor churned out 132 horses and clocked a 0-to-60 MPH time of 8.7 seconds with top speeds of 120 MPH. But it was built in limited numbers and remains an unnoticed rarity to date.

Related: These ’80s Sports Cars Will Last You A Lifetime

5 1982-1989 Chrysler Conquest: Rebadged & Rebuffed

1989 Chrysler Conquest TSi Sports Car
Via: BringaTrailer

Chrysler sold the badge-engineered variants of the Mitsubishi Starion under the Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth banners in the 1980s. Jointly dubbed as StarQuest they came with turbocharged inline-4s with the displacement options of 2.0 or 2.6 liters, making 150-197 horses.

1989 Chrysler Conquest TSi Sports Car 5-Speed
Via: BringaTrailer

This Chrysler-branded rebadged Mitsubishi looked gorgeous with its angular lines and pop-up headlights. It came with smart treats like funky wheels, body kits, tinted taillights, and digital gauges. However, it still went unnoticed despite being one of the most beautiful classics of the ‘80s. Mostly because the Starion was already on the market.

4 1988-1991 Subaru XT6: No One’s First Choice

1988 Subaru XT6 Sports Car
Via: BringaTrailer

The 1980s Subaru XT with a near-Blade Runner stance carried a futuristic wedge design unlike any other car of that period. It was equally wild on the insides featuring a unique pistol-shaped two-spoke steering wheel and a space-age gauge cluster pod.

1988 Subaru XT6 5-Speed Sports Car
Via: BringaTrailer

A few other fancy treats like a digital dash and an adjustable air suspension were also on the platter. However, the XT remained low on sales as its paltry 111-horsepower engine failed to attract enough buyers. The XT6 trim made things better with a brasher 2.7-liter flat-six pumping out 145 horses and extra amenities. It’s just that Subaru, as a brand, was not all that valued.

3 1984-1986 Dodge Omni Shelby GLH/GLHS: Still Not A ‘Stang

1986 Dodge Omni Shelby GLHS Hot Hatch
Via: BringaTrailer

Unlike many other rebadged variants in the 1980s, the Dodge Omni and its twin, the Plymouth Horizon, were Chrysler’s first domestic-built subcompacts for the US audience. The coolest of them was the Shelby-ized Omni that wore the GLH and the GLH-S badges, which stood for “Goes Like Hell” and “Goes Like Hell S’more” respectively.

1986 Dodge Omni Shelby GLH-S Hot Hatch
Via: BringaTrailer

Only 500 of them were ever made that’s why they went unnoticed. The top-of-the-line trim came armed with a 2.2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder mill putting out a massive 175 ponies. There is one up on BAT auction, and it’s a GLH-S trim.

Related: 10 Status-Symbol Sports Cars Of The ’80s No One Is Buying Anymore

2 1980-1988 AMC Eagle: AMC’s Last Flight

1980 AMC Eagle Limited Crossover SUV
Via: Mecum

The four-wheel-drive Eagle was AMC’s last car before it got merged into the Chrysler group in 1988. Chrysler later kept the nameplate alive for another decade. However, the well-equipped 1980s AMC Eagle was ideal for an all-weather situation at the time, especially in the wagon body style.

1980 AMC Eagle Limited Crossover SUV In White
Via: Mecum

It rode high on a lifted suspension and could be bought with a distinctive wood-grain siding. The AMC Eagle wagon’s design was so revolutionary for its times that other automakers came up with their versions later. It’s also dubbed as the predecessor to the modern crossovers and yet, slipped by unnoticed in the ‘80s.

1 1981-1988 Lamborghini Jalpa: Obscure Supercar

1981 Lamborghini Jalpa Sports Car
Via: Lamborghini

Another Lamborghini that’s little-known was the Jalpa, and this is so because it sold in very small numbers all through the 1980s. Just about 410 Jalpas were ever sold in an 8-year lifecycle between 1981 and 1988. It may have gone unnoticed, but its lovely wedge-shaped design makes it one of the most beautiful classics of the ‘80s.

1981 Lamborghini Jalpa Classic Sports Car
Via: Lamborghini

Under the hood, they were equipped with a beefy 3.5-liter V8 power hammering out 250 horses and 230 lb-ft of torque. A 6.1-second 0-to-60 MPH feat was also on the menu. Today a well-kept example comes with an asking price in six figures in the classic car bazaar. There’s one up for grabs at Hemmings.

Sources: Hemmings, Hagerty, BringaTrailer

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