During the 1980s the auto industry had its best-ever sales. The economy was good, unemployment low, and life seemed to be a lot more fun for everyone. There was a lot of money floating around and people spent it on cars. In particular, they spent it on luxury cars. In the 1980s people were more interested in showing off than saving money.
Carmakers began to design cars that were extra luxurious with an emphasis on comfort and convenience rather than performance and handling. The cars of the 1980s were often huge, powerful, and plush. They had lots of chrome, wood, leather, and other luxurious materials. The overall effect was that the cars looked like they belonged on a yacht or in an old movie about gangsters or a James Bond movie.
The style wasn’t necessarily new but carmakers tried to push it further than ever before in the 1980s by putting even more chrome trim on their cars and making their interiors lavish beyond what people could imagine what this decade would be like before it came into existence. These high-end luxury autos from the 1980s cost as much as $100,000 at their peak but you can find them today for much less still looking great for their age while you commute in style
Buick Regal Grand National:
The Buick Regal had been one of the most popular American cars of the 1970s and 1980s. By 1987 it was starting to show its age, though, and it was time for a new breed of a luxury car to take over in America.
That new breed turned out to be the Buick Regal Grand National, which was a sedan version of the previous year’s Buick GNX. The Buick Regal Grand National had more power than any other stock car at that time. It also had a standard V6 engine but it could be optioned out with an all-new turbocharged V6 or even with a V8 engine if you wanted extra power.
The Grand National also came with more luxurious options than any other car at that time including leather upholstery, heated seats (a first for GM), automatic climate control, and lots more standard features like power windows and locks that were not available on many cheaper cars during this era.
The only drawback of the Buick Regal Grand National was that it drove like a boat compared to other American sedans of that era due to its size and weight.
However, few cars are more luxurious than a Buick Regal Grand National, and few cars that look more like they have just been covered in gold. These days the Grand National can be found for as little as $10,000 in good condition but the Turbo model can get much more expensive.
In 1984 Mercedes-Benz came out with its first convertible since the 1950s called the 560SL. It was a sports car that was specifically designed to be luxurious.
It had an automatic transmission, power windows, and seat adjustment, air conditioning, power seats, cruise control, and all kinds of other features that were not available on most other convertibles at that time.
The engine was a carbureted 5.6-liter V8 engine that produced nearly 300 horsepower which was enough to make this car one of the fastest convertibles ever built and it also made this car capable of high speeds.
The top speed was electronically limited to 125 miles per hour even though the engine had no problem going faster than that. Inside, the car had leather seats with contrasting piping on them which gave the vehicle a unique look inside plus there were plenty of wood trim pieces along with chrome accents all over the interior to make it look even more luxurious.
In 1986 the Mercedes-Benz company started seeing competition from BMW with its new 6-Series model so they decided to revamp their 560SL model.
The result was the 1987 Mercedes-Benz 560SL which had a new 5.5-liter V8 engine that produced 355 horsepower as well as an updated suspension and some other minor improvements.
The big change, though, was that in the 1987 model year the convertible top could be opened at speeds up to 40 miles per hour which made it much easier to use than the original car and also made it easier for people who live in hot states like Florida or Arizona to use this car year-round instead of just in the summer months.
The styling of these cars was unlike any other Mercedes-Benz ever built and they were available in a variety of colors including red, white, black, and blue.
The color choices for larger luxury cars at that time were limited to very black or very white so these cars stood out on the road compared to other high-end vehicles (especially since many people who owned one of these cars also purchased a matching color Mercedes-Benz SL coupe). Today you can find a nice example of a 1986 or 1987 560SL for around $10,000 in good condition.
In the 1980s the Ford Thunderbird was a popular car that combined luxury with performance. There were two versions of the Thunderbird made during this time, one being the 1982 to 1985 Thunderbird and the other being the 1986 to 1989 Thunderbird.
The two cars had different appearances but they both had V8 engines and air conditioning as well as power steering and power brakes. The 1982 to 1985 model was a bit more luxurious than its successor but it also cost more since it was a luxury car with a standard V8 instead of an option like in the 1986 to 1989 model year.
In fact, for the first time, you could get a Ford with an automatic transmission as well as an optional V6 engine in addition to its standard V8 engine.
There were two different versions of this car offered by Ford, one called T-Top which had removable roof panels on both sides of the vehicle, and another called Hardtop which only had removable roof panels on one side.
These cars were known for their smooth ride and their quiet cabin along with great handling thanks to their independent rear suspension along with the strong independent front suspension that made them feel much sportier than other American sedans at that time.
A new design was created for the 1986 to 1989 Thunderbird that made it look more like a sports car than a luxury car.
The styling of the car was designed to be more aerodynamic than its predecessor so it had a much sharper look to it that many people liked. This new design also had hidden headlamps which made it look sleeker as well.
The Thunderbird was available in six different model designations and two of them were V8 powered vehicles.
These models were called the Sport Coupe and the Super Coupe. There were even some Thunderbirds that came with automatic transmissions but they weren’t as popular as the ones that came with manual transmissions.