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Here are 10 Great 1980s Performance Cars for Sale on Autotrader


The 80s is increasingly getting the appreciation it deserves as a decade full of fantastic performance cars. It may have been deep in the “malaise” era with many slow, boring economy cars, but there are many bright spots to get excited about. Whether you’re an enthusiast looking for a retro ride or a serious collector looking for a new addition, there’s something on this list for you.

Here are 10 great 1980s performance cars for sale on Autotrader.

1. 1984 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce

1984 Alfa Romeo Spider in green.
This Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce Quadrifglio is listed on Autotrader for $15,995.

Alfa Romeo may be on its way to becoming an SUV brand in the U.S., but it has a rich history of building stylish roadsters. One of the finest examples is this 1984 Spider Veloce Quadrifoglio in great condition, offered for under $20,000. It’s a soft-top convertible in a handsome color scheme with green paint and tan leather seats. This is an Italian sports car with distinctive details like an unconventional shifter, odd tailpipe placement, and the word “OLIO” on the oil cap under the hood. See Alfa Romeo Spider models for sale

2. 1988 BMW M6

1988 BMW M6 front right in black
This 1988 BMW M6 is just under $200,000.

Enthusiasts love the BMW E24 M6. The original M6 is iconic for its subtle yet sporty styling, luxurious, driver-oriented interior, and of course, the stunning performance from the S38B35 engine borrowed from the M1. This 1988 BMW M6 is offered by the venerable Enthusiast Auto Group in Cincinnati, Ohio, which rightly calls this a “concourse example.” It’s also priced like one with an asking price of just under $200,000. The only modifications are a Supersprint muffler and staggered Alpina wheels. See BMW M6 models for sale

3. 1987 Buick Regal Grand National

1987 Buick Regal Grand National
This 1987 Buick Regal Grand National is $57,995.

What happens when you take a relatively humble Buick Regal coupe, paint it black, and put a turbocharged V6 under the hood? Surprisingly, you get an enduring automotive icon. The Buick Regal Grand National subverted expectations with stunning quarter-mile times, and it only needed six cylinders to do it. 1987 is a desirable model year for the Grand National because it used air-to-air intercooling that boosted performance over earlier models to 245 horsepower and 355 lb-ft of torque. This 1987 Buick Regal Grand National is a low-mile, one-owner example offered for $57,995. If well-preserved, the value could keep climbing. See Buick Regal Grand National models for sale

4. 1982 Datsun 280ZX

1982 Datsun 280ZX
This 1982 Datsun 280ZX is only $19,900.

Here’s an iconic 80s performance car that you can actually enjoy driving without worrying too much about hurting its value. This is a bargain choice on this list with an asking price of only $19,900. This 1982 Datsun 280ZX comes in a desirable configuration with a manual transmission, a red interior, and classic maroon paint. Called the Nissan S130 in Japan, the 280ZX was named the 1979 Motor Trend Import Car of the Year for its balance of performance, style, and value, which is a formula that still holds today. See Datsun 280ZX models for sale

5. 1983 DeLorean DMC-12

1983 DeLorean DMC-12
This 1983 DeLorean DMC-12 is $65,088.

Great Scott! As of this writing, this 1983 DeLorean DMC-12 is the only one for sale on Autotrader. Since no DeLorean is safe from being associated with the Back to the Future film franchise, this one comes with Doc and Marty action figures plus an “OUTATIME” novelty license plate. It doesn’t have a flux capacitor, but it does have Momo wheels, an upgraded sound system, LED lighting, and a turbocharger which should add a much-needed boost to the PRV V6 engine. This is a pretty well-kept DeLorean with a tasteful list of mods and a fair asking price of $65,088. Get it? 88? See Delorean DMC-12 models for sale

6. 1989 Ferrari Testarossa

1989 Ferrari Testarossa front right in red
This 1989 Ferrari Testarossa is for sale on Autotrader.

I don’t know about you, but when I think about Ferrari in the 80s, the Testarossa is the first model that comes to mind. Its design is synonymous with exotic cars in the 80s by elegantly combining flowing lines with sharp angles. It’s even the right color combo; red paint with a tan interior. Power comes from a mighty V12, and naturally, it’s linked to a 5-speed manual transmission with a gated shifter. If you have a car budget over $200k, you can’t do much better than this 1989 Ferrari Testarossa. See Ferrari Testarossa models for sale

7. 1988 Ford Mustang GT

1988 Ford Mustang GT
This 1988 Ford Mustang GT is for sale on Autotrader.

This 1988 Ford Mustang GT is perhaps the most desirable Fox Body Mustang currently on Autotrader. It’s a convertible with low mileage, a fetching color scheme, and a manual transmission. According to the listing, the original owner drove it from 1988-1991 and then stored it for 21 years. That explains why the white leather seats and white convertible top are still so white. The car comes with tons of documentation, spare parts, models, and even a Mustang letterman jacket that matches the car. See Ford Mustang models for sale

8. 1989 Lotus Esprit Turbo

1989 Lotus Esprit Turbo
This 1989 Lotus Esprit Turbo has under 4,000 miles on it.

This 1989 Lotus Esprit Turbo might be the lowest-mileage example you’ll ever see from the X180 generation. With under 4,000 miles on the clock, this modern classic is in excellent condition. 1989 is a good model year for the Esprit Turbo because it got some tweaks like a multi-point fuel injection system and the “Chargecooler” air-water-air intercooler. The result was 280 horsepower and a 0-60 mph time of 4.7 seconds. This is a sweet spot in Esprit history with performance that’s still good by today’s standards mixed with a unique, retro aesthetic. See Lotus Esprit models for sale

9. 1983 Mazda RX-7

1983 Mazda RX-7
This 1983 Mazda RX-7 is $25,995.

If you’ve got the guts for an ’80s sports car with a rotary engine, then this is your car. This 1983 Mazda RX-7 has low mileage and an attractive asking price of $25,995. It’s also very brown inside and out, which you don’t see on modern sports cars. The rev-happy 1.2-liter Wankel rotary engine placed behind the front axle results in nimble handling, making the RX-7 fun to drive at any speed. Like the Datsun listed above, this is a retro sports car you could actually drive and enjoy regularly, especially thanks to the characteristic smoothness of the rotary engine. See Mazda RX-7 models for sale

10. 1982 Porsche 911 SC

1982 Porsche 911 SC
This 1982 Porsche 911 SC has a 395-horsepower 3.8-liter engine.

The Porsche 911 SC (“Super Carrera”) was supposed to be the final 911. It was slated to be replaced by the 928 as the brand’s flagship, but sales remained strong, and CEO Peter Schutz was so adamant about keeping the 911 around that it never stopped production. This 1983 Porsche 911 SC is finished in the iconic Riviera Blue paint color and has a long list of modifications you can see in the listing, including a 395-horsepower 3.8-liter engine sourced from a 964. This is a beautifully executed build and worth the lofty price tag for the right buyer. See Porsche 911 models for sale

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Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt is an author specializing in Oversteer content, new car reviews, and finding the best car, truck, and SUV deals each month. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Eric can often be found exploring the north woods on his 1983 Honda Gold Wing when the weather allows it. Father of four, husband of one, and unapologetic minivan enthusiast. Eric mastered driving stick by having a 3-cylinder Chevy... Read More about Eric Brandt

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