1981 Ford Capri 2.8i
Ford’s advertising called the Capri “the car you always promised yourself”, and Europe’s answer to the Mustang was nearly as desirable as its American counterpart. Four-cylinder models were more show than go, but the later 2.8-litre and 3-litre “Cologne” V6 engines gave the Capri muscle to match its lines, and are now prized by Ford fans.
1985 Porsche 944 Lux
Porsche’s front-engined transaxle models are finally coming into their own in the modern classic market, shaking off the Volkswagen jibes and becoming appreciated for what they are: excellent sports cars. The 944’s Porsche-designed 2.5-litre four replaced the 924’s Audi-derived unit, and today the boxy arches and pop-up lights place it squarely in the 1980s.
1988 Volkswagen Golf GTI 16V
The Golf GTI might not have been the first hot hatchback, but it still defined the breed. By the time the Mk2 arrived competition was hotting up, so VW fought back with the introduction of a 16-valve head in 1986, giving the 1.8-litre four-pot a 137bhp kick. 16vs need working harder than eight-valve GTIs, but all are as thrilling today as they were in the 1980s.
1990 Alfa Romeo Spider S4
The 1960s Alfa Romeo Spider was looking long in the tooth by the 1990s, but Alfa wisely replaced the ungainly S3 with its unpainted bumpers for the slick S4 in 1990. It’s not as pretty as a ‘60s Duetto, but that mix of a classic driving experience and later levels of equipment and comfort remain appealing.
1995 Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG
There had been AMG-badged Mercedes before, but the C36 was the first in-house AMG effort from Mercedes-Benz. The handsome sports saloon used a bored and stroked inline six good for 276bhp and offers a very different experience to later V8 AMGs. As modern AMGs move towards four cylinders and hybrid setups, interest in the classic models is growing.