You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Advertising the 1980s: 44 of the Most Bodacious Car Ads of the ’80s

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 9/29/2015 Kirk Seaman

44 of the Most Bodacious Car Ads of the 1980s© Kirk Seaman 44 of the Most Bodacious Car Ads of the 1980s

The malaise that was the 1970s dribbled over into the 1980s, with ads touting Corvettes that made all of 190 horsepower, gussied-up econoboxes parading as Cadillacs, and dubious technology such as the Moleculetor promising improvements in fuel economy of up to 23 percent—yours for just $214 (plus $5 shipping)! And there’s John Z. DeLorean hawking Cutty Sark scotch, with nary a kilo of coke in sight. With apologies to Mr. Dickens, it was the worst of times, it was the worster of times.

A few bright spots managed to punch holes through the darkness. Turbocharged engines began to appear under the hoods of a number of cars, including the Datsun Turbo ZX, the Mazda 323 GTX, the Porsche 944 Turbo, the Volvo Turbo, and even the Subaru XT Turbo.

Nascent technologies also made some of their earliest appearances in these pages, with ads for Apple’s Macintosh desktop computer, Panasonic’s TV with a 1.5-inch screen, and the Maxwell Portable Cellular Phone with one hour of talk time for $695. And if the Maxwell was too pricey, you could order a fake “Cellular Fun Phone” and “enjoy the status of owning a car phone for just a fraction of the regular cost.” Cost: $49.95.

The decade couldn’t end soon enough.

Pontiac Grand Prix – April 1980

198004-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198004-001

The Sharper Image Xernus – June 1980

198006-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198006-001

International Harvester Scout – June 1980

198006-002© Provided by Car and Driver 198006-002

Mercedes-Benz – July 1980

198007-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198007-001

Energy Efficiencies Inc. Moleculetor – September 1980

198009-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198009-001

Jeep CJ – October 1980

198010-002© Provided by Car and Driver 198010-002

Panasonic TravelVision – October 1980

198010-003© Provided by Car and Driver 198010-003

Chevrolet Corvette – December 1980

198012-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198012-001

READ MORE: Our Original 1980 Chevrolet Corvette Road Test

Chevrolet Citation X-11 – August 1981

198108-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198108-001

Ronrico Rum Sweepstakes – September 1981

198109-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198109-001

Jeep Scrambler – October 1981

198110-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198110-001

READ MORE: A History of Jeep Pickups: The Lineage Is Longer than You Think

Renault 18i – November 1981

198111-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198111-001

Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition – January 1982

198201-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198201-001

READ MORE: 1982 vs. 1962: Last-of-Their-Kind Corvettes

Jeep CJ – February 1982

198202-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198202-001    

READ MORE: Our Original 1982 Jeep CJ-7 Limited Test

K40 Radar Detector – February 1982

198202-002© Provided by Car and Driver 198202-002

De Lorean Motor Company – February 1982

198202-003© Provided by Car and Driver 198202-003    

READ MORE:De Lorean DMC-12 vs. Corvette, 280ZX, 308GTS, and Porsche 911

Volvo Turbo – February 1982

198202-004© Provided by Car and Driver 198202-004

Volkswagen Scirocco – March 1982

198203-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198203-001

Cutty Sark Scotch – April 1982

198204-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198204-001

Volvo Turbo Wagon– April 1982

198204-002© Provided by Car and Driver 198204-002

Alpine Car Audio Systems – June 1982

198206-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198206-001

READ MORE: Our Original 1983 Lamborghini Countach 5000S Road Test

Megaforce – June 1982

198206-002© Provided by Car and Driver 198206-002

Ford Motor Company – June 1982

198206-003© Provided by Car and Driver 198206-003

Datsun Turbo-ZX 5-speed – September 1982

198209-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198209-001

Cadillac Cimarron – October 1982

198210-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198210-001

Porsche – October 1982

198210-002© Provided by Car and Driver 198210-002

Callaway Turbosystems – March 1983

198303-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198303-001

Cadillac Cimarron – March 1983

198303-002© Provided by Car and Driver 198303-002

Saab – April 1983

198304-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198304-001

Nissan Truck – April 1983

198304-002© Provided by Car and Driver 198304-002

Chrysler Laser XE – October 1983

198310-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198310-001

Dodge Omni GLH – October 1984

198410-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198410-001       

READ MORE: Awesome to the Max: C/D’s Coolest Cars of the 1980s

Apple Macintosh – December 1984

198412-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198412-001

Ford Motor Company – November 1985

198511-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198511-001

Chevrolet Corvette – July 1986

198607-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198607-001

READ MORE:Our Original 1986 Chevrolet Corvette Road Test

Subaru XT Turbo – July 1986

198607-002© Provided by Car and Driver 198607-002

READ MORE:Battle of the Winter Beaters: Subaru XT6 vs. Camaro RS, Renault Fuego Turbo

Pioneer DEX-77 – December 1986

198612-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198612-001

General Motors Parts – March 1987

198703-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198703-001

Daihatsu Charade – February 1988

198802-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198802-001

BMW Motorsport Division M-Cars – April 1988

198804-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198804-001

READ MORE: Original Tests of the 1987 BMW M6 | 1987 BMW M5 | 1988 BMW M3

Cellular Fun Phone – April 1988

198804-002© Provided by Car and Driver 198804-002

Ford Taurus SHO – April 1989

198904-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198904-001

Maxwell Portable Cellular Phone – April 1989

198904-002© Provided by Car and Driver 198904-002

Isuzu Amigo – June 1989

198906-001© Provided by Car and Driver 198906-001
AdChoices
AdChoices

More From Car and Driver

Car and Driver
Car and Driver
Loading...

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon