But it’s not about Radwood-style nostalgia. Rather, this thread is to acknowledge the advancements in the automotive industry that occurred during this period. I don’t think any other decade saw such a rapid change in the way cars were designed and built. Here’s a breakdown:
Unibody construction took over almost completely
FWD became the default layout
ECUs and EFI took over for carburetors
V8s fell out of main use for passenger cars
The Minivan exploded onto the scene
The Sport Compact segment was created
Vehicles like the S10 Blazer, Ford Ranger, and XJ Cherokee paved the way for the trend of trucks and SUVs as DDs and family vehicles
Aero started to become a larger priority in mass produced cars.
Automakers entered the decade like this:
And ended it like this:
Those two Thunderbirds look 20 years apart, but really they’re just SEVEN. 1982-1989.
Computers were a large driving force behind these changes. The eighties were the decade of electronics. We saw more extensive use of automation in manufacturing, increasing consistency and precision. Cars started being designed extensively using CAD, allowing for designs to be modeled and optimized quicker and cheaper.
The auto industry more or less reinvented itself between the late 70s and early 90s, and the decade marks the cutoff between “modern” and “classic” cars.