Best Cars of 1986

cars in 1986

In the 1970s, cars had a distinct boxy appearance, a stark contrast to the sleek and curvaceous designs we see on the roads today. The transition from boxy to curvy is one of the most notable design changes in cars over the past half-century. This transformation began in 1986 and quickly spread worldwide, except for the US automakers who seemed to have overlooked the trend until then. Even cars from the 1930s, like the Chrysler Airflow, prioritized a sleek look to minimize wind resistance.

The demand for curvier car designs led to various automakers producing models with body designs that not only looked elegant but also enhanced performance. One such example is the Ferrari GTO Evoluzione, featured below, which boasts beautiful curves designed to minimize wind resistance and increase speed. While the US automakers were late to adopt these designs, other manufacturers embraced the trend, resulting in some incredible cars in 1986.

Our Favorite Cars for the 1986 Model Year

Ferrari GTO Evoluzione

Ferrari 288 GTO Evoluzione

Ferrari created five 288 GTO Evoluzione models with aggressive and aerodynamic body styling, along with increased power. With an engine output reaching up to 650 hp (480 kW), this car was a beast. Weighing in at 940 kg (2,072 lb), it could reach a top speed of 225 mph (362 km/h).

Ford Sierra Cosworth RS

Ford Sierra Cosworth RS

Ford and Cosworth collaborated to release the Sierra Cosworth RS as a homologation special for Group A rally. With 5000 examples needed for homologation into Group A rally, by 1986, the car entered regular production. This model showcased the engineering prowess of both companies.

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Mazda Savanna RX-7

Mazda Savanna RX-7

Mazda introduced the Savanna RX-7 in 1985 as the second generation RX-7 for the Japanese domestic market. Built to challenge the Porsche 944, this model was available with or without a turbocharger. It combined sportiness and elegance in a compact and stylish package.

Mercedes-Benz 560 SL

Mercedes-Benz 560 SL

Mercedes-Benz unveiled the flagship 560 SL at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1985. Alongside the 500 SL, this model featured minor external changes, improved front wheel suspension, new brakes, and a powerful 5.6-liter V8 engine. The 560 SL exemplified luxury and performance.

Lamborghini LM002

Lamborghini LM002

The Lamborghini LM002, also known as the “Lamborghini truck,” is a rugged off-road vehicle manufactured by Lamborghini from 1986 to 1993. This departure from their usual lineup of high-performance sports cars showcased Lamborghini’s versatility and ability to excel in different segments.

For more information and to explore the best cars for every year, visit Car news.


  1. What was the most powerful car of 1986?
    The Ferrari 288 GTO Evoluzione was one of the most powerful cars of 1986, with an output of up to 650 hp (480 kW).

  2. Did US automakers produce curved cars in 1986?
    No, US automakers were a bit late in adopting the curvier car designs seen worldwide in 1986.

  3. What was the purpose of the Sierra Cosworth RS?
    The Sierra Cosworth RS was created as a homologation special for Group A rally, showcasing Ford and Cosworth’s engineering prowess.


The cars of 1986 marked a significant shift in design, with automakers around the world embracing curvier body styles. From Ferrari’s GTO Evoluzione to Ford’s Sierra Cosworth RS, these cars not only looked elegant but also offered enhanced performance. Mazda and Mercedes-Benz also introduced noteworthy models, highlighting their commitment to innovation and luxury. And who could forget Lamborghini’s departure from sports cars with the rugged LM002? The cars of 1986 remind us of the exciting transformations that occur in the automotive industry, constantly pushing the boundaries of design and performance.

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