The Best Classic Cars of 1983

cars of 1983

Four decades ago, a wave of new car models was introduced, some of which have now become beloved classics. Let’s take a nostalgic journey and pay homage to the best classic cars of 1983.

Austin/MG Maestro

The Austin/MG Maestro, launched in March 1983, was designed as a replacement for the aging Allegro, Marina, and Maxi models. While it didn’t revolutionize the market, the Maestro had its unique features that set it apart from the competition.

The Maestro initially offered engine options of 1.3 or 1.6 liters, with various trim levels available. It received positive reviews for its ride and handling, although it faced tough competition from other popular brands at the time. One interesting feature of the MG and Vanden Plas models was the adoption of the infamous talking dash, which provided an LED display and spoke a total of 32 words.

The Maestro continued to evolve over the years, with engine upgrades and the introduction of the MG Maestro Turbo in 1988. Surprisingly, production of the Maestro continued until 1994, with cars even being reimported to the UK from Bulgaria until 2001.

Fiat Uno

The Fiat Uno arrived in 1983, replacing the Fiat 127. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the Uno had a boxier and more practical design compared to its predecessor. It quickly became a popular choice in the supermini segment.

Initially available in three and five-door versions, the Uno offered a range of engine options. The Uno Turbo i.e., launched in 1984, became an icon with its turbocharged engine and sporty features. A facelift in 1989 refreshed the Uno’s look and introduced a 1.4-liter engine, making it even more popular among young drivers.

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The Uno’s production spanned over three decades, with the last cars rolling off the production line in Brazil in 2014. Its enduring popularity and practical design made it one of the UK’s most popular imported cars during its time.

Peugeot 205

The Peugeot 205, designed to rival the Renault 5 and Ford Fiesta, became one of the most influential small cars of the 1980s. Its clean lines and overall package made it an instant hit among car enthusiasts.

The 205 came in various models and engine options, with the GTI versions gaining legendary status as benchmark hot hatches. A range of special editions, including the CTI convertible and the fearsome T16 Group B rally car, added to the 205’s legacy.

Although production of the 205 ended in 1996, its popularity and iconic status continue to this day. Restorations and upgrades by specialist companies and Peugeot’s own heritage department ensure that the 205’s star continues to shine.

Land Rover One Ten

The Land Rover One Ten, introduced in 1983, marked a milestone moment in Land Rover’s history. It replaced the Series III and featured significant mechanical upgrades, including coil-sprung suspension and permanent four-wheel drive.

While the One Ten retained the classic Land Rover look, it offered improved all-round ability and was marketed as a private recreational vehicle. The One Ten’s success paved the way for the iconic Land Rover Defender, which arrived in 1990.

Vauxhall Nova

The Vauxhall Nova, known as the Corsa A overseas, made its way to UK shores in 1983. Despite a delay caused by union disputes, the Nova became a massive sales phenomenon in the British market.

Developed by Opel in Germany, the Nova featured impressive aerodynamics and a range of engine options. It quickly became one of the best-selling cars in the UK, appealing to a wide audience with its various body styles and trim levels.

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While the Nova had a period of being associated with boy racers, it has now gained recognition as a classic car. Well-preserved examples, especially the sporting models, are highly prized among collectors.

Ford Orion

The Ford Orion, introduced in 1983, filled the gap left by the Cortina as a four-door family saloon. Based on the Escort Mk3, the Orion offered a more refined driving experience and a distinguished look.

Available in various trims and engine options, the Orion sold well in the UK and consistently ranked among the top 10 best-selling cars in the country during the 1980s. It received a facelift in 1986, coinciding with updates to the Escort range.

While the Orion was eventually replaced by the third incarnation in 1990, its popularity and success during its time on the market cannot be overlooked.

Ford Fiesta Mk2

The Ford Fiesta Mk2, launched in 1983, aimed to compete with the Metro and keep the Fiesta’s sales momentum going. While the basic structure remained similar to its predecessor, the Mk2 Fiesta received refinements and a fresh new look.

The Mk2 Fiesta offered various engine options, including the 1.3 and 1.6-liter CVH engines. The sporty XR2 model, powered by a 1.6-liter CVH engine, became a favorite among enthusiasts.

With its wide range of models and special editions, the Mk2 Fiesta remained popular until it was replaced by the Mk3 in 1989. Today, the Mk2 Fiesta is gaining recognition as a classic car, thanks to its strong following and the Blue Oval’s reputation for quality.

Alfa Romeo 33

The Alfa Romeo 33, the successor to the Alfasud, arrived in 1983 as a five-door hatchback. Initially faced with build quality issues, the 33 showcased several innovations and charmed enthusiasts with its unique design and boxer engines.

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The 33 came with a range of engine options, including a 1.7-liter boxer engine introduced in 1987. A facelift in 1990 brought extensive redesigns, leading to the second series of 33 cars. Production of the 33 continued until 1995 when it was replaced by the Alfa Romeo 145 and 146.

Finding a 33 in the UK may be rare, but they can still be found on the European market, showcasing their enduring appeal.


What are the best classic cars of 1983?

Some of the best classic cars of 1983 include the Austin/MG Maestro, Fiat Uno, Peugeot 205, Land Rover One Ten, Vauxhall Nova, Ford Orion, Ford Fiesta Mk2, and Alfa Romeo 33.

Are these classic cars still available?

Yes, many of these classic cars are still available, although some may be rarer than others. They have gained recognition and are sought after by collectors and enthusiasts.

What makes these cars special?

These cars represent the automotive landscape of 1983 and offer unique features, iconic designs, and a nostalgic appeal. They have left their mark in automotive history and continue to captivate car enthusiasts.

In conclusion, the best classic cars of 1983 transport us back to a time when these models made their mark on the automotive industry. From the Austin/MG Maestro’s innovative features to the Peugeot 205’s iconic status, each car has its own story to tell. Owning one of these classics allows you to experience a piece of automotive history and indulge in the passion of car culture.

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