Some of the best cars of 1987—including the Ford F-150, Jeep Cherokee, and
Ford Mustang GT—are still on the streets, while the one-of-a-kind Ferrari F40 and
Buick Grand National GNX have retired.
The entries on this list might be almost 40 years old, but their legacies prove that performance, ingenuity, and incredibly huge spoilers and gullwing doors remain timeless. (Okay, maybe just the first two!)
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The best cars of 1987
From pick-up trucks to luxury cruisers, muscle cars to newly-invented SUVs, 1987 had it all—but we're only here to talk about the best.
The best car of 1987: Acura Integra
NADA Guides fair market range: $1,075 to $2,075
Powertrain: 1.6L inline-four with Honda electronic fuel injection
Car & Driver's top pick of the year still holds up—
Acura is now a household name for premium performance, reliability, and handling. It's got plenty of features, too, like a sunroof, power windows, cruise control, 113-horsepower, and a silky smooth 10 seconds to 60 mph.
If you stepped into an Integra from '87, we doubt you'd miss much in the way of modern conveniences—just make sure to bring a tape to pop into the cassette deck.
The best luxury car of 1987: Buick Grand National GNX
Fair market range: $80,000 to $205,000
Powertrain: 3.8L turbocharged V6
Developed by McLaren Performance Technologies, the GNX was a
collectible even when it was new. It could reach 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, and the engine rated conservatively for 276-horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque. And that was before anyone knew it would be limited to 547 units.
Now, this black beauty rests solely in collectors' garages and
museums. If you're lucky enough to see one, a single glance at the sinister styling tells you everything you need to know: this car is a badass and knows it.
The best muscle car of 1987: Ford Mustang GT
Hagerty fair market range: $12,600 to $60,700
Powertrain: 2.3L four-cylinder or 5.0L high-output V8
Following Donald Petersen’s philosophy of continuous improvement, the
Ford Mustang GT got better and better every year. By 1987, you could hardly find a better deal than 225-horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque for under $15K.
Be warned: after polishing off a quarter-mile in 14.1 seconds, this muscle car will be asking for seconds, thirds, and fourths.
The best family car of 1987: Honda Accord
NADA Guides fair market range: $1,300 to $3,300
Powertrain: 2.0L inline-four
If you grew up an only child, you didn’t have a family car—you had a private backseat in your parents’ car. A family car is a tiny country where wars are fought for window seats and legroom and truces last no more than fifteen minutes. Shotgun!
Accord offered a break from the constant bickering. We wouldn’t call it bland so much as self-effacing—it put its passengers and drivers first. Both space-efficient and fuel-efficient, it offered easy driving, comfort, and great features. With it,
Honda was well on its way to conquering the market (and reducing instances of hair-pulling).
The best sports car of 1987: Ferrari F40
Hagerty fair market range: $1,750,000 to $3,550,000
Powertrain: 2.9L twin-turbocharged V8 engine
Like a diamond, the F40 was forged under high pressure. Not only was it tasked with commemorating Ferrari’s 40th anniversary, but it also had to be the fastest model yet—no small feat for a make known for its top-of-the-line performance. When the fateful day arrived and the F40 hit the racetrack, it was the asphalt that cracked. This sports car proved to be a gem, roaring to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds with 471-hp and a top speed of 213 mph.
Ferrari originally intended to produce 400 units, priced at $400,000 each, but extended production by popular demand. The last F40 to leave the lot in 1992 was number 1,311. Not bad, considering its poor driving visibility and mechanical issues. The interior may be spartan and its existence a PR stunt, but history has spoken:
it’s a collectible.
The best SUV of 1987: Jeep Cherokee Limited
Hagerty fair market range: $2,000 to $26,100
Powertrain: 2.4L four-cylinder Turbodiesel, 2.4L four-cylinder overhead valve, or 4.0L six-cylinder overhead valve
Jeep released the
Cherokee in 1984, a new car craze was born. Four-wheel drive, a serious cargo hold, a family-friendly attitude, and the comfort and style to blend into suburbia and the morning commute—America wholeheartedly embraced the SUV and has yet to look back.
The Limited trim (introduced in 1987) proved that luxury could co-exist with utility, adding air conditioning, power seating adjustments, and leather wingback seats.
The best truck of 1987: Ford F-150
Hagerty fair market range: $6,700 to $39,000
Powertrain: 4.9L inline-six, 5.0L V8, or 5.8L V8
Ford also marked an anniversary this year: its 70th. A celebration was in order, and while the company may have been leery of upsetting the F-series’ magic formula, it brought changes inside and out. Fuel injection boosted the base engine to 145-hp and 265 lb-ft of torque, while an egg-carton grille and rectangular headlights left the 50s firmly behind. The resulting eighth-generation
F-150 did its legacy proud and sold better than ever.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that Ford offered an unprecedented number of extra features, including cruise control, air conditioning, power windows, chrome accents, heavy-duty suspension, skid plates, and a towing package. After all, the only thing America loves more than a pick-up truck is a pick-up truck with options!
What cars came out in 1987?
If you’re upset your favorite car wasn’t on the list, spare some sympathy for Jerry—it’s hard to make a shortlist when you love cars as much as we do! Here are some of the standouts that didn’t make the cut:
2.0L turbocharged inline-four
Incredible comfort and great speed
Audi 5000CS Turbo Quattro
2.2L inline-five or turbocharged inline-five
One of the Japanese imports that helped crack the performance-hungry stronghold of the European greats
Volkswagen Rabbit GTI MKI
1.8L inline-four multi-port fuel injection
Undemanding, uncomplicated, and exuberant
Built on 86’s strengths with tweaks under the hood
The first mass-produced mid-engine Japanese sports car
1.3L turbocharged two-rotor
Modeled after the Porsche 924, but significantly cheaper
Quick, precise, one of the strongest Porsches of the era
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