Here are some of the best factory liveries and motorsport liveries of the 80’s

The 1980s was a time period largely identified by its mantra of “excess and flight”. From edgy celebrities, big hairstyles, and a fashion sense that makes us all cringe, the ’80s are largely a time we’d like to forget, save for one thing, factory liveries and motorsport liveries. The idea of ​​excess was carried over to the auto industry, giving us some of the wildest examples of paint colors and sponsor decals, and here at HotCars we sure are grateful for that.


Here we dive into some of the most iconic factory and motorsport liveries of all time. Some of these examples have long been forgotten, and some of them are at the top of the list of many car enthusiasts around the world. Let’s take a look at some of the best factory and motorsport liveries of the ’80s.

DR30 Nissan Skyline 2000RS Turbo: Beacon Red/Black


Nissan Skyline DR30
Via: Wikipedia.com

When it comes to the Skyline family, the DR30 is the forgotten middle child. But it’s not hard to see why when your older brother is the Kenmeri Skyline and your younger brother is nicknamed “Godzilla”. However, if it weren’t for the DR30, which revives the lifeblood of the Skyline line, we might not have some of the greatest cars of all time in the R32, R33 and R34.


It also stands out for being the only Skyline to be offered with a factory two-tone paint finish. Of course, nothing more enticing than the combination of Beacon Red with black trim. Add gold decals on both sides that say “4 Valve DOHC RS-TURBO Intercooler” and you have arguably the most iconic factory paint job on any Skyline.

McLaren MP4/2: Marlboro


Niki Lauda McLaren MP4 Marlboro
About: Snaplap

Continuing with the excesses and escapes mentioned earlier, some of the most iconic racing liveries of the ’80s are related to tobacco, and ironically, they were also some of the most successful racing teams. Nothing more than the partnership between McLaren and Marlboro.


The fact remains that there is no more iconic paint job in Formula 1 than the red and white paint job with bold black lettering. It’s easy to see why, too, as McLaren dominated the late ’80s and early ’90s, winning six Constructors’ Cups from 1984 to 1991, with a stable of the greatest drivers of all time. Including: Alain Prost, Niki Lauda, ​​John Watson and a blossoming Ayrton Senna.

AE86 Sprinter Trueno: Panda Trueno


White AE86
About: Wikiwand

When it comes to humble econoboxes that pack immense tuning capabilities, one of the first examples that comes to mind is the Toyota AE86. To be more precise, the Sprinter Trueno. The AE86, which only recently gained worldwide recognition, is considered one of the pioneers of early drifting in Japan. It was then made famous on the racing scene by Keiichi Tsuchiya, who is clearly considered the father of drifting, and the AE86 itself.


But it wasn’t until Tsuchiya’s love for cars and its inclusion in the hugely popular manga and anime Initial D that the AE86 became a cultural icon. It’s also no coincidence that Tsuchiya’s preferred color scheme matches the Fujiwara Tofu Shop livery, also known as the Panda Trueno.

As far as two-tone paintwork goes, you could argue that the Panda Trueno is the tamest of the ’80s, but then again, there’s no other car with a specific livery that’s as recognizable as this particular AE86. It can be identified across multiple generations around the world, a feat that cannot be claimed by many econoboxes.


RELATED: 9 things everyone forgot about the Toyota Corolla AE86

4WD FB Rx-7: Rod Millen’s Pikes Peak machine

Much like the Skyline, the RX-7 has a long history in motorsport, and much like the DR30 mentioned above, the FB RX-7 is the long-lost brother that allowed the FC and FD RX-7 to become some of them the most famous tuner cars in history.

In another resemblance to the Skyline line, this particular FB RX-7, while far from the best known, is the reason for many of the success Mazda enjoyed in the ’80s. Thanks to Rod Millen and his FB, the RX-7 became a major force on American rally stages and the infamous Pikes Peak Hill Climb.

It wasn’t because he was using that particular FB RX-7 that he achieved his greatest success with an FC. However, it was Millen’s love for the RX-7 and success in the late ’70s with an FB that motivated him to adapt his build to the newly minted FC. If it weren’t for that particular FB RX-7, we would never have known the excellence of its plucky little Mazda that dominated hill climbs in the late ’80s.

RELATED: Here’s what the Mazda RX-7 FB costs today

Toyota SR5 Trophy Truck: Precision Preparation, Inc. (PPI)

Ivan “Ironman” Stewart’s Toyota SR5, which can largely be considered the most recognizable trophy truck of all time, was also the most dominant over a period of more than 20 years. Although Stewart was a world-class driver prior to using the SR5, it was not until the driver and truck were merged that he came to prominence.

This truck’s importance spans decades, and like most kids of the ’80s and ’90s, you probably had the Hot Wheels version of this particular truck. Without Stewart’s absolute dominance throughout the ’80s and ’90s it’s hard to tell where Toyota and the TRD subsidiary would stand, thankfully thanks to Ironman we never had to worry about a world without its influence.

BMW Z1: Keith Haring Art Car


Keith Haring BMW Z1
About: Thad Zajdowicz

Since its inception in 1975, the BMW Art Car Project has invited numerous world-renowned artists to apply their talents in creating art through the use of a BMW canvas. Artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Jenny Holzer and David Hockney have lent their name and talent to create beautiful, bespoke BMWs.


However, one of the best versions is considered an unofficial example, going so far as not even being recognized by BMW. This is of course a nod to the late Keith Haring and his red BMW Z1.

Haring is still considered one of the most influential artists in the field of modernism, particularly in the United States, sharing the nickname with the likes of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Haring’s Z1 is a direct callback to his use of strong, graphic lines that create emblematic symbols, and he believes that art is for everyone, not just the upper class. Thanks to his Z1, his passion for art will be immortalized forever for everyone.

Lancia Rally 037: Martini Race

It would be almost impossible to write an article about some of the greatest liveries and motorsport liveries without mentioning Martini Racing. In the most recognizable livery of all time, Martini has a rich history of motor racing, victories and beautiful cars.

The Lancia Rally 037 was a highly competitive car in the early days of Group B and can be considered the most attractive Group B car. Unfortunately, its RWD drivetrain was a thing of the past as teams began introducing all-wheel drive and AWD versions of their rally cars in the final years of Group B. Luckily, due to the rules laid down by the FIA, Lancia left us the 037 Stradale homologation cars, which were just as beautiful as the Martini Racing rally car.


RELATED: Here’s what we love about the Lancia 037

Jaguar XJR-9: silk cut

In another example of the success of a cigarette-sponsored racing team, the Silk Cut Jaguar XJR-9’s production run was much more limited than most tobacco-laden cars. The debut of the purple, white, and yellow XJR-9 in 1986 was largely unsuccessful for two seasons.

The Jaguar was refitted for the 1988 season and found instant success, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, considered the Mecca of endurance racing. Not only did it beat Porsche by just under two minutes, but by using just four gears, as the XJR-9 has a notorious gearbox failure in fifth gear that would basically destroy the gearbox. The win gave Jaguar its first win at Le Mans in 30 years and it would go on to win 6 of the 11 races it entered in 1988. It also produced one of the best sounding naturally aspirated V12s of all time.

Unfortunately, 1989 saw the rise of Nissan and the start of its dominance with the R32 and the XJR-9 was now considered obsolete, so much so that Jaguar developed the XJR-11 to finish the season alongside the XJR-9. Luckily, it still wore the Silk Cut colors.


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