1982 Chevrolet Citation X-11, Fastest Cars of 1982
1982 Chevrolet Citation X-11 – Fastest Cars of 1982

What makes a car fast? Generally, more power means more go, but back in 1982, power was hard to come by. Weight matters too, but not as much as you might think, at least for the cars tested by Consumer Guide back in 1982. Unlike previous “fastest” lists I’ve put together, I’ve included the final drive ratio for each car listed below.

Consumer Guide: Auto Test ’82Overview

A low (numerically high) final-drive ratio means that the engine spins more times relative to the drive axle than it might were a high final drive ratio employed. Thus, the engine revs more quickly, and its torque is multiplied correspondingly. Predictably, the low final drive ratio will also hurt highway fuel economy, unless an overdrive top transmission gear is available.

Note how well the smaller-engine cars shown below performed. Most have low final-drive ratios and 5-speed manual transmissions–a great combination for performance and economy.

All the numbers listed below were extracted from Consumer Guide: Auto Test ’82. As for the asterisk above: Consumer Guide did not test every vehicle available for sale in 1982, nor every version of those it did evaluate. The cars seen here are the 15 fastest that rolled through the CG office in 1982.

Also, full confession: I extended this list to 15 cars from our normal ten or 12 because I really wanted to include the Mitsubishi-built Dodge Challenger and the Isuzu i-Mark on the list. Is that wrong?

Model-Year Madness! 15 Sporty Car Ads from 1984


 The 15 Fastest Cars of 1982

Chevrolet Corvette: 7.5 Seconds (0-60 mph)

1982 Chevrolet Corvette
1982 Chevrolet Corvette

Engine: 200-horsepower 5.7-liter V8

Transmission: 4-speed automatic

Weight (pounds): 3368 

Final Drive Ratio: 2.87

Power-to-Weight Ratio (lbs./hp): 16.8-to-1

The 10 Fastest Cars of 1973*


Datsun 280ZX Turbo: 8.0 Seconds

1982 Datsun 280ZX
1982 Datsun 280ZX

Engine: 180-horsepower turbocharged 2.8-liter six

Transmission: 3-speed automatic

Weight (pounds): 2867 

Final Drive Ratio: 3.54

Power-to-Weight Ratio (lbs./hp): 15.9-to-1

The 12 Fastest Cars of 1983*


Toyota Celica Supra: 8.7 Seconds

1982 Toyota Celica Supra
1982 Toyota Celica Supra

Engine: 145-horsepower 2.8-liter six

Transmission: 4-speed automatic

Weight (pounds): 2932 

Final Drive Ratio: 4.10

Power-to-Weight Ratio (lbs./hp): 20.2-to-1

12 Fastest Cars of 1984*


Mazda RX-7: 9.0 Seconds

1982 Mazda RX-7
1982 Mazda RX-7

Engine: 100-horsepower 1.3-liter twin-rotor Wankel

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Weight (pounds): 2362 

Final Drive Ratio: 3.90

Power-to-Weight Ratio (lbs./hp): 23.6-to-1

The 10 Fastest Cars of 1981*


Porsche 924 Turbo: 9.5 Seconds

1982 Porsche 924 Turbo
1982 Porsche 924 Turbo

Engine: 154-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Weight (pounds): 2850 

Final Drive Ratio: 3.89

Power-to-Weight Ratio (lbs./hp): 18.5-to-1

The 10 Fastest Cars of 1980*


BMW 733i: 9.8 Seconds

1982 BMW 733i
1982 BMW 733i

Engine: 174-horsepower 3.2-liter six

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Weight (pounds): 3590 

Final Drive Ratio: 3.45

Power-to-Weight Ratio (lbs./hp): 20.6-to-1

The 9 Fastest Cars of 1972*


Chevrolet Citation X-11: 10.0 Seconds

1982 Chevrolet Citation X-11
1982 Chevrolet Citation X-11

Engine: 135-horsepower 2.8-liter V6

Transmission: 4-speed manual

Weight (pounds): 2700 

Final Drive Ratio: 3.65

Power-to-Weight Ratio (lbs./hp): 20.0-to-1

The 10 Fastest Cars of 1971*


Pontiac Firebird Trans Am: 10.5 Seconds

1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

Engine: 145-horsepower 5.0-liter V8

Transmission: 3-speed automatic

Weight (pounds): 3125

Final Drive Ratio: 3.23

Power-to-Weight Ratio (lbs./hp): 21.6-to-1

The 10 Slowest Cars of 1973*

Audi Coupe GT: 11.1 Seconds

1982 Audi Coupe GT
1982 Audi Coupe GT

Engine: 100-horsepower 2.1-liter five-cylinder

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Weight (pounds): 2507 

Final Drive Ratio: 4.46

Power-to-Weight Ratio (lbs./hp): 25.1-to-1

The 12 Slowest Cars of 1983*


Jaguar XJ6: 11.2 Seconds

1982 Jaguar XJ-6
1982 Jaguar XJ6

Engine: 176-horsepower 4.2-liter six

Transmission: 3-speed automatic

Weight (pounds): 4050 

Final Drive Ratio: 3.07

Power-to-Weight Ratio (lbs./hp): 23.0-to-1

5 Most-Powerful American Cars of 1980


Volkswagen Rabbit: 11.2 Seconds

1982 Volkswagen Rabit
1982 Volkswagen Rabbit

Engine: 74-horsepower 1.7-liter four

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Weight (pounds): 1825 

Final Drive Ratio: 3.89

Power-to-Weight Ratio (lbs./hp): 24.7-to-1

5 Most-Powerful American Cars of 1977


Isuzu i-Mark: 11.3 Seconds

1982 Isuzu i-Mark
1982 Isuzu i-Mark

Engine: 78-horsepower 1.8-liter four

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Weight (pounds): 2260 

Final Drive Ratio: 3.31

Power-to-Weight Ratio (lbs./hp): 29.0-to-1

7 Most-Powerful Japanese Cars of 1981


Dodge Challenger: 11.5 Seconds

1982 Dodge Challenger
1982 Dodge Challenger

Engine: 100-horsepower, 2.6-liter four

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Weight (pounds): 2756

Final Drive Ratio: 3.30

Power-to-Weight Ratio (lbs./hp): 27.6-to-1

5 Most-Powerful American Cars of 1991


Dodge Charger 2.2: 11.5 Seconds

1982 Dodge Omni 024 2.2
1982 Dodge Omni 024 2.2

Engine: 84-horsepower 2.2-liter four

Transmission: 4-speed manual

Weight (pounds): 2310 

Final Drive Ratio: 3.13

Power-to-Weight Ratio (lbs./hp): 27.5-to-1

 Downpour Madness! Classic Car Ads Featuring Cars in the Rain


Buick Skylark: 12.0 Seconds

1982 Buick Skylark, Fastest Cars of 1982
1982 Buick Skylark

Engine: 135-horsepower 2.8-liter V6

Transmission: 3-speed automatic

Weight (pounds): 2588 

Final Drive Ratio: 2.97

Power-to-Weight Ratio (lbs./hp): 19.2-to-1

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Fastest Cars of 1982 Pictures

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Fastest Cars of 1982

The Sporty Compacts of 1970

Fastest Cars of 1982

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