Do you ever wonder what cars were launched in your birth year? If not, maybe it’s time to do so because some might surprise you. But if you have, it’s nice to see which models share the same age as you do. And, if you were born in 1982, you share the same birth year as several iconic and important cars.
Let’s just say ‘82 was a damn good year for car launches. If you need proof, just check out that year’s cream of the crop.
BMW 3-Series (E30)
We kick things off with the 3 Series that, well, defined the 3 Series, the E30. The first-generation model (E21) was introduced in 1975, but it was the second-generation launched in ‘82 that brought the product range to new heights. For starters, the sedan was introduced, expanding its practicality and appeal. BMW also improved on its handling, but what cemented the E30’s legacy was its feel and dynamics.
If you’ve driven one, you’d understand, but we’ll explain it the best way we can. It was fun to drive, had crisp handling, and gave you feel and feedback through your fingertips. The six-cylinder models had a wonderful soundtrack, but even the basic four-cylinder models were a hoot to drive. If you want to know why older BMW fanatics are so into the brand, take an E30 out for a spin. Not literally, of course.
Ford Ranger (First-generation)
The Ford Ranger of today has a whole legion of fans around the world, but its story started way back in the early ‘80s. Launched as a replacement for the Ford Courier, the Ranger has been Ford’s baby F-150 for over 40 years. It was only sold in the Americas at the time, but the Ranger went global in 1998 and eventually evolved into the version we know today.
Mind you, the American Ranger launched in ‘82 isn’t quite like the so-called ‘international version’ released in ‘98. But had Ford not made that model in the first place, the current pickup scene might not be what it is today.
When Mercedes-Benz launched the 190, 190E, and 190D, it was a response to the fuel crisis and the need for smaller, more efficient model in its portfolio. Internally known as the W201, the 190 model range gained the nickname ‘Baby Benz’. Over 40 years since its launch, it’s safe to say that it’s one of the most important and iconic cars to wear the three-pointed star.
Mercedes-Benz could’ve easily cut costs with this model and maximized its profits. But the company stayed true to its manta at the time: Engineered Like No Other Car In The World. This was Mercedes-Benz in the ‘80s, wherein the engineers outranked the accountant. What result was a car that was every bit as safe, solid, and tank-like as the much larger S-Class. It was a true mini luxury car in the way it drove and the way it rode, and one of the reasons why it’s still loved to this day.
The Mitsubishi Pajero needs no introduction. It’s got fans all over the world, has a strong fan base and following, and we’re still sad that Mitsubishi discontinued it in 2021. Named after the scientific name of the Pampas Cat (Leopardus pajeros, in case you were wondering), it could be said that the Pajero was one of the models that helped kick off the SUV craze among Japanese manufacturers.
But its impact goes beyond that. The successful Paris-Dakar Rally campaigns boosted the Pajero’s cache, and, in the real world, it was a solid and dependable workhorse that can take on tough terrain. In fact, the Pajero was one of the SUVs that forced Land Rover to build a model to in between the 110 and Range Rover. That product eventually became the Discovery and it became a hit for the brand. Because of that, you could say Land Rover survived the ‘90s because of the competition brought on by the Pajero.
Toyota Camry (V10)
Okay, the Toyota Camry might not light anyone’s fire, but this sedan was a major factor in changing the automotive landscape in the US. Developed with the North American market in mind, the first-generation Camry was proof that the Japanese could make mid-size sedans for the West. The American public agreed, voted with their wallets, and the Camry consistently appeared on top-ten best-selling charts throughout its production.
While it was the Corolla that helped Toyota grow in the US, it was the Camry that made the brand a major player over there. Today, the Camry has evolved into a plush executive sedan in our part of the world, but it still remains America’s number one mid-size sedan by a long way.
The other MVPs of ‘82
There are loads more important and iconic cars that came out that year. Mitsubishi introduced the sporty Starion, while Nissan rolled out the Sentra. Porsche beefed the 924 and created the 944, a model that is gaining more respect in classic enthusiast circles. Meanwhile, in the world of rallying, Lancia unleashed the 037, becoming the last two-wheel drive car to win the World Rally title.
Solid roster, don’t you think? So, if you’re a car guy or car gal born in ‘82, you came into this world with a whole bunch of legends and very important autos.