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Doug DeMuro is returning to automotive journalism with a regular column on MotorTrend (Yay!). For his first dispatch he decided to really stoke the proverbial flames of the internet with this gem: “Basically, No Good Cars Came From the 1980s.”

Doug argues that after the emissions changes of the late 1970s, almost every car developed in the 1980s is underpowered and uninspiring. Examples he discusses are mostly Porsches, Ferraris, and Lamborghinis. (That’s how you know all his hard work building his online auction business has paid off). But even when I consider the 1980s classics us mere peasants can afford, I can’t make a logical counter argument. And I don’t need to.

Last summer, I wrote a series of articles about driving an unrestored 1988 F-150 across the country. I was forced to do major “unscheduled maintenance” in every state on my route. In disgust, I set my laptop up on my tailgate and wrote, “Radwood-Era Classics are The Worst Vehicles to Work On.” I argue that many of these cars have wiring harnesses that would give a spider vertigo, emissions systems that change mid model year, multiple computers built out of fragile old-school components, and nearly-modern complexity without any onboard diagnostics to speak of.

I said it. I meant it. And I’m here to represent it!

But I still have that truck. I’m still working on it. And I still smile like an idiot whenever I drive it.

Why don’t I know better? It’s far from my first 1980s vehicle. I’ll quote the philosopher king John Cena from the latest Fast and Furious (number 57? I forget.) His nephew asks why in the world he’s driving a Fox Body Mustang. He smiles and says, “You can’t help what you love.”

Henry Cesari sits on the roof of his 1988 Ford F-150 parked on a mountaintop
1988 Ford F-150 and the dummy who loves it | Henry Cesari via MotorBiscuit

Sure, pre-1974 V8s have higher compression. Sure, post-1996 cars have a handy OBD-II system that works with modern check engine light readers. But the perfect project car for you will always be the one you can’t walk away from without looking back and smiling. Like a dummy. Because that dumb love is all that will drive you to keep going through busted knuckles and all-nighters. That’s the sort of dumb love you need to tackle a project car in the first place. There is no logic in this place: we’re car people.

Don’t listen to Doug. And certainly don’t listen to me. If you drive what you love, you’ll find a way to make it work.

Of course I don’t need to tell Doug DeMuro any of this. After Cars & Bids took off, he finally bought one of his forever dream cars: a 1983 Lamborghini Countach (which I’ll admit was designed in the 70s). The dumb smile on his face during his review video says it all.

Next, see why I argue classic cars aren’t always easier to work on, or see some of the Raddest classics around in the video below: