We can never get back the past quite the way it was, and the new season of Stranger Things takes that idea to entirely new levels. An Eldorado scrambles ahead of a slimy, tooth-stuffed monster capable of climbing shopping malls, and Skittle-colored Beetles freckle the small-town background that hides a giant underground Russian laser. That explodes. Frequently.
We dug through all the levels of crazy to find the best examples of nostalgia automobilia. From blue eyeshadow to New Coke, as the show says, “It doesn’t get more American than this.” If you see more automotive blasts from the past that we missed, or if you think we got one wrong, let us know in the Hagerty Forums below.
Like the token bad boy who owns it, the 1979 Camaro Z/28 spends almost all of season three lurking in the shadows and growling in low, terrifying tones. And like Billy, this Camaro isn’t quite what it seems. After poring over all eight episodes, we concluded that Billy’s Z/28 is most likely debadged, and has been refitted with a non-Z/28 hood. Do you think we were on the right track?
1988 Ford LTD Country Squire
More sedate but no less critical to the plot is the Wheeler family’s 1988 Ford LTD Country Squire, whose cantankerous engine reveals itself as a small-block 302 Windsor, labeled conspicuously as a 5.0. Whichever way you round the displacement, the cost of the Country Squire’s heroism (specifically, the extra capacity of its dual-facing rear seats) is an ignition cable transplant from a 1986 Chrysler LeBaron Convertible.
1980 (?) Indiana Flyer
Some call the exhaust note tinny and others critique its underwhelming horsepower. No one, however, is calling it a Mustang. It’s just a mechanical horse. Carry on.
1976 Ford Pinto Runabout
To our collective relief, Joyce Byers has finally caught a break as season three begins. (We won’t tell you how it how season three ends, though. Because we are nice.) Her children are all home and her Christmas lights are down in the summer of ’84, and her Pinto is still the same charming shade of terror-induced nausea.
1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera and 1976 (?) Honda Civic
Step off the main street action into this fun sidewalk shot, in which a ’76 Honda Civic (or maybe a ’74) peeks from behind Jonathan Byers’ worse-for-the-wear 1971 Ford LTD. In the background rests an ’86 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera in its most dashing shade of brown.
1972–73 Barracuda and 1974 Karmann Ghia
The whirring bicycle wheels would have a hard time distracting you from the rumble of this ’72–’73 Barracuda, clad with an unorthodox ’71 billboard stripe. The same sky-blue Karmann Ghia that decorated the front sidewalk of the evil scientific idiots that allowed demogorgons into the right-side-up world reappears in a more innocent venue.
1984 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
We’d be cruel if we told you which car, previously mentioned in this article, is t-boned by this creamy yellow ’84 Eldorado cushioned inside with maroon. In addition to its sledgehammer salvation of several characters trapped inside the ornery Country Squire, this Eldorado makes a foray up a hill and spins its wheels in eerie imitation of the demogorgon’s whirring in seasons before. (It’s also known, according to its front plate, as the “Todfather.”)
1972 Mercedes-Benz SLC
Of course the sleazy mayor who didn’t shoot his own zebra carpet drives an import. And he has the nerve to throw a giant fair to celebrate America’s birthday? He obviously just wants to be re-elected. Check out Mayor Kline’s ’72 Mercedes-Benz SLC in a fittingly shady shot.
1980 (?) BMW 733i
This classy number makes a short reappearance in the final episode of season three, though what we first thought was the perfect car for pretty boy Steve now rolls with more dignity. Steve has now proven himself a quality guy who stands up for his friends instead of letting them drown in his backyard pool. Cheers for character development.
1983 U-Haul truck
This is a U-Haul truck.
Now go watch Stranger Things season three, and find the cars we missed.