1984 Buick Skyhawk coupe

“Take flight.”

1984 was the third year for Buick’s version of the J-car. It also marked the Skyhawk’s peak sales year, with Buick producing 75,760 coupes, 45,648 sedans, and 13,668 station wagons.

The Skyhawk’s standard powertrain was an LQ5 86 bhp 2.0 liter/121 ci inline four with throttle-body fuel injection paired with a four-speed manual. An LH8 84 bhp 1.8 liter inline four with throttle-body fuel injection was $50, but required an upgrade to a five-speed manual ($75). Both engines were available with a three-speed automatic ($395). An LA5 turbocharged version of the 1.8 liter engine with 150 bhp was only available with the T TYPE coupe.

Performance wasn’t exactly scintillating, but Skyhawk coupe’s relatively low 2,316-pound weight did help. 0-60 times with the 1.8 liter/five-speed combination were likely in the 12 second range. Fuel economy with the same powertrain was rated at 29 city/46 highway by the day’s standards—today’s measures give a far less impressive 23/33. With a 13.5-gallon gas tank, a Skyhawk owner could expect a range of 340 to 455 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Two Skyhawk pages from the 1984 Buick brochure
Skyhawk pages from the 1984 Buick brochure

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $7,133 base Skyhawk coupe (designated as Custom) included manual rack-and-pinion steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes, and P175/80R13 blackwall tires on 13-inch wheels with Deluxe wheel covers. Inside, full carpeting, reclining front bucket seats, a full-length operating console, a Custom steering wheel, and an AM radio were included.

Moving up to the $7,641 Limited (about $22,400 in 2022 dollars and slightly less than a 2022 Buick Encore SUV costs) added dual horns, an acoustic package, a Limited steering wheel, and instrument gauges, along with cloth-covered seats and door panels.

Exterior and mechanical options for the Skyhawk coupe included tinted glass ($95), tungsten-halogen headlamps ($22), and styled aluminum wheels ($229). Inside, Electronic Touch Climate Control air conditioning ($780), manual air conditioning ($630), power windows ($185), and a series of stereo choices ranging up to an electronic tuning AM/FM stereo radio with cassette tape and graphic equalizer ($505) were all available.

The View From 2022

I haven’t seen a second-generation Skyhawk in person in many years. Buick made them through the 1989 model year, by which time sales numbers had dropped to a mere fraction of those in 1984.

Skyhawks are sometimes available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and at online auctions such as Bring a Trailer that cater to the eighties car market. As I write this blog entry in September 2022, Hemmings has a 1986 White Skyhawk T-Type hatchback with gray lower accents, silver/black cloth bucket seats, and 10,000 miles for sale for $16,000.

Make mine Silver Metallic, please.

1987 BMW L6 coupe

I like to think that I was pretty aware of automotive model lines in the eighties. Somehow, I completely missed the BMW L6 coupe until 2022.

“Contempt for Compromise”

For 1987 only, BMW bifurcated the 6-series coupe line into two distinct versions: the sporting M6 and the luxury-oriented L6.

1987 BMW L6 and M6 advertisement

The L6’s only powertrain was the M30B34 182 bhp 3.4 liter/209 ci inline six with fuel injection paired with a four-speed automatic. 0-60 came in a little over 9 seconds in a car with a 3,490-pound curb weight. Fuel economy was rated at 16 city/21 highway by the day’s standards (15 city/20 highway by modern measures). With an 18.5-gallon gas tank, an L6’s proud new owner could expect a range of between 290 and 310 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

The $49,500 L6 came well-equipped—a good thing, as that is about $131,200 in 2022 dollars, which is substantially more than a 2023 840i XDrive coupe. Exterior and mechanical features included a sunroof, power steering, four wheel disc brakes, and 220/55-390 Michelin TRX tires (available from Coker Tire) on 390 mm aluminum wheels. Inside, automatic air conditioning, cruise control, power leather seats, power windows, and power mirrors were included. Distinctive features included a rear center console with individual climate controls, a leather headliner, and a unique leather dash that was notorious for peeling off and warping due to windshield heat. 

Options & Production Numbers

With all that standard equipment, few options were available. A limited slip differential was $390.

The L6 did not sell very well in its single year—BMW moved 1,217. For comparison, the M6 sold 1,767 in the same year.

The View From 2022

Many vintage BMWs have strong forum support, and there is definite collector interest in the 6-series coupes. L6 coupes are sometimes available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds, on eBay Motors, and at online auctions such as Bring a Trailer that cater to the eighties car market.

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1987 BMW L6 coupe in #1/Concours condition is $69,100, with a far more normal #3/Good condition version going for $23,500.

Make mine Salmon Silver Metallic, please.

BMWs I have written about other than the 1987 L6 and M6 include the 1983 633CSi coupe, the 1984 325e coupe, the 1988 M3 coupe, and the 1988 750iL sedan.

1988 Buick Reatta coupe

Buick made things more than a bit confusing for some of its higher-end coupe buyers in the middle of the 1988 model year by introducing the two-seater Reatta. For the first time since its introduction in 1963, the Riviera was definitively no longer the top of the two-door Buick line—with a base price of $25,000, the Reatta’s barrier to entry was almost 16% higher.

“Beauty with purpose.”

Designed to be a sporty car, but with no delusions of being a sports car, Buick targeted the Reatta at a perceived niche in the two-seater market for a luxury coupe at a substantially lower price than the high-end luxury convertibles of the day. As Buick general manager Edward Mertz said in January 1988, it was “priced many thousands of dollars less than luxury and sports cars at the top end of the market.” The Reatta was not nearly as expensive as the Cadillac Allanté convertible (which had a base price of $56,533 in 1988) or the Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible ($61,130 in that same year) but could claim to be nearly as comfortable. Compared to the Cadillac and (especially) the Mercedes, the Reatta lacked refinement and prestige—both important to potential buyers.

Despite being based on the same E-platform as the Riviera, the Reatta’s exterior styling was distinctive, even if some of the proportions looked a little off to some. However, many parts of its interior were familiar to Riviera buyers—indeed, Buick benchmarked the Reatta’s two seats to the Riviera’s driver and front passenger experience. Because of this, the Reatta’s Electronic Control Center was essentially the same as the Riviera’s, and the Reatta’s optional driver’s seat closely resembled the one in the Riviera T Type.

1988 Buick Reatta brochure cover

The Reatta’s sole powertrain was a 3800 165 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection paired with a four-speed automatic. Car and Driver tested a 1988 Reatta, and recorded a 0-60 mph time of 9.1 seconds in a vehicle with a 3,380-pound curb weight. Mileage was respectable—19 city/29 highway by the day’s standards (17/26 by today’s measures). With an 18.2-gallon gas tank, a Reatta owner could expect a range of 355 to 390 miles with a 10% fuel reserve—enough to take those road trips that Buick was convinced the Reatta would be primarily used for.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the Reatta included Soft-Ray tinted glass, fast-ratio power steering, an independent four-wheel Gran Touring suspension, four-wheel anti-lock disk brakes, and P215/65R15 Goodyear Eagle GT+4 tires (a size still readily available) on 15-inch wheels. Inside, power windows, electric door locks, six-way power seats, and Electronic Touch Climate Control air conditioning were included. The standard and only audio system was an ETR AM stereo-FM stereo radio with seek and scan, acassette tape player with auto reverse, search/repeat, a graphic equalizer, a clock, eight Concert Sound speakers, and automatic power antenna.

Options & Production Numbers

Buick’s new coupe came loaded, with only two options in its introductory year: an electric sliding steel sunroof ($895) and a 16-way adjustable leather and suede driver’s seat ($680).

First-year sales of the Reatta were decent for a new two-seat coupe without that all-important pre-existing audience that many of its competitors had—Buick moved 4,708 of them in about nine months.

The View From 2022

There is collector interest in the Reatta, including club support. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1988 Buick Reatta coupe in #1/Concours condition is $20,600, with a far more normal #3/Good condition version going for $4,600.

Reatta coupes are often available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds, at online auctions such as Bring a Trailer that cater to the eighties car market, and at in-person auctions such as Barrett-Jackson and Mecum. As I write this blog entry in June 2022, Hemmings has a 1988 Bright Red Reatta with saddle bucket seats and 48,000 miles for sale for $9,000.

Make mine Claret Red Metallic, please.

Other Buick coupes I have written about include the 1980 Rivera S TYPE, the 1983 Skylark T TYPE, the 1984 Regal Grand National, the 1984 Riviera T TYPE, the 1985 Somerset Regal, the 1987 GNX, and the 1987 LeSabre T Type. I seem to find Buick coupes interesting.

Interesting Eighties Vehicles at the 2022 Mecum Indy

Mecum’s annual Indy auction finished on May 21st. In the middle of last year, I gave up trying to chronicle every eighties vehicle sold at any particular auction—there’s often an endless sameness to them. So, I now only write about the cars and trucks that are less seen at auction—and those that sold (a black 1989 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet with 47,000 miles was a no-sale at $180,000). Here are ten that attracted my eye, described in a little more detail than usual.

1988 Buick Reatta, linked from Mecum’s website

[J185] 1988 Buick Reatta coupe. Bright Red with tan leather bucket seats. 3800 165 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection, a four-speed automatic, and 112,000 miles. $4,000 hammer price for this first-year Reatta—one of the more interesting domestic cars of the eighties. Why do I have no Reatta-specific blog entry?

1989 Cadillac Fleetwood interior, linked from Mecum’s website

[K17] 1989 Cadillac Fleetwood Coupe. White with a white formal cabriolet top and red Dual-Comfort split front leather seats. HT 155 bhp 4.5 liter/273 ci V8 with fuel injection, a four-speed automatic, and 59,000 miles. $12,000 for this big front-wheel-drive Cadillac that someone kind of saved.

1982 AMC Spirit, linked from Mecum’s website

[K142] 1982 AMC Spirit DL Liftback. Olympic White with brown Deluxe Grain vinyl reclining front bucket seats. 110 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a two-barrel carburetor, a three-speed automatic, and 16,000 miles. You see a reasonable number of Eagles of the same era at auction, but not many Spirits. $17,000

1980 Lincoln Versailles, linked from Mecum’s website

[L69] 1980 Lincoln Versailles sedan. Medium Turquoise Metallic with a coach vinyl roof and turquoise leather Twin Comfort Lounge front seats. Windsor 132 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with a two-barrel carburetor, a three-speed automatic, and 9,900 miles. $20,000 for this final-year example of Lincoln’s putative Cadillac Seville competitor.

1989 Dodge D250, linked from Mecum’s website

[L112] 1989 Dodge D250 pickup truck. Platinum Silver Metallic/Exotic Red two-tone with an unidentified red interior (the base interior included a vinyl bench seat). LA 145 bhp 5.2 liter/318 ci V8 with fuel injection, a three-speed automatic, and 49,000 miles. $14,500 for an eighties pickup truck that isn’t a Chevy or a Ford.

1983 Chevrolet Caprice Classic, linked from Mecum’s website

[G172] 1983 Chevrolet Caprice Classic sedan. Dark Blue Metallic with a dark blue cloth 50/50 split front bench seat. LG4 150 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci v8 with a four-barrel carburetor, a four-speed automatic, and 74,000 miles. $8,000 for this rather clean looking (no vinyl roof!) Caprice.

1984 Subaru BRAT, linked from Mecum’s website

[W68] 1984 Subaru BRAT GL pickup truck. Lightning Silver with a stripe and vinyl and cloth front bucket seats (and, of course, those rear-facing vinyl seats in the bed). EA-81 73 bhp 1.8 liter/109 ci flat four with a carburetor, a four-speed manual, and 101,000 miles. $30,000 indicates that at least two bidders didn’t find the mileage that discouraging.

1988 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24, linked from Mecum’s website

[F89] 1988 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 convertible. Red with a black convertible top and black/gray cloth front bucket seats. LB6 125 bhp 2.8 liter/173 ci V6 with fuel injection, a three-speed automatic, and 12,000 miles. $19,000 for this loaded J-car lacking only a five-speed manual.

1987 Ford Escort GT, linked from Mecum’s website

[F200] 1987 Ford Escort GT hatchback coupe. Medium Red Metallic with medium gray cloth front bucket seats. H.O. 115 bhp 1.9 liter/113 ci inline four with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and unstated mileage. $6,000 buys what has to be one of the nicest 1987 Escort GT examples that remain.

1988 Lamborghini Countach, linked from Mecum’s website

[S213] 1988 Lamborghini Countach LP5000 Quattrovalvole coupe. Black with black leather bucket seats. 420 bhp 5.2 liter/316 ci V12 with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 10,000 miles. $545,000 is almost #1/Concours money, according to Hagerty’s Valuation Tools. Remember when you could buy a really nice LP5000 for under $100,000?

1987 Buick GNX coupe

There are (many) eighties cars that no one is convinced have a following, and then there is the Buick GNX. Unlike many of the other cars I write about, I doubt there’s anything new I can add to the discourse about the GNX. Still, I can’t not cover it.

“A high-performance investment for the fortunate 500.”

1987 Buick GNX advertisement

The story is familiar to many of us. Buick’s Grand National performance variant of the Regal had been around since 1982, and it had gotten steadily more powerful, gaining a standard turbo V6 in 1984, and an intercooler in 1986. For 1987, Buick announced the GNX, which stood for Grand National Experimental.

Buick built cars with Grand National interiors and sent them to American Specialty Cars (ASC). The GNX added a performance suspension with a torque bar and a GNX-only rear differential cover. Its exterior featured functional front-fender louvers, and 16-inch aluminum mesh wheels with black-out faces and GNX center caps, which were equipped with Goodyear Eagle “Gatorback” tires—245/50VR-16 in front and 255/50VR-16 in the rear.

Most importantly, the GNX included a massaged version of Buick’s LC2 3.8 liter/231 ci turbo V6 making 276 bhp paired with an automatic transmission with overdrive. Improvements to the engine over the standard turbo included a Garrett T3 turbocharger with ceramic impeller and a GNX-specific heat shield, a larger capacity intercooler, reprogrammed engine management, and a low-restriction exhaust.

Straight line acceleration was outstanding for the day—0-60 came in 5.5 seconds. The GNX handled well for a Regal, but that wasn’t really the point. Mileage ratings were 15 city/23 highway by the day’s standards (about 13 city/21 highway by today’s measures), which triggered the dreaded gas guzzler tax—$650 in this case.

The GNX was not inexpensive—the window sticker showed $29,290 (about $76,800 in 2022 dollars), with the GNX option alone listed as $10,995. Essentially, moving from a Grand National to a GNX added more than 50% to the price.

By 1987, a Grand National came reasonably well-equipped, with Sport mirrors, air conditioning, a leather-wrapped Sport steering wheel, a full-length operating console, and reclining front bucket seats included. A GNX came standard with many comfort and convenience features that were optional on the Grand National, including tungsten-halogen headlamps, electric door locks, power windows, electronic cruise control, tilt steering column, a six-way power driver’s seat, and the top-of-the-line UX1 stereo with graphic equalizer.

Options and Production Numbers

Buick built a mere 547 examples of the GNX—production was always intended to be quite limited. As far as I can tell, there were no factory options.

The View From 2022

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1987 Buick GNX coupe in #1/Concours condition is an astounding $288,000, with a far more normal #3/Good condition version going for $112,000.

The GNX has enthusiastic forum support, and there is intense collector interest. GNX coupes are sometimes available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds, at online auctions such as Bring a Trailer that cater to the eighties car market, and at in-person auctions such as Barrett-Jackson and Mecum.

Make mine Black, of course.

Interesting Eighties Vehicles at the 2022 Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach

Barrett-Jackson‘s Palm Beach auction recently completed. In the middle of 2021, I gave up trying to chronicle every eighties vehicle sold at any particular auction—there’s often an endless sameness to them. So, I now only write about the cars and trucks that are less seen at auction. Below are five sold at Palm Beach that attracted my eye, described and discussed with a little more detail than usual.

1989 Mazda RX7, linked from Barrett-Jackson’s website

[Lot 47] 1989 Mazda RX7 convertible. Noble White with a black convertible top and blue leather front bucket seats. 13B 160 bhp 1.3 liter/80 ci two-rotor engine with a five-speed manual. $15,000 hammer price for this second generation RX7 with undeclared mileage—which makes me assume it’s high. The eternal question; what are the new owner’s intentions for this car?

1982 Checker Marathon, linked from Barrett-Jackson’s website

[82] 1982 Checker Marathon sedan. White with a red vinyl front bench seat. LC3 110 bhp 3.8 liter/229 ci V6 with a two-barrel carburetor, a three-speed automatic transmission, and 374 miles. $19,000 is evidently what it currently costs for a brand new Checker. The funny thing is that a typical movie shoot would want a Checker that is a little more beat up and that is yellow.

1980 International Scout, linked from Barrett-Jackson’s website

[134] 1980 International Harvester Scout II SUV. Copper with a russet plaid front bench seat. IH 148 bhp 5.7 liter/346 ci V8 with a carburetor, a three-speed automatic, and 16,000 miles. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, the $25,000 paid for this final year Scout was between #4/Fair and #3/Good money. The Scout factory in Fort Wayne, Indiana closed on October 31, 1980.

1983 BMW 320i, linked from Barrett-Jackson’s website

[317] 1983 BMW 320i coupe. Bronzit Beige Metallic with beige front bucket seats. M10B18 101 bhp 1.8 liter/108 ci inline four with fuel injection and a three-speed automatic. You see a lot of eighties 6-series coupes up for auction, along with various examples from the M specialty line. You typically do not see many eighties base 3-series cars. $7,500

1987 Buick Regal, linked from Barrett-Jackson’s website

[342.1] 1987 Buick Regal Limited coupe with T Package. Dark Gray with a dark gray vinyl top and a gray split bench seat. LC2 245 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection and a turbocharger, a four-speed automatic, and 33,000 miles. $50,000 for the most civilian-looking of Buick’s three different performance versions of the Regal for 1987.

What did you think of this year’s Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach?

1985 Dodge Shelby Charger hatchback coupe

At Mecum Kissimmee 2022, a Dodge Shelby Charger sold for $12,000.

“32% nastier.”

For 1985, the Dodge Shelby Charger gained an upgraded engine. Gone was the 107 bhp naturally aspirated inline four, replaced with a Turbo I 146 bhp 2.2 liter/135 ci inline four with fuel injection and (natch) a turbocharger. A power bulge was added to the hood to clear the turbocharger, and, of course, there were new Turbo badges. Inside, the high back front bucket seats were notably improved. This combination of changes yielded a substantially improved Shelby Charger over what was initially released in the middle of the 1983 model year.

Shelby Charger pages from the 1985 Dodge Performance brochure

With the aid of a 2,456 pound curb weight, 0-60 mph came in a little under 8 seconds—sprightly for a reasonably priced sport coupe in 1985. Fuel economy ratings were 19 city/29 highway by the day’s standards (17/26 by today’s measures). With a 13-gallon gas tank, the owner of a Shelby Charger could expect a range of 250 to 280 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $9,553 Shelby Charger included tinted glass, halogen headlamps, a rear spoiler, rack and pinion steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes, and P205/50VR15 Goodyear Eagle tires (a size still readily available) with 15-inch cast aluminum wheels. Inside, a Rallye cluster with tachometer and trip odometer, a front console, a power liftgate release, a Sport steering wheel, and the aforementioned high back front bucket seats were included.

Options & Production Numbers

Options included a removable glass sunroof ($315), a rear window defroster ($132), a rear cargo area tonneau cover ($69), air conditioning ($643), and two upmarket stereos. A $779 Sun/Sound/Shade Discount Package included the sunroof, an AM/FM Premium stereo with cassette, and black rear deck window louvers.

Dodge produced 7,709 Shelby Chargers for the 1985 model year, making that year the second highest production of the five years the model was available. After 1987, the front-wheel-drive Charger would be gone, replaced by the Shadow.

The View From 2022

Shelby Chargers have their followers as a part of Dodge’s storied high-performance history. They are sometimes available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds, on eBay Motors, and at online auctions such as Bring a Trailer that cater to the eighties car market.

Make mine Santa Fe Blue Metallic, please. That also gets me the silver stripe.

I have also written about the 1985 Omni GLH hatchback sedan.

1983 Mazda 626 coupe

“A concept crystallized.”

For 1983, Mazda’s 626 coupe, sedan, and liftback were all new as they switched from rear-wheel-drive to front-wheel-drive. Styling was also more aerodynamic, with the coupe receiving a 0.34 Cd. Finally, almost every interior dimension was expanded.

The 626’s standard powertrain was the FE 83 bhp 2.0 liter/121 ci inline four with a two-barrel carburetor paired with a five-speed manual. 0-60 mph took about 12.5 seconds in a car with a 2,545-pound curb weight. EPA fuel economy ratings were 29 city/41 highway by the day’s standards. With a 15.8-gallon fuel tank, a new 626 coupe owner could expect an impressive range of 405 to 450 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

626 page from the 1983 Mazda brochure

Standard equipment on the $9,295 626 DL coupe (about $26,900 in today’s dollars or about what a 2022 Mazda3 sedan Carbon Edition goes for) included rack-and-pinion steering, vacuum-assisted front disc/rear drum brakes, and 185/70R-14 tires (a size still available) on 14 x 5.5 inch wheels. Inside, electric window lifts, electric adjustable mirrors, cruise control, and an AM/FM stereo cassette were included.

The LX coupe added power steering, cruise control, and the trick Electronic Variable Shock Absorber (EVSA) suspension.

Options included 15 x 6 inch cast alloy wheels with uprated 195/60R-15 tires (a combination that yielded class-leading skid pad results and is still readily available), an electric sunroof ($430), and air conditioning ($650).

The third-generation 626 got a very good reception from the automotive press, with Road & Track stating that it was “an impressive update” that had been “delivered as promised.” AutoWeek gave Mazda a splash quote they used in advertisements—”about as perfect as an automobile can be built.”

The View From 2022

The third-generation Mazda 626 was once quite common (at least in the Philadelphia suburbs), but I haven’t seen one in over a decade. This era of 626 is sometimes available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds, on eBay Motors, and at online auctions such as Bring a Trailer that cater to the eighties car market.

Make mine Silhouette Blue Metallic, please.

The only other Mazda I have written about is the 1985 RX7 GSL-SE hatchback coupe. I’ve got to get to a GLC at some point.

1983 Jaguar XJ6 sedan

When I was growing up, I was aware of more prestigious sedans than the Jaguar XJ6. However, none were as gorgeous.

“… the best Jaguar ever built.”

For 1983, Jaguar’s XJ6 sedan received a new center console, a thicker steering wheel rim, and newly standard Pirelli tires. Other than that, there were few changes to the Pininfarina-designed Series III version of the XJ6 that had been introduced in 1980.

The only powertrain available in North America was an XK 176 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with fuel injection mated with a three-speed automatic transmission. 0-60 mph came in a little under 11 seconds in a sedan with a curb weight of 4,065 pounds. Fuel economy was rated at 17 (14 city/17 highway by today’s standards). With both fuel tanks full, an XJ6 owner could expect a range of 330 to 360 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

XJ6 brochure pages from the 1983 Jaguar brochure

The XJ6’s base price was $30,500—about $88,100 in today’s dollars. Standard mechanical equipment included a four wheel independent suspension, power rack and pinion steering, four wheel power disc brakes, and Pirelli P5 205/70VR15 tires (a size still available thanks to Vredestein) on 15-inch wheels. Inside, a power sunroof, centrally controlled door locks, power side mirrors, cruise control, and leather front bucket seats were included.

The $33,500 Vanden Plas version of the XJ6 kicked things up a notch, adding upgraded seats, individual swivel based reading lamps for the rear passengers, and burled walnut in the dashboard, the console, and the door panels. Jaguar described the Vanden Plas as “frankly opulent.”

By 1983, Jaguar quality overall had sharply improved under the management of chairman John Egan (knighted in 1986), so purchasing an XJ6 was a relatively safe decision. The Series III XJ6 was well-liked—Car and Driver pronounced it as “one of the Western World’s more delightful mechanical manifestations.” However, it was not particularly large inside—the EPA classified it as a subcompact car.

The View From 2022

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1983 Jaguar XJ6 sedan in #1/Concours condition is $31,800, with a far more normal #3/Good condition version going for $8,700. A Vanden Plas is believed to be worth about 2% more—far less than the cost it added back in 1983.

All vintage Jaguars have strong forum support, and there is definite collector interest in the XJ sedans. Eighties XJ6s are often available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds, on eBay Motors, and at online auctions such as Bring a Trailer that cater to the eighties car market.

Make mine Racing Green, please. Can there be any doubt?

The other Jaguars I have written about are the 1982 XJ-S H.E. coupe and the 1988 XJ-S convertible.

Interesting Eighties Vehicles at the 2022 Mecum Glendale

Mecum’s annual Glendale auction completed last Saturday. In the middle of 2021, I gave up trying to chronicle every eighties vehicle sold at any particular auction—there’s often an endless sameness to them. So, I now only write about the cars and trucks that are less seen at auction—and those that sold (a red 1984 Ferrari 512 BBi coupe with 13,000 miles was a no-sale at $225,000). Here are five that attracted my eye, described in a little more detail than usual.

1987 Ford LTD Crown Victoria, linked from Mecum’s website

[Lot W111] 1987 Ford LTD Crown Victoria sedan. Oxford White with Luxury rear half vinyl roof and a midnight blue cloth reclining split bench front seat. Windsor 150 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, a four-speed automatic, and 35,000 miles. $9,000 hammer price for a car that once seemed everywhere and has now essentially disappeared.

1989 Mercury Colony Park, linked from Mecum’s website

[W138] 1989 Mercury Colony Park station wagon. Medium Almond with woodgrain with light sandalwood cloth front seats—I can’t tell if this wagon is a GS or an LS, but I do know that I’ve now written about two Panther platform cars in a row. Windsor 150 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection and a four-speed automatic. $13,500–I wrote about the 1984 LS last year.

1989 Toyota Corolla GT-S, linked from Mecum’s website

[W289] 1989 Toyota Corolla GT-S coupe. Super Red (that’s the actual color name) with gray cloth front bucket seats. 4A-GE 115 bhp 1.6 liter/97 ci inline four with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 27,000 miles. $16,000 for the highest performance Corolla available in 1989—and one that stood out from the better-selling front-wheel-drive examples.

1985 Lamborghini Jalpa, linked from Mecum’s website

[T276] 1985 Lamborghini Jalpa P350 GTS coupe. Bianco Polo Park (white) with red leather bucket seats. 250 bhp 3.5 liter/213 ci V8 with four two-barrel carburetors and a five-speed manual. This “entry-level” Lamborghini sold for $90,000 despite having the engine size listed in the docket as 3.0 liters. This Jalpa’s base price when new was about $65,000 and they are rare cars—Lamborghini built a total of 410 over eight years.

1985 Excalibur Series IV, linked from Mecum’s website

[F34.1] 1982 Excalibur Series IV Phaeton. Tan (the actual paint color was not stated) with a light brown convertible top and tan leather seats. 155 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci Chevrolet V8 (perhaps an LG4?) with a four-barrel carburetor, a three-speed automatic, and 11,000 miles. $32,000 for the most respected (the AACA judges them) of the neo-classics.