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.

1983 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Sport Coupe

A 1983 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS with 156 miles recently sold on Bring a Trailer for $32,000.

“Chevy SS tradition comes alive …”

In the middle of the 1983 model year, Chevrolet announced the Monte Carlo SS. Designated RPO Z65, the SS was designed to help Chevrolet compete better in NASCAR on Sundays—and sell more Monte Carlos on Mondays. There were only two exterior color choices—White and Medium Dark Royal Blue. The changes in the front end and the addition of a rear spoiler cut the drag coefficient by 15% compared to the “civilian” Sport Coupe, making it a respectable 0.375, though not quite the Ford Thunderbird coupe‘s 0.35 Cd.

Aside from the exterior looks, the powertrain was the star—an L69 “H.O.” 175 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor paired with a three-speed automatic transmission. Period road tests resulted in 0-60 mph times of about 8 seconds—about as quick as the Monte’s Buick Regal T-Type and Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais Hurst/Olds platform-mates in the same year. Fuel economy was rated at 17 city/25 highway by the day’s standards (14 city/18 highway by 2022 measures). With an 18.1-gallon gas tank, the enthused new owner of a Monte Carlo SS could expect a range of 260 to 340 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

1983 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS flyer

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment for the $10,249 Monte Carlo SS included Sport mirrors, a rear spoiler, a dual outlet exhaust system, power steering, the F41 sport suspension, power front disc/rear drum brakes, and Goodyear Eagle GT P215/65R15 white letter tires (a size still readily available) on 15 x 7 inch stamped steel wheels. Inside, the SS was less differentiated, but it did get a gage package with a tachometer. The standard seat was a blue cloth bench seat with white vinyl inserts and matching door trim.

Options & Production Numbers

Many of the standard Sport Coupe’s options were also available for the SS. Exterior examples included tinted glass ($105), hi-beam halogen headlamps ($10), and twin remote Sport mirrors ($60). Inside, options included an intermittent windshield wiper system ($49), an electric rear window defogger ($135), power windows ($180), an electric power door lock system ($120), a power trunk opener ($40), automatic speed control with resume speed ($170), a Comfortilt steering wheel ($105), and air conditioning ($725).

A blue cloth 55/45 seat with white vinyl inserts was available for an extra $133, but no bucket seats were available for the 1983 Monte Carlo. A series of four radios were available, with an AM/FM stereo radio with stereo cassette tape and four speakers ($298) being the top of the line. A fixed mast black antenna was an SS-only option and was included with all radios.

The sportier Monte Carlo was generally received in the press, though many scribes noted the lack of a console, bucket seats, Positraction, and a four-speed automatic—all issues Chevrolet promised to fix. Motor Trend‘s title was “Mid-American GT Revival,” and much of the coverage agreed.

Along with the late introduction, there were production problems in 1983, so the first year total for the fourth-generation Monte Carlo SS was only 4,714. SS sales would hit their stride in the following year, with Chevrolet moving 24,050 out the door.

The View From 2022

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1983 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Sport Coupe in #1/Concours condition is $27,700, with a far more normal #3/Good condition version going for $13,900.

These Monte Carlos have enthusiastic forum support, and there is definite collector interest. Monte Carlos SS coupes 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 Medium Dark Royal Blue, please.

I’ve written about one other Monte Carlo—the 1981 Sport Coupe. Other sporty G-platform cars I have written about include the 1980 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ coupe and the 1982 Buick Regal Grand National coupe.

1980 Toyota Corolla Tercel Liftback

“… a price that belies its good looks.

1980 was the first year that Toyota sold the Corolla Tercel in the United States. Despite its name, the front-wheel-drive Tercel was not related in any meaningful way to the rear-wheel-drive Corolla, but Toyota evidently figured that adding the Corolla name would make buyers more confident in their purchasing decision. The Tercel was available as a 2-Door Sedan and a 3-Door Liftback (a four-door sedan would arrive one year later).

Corolla Tercel Liftback pages from the 1980 Corolla brochure

The Corolla Tercel Liftback was a small and light car, with a 160 inch length (about 20 inches shorter than a 2022 Corolla) and a curb weight of 2,030 pounds. The Liftback’s standard powertrain combined a 60 bhp 1.5 liter/99 ci inline four paired to a five-speed manual (a three-speed automatic was optional). Unusually for a front-wheel-drive car, the Tercel’s engine was longitudinally placed, which Toyota claimed resulted in easier serviceability.

Road & Track clocked a 0-60 time of 14.8 seconds in a loaded Tercel Liftback SR-5. As might be expected with a 99 cubic inch engine and a five-speed, fuel economy was impressive—33 city/43 highway by the day’s standards. With an 11.9-gallon fuel tank, a Tercel driver could expect a range of 330 to 365 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

The Liftback had more standard equipment than the 2-Door Sedan, which was the loss leader. At $4,848, the Corolla Tercel Liftback Deluxe included body side moldings, front-wheel-drive, rack-and-pinion steering, power-assisted front disc/rear drum brakes, and 155/80R12 tires on 12-inch wheels. Inside, reclining front bucket seats and a split-back fold-down rear seat were included.

The $600 SR-5 package added black accents, side striping, and 165/70SR13 radial tires (a size still available thanks to Vredestein) on 13-inch wheels. Inside, SR-5 features included a cloth interior, full interior carpeting, a tachometer, and an AM/FM/MPX stereo radio.

Options were relatively few, but did include aluminum alloy wheels ($215), a rear window washer/wiper ($75), and air conditioning ($520).

I haven’t seen a first-generation Tercel in decades. Make mine Light Blue Metallic, please.

Other Toyotas I have written about include the 1981 Celica Sport Coupe, the 1982 Celica Supra hatchback coupe, the 1983 Camry sedan, and the 1985 MR2 coupe. This list hints that I should write about an actual Corolla soon.

1985 Volvo 240 station wagon

When I was growing up in the Philadelphia suburbs in the mid-eighties, Volvo 240 station wagons were everywhere. They were respected, but not appreciated. Now, they’re becoming collector cars, and I see them infrequently.

“… a car whose quality you can both see and feel.”

For 1985, Volvo’s 240 sedan and station wagon gained a revised “low friction” engine with slightly increased horsepower. Otherwise, there were few changes to a design that had been in production since the 1975 model year.

The 240’s standard powertrain was a B230F 114 bhp 2.3 liter/141 ci inline four with fuel injection paired to a four-speed manual. A four-speed automatic with overdrive was optional. 0-60 mph likely took a little over 12 seconds with either transmission. With the manual transmission, mileage in the 3,042-pound car was rated at 23 city/28 highway by the day’s standards (20/26 by today’s standards). With a 15.9-gallon fuel tank, 240 drivers could expect 330 to 365 miles of range with a 10% reserve.

Volvo 240 DL station wagon photo from the 1985 Volvo brochure

By 1985, the 240 was no longer as spare as it had been a few years before. Standard equipment for the $14,690 240 DL station wagon included tinted windows, a front spoiler, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, power-assisted disc brakes, and 195/75R14 tires on 14-inch wheels. Inside, a rear window wiper/washer, power door locks, cargo tie-down rings, and air conditioning were included. Trim and upholstery features included adjustable front bucket seats with integrated head rests and lumbar support and full interior carpeting.

Moving up to GL added an engine compartment light, power windows, an intermittent setting for the rear window wiper/washer, a small diameter steering wheel (I’m not sure why this was notable or a positive), and a heated driver’s seat.

Volvo 240s had few individual factory options—you chose the trim level and the color, and that was about it. They continued to sell in decent numbers—the 1985 240 station wagon moved about 68,000 units worldwide.

The View from 2022

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1985 Volvo 240 GL station wagon in #1/Concours condition is $19,000, with a far more normal #3/Good condition version going for $6,600. A DL is thought to be worth about 4% less.

All vintage Volvos have strong club support, and there is definite collector interest in what 240 owners call “bricks”—enough for Hagerty to offer a buyer’s guide. 240 station wagons 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 Dark Red, please.

So far, the only other Volvo that has been covered in Eighties Cars is the 1987 780 coupe.

80s Engines: The Iron Duke

This month, we’re starting a new post category on Eighties Cars—engines. They won’t always be the most powerful or most interesting engines, just ones that were relevant in the 1980s.

Cross section of the original Iron Duke

GM’s Iron Duke 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four was one of the least glamorous but most important engines of the eighties. Despite its strong association with the 1980s, the Iron Duke was developed by Pontiac in the mid-1970s and was in use until the early 1990s.

The Iron Duke name was inspired by the new engine’s cast-iron block, with that material chosen for durability. Pontiac used the Iron Duke branding in advertising, perhaps to ensure that potential buyers didn’t associate their new four with the Chevrolet Vega’s extremely unsuccessful aluminum four. Other notable characteristics of the Iron Duke included overhead valves and a relatively short stroke.

The Iron Duke was reasonably reliable, got acceptable fuel economy, and had impressive torque for an inline four. However, Pontiac’s engine wasn’t refined, powerful, or quiet—especially compared to some of the fours that started coming from Europe and Japan during the eighties. The Iron Duke had no balance shafts until 1989, and it never received port fuel injection.

Model yearChanges/NotesBHPTorque
1980Modified for transverse applications90134
1981Emissions changes84125
1982Throttle-body fuel injection (Tech IV)90132
198390132
1984Compression ratio increased to 9.0:192132
198592132
198692132
198792132
1988Heads redesigned98135
1989Balance shafts98135
The Iron Duke in the 1980s—not all vehicles got updates in the same model year

General Motors used the Iron Duke in every one of its North American marques but Cadillac, and it appeared in dozens of sedans, coupes, wagons, trucks, and SUVs. The Iron Duke was also available in a few wildly inappropriate vehicles—notable examples are the Chevrolet Camaro Sport Coupe, the Pontiac Firebird base coupe and S/E, and the Pontiac Fiero. GM also sold the Iron Duke to AMC, where it appeared in the Concord, the Eagle, the Spirit, and the Jeep CJ.

An Iron Duke-equipped vehicle may have driven by you today—most of the Grumman LLVs that the US Postal Service uses are equipped with one.