Eighties Vehicles at the 2019 Mecum Indianapolis

As usual Mecum’s huge May auction in Indianapolis provided much interesting fodder for commentary. I’ll concentrate on the at least fairly stock 1980s cars (and a few trucks) that sold (remember that Mecum auctions are not “no reserve” auctions—a Grand Prix White 1987 Porsche930 coupe with black leather bucket seats and 40,000 miles was a no sale bid up to $85,000) and add some of my opinions. Eighties vehicles were about 9% of the approximately 1,100 vehicle lots sold in this auction.

Tuesday, May 14th:

  • 1986 gray/red two-tone GMC custom (engine) pickup truck with a tan cloth/vinyl bench seat, a 6.3 liter/383 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 54,000 miles—$10,000 hammer price
  • 1989 Quicksilver/Midnight Blue two-tone Chevrolet Suburban R1500 Silverado SUV with blue custom cloth bucket seats, a 210 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 27,000 miles—$16,500
  • 1985 silver/black two-tone Chevrolet C10 Silverado pickup truck with a gray cloth bench seat, an unknown V8, and an automatic—$13,000
  • 1988 yellow Pontiac Fiero GT very custom (engine, body, brakes) coupe with gray bucket seats, a 4.9 liter Cadillac V8 (!), and an automatic—$8,500
  • 1981 white Chevrolet Corvette custom (body) coupe with blue leather bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with an Edelbrock carburetor, an automatic, and 37,000 miles—$7,500
  • 1985 Bright Red Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with gray leather bucket seats, an L98 230 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$3,500
  • 1987 silver/black two-tone Chevrolet C10 Silverado pickup truck with a gray cloth bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, an automatic, and 47,000 miles—$12,000
  • 1987 Flame Red Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GTA with tan leather bucket seats, an L98 210 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 141,000 miles—$3,500
  • 1989 red Cadillac Allanté convertible with tan leather bucket seats, an HT-4500 200 bhp 4.5 liter/273 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—an ouch! at $2,000
  • 1986 Zermatt Silver Metallic Porsche 944 Turbo hatchback coupe with black bucket seats, a 220 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with turbocharger, intercooler, and fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 89,000 miles—$11,500. You see more and more 9×4 Porsches at auction these days.
1985 Porsche 944 Turbo hatchback coupe, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1980 blue Chevrolet Camaro Z28 coupe with blue seats, an LM1 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, a four-speed manual, and 97,000 miles—at $12,500 the first vehicle in this auction to meet my criteria for serious 1980s collectability of original cars or trucks: selling for equal to or above its original base list price. I’ll mark these vehicles in bold green.
  • 1988 black Mitsubishi Pajero SUV with gray cloth bucket seats, a 2.5 liter inline four, a five-speed manual, and 121,000 miles—$3,000
  • 1983 white Buick Riviera convertible with a white top, red leather seats, a 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 77,000 miles—$9,000
  • 1985 blue/silver two-tone Ford Bronco II SUV with blue cloth bucket seats, a Cologne 115 bhp 2.8 liter/170 ci V6 with a two-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$8,000
  • 1987 red Chevrolet Corvette custom (engine) convertible with tan leather bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a carburetor, and an automatic—$5,000
  • 1983 black Datsun 280ZX Turbo hatchback coupe with tan bucket seats, an L28ET 180 bhp 2.8 liter/168 ci inline six with turbocharger and fuel injection, and an automatic—$7,000
  • 1981 brown Datsun 280ZX hatchback coupe with tan cloth bucket seats, an L28E 145 bhp 2.8 liter/168 ci inline six with fuel injection, an automatic, and 105,000 miles—$5,000
  • 1983 Red Firemist Buick Riviera convertible with a white top, red leather seats, a 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 75,000 miles—$8,500
  • 1983 blue/silver two-tone GMC Sierra 1500 custom (engine, suspension) pickup truck with a blue interior and a 5.3 liter V8—$14,500
  • 1981 white Chevrolet Corvette coupe with red leather bucket seats, an L81 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 71,000 miles—$7,500
  • 1980 white Fiat Spider 2000 convertible with a black top, a red interior, a 2.0 liter/122 ci inline four, a four-speed manual, and 28,000 miles—$7,500
  • 1988 brown Ford Ranger custom (paint) pickup truck with a tan vinyl bench seat and 49,000 miles—$6,000
  • 1986 black Pontiac Fiero SE coupe with gray cloth bucket seats, a 140 bhp 2.8 liter/173 ci V6 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 25,000 miles—$8,500
  • 1984 black Chevrolet K10 custom (engine, body, suspension) pickup truck with gray cloth bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and a four-speed manual—$13,500
  • 1989 red Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck with red cloth bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$7,500
  • 1983 black Jeep CJ-7 custom (suspension, interior) SUV with tan bucket seats and a 5.0 liter/304 ci V8—$16,000
  • 1987 red Dodge Power Ram 150 pickup truck with a red vinyl bench seat, an LA 5.9 liter/360 ci V8, and an automatic—$5,500
  • 1987 black Pontiac Firebird Formula hatchback coupe with gray cloth bucket seats, an L98 210 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 106,000 miles—$5,000

Wednesday, May 15th:

  • 1984 Oxford White Ford Mustang 20th Anniversary GT.350 hatchback coupe with red cloth bucket seats, a Windsor 175 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 62,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1984 black Ford Mustang SVO hatchback coupe with charcoal cloth bucket seats, a Lima 175 bhp 2.3 liter/140 ci inline four with turbocharger, intercooler, and fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 73,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1987 black/gray two-tone Ford Mustang GT hatchback coupe with red cloth bucket seats, a Windsor 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 43,000 miles—$15,000
  • 1986 white Mercury Capri ASC/McLaren convertible with a tan top, tan leather bucket seats, a Windsor 200 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 16,000 miles—$9,000
  • 1980 brown Chevrolet Scottsdale pickup truck with a saddle vinyl bench seat, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, and an automatic—$13,000
  • 1989 burgundy Dodge Ramcharger SUV with tan bucket seats, an LA 5.9 liter/360 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$16,500
  • 1987 silver/black two-tone Chevrolet Suburban Silverado SUV with gray cloth bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$10,000
  • 1985 beige Pontiac Parisienne Brougham sedan with tan leather seats, an unknown engine, an automatic, and 16,000 miles—$11,500. I can’t remember the last time I’ve even seen a Parisienne, much less one at auction.
1985 Pontiac Parisienne sedan, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1981 black and gold Pontiac Firebird Trans Am coupe with black bucket seats, an unknown V8, a four-speed manual, and 63,000 miles—$24,000
  • 1983 maroon Lotus Esprit Turbo Investor’s Edition (really!) coupe with black leather bucket seats, a 205 bhp 2.2 liter/133 ci inline four with a Garrett T3 turbocharger, intercooler, and two carburetors, and a five-speed manual—$21,000
  • 1989 Pearl White Jeep Wrangler custom (engine, suspension, wheels/tires) SUV with a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 and an automatic—$12,000
  • 1983 black/silver two-tone Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais Hurst/Olds 15th Anniversary coupe with gray cloth seats, a 180 bhp 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with Rochester four-barrel carburetor, an automatic attached to that famous lightning rod shifter, and 41,000 miles—$21,000
  • 1985 red/silver two-tone Oldsmobile Calais roadster (no top) with red/silver bucket seats, a Tech 4 215 bhp 2.7 liter/165 ci inline four, and an automatic—an astounding $45,000 for this real Indianapolis 500 pace car.
  • 1985 blue Jeep CJ-7 Renegade SUV with a black interior, a 112 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a Carter BBD two-barrel carburetor, a five-speed manual, and 98,000 miles—$21,000
  • 1988 Pearl White Cadillac Allanté convertible with tan leather bucket seats, an HT-4100 170 bhp 4.1 liter/250 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 72,000 miles—$4,000
  • 1986 black/silver two-tone Chevrolet Blazer SUV with gray cloth bucket seats, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, and an automatic—$17,000
  • 1984 black/silver two-tone Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais Hurst/Olds coupe with maroon cloth seats, a 180 bhp 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with Rochester four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 60,000 miles—$16,000
  • 1986 red/white two-tone Chevrolet C10 pickup truck with a red cloth bench seat, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, an automatic, and 64,000 miles—$8,500
  • 1983 stainless steel DeLorean DMC-12 coupe with gray leather seats, a 130 bhp 2.8 liter/173 ci V6 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, an unknown transmission, and 2,100 miles—$29,000
  • 1987 white Chevrolet S10 custom (engine) with a blue vinyl bench seat, a 7.4 liter/454 ci V8, and an automatic—$12,500
  • 1986 medium blue/dark blue two-tone Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck with a light blue cloth bench seat, an unknown V8, an automatic, and 16,000 miles—$21,000
  • 1987 black Buick Regal Grand National custom (engine) coupe with black/silver cloth bucket seats, a 4.1 liter V6 with fuel injection, turbocharger, and intercooler, an automatic, and 35,000 miles—$19,500
  • 1981 aqua GMC custom (exterior, paint, interior) pickup truck with gray leather bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$13,000
  • 1987 black Buick Regal Grand National coupe with black/silver cloth seats, an LC2 235 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection, turbocharger, and intercooler, an automatic, and 27,000 miles—$27,000
  • 1987 black Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck with a charcoal cloth bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$11,500
  • 1986 silver Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2 Aerocoupe with gray seats, an LG4 165 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 32,000 miles—$9,500
  • 1984 Cameo Ivory Cadillac Coupe de Ville with blue leather seats, an HT-4100 135 bhp 4.1 liter/250 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 29,000 miles—$5,000
  • 1980 Frost Beige Chevrolet Corvette coupe with doeskin leather seats, an L82 230 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with Rochester four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 75 miles—$27,000
  • 1985 silver Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS coupe with blue cloth bucket seats, a B4V 180 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci “H.O.” V8 with Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 9,900 miles—$18,500
  • 1983 Pearl White Chrysler Imperial custom (engine, body, paint, wheels/tires) coupe with red leather seats, a 6.6 liter/401 ci V8, an automatic, and 15,000 miles—$10,500
  • 1989 White Pontiac 20th Anniversary Turbo Firebird Trans Am hatchback coupe with saddle leather seats, a 250 bhp (at least) 3.8 liter/231 ci turbocharged V6 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 16,000 miles—$24,000
  • 1984 Black Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL sedan with Palomino leather seats, a 5.0 liter/304 ci V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 38,000 miles—$12,500
  • 1983 black Chevrolet custom (engine, suspension) with a cloth bench seat, a 7.0 liter/427 ci V8, a four-speed manual, and 81,000 miles—$30,000

Thursday, May 16th:

  • 1985 blue Ford Mustang GT convertible with a black top, gray cloth bucket seats, a Windsor 210 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, a five-speed manual, and 15,000 miles—$11,500
  • 1987 black Buick Regal T Package coupe (not a T Type) with gray cloth bucket seats, an LC2 245 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection, turbocharger, and intercooler, and an automatic—$16,000
  • 1980 yellow Pontiac Firebird coupe with tan vinyl bucket seats, a 110 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with a two-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 47,000 miles—$9,000 for what I think is a Yellow Bird.
  • 1981 red Chevrolet Corvette coupe with red leather bucket seats, an L81 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$13,000
  • 1985 Estate Green Jeep CJ-7 custom (paint, wheels/tires) SUV with gray bucket seats, a 112 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a Carter BBD two-barrel carburetor, a four-speed manual, and 74,000 miles—$20,000
  • 1985 burgundy/cream two-tone Citroen 2CV sedan with a 29 bhp 602 cc/37 ci two-cylinder with a two-barrel Solex carburetor, a four-speed manual, and 38,000 miles—$17,000
  • 1987 blue Buick Regal T Package coupe with blue cloth seats, an LC2 245 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection, turbocharger, and intercooler, an automatic, and 27,000 miles—$22,500
  • 1987 black Buick Regal Grand National coupe with black/silver cloth bucket seats, an LC2 235 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection, turbocharger, and intercooler, an automatic, and 10,000 miles—$44,000
  • 1985 Black/Silver Metallic two-tone Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon 4-4-2 coupe with maroon cloth bucket seats, a 180 bhp 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 33,000 miles—$19,000
  • 1986 blue/white two-tone GMC Suburban SUV with blue cloth front bucket seats, a 230 bhp 7.4 liter/454 ci V8, an automatic, and 31,000 miles—$23,000
  • 1981 Black/Dark Pewter two-tone Lincoln Continental Mark VI Givenchy Designer Series coupe with a Black landau vinyl top, Pewter leather seats, a Windsor 130 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 22,000 miles—$18,000 is frankly an astounding amount of money for any Mark VI. Hagerty’s valuation for a 1981 Mark VI in #1/Concours condition is $13,500.
1981 Lincoln Continental Mark VI Givenchy Designer Series coupe, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1983 light blue Datsun 280ZX hatchback coupe with an L28E 145 bhp 2.8 liter/168 ci inline six with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$11,000
  • 1986 yellow Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car Edition convertible with gray leather bucket seats, an L98 235 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection,  an automatic, and 8,600 miles—$21,500
  • 1987 black Buick Regal Grand National coupe with black/silver cloth bucket seats, an LC2 245 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection, turbocharger, and intercooler, an automatic, and 41,000 miles—$28,000
  • 1986 Bright Red Ford Mustang GT convertible with a white top, white leather bucket seats, a Windsor 200 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 2,700 miles—$15,000
  • 1982 blue Chevrolet Corvette Greenwood Daytona replica custom (body!) coupe with dark blue leather bucket seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, and an automatic, and 24,000 miles—$22,000

Friday, May 17th:

  • 1986 green/white two-tone GMC Jimmy Sierra Classic custom (engine, interior) SUV with saddle tan leather bucket seats, a 5.3 liter V8, and an automatic—$20,000. Friday was not the day for eighties vehicles.

Saturday, May 18th:

  • 1989 camouflage AM General Humvee M998 SUV with a green interior, a 6.2 liter/380 ci diesel V8, an automatic, and 17,000 miles—$25,000
  • 1984 Oxford White Ford Mustang 20th Anniversary GT.350 hatchback coupe with red cloth bucket seats, a Windsor 175 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, a five-speed manual, and 69,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1981 stainless steel DeLorean DMC-12 coupe with gray leather bucket seats, a 130 bhp 2.8 liter/173 ci V6 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 15,000 miles—$35,000
  • 1980 Classic White Chevrolet Corvette coupe with black leather bucket seats, an L82 230 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with Rochester four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 5,200 miles—$43,000 is a ton of money for a 1980 Corvette, even this well-documented, well-preserved, well-equipped car.
1980 Chevrolet Corvette coupe, linked fro
  • 1980 red GMC Jimmy Sierra Grande custom (engine, wheels/tires) SUV with red/white houndstooth cloth bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 62,000 miles—$38,000
  • 1987 white Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS drag racer with a red racing seat, a 7.7 liter/467 ci V8 with a Holley four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$17,000
  • 1982 red, white, and blue de Tomaso Pantera GT5 coupe with tan leather bucket seats, a Cleveland 345 bhp 5.8 liter/351 ci V8 with a Holley four-barrel carburetor, a five-speed manual, and 49,000 miles—$33,000
  • 1984 yellow de Tomaso Pantera GT5 coupe with black leather bucket seats, a Cleveland 345 bhp 5.8 liter/351 ci V8 with a Holley four-barrel carburetor, a five-speed manual, and 60,000 miles—$75,000
  • 1988 black Porsche 930 Turbo coupe with black leather seats, a 282 bhp 3.3 liter/201 ci flat six with fuel injection and turbocharger, a four-speed manual, the factory slantnose, and 30,000 miles—$120,000
  • 1982 red Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-45 custom (body, interior, wheels/tires) pickup truck with black leather seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter inline six, and a four-speed manual—$46,000
  • 1987 black Buick Regal Grand National coupe with black/silver cloth seats, an LC2 235 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection, turbocharger, and intercooler, an automatic, and 59,000 miles—$22,000
  • 1987 gray Land Rover Defender 110 custom (engine, interior, paint, wheels/tires) pickup truck with black leather seats, a 4.0 liter engine with fuel injection, and an automatic—$105,000
  • 1982 white Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-40 SUV with black vinyl seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter inline six, and a four-speed manual—$21,000
  • 1982 red Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-43 SUV with gray vinyl seats, a 2F 3.6 liter inline six, and a four-speed manual—$22,000

Sunday, May 19th:

  • 1984 stainless steel DeLorean DMC-12 coupe with gray leather bucket seats, a 130 bhp 2.8 liter/173 ci V6 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 13,000 miles—$32,000
  • 1984 Light Pewter Metallic/Thunder Black two-tone Nissan 300ZX 50th Anniversary hatchback coupe with black leather bucket seats, a VG30ET 200 bhp 3.0 liter/181 ci V6 with fuel injection and turbocharger, a five-speed manual, and 25,000 miles—$20,000
  • 1987 red Nissan 300ZX hatchback coupe with red cloth bucket seats, a VG30E 160 bhp 3.0 liter/181 ci V6 with fuel injection and turbocharger, a five-speed manual, and 32,000 miles—$16,000
  • 1984 red Chevrolet K10 Scottsdale mild custom (hood) pickup truck with a black vinyl bench seat, an LT9 165 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$13,000
  • 1985 blue Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-45 pickup truck with black vinyl bucket seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter inline six, and manual, and 23,000 miles—$25,500
  • 1989 red Ford Bronco XLT SUV with tan cloth bucket seats, a Windsor 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$13,000
  • 1980 Classic White Chevrolet Corvette coupe with blue leather seats, an L82 230 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with Rochester four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$18,000
  • 1989 white Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary coupe with tan leather seats, a 455 bhp 5.2 liter/315 ci V12 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 49,000 miles—at $172,500 the highest eighties vehicle sale of this auction.
1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary coupe, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1980 red Chevrolet C10 pickup truck with a gray interior, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$6,500

I found it striking how General Motors dominated the eighties vehicle sales at Mecum Indy—all told, GM vehicles marked 59% of eighties sales, with Chevrolet alone accounting for 28%. What do you think of these results?

1988 Chevrolet Corvette 35th Anniversary Edition coupe

One of the Corvettes judged at the NCRS Mid-Atlantic Regional a few months ago was a 35th Anniversary Edition Corvette coupe. Time to write a blog entry about one of the most striking of eighties Corvettes.

“… the influential sports car of the modern era.”

For 1988, the big news for Chevrolet’s Corvette was the 35th Anniversary Edition coupe. It was only the second anniversary edition Corvette, following 1978’s Silver Anniversary version. Chevrolet had missed the 30th anniversary (there were no 1983 Corvettes), and one senses that General Motors’ marketing team didn’t want to let another one go by without acknowledgment.

The standard powertrain continued to be the L98 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection paired to a four-speed automatic with overdrive. Depending on the rear axle ratio, horsepower for the coupe was either 240 bhp or 245 bhp. Top speed for the 1988 Corvette was about 155 mph, with a 0-60 time of about six seconds. Estimated fuel economy was 16 city/25 highway by the standards of the day (15/23 by today’s standards). With a 20-gallon fuel tank, a Corvette owner could expect a range of 340 to 370 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment in the $29,489 base Corvette coupe (about $65,500 in today’s dollars) included power steering, power anti-lock disc brakes, and P255/60ZR16 tires (a size still available thanks to BF Goodrich) on 16-inch x 8.5-inch wheels. Inside, air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, and an ETR AM/FM stereo radio with a clock were all included.

Additional equipment on the $34,284 35th Anniversary Edition coupe (about $76,200 in 2019 dollars) included white leather seats and steering wheel along with a black roof bow. In a preview of early 1990s Corvettes, the rub strips were body color instead of the usual black.

Optional exterior and mechanical equipment included an electric rear window defogger ($129), the Doug Nash 4+3 manual transmission (no cost), Z51 performance handling package ($1,295 for a radiator boost fan, Delco-Bilstein shock absorbers, engine oil cooler, heavy-duty radiator, 17 x 9.5 inch wheels, and fast steering ratio). Optional interior equipment included power driver’s and power passenger’s seats ($240 each), electronic air conditioning ($150), and a Delco/Bose AM/FM stereo radio with a cassette player ($773).

Picture of 1988 35th Anniversary Chevrolet Corvette
1988 Chevrolet Corvette 35th Anniversary Edition, photo courtesy of Mecum.

There is strong club support for the 1988 Corvette, as there is for all Corvettes. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1988 35th Anniversary Edition coupe in #1 condition is $33,800, with a more typical number #3 condition car going for $11,500. 1988 Corvettes often show up in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and eBay Motors—as I write this in May 2019, there’s a 35th Anniversary Edition coupe with 28,000 miles and many NCRS awards asking an astonishing $80,000.

Other eighties Corvettes I have covered include the 1980 coupe, the 1982 coupe, and the 1986 convertible.

Eighties Cars Is Slowing Down For A While

My regular visitors (thank you, folks!) may have noticed that Eighties Cars has been slowing down with its post frequency.

There’s a reason for this situation other than laziness. I’ve started a new book, whose placeholder title is Riviera Project. Riviera Project is intended to be a complete study of the 1963-1999 Buick Riviera, placing it within its times, context, and competition. There are many inspirations for this project, but at least two are posts from Eighties Cars: 1980 Buick Riviera S TYPE coupe and 1984 Buick Rivera T TYPE coupe (one of my first blog entries on this site).

I will continue to post here, but the frequency will be down. If you’d like to follow the Riviera Project, you can do so here.

1982 Fiat X1/9 coupe

“Nothing moves you like a Fiat Sportscar.”

1982 was the final model year that the X1/9 coupe that had debuted in 1974 was sold under the Fiat name—after that, it would be marketed under the Bertone name as Fiat withdrew from the United States. The X1/9 was small; at 156.3 inches in length, it was more than three inches shorter than today’s Fiat 124 Spider.

1982 Fiat X1/9 advertisement.

With its wedge shape, the X1/9 was part of a design trend in inexpensive sports coupes that included the Triumph TR7/TR8, the Pontiac Fiero, and the Toyota MR2.

The only powertrain available on the X1/9 continued to be a 75 bhp 3.5 liter/91 ci inline four with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection paired with a five-speed manual. An X1/9 owner could expect a 0-60 time of a little over 11 seconds in a coupe with a curb weight of 2,209 pounds.

Mileage wasn’t as good as you would think: rated at 26 city/37 highway by 1982 standards (20/26 by today’s calculation). With a 12.7-gallon gas tank, the driver of an X1/9 could expect a range of between 265 and 360 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard equipment on the $10,900 X1/9 (about $29,400 in today’s dollars or about what a 2019 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth convertible goes for) included pop-up headlights, a removable targa roof, rack-and-pinion steering, four-wheel disc brakes, and Pirelli Cinturato P3 P165/70R13 tires (a size still available thanks to Vredestein) on 13 x 5.5 inch wheels. Inside, bucket seats, a four-spoke padded steering wheel, a lockable glove box, and full instrumentation were included.

Options included metallic paint, tinted glass, air conditioning, and an AM/FM stereo radio.

The X1/9 has a following in both its Fiat and Bertone versions. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1982 X1/9 in #1/Concours condition is $19,800, with a more normal #3/Good car going for $6,300. X1/9s come up for sale every once in a while in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds or on eBay Motors. As I write this in February 2019, there’s a 1979 Black Metallic X1/9 with tan/black vinyl seats and 83,000 miles available for $10,500.

1987 Pontiac Grand Prix coupe

While dropping my parents off at church this Sunday morning, I saw a stock-appearing facelifted fourth-generation Grand Prix with two-tone paint out of the corner of my eye—heading west on the Lincoln Highway. As good a reason as any to finally complete this blog post that I’ve been working on for over six months.

“… a Pontiac classic …”

1987 marked the final model year for the G-body Grand Prix coupe—it would be replaced in 1988 by an all-new W-body front-wheel-drive model. Changes were few; the Grand Prix portion of Pontiac’s 1987 brochure emphasized a new sport steering wheel and new 45/55 seats for the LE.

The standard Grand Prix powertrain continued to be the LD5 110 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with a two-barrel carburetor paired with a three-speed automatic. Optional engines included the LB4 140 bhp 4.3 liter/263 ci V6 with fuel injection ($200 and available with either a three-speed or a four-speed automatic) and the LG4 150 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor ($590 and only available with a $175 four-speed automatic). With the V8, a Grand Prix owner could expect a 0-60 time of a little over nine seconds in a coupe with a shipping weight of 3,231 pounds.

Mileage wasn’t good with any engine/transmission combination: the best was the 4.3 liter/four-speed automatic combination with 19 city/26 highway (17/24 by today’s standards). Predictably, the V8 was the worst, at 17 city/24 highway—with a 13.6-gallon gas tank the owner of a V8 Grand Prix could expect a range of between 225 and 250 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard equipment on the $11,069 Grand Prix (about $25,300 in 2019 dollars) included power steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes, and P195/75R14 blackwall tires (a size still available thanks to Hankook and Kumho) on 14-inch wheels. General Motors was moving to option groups in the late eighties, and the base Grand Prix had two. Option Group I $1,313) included dual sport sideview mirrors, body side moldings, air conditioning with Soft Ray tinted glass, a tilt steering wheel that was also a luxury cushion steering wheel, and a Delco ETR AM/FM stereo radio. Option Group II ($1,867) added cruise control, lamp group, controlled cycle windshield wipers, power door locks, and power windows.

Moving up to the LE ($11,799) added dual sport sideview mirrors, 45/55 notchback seats in Pallex cloth, and a four-spoke sport steering wheel. For the LE, Option Group I ($1,844) included body side moldings, air conditioning with Soft Ray tinted glass, a tilt steering wheel, cruise control, lamp group, controlled cycle windshield wipers, power door locks, power windows, a visor vanity mirror, and a Delco ETR AM/FM stereo radio. Option Group II ($2,117) added halogen headlamps, a deck lid release, and a power driver’s seat, and made the visor vanity mirror illuminated.

The top-of-the-line Brougham ($12,519) added 45/55 notchback seats in Majestic cloth, power windows, special trim, and a luxury cushion steering wheel. Option Group I ($1,874) for the Brougham included body side moldings, air conditioning with Soft Ray tinted glass, a tilt steering wheel, a power driver’s seat, cruise control, lamp group, controlled cycle windshield wipers, power door locks, a visor vanity mirror, and a Delco ETR AM/FM stereo radio. Option Group II ($2,078) added halogen headlamps, cornering lamps, luggage compartment trim, a deck lid release, dual remote mirrors, and a dome reading lamp, and added illumination to the visor vanity mirror. A Brougham with Option Package 2, the V8, and the four-speed automatic came to a non-trivial $15,362 (about $35,100 in today’s dollars or about what a 2019 Buick Regal Avenir sedan goes for).

Individual exterior and mechanical options included a rally-tuned suspension ($50), a power sunroof ($925), a hatch roof with removable glass panels ($905), a power antenna ($70), two-tone paint ($205 to $295) and turbo-finned cast aluminum wheels ($246). Inside, you could get bucket seats with recliners and console ($292 with Ripple cloth in the base coupe, $69 with Pallex cloth in the LE, or $369 with leather in the LE), and a rally gauge cluster with tachometer ($153) along with a range of stereos up to a Delco ETR AM/FM stereo radio with cassette and graphic equalizer ($450).

Grand Prix page from the 1987 Pontiac brochure.

The 1987 Grand Prix did not sell well—sales were about 41% of the 1986 total, and, at 16,542, the typical Pontiac dealer sold more Grand Ams, 6000s, Bonnevilles, Sunbirds, Firebirds, and Fieros.

Evidently (based on my observation this morning) someone is saving these cars! Hagerty declines to value any Grand Prix after 1977, but this generation does come up for sale every once in a while in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds or on eBay Motors. As I write this in February 2019, there’s a 1985 Silver/Medium Gray two-tone Grand Prix LE with gray cloth notchback seats, a 3.8 liter/231 ci V6, an automatic, and 54,000 miles available for $12,900.

Other rear-wheel drive G-platform (designated A-platform before 1982) cars I have written about include the 1984 Buick Regal Grand National coupe, the 1983 Chevrolet Malibu sedan, the 1981 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Sport Coupe, the 1981 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme coupe, and the 1980 Pontiac Grand Am coupe.

Make mine Dark Maroon Metallic, please.

1987 Buick LeSabre T Type coupe

“… ranks as the most exciting new LeSabre ever”

1987 was the first year for the T Type version of Buick’s sixth-generation LeSabre. Looking toward a looming future where the rear-wheel-drive Regal would no longer exist, Buick did its best to inject some sportiness into these big front-wheel-drive coupes.

Power wasn’t great—the only engine available on any LeSabre was the 3.8 liter/231 ci sequential fuel injected V-6 making 150 horsepower and mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. 0-60 came in a little over 10 seconds in the 3,250-pound coupe—sprightly but not speedy in 1987. Fuel economy was 18 city/27 highway by the standards of the day (16/25 by 2018 standards). With an 18-gallon fuel tank, a LeSabre owner could expect a range of about 330 to 365 miles.

Exterior and mechanical features specific to the $15,591 T Type (about $35,500 in 2018 dollars or about what a 2019 Buick LaCrosse Preferred sedan goes for) included blackout trim treatment, a front air dam, a rear deck spoiler, a Gran Touring suspension, a 2.97 performance axle ratio, and 215/65R15 Goodyear Eagle GT blackwall tires (a size still readily available) on 15-inch aluminum alloy wheels. Inside, a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, gray/black 45/45 cloth seats, a gage package with red backlighting, and an ETR AM-FM stereo radio with graphic equalizer, cassette tape, and more red backlighting were included.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on all LeSabre coupes included composite tungsten halogen headlamps, power rack and pinion steering, clearcoat paint, dual horns, Soft-Ray tinted glass, and a fixed-mast radio antenna. Inside, air conditioning, adjustable front-seat headrests, and cut-pile carpeting were standard.

Exterior and mechanical options included an anti-lock brake system ($925), flip-open Vista-Vent removable glass sunroof ($350), electric side mirrors ($91), intermittent windshield wipers ($55), and power antenna ($95). Inside, automatic climate control ($165), power door locks ($145) power windows ($210), tilt steering column ($125), and electronic cruise control ($175) were available.

LeSabre pages from the 1987 “Hot Buick” brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures section.

The automotive press and the auto market itself weren’t quite sure what to make of the LeSabre T Type—Consumer Guide said: “it had nothing exceptional to rave about.” Sales were not good in a year when the LeSabre overall sold quite well; only 4,123 out of the 16,899 coupes sold.

A few folks do collect these cars, but I haven’t seen a LeSabre coupe of any type for many years. This generation of LeSabres does maintain some presence in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors—however, there are none for sale as I write this in February 2019.

Make mine Dark Blue Metallic, please.

1980 Ford Mustang Cobra hatchback coupe

“A sports car for the 80’s.”

1980 was the second year for the Fox-body Mustang and brought few changes from the debut year—and some of those weren’t great, such as a downgraded V8. The Cobra inherited some features from 1979 Pace Car, including a front spoiler, dual fog lamps, and a rear deck spoiler.

The standard powertrain on the base Mustang was Ford’s Lima 88 bhp 2.3 liter/140 ci inline four with a Motorcraft 5200 two-barrel carburetor matched with a four-speed manual. A Windsor 119 bhp 4.2 liter/255 ci V8 with a Motorcraft 2150 two-barrel carburetor was available with a three-speed automatic, but the top-of-the-line powertrain was a turbocharged version of the Lima inline four with a Holley 6500 two-barrel carburetor making 132 bhp paired with the four-speed manual. Thus, for 1980 the fastest available Mustang had a 0-60 time of a little under 11 seconds. With a 12.5-gallon fuel tank and 18 city/30 highway fuel mileage (about 15/25 by today’s standards), a Cobra‘s proud new owner could expect a range of about 225 to 270 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard mechanical equipment on the $7,098 Cobra (about $23,700 in today’s dollars) included the turbocharged inline four, the four-speed manual, a “special suspension system” with heavy duty front and rear stabilizer bars and special shock valving, a sport-tuned exhaust with bright tailpipe extension, and Michelin TRX 190/65R390 tires (they’re still available!) on 15.3-inch forged aluminum wheels. Exterior equipment included dual remote styled mirrors and black lower bodyside paint. A Cobra‘s interior didn’t have many upgrades, but you did get an 8,000-rpm tachometer and a black engine-turned instrument panel applique.

Standard equipment on all Mustang hatchback coupes included dual rectangular halogen headlamps, wraparound taillamps, a modified MacPherson strut front suspension, front disc/rear drum brakes, and rack and pinion steering. Inside, full instrumentation (tachometer, trip odometer, fuel/temperature/oil/alternator gauges), a sports steering wheel, color-keyed cut pile carpeting, all vinyl high-back bucket seats, a lockable glove box, and a cigarette lighter were included.

Exterior and mechanical options included Cobra hood graphics ($88), a flip-up open air roof ($219), black liftgate louvers ($141), and a rear window/wiper washer ($79). Inside, you could choose SelectAir conditioning ($538), Recaro high-back bucket seats ($531), an electric rear window defroster ($96), interval windshield wipers ($39), tilt steering wheel ($78), and the power lock group ($113). A series of stereos were available, with the most capable being an AM/FM stereo radio with a cassette tape player ($271). Higher end stereos could be paired with the Premium Sound System ($94), which added a higher-power amplifier and more capable rear speakers.

Cobra pages from the 1980 Ford Mustang brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures pages.

1980 Ford Mustangs sold decently, accounting for about 23% of Ford’s overall sales in a down year. Reviews of the day were unhappy, but understanding about the loss off the 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 in the middle of the second oil crisis—Car and Driver stated that “Whether you like life with turbochargers or not, you might as well get used to it.”

Folks are definitely collecting these early Fox-body Mustangs. Cobras come up for sale every once in a while in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds or on eBay Motors, though there aren’t any available right now.

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1980 Cobra in #1/Concours condition is an astounding $23,100, with a more normal #3/Good car going for $9,800. Make mine Black, I think, perhaps with those extra-cost Cobra hood graphics.

Later Fox-body Mustangs I have covered include the 1982 GT hatchback coupe, the 1983 GT convertible, and the 1984 SVO hatchback coupe. I guess I’ll have to get to the second half of the Mustang’s decade at some point.