Eighties Vehicles at the 2018 Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas

Barrett-Jackson’s auction at the Mandalay Bay casino in Las Vegas in late September included a reasonable amount of vehicles from the 1980s—about 4% of the 736 lots offered. I’ll concentrate on the at least reasonably stock 1980s cars (and a few trucks) that sold and add some of my opinions—I’ll leave the motorcycles, tractors, and automobilia to others. Where I have covered the specific year and model of a car in this blog, I link to it.

Thursday, September 27th:

  • 1981 bronze Datsun 280ZX hatchback coupe with tan seats, an L28 145 bhp 2.8 liter/168 ci inline six with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 115,000 miles—$8,250 hammer price.
  • 1984 red Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with red leather seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 205 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 26,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1981 yellow Jeep CJ-5 custom (paint, body, wheels/tires) SUV with a black interior, a 119 bhp 5.0 liter/304 ci V8 with a Motorcraft two-barrel carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$7,500
  • 1985 white Rolls-Royce Silver Spur sedan with red leather seats, a 6.75 liter/412 ci V8, an automatic, and 68,000 miles—$9,500
  • 1984 silver/white two-tone GMC Sierra 1500 custom (engine) pickup truck with a gray/black interior, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$20,000
  • 1986 beige Toyota pickup truck with tan cloth seats, a 22R 2.4 liter/144 ci inline four, a five-speed manual, and 44,000 miles—$18,500 makes this the first vehicle in this auction to meet my criteria for serious 1980s collectability of mostly or entirely original cars or trucks: selling for equal to or above its original base list price. I’ll mark these vehicles in bold green.
  • 1988 camouflage AM General Hummer H1 pickup truck with a green interior, a 6.2 liter diesel V8, and an automatic—$11,000
  • 1984 red Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with a red interior, an L83 Cross-Fire 205 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 6,800 miles—$17,000
  • 1984 silver Austin Mini Cooper Silver Anniversary Edition coupe with gray cloth seats, a 44 bhp 1.0 liter/61 ci inline four, and a four-speed manual—$11,000
  • 1988 white Jeep Wrangler custom (suspension, wheels/tires) SUV with a black interior, an unknown 4.0 liter engine, and a five-speed manual—$11,000
  • 1980 blue Toyota mild custom pickup truck with a blue cloth bench seat, a 90 bhp 20R 2.2 liter/134 ci inline four, a four-speed manual, and 24,000 miles—$24,000
  • 1983 beige Toyota SR5 mild custom pickup truck with tan cloth seats, a 22R 2.4 liter/144 ci inline four, and a five-speed manual—an astounding $50,000.
1983 Toyota SR5 pickup truck, linked from Barrett-Jackson’s website.
  • 1988 black Dodge Ramcharger SUV with tan cloth seats, an LA 185 bhp 5.9 liter/360 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$19,000
  • 1987 yellow Chevrolet R10 stepside short bed pickup truck with a gray bench seat, a 160 bhp 4.3 liter/262 ci V6 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$10,000
  • 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 3,00 miles—$27,000
  • 1989 red Pontiac Firebird Formula hatchback coupe with gray cloth seats, a 170 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with throttle-body fuel injection, an automatic, and 49,000 miles—$11,000
  • 1985 maroon Rolls-Royce Silver Spur sedan with saddle leather seats, a 6.75 liter/412 ci V8, and an automatic—$10,000

Friday, September 28th:

  • 1982 white Buick Riviera convertible with burgundy leather seats, a 150 bhp 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with a Rochester M4MC four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—an ouch! at $3,500.
  • 1980 blue Jeep CJ-7 custom (just about everything) SUV with a black interior, a 468 ci V8, and an automatic—$27,000
  • 1984 black/silver two-tone Chevrolet K5 Blazer SUV with gray cloths seats, a 5.0 liter/305 ci with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 43,000 miles—$17,000
  • 1989 blue Nissan Skyline GT-R mild custom coupe with black leather seats, an RB26DETT 276 bhp 2.6 liter/157 ci twin-turbocharged inline six with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$28,000 for perhaps the most interesting eighties vehicle at this auction.
1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R, linked from Barrett-Jackson’s website.
  • 1983 black Porsche 911 SC custom (engine, body) convertible with a black top, black leather seats, a 3.3 liter turbocharged flat six, a four-speed manual, and 64,000 miles—$45,000
  • 1985 gold/beige two-tone Excalibur Series IV phaeton with brown leather seats, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, an automatic, and 56,000 miles—$20,000 for the most prestigious of the “neo-classics,” now with an AACA judging class.

Saturday, September 29th:

  • 1986 white Pontiac Fiero GT custom (engine!) coupe with gray cloth seats, a 8.4 liter/511 ci V8, and an automatic—$10,500
  • 1983 yellow Chevrolet S10 Blazer custom (powertrain, interior, wheels/tires) SUV with yellow/purple seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$5,700
  • 1986 rosso corsa Ferrari Testarossa coupe with black leather seats, a 380 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V12 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$82,000 is #3/Good money, according to Hagerty’s valuation tools.
  • 1986 black Ferrari 328 GTS custom (interior) coupe with red leather seats, an F105B 260 bhp 3.2 liter/215 ci V8 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$67,000
  • 1987 white/gray two-tone Chevrolet R30 custom (just about everything) crew cab pickup truck with a white/gray bench seat, an 8.1 liter/496 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$45,000 for this re-creation of the “Indy Hauler” truck from Cannonball Run.
Re-creation of the original “Indy Hauler” featured in Cannonball Run, linked from Barrett-Jackson’s website.
  • 1984 black Pontiac Firebird Trans Am custom (interior) hatchback coupe with black seats, an unknown 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, an automatic, and 66,000 miles—$45,000 for this promotional car associated with Burt Reynolds and the USFL’s Tampa Bay Bandits.

I see a lot of Chevrolets, Pontiacs, Jeeps CJs, and Toyota pickup trucks. What do you think of this auction’s results?

1985 Merkur XR4Ti hatchback coupe

“For the North American continent the Merkur XR4Ti represents an innovative, new total performance machine.”

The Merkur XR4Ti never had a chance.

There, I’ve said it. Though the redoubtable Bob Lutz was involved, I can’t even imagine the combination of decisions that made Ford think that selling a Karmann-assembled version of the European Ford Sierra at Lincoln-Mercury dealers in the mid-1980s was ever going to work out. By early 1989, the XR4Ti was gone.

Because the Cologne 2.8 liter V6 the Sierra used in Germany could not clear US emissions, the engine the XR4Ti received was Ford’s Lima 2.3 liter/140 ci turbocharged and fuel injected inline four also seen in the Ford Mustang SVO and Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe. In its Merkur guise, it made 175 bhp with the standard five-speed manual transmission and 145 bhp (ouch!) with the optional ($427) three-speed automatic transmission. 0-60 mph came in about 9 seconds with the manual, and top speed was a little under 130 mph. Fuel economy wasn’t very good: with the manual, it was 19 city/24 highway by the standards of the day (17/22 by today’s standards). With a 15.1-gallon gas tank, a Merkur owner could expect a range of 265 to 290 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Base price for the 1985 XR4Ti was $16,361 (about $39,200 in 2018 dollars). Standard exterior and mechanical features included flush headlamps, power front disc/rear drum brakes, nitrogen pressurized shock absorbers, variable ratio power rack-and-pinion steering, and the famous (and polarizing) biplane rear spoiler derived from the one on the Probe III concept car Ford had shown in 1981. Pirelli P6 195/60HR14 tires (a size still readily available) were fitted on 14-inch “phone dial” wheels. Inside, standard equipment included air conditioning, variable ratio power steering, power mirrors, a 60/40 folding rear seat, and an AM/FM stereo with cassette player.

Options other than the automatic transmission were relatively few: a $470 Convenience group (power door locks, power windows, and cruise control), tilt/slide moonroof ($549), leather seats ($890), heated seats ($183), and metallic paint ($274).

1985 Merkur print advertisement.
1985 Merkur print advertisement.

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1985 Merkur XR4Ti in #1/Concours condition is $6,500, with a more normal #3/Good car going for $2,400. I find it interesting that Hagerty tracks them at all—there are many of what I think would be equally interesting cars that they don’t track. You rarely see them for sale in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds—they are at least a little more common on eBay Motors.

Make mine Paris Blue Metallic with the optional Gray leather interior, please. The real question is how many are left.

1983 Toyota Camry sedan

“Introducing the family Camry”

The Toyota Camry debuted in the middle of the 1983 model year, in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback models. Instead of being designed to compete with European manufacturers, the Camry was designed to compete with American cars—in fact, Car and Driver famously wrote that “the Camry drives as if Buick engineers had moonlighted on its development.” The Camry’s measurements ended up splitting the difference in size between the GM J-body (Buick Skyhawk, Cadillac Cimarron, Chevrolet Cavalier, Oldsmobile Firenza, and Pontiac 2000) and the GM X-body (Buick Skylark, Chevrolet Citation, Oldsmobile Omega, and Pontiac Phoenix).

Power for the first-year Camry was provided by a 92 bhp 2.0 liter/122 ci inline four with fuel injection, which was available with either a standard five-speed manual or an optional four-speed automatic. With the manual, 0-60 mph came in a little under 13 seconds in the 2,236-pound car. Mileage was good—32 city/44 highway by the standards of the day (25/31 by modern standards). With a 14.5-gallon gas tank, a Camry owner could expect a 365 to 495 mile range with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard equipment on the $7,988 (about $20,000 in today’s dollars—a 2018 Camry starts at $23,500) DLX sedan included front wheel drive, a four-wheel independent suspension, and 185/70R13 tires (a size still available from Kumho and Vredestein) on 13-inch wheels. Upgrading to the $9,698 LE made the four-speed automatic standard and added variable-effort power steering, rear window defogger, dual remote side mirrors, full instrumentation, reclining cloth bucket seats, and an AM/FM stereo radio with five speakers.

Individual options were relatively few and included air conditioning, sunroof, and a cruise control/power locks/power windows package.

The first-generation Camry was well received and got good reviews—the tagline in Car and Driver‘s test was “At home in America.” 52,651 were sold in that first model year, with sales increasing steadily throughout the decade.

Unlike other Toyotas that are deemed more collectible from the eighties (Land Cruisers, pickup trucks, Celicas, Supras, MR2s), first-generation Camrys rarely come up for sale for sale in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds or on eBay Motors.

Eighties Vehicles at the 2018 Mecum Louisville

Mecum’s September auction in Louisville provided some fodder for commentary. I’ll concentrate on the at least reasonably stock 1980s cars (and a few trucks) that sold (remember that Mecum auctions are not no reserve auctions—a highly customized gray 1981 Jeep Scrambler pickup truck hatchback coupe with a black interior was a no sale bid up to $40,000) and add some of my opinions. Eighties vehicles were about 10% of the 332 vehicle lots sold in this auction.

Friday, September 7th:

  • 1988 purple Chevrolet S10 very custom (engine, exterior, interior) pickup truck with a purple interior, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$3,500 hammer price.
  • 1988 black Ford Mustang custom (engine, exterior, interior) hatchback coupe with gray seats, a 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$4,500
  • 1984 white Pontiac Fiero Pace Car Edition coupe with red/gray cloth/leather seats, an “Iron Duke” 92 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with fuel injection, an automatic, and 40,000 miles—$3,500
  • 1988 black/orange two-tone Ford Econoline Harley-Davidson Edition van with charcoal cloth seats, a 4.9 liter/302 ci V8, an automatic, and 55,000 miles—$9,000 for this rarely seen special edition.
  • 1983 gold Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with both tops, a burgundy interior, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 ci fuel injected V8, an automatic, and 40,000 miles—$6,000
  • 1985 bright red Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with an L98 230 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$4,500
  • 1985 red/cream two-tone Ford F-150 Lariat pickup truck with a red cloth bench seat, an unknown V8 (could be a 4.9 liter/302 ci or a 5.8 liter/351 ci), an automatic, and 4,200 miles—$14,000
  • 1980 dark blue metallic Chevrolet Corvette coupe with blue seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$12,500
  • 1988 black Ford Mustang ASC/McLaren convertible with a black top, red leather seats, a 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 80,000 miles—$14,500
  • 1987 white Chevrolet C10 custom (engine, suspension, body, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a gray interior, a 7.4 liter/454 ci v8, and a four-speed manual, and 93,000 miles—$14,000
  • 1980 orange Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-40 custom (powertrain) SUV with black seats, a 1FZ-FE 212 bhp 4.5 liter/273 ci inline six with fuel injection from a much newer Toyota, and a five-speed manual—$28,000
  • 1985 tan/brown two-tone Ford Bronco II XLT SUV with tan cloth seats, a Windsor “High Output” 210 bhp 5.8 liter/351 ci V8 with Motorcraft two-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 91,000 miles—$9,000
  • 1985 blue/black two-tone Chevrolet C10 Silverado pickup truck with a blue cloth bench seat, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, and an automatic—$8,500
  • 1983 yellow Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler pickup truck with black seats, a 112 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with Carter BBD two-barrel carburetor, and a four-speed manual—at $15,500, 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.
  • 1980 orange International Harvester Scout II SUV with tan seats, an SD33T 101 bhp 3.3 liter/199 ci diesel inline six, and a four-speed manual—$31,500
  • 1982 white Chevrolet Corvette coupe with red leather seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, and an automatic—$9,000
  • 1983 white/blue two-tone Chevrolet K10 Silverado pickup truck with blue cloth bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$10,500
  • 1982 butternut Cadillac Coupe DeVille with a white vinyl half top, butternut leather seats, an HT-4100 135 bhp 4.1 liter/249 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 46,000 miles—$7,500 for a Cadillac from the days of many color choices.
1982 Cadillac Coupe DeVille, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1987 burgundy Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS coupe with a burgundy cloth interior, a 180 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$8,500
  • 1988 green/tan two-tone GMC Suburban SUV with a tan interior, a 7.4 liter/454 ci with fuel injection, an automatic, and 64,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1988 blue/silver two-tone GMC Sierra 1500 custom (suspension, paint, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a gray cloth bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$10,000
  • 1984 red/tan two-tone Chevrolet Silverado custom (engine, suspension, interior, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a black/red interior, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, and an automatic—$8,000
  • 1986 red Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with gray leather seats, an L98 230 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, the Doug Nash 4+3 transmission, and 54,000 miles—$6,500
  • 1989 red Mazda RX7 convertible with a black top, a black interior, a 13B 160 bhp 1.3 liter/80 ci two-rotor with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 23,000 miles—$6,500

Saturday, September 8th:

  • 1985 red Ford Mustang GT hatchback coupe with gray cloth seats, a Windsor 210 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, a five-speed manual, and 71,000 miles—$6,500
  • 1983 black/silver two-tone Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais Hurst/Olds 15th Anniversary coupe with red leather 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 13,000 miles—$19,000
1983 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais Hurst/Olds 15th Anniversary shifter, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1981 white Chevrolet Corvette coupe with tan leather seats, an L81 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 27,000 miles—$13,000
  • 1984 white Porsche 911 Carrera Targa coupe with tan leather seats, a 217 bhp 3.2 liter/193 ci flat six with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 75,000 miles—$38,000
  • 1989 blue Rolls-Royce Silver Spur sedan with blue leather seats, a 6.75 liter/412 ci V8, an automatic, and 66,000 miles—$10,000
  • 1989 black Bentley Mulsanne S sedan with tan leather seats, a 205 bhp 6.75 liter/412 ci V8, an automatic, and 52,000 miles—$10,000
  • 1985 red Pontiac Firebird Trans Am hatchback coupe with black /gray cloth seats, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and a five-speed manual—$7,000
  • 1982 stainless steel DeLorean DMC-12 coupe with a gray interior, a ZMJ-159 130 bhp 2.8 liter/174 ci V6 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 15,000 miles—$25,500
  • 1985 gray Dodge Ram pickup truck with a gray interior and an unknown V8 (could be a 5.2 liter/318 ci or a 5.9 liter/361 ci)—$13,000
  • 1980 red Chevrolet Camaro Z28 coupe with black seats, an LM1 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$19,000 is between #3/Good and #2/Excellent money, according to Hagerty’s valuation tools.

Eighties Chevrolets and Fords were heavily represented in this auction—combining for 53% of the lots from that decade. What do you think of these results?

1988 Pontiac Grand Prix coupe

“… one of the most aerodynamic cars in the world.”

The Grand Prix was all new for 1988. Gone was the elderly G-body rear-wheel-drive (dating from 1978), replaced by an aerodynamic front-wheel drive W-body.

For 1988, the standard Grand Prix powertrain was the LB6 130 bhp 2.8 liter/173 ci V6 with fuel injection paired to a four-speed automatic (a five-speed manual was available). With a curb weight of 3,038 pounds, 0-60 took a little over 10 seconds with the standard powertrain. Mileage with the same powertrain was 20 city/29 highway by the standards of the day (18/26 by today’s standards). A 16.0-gallon fuel tank meant that a Grand Prix owner could expect a range of between 315 and 355 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

The 1988 Grand Prix came in base, LE, and SE forms. Standard exterior and mechanical equipment in the $12,539 base coupe (about $27,300 in today’s dollars) included composite halogen headlamps, dual sport mirrors, power steering, four-wheel power disc brakes, an independent rear suspension, and P195/75R14 tires (a size still available from multiple vendors) on 14 x 6 inch wheels with custom wheel covers. Inside, notchback front bench seats, an electronic digital speedometer, a glove box with a combination lock, and an AM/FM stereo radio were included.

Moving up a little to the $13,239 LE added power windows with illuminated switches, lamp group, 40/60 split reclining pallex cloth seats, rear folding armrest with pass through to the luggage compartment, and mechanical analog gauges with tachometer and trip odometer.

The top-of-the-line $15,249 SE (about $32,300 in 2018 dollars) added the Y99 Rally Tuned suspension, dual exhaust system, and P215/65R15 tires on 15-inch aluminum wheels and switched the standard transmission to a five-speed manual. Inside, air conditioning, leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, cruise control, power cloth front bucket seats with three-position lumbar controls, and rear bucket seats were all part of the SE experience.

Options included power door locks, an electric rear window defogger, a power antenna, and a UX1 AM stereo/FM stereo radio with seek, scan, auto-reverse cassette, five-band graphic equalizer, and digital clock.

The 1988 Grand Prix was relatively well received—it was Motor Trend‘s Car of the Year, and Pontiac sold 86,357 cars in slightly over half a model year (sales only began in January 1988), which marked more than five times as many as the last of the G-body versions in 1987. For 1989, sales would top 136,000 and would stay over 100,000 for every year through 1995.

Grand Prix’s of this generation are rarely seen in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors. Sometimes you do see the ASC/McLaren or GTP versions, but rarely the “civilian” models.

Make mine red, please.

Eighties Vehicles at the 2018 Mecum Monterey

Mecum’s three-day auction in Monterey included 22 vehicles from the 1980s—7% of the 317 cars and trucks that sold. As always, I’ll concentrate on the vehicles that actually sold (remember that this is not a no reserve auction—a guards red 1989 Porsche 911 Speedster with tan leather seats and 22,000 miles was a no sale bid up to $130,000) and add some of my opinions.

Thursday, August 23rd:

  • 1985 champagne Mercedes-Benz 380SE sedan with brown seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 ci V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 62,000 miles—$4,000 hammer price marks the usual ignominious beginning for eighties vehicles we see at most auctions.
  • 1989 red Jaguar XJ-S convertible with a black top, black leather seats, an HE 262 bhp 5.3 liter/326 ci V12 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 26,000 miles—$6,500 for one of the first full XJ-S convertibles.
  • 1981 silver Alfa Romeo Spider custom (engine) convertible with a black top, black leather seats, a 2.0 liter/120 ci inline four with dual Weber carburetors, a five-speed manual, and 58,000 miles—$4,000
  • 1989 black Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a black convertible top, black leather seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 ci V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 24,000 miles—$38,000
  • 1981 stainless steel DeLorean DMC-12 coupe with a gray interior, a ZMJ-159 130 bhp 2.8 liter/174 ci V6 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 22,000 miles—$17,500
  • 1981 maroon Datsun 280ZX hatchback coupe with red cloth seats, an L28 145 bhp 2.8 liter/168 ci inline six with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 75,000 miles—at $14,000, the first vehicle in this auction to meet my criteria for serious collectability of 1980s cars or trucks in stock condition: selling for equal to or above its original base list price. I’ll mark these vehicles in bold green.
1981 Datsun 280ZX, linked from Mecum’s website
  • 1989 green Nissan Pao convertible with gray cloth seats, a MA10S 51 bhp 1.0 liter/61 ci inline four, a five-speed manual, and 67,000 miles—$15,000
  • 1988 black Porsche 924 S Special Edition hatchback coupe with gray cloth seats, a 160 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 58,000 miles—$10,000
  • 1983 white Porsche 928 S hatchback coupe with blue leather seats, a 234 bhp 4.5 liter/285 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 86,000 miles—$6,500

Friday, August 24th:

  • 1985 red Alpha Romeo Spider Graduate Edition convertible with a black top, black seats, a 115 bhp 2.0 liter/120 ci four with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 20,000 miles—$18,000
  • 1981 brown Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-40 SUV with gray seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six, a four-speed manual, and 23,000 miles—$40,000
  • 1987 white Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-60 SUV with gray seats, a 2F 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a carburetor, a four-speed manual, and a “surprisingly low” 148,000 miles—$31,000
  • 1987 silver Porsche 959 Komfort coupe with burgundy leather seats, a 444 bhp 2.8 liter/174 ci flat six with twin turbochargers and Bosch Motronic fuel injection, a six-speed manual, and 3,700 miles—$425,000 for this car whose front end was heavily damaged in a trailer accident.
Damaged 1987 Porsche 959, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1989 black Land Rover Defender 110 SUV with black seats, a 2.5 liter/152 ci diesel inline four with a turbocharger, and a five-speed manual—$45,000
  • 1981 tan Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-40 custom (engine, brakes) SUV with tan seats, a five-speed manual, and 23,000 miles—$30,000
  • 1988 red Ferrari 328 GTS coupe with tan leather seats, an F105B 260 bhp 3.2 liter/215 ci V8 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 35,000 miles—$55,000 is #3/Good money, according to Hagerty’s valuation tools.
  • 1986 white Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-45 pickup truck with gray vinyl seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six, and a four-speed manual—$48,000
  • 1981 bright yellow Porsche 911 SC Targa custom (body) coupe with black seats, a 180 bhp 3.0 liter/183 ci flat six with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$15,000

Saturday, August 25th:

  • 1982 red Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-40 SUV with black seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six, a four-speed manual, and 48,000 miles—$40,000
  • 1985 white Buick Riviera convertible with red leather seats, an LD5 200 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with turbocharger and fuel injection, and an automatic—$20,000 for this rare car, one of 49 Riviera convertibles built with the turbocharged engine in 1985.
  • 1989 green, gold, and white Porsche 962 Miller High Life race car with a twin-turbocharged flat six—at $2,000,000, this multiple race-winning car finally sells after at least two previous attempts.
1989 Porsche 962 race car, linked from Mecum’s website
  • 1985 red Modena GT Spyder California convertible with tan seats, a 5.0 liter V8 with four Weber carburetors, a five-speed manual, and 1,500 miles—$370,000 for one of the three faux Ferraris featured in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Porsches of all types and Toyota FJ SUVs were strong at this auction, with Alfa-Romeos, Mercedes-Benzes, and Nissan/Datsuns also present. What do you think of the results?

1983 Buick Skylark T TYPE coupe

“A road car with a very distinct personality.”

Buick offered five separate T TYPE models (their spelling) in 1983. One of the new ones was the Skylark coupe, Buick’s version of the X-car.

The Skylark T TYPE’s standard powertrain was the LH7 “high output” 135 bhp 2.8 liter/173 ci V6 with a Rochester E2SE two-barrel carburetor paired with a four-speed manual. The 0-60 time was a little over 9 seconds—respectable but not great in 1983. Mileage was 21 city/34 highway by the standards of the day (17/23 by today’s standards). With a 15.1-gallon fuel tank, a T TYPE owner could expect a range of 270 to 375 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard mechanical equipment on the $9,337 TYPE coupe (about $24,000 in today’s dollars or about what a base 2018 Regal Sportback costs) included a Sport suspension (stiffer rate springs, stiffer shock absorbers, a more rigid front stabilizer bar, and added rear stabilizer bar), a “special tuned” exhaust, a 3.65:1 final drive ratio, and P215/60R14 steel belted radial tires (a size still available from BFGoodrich and Riken) on 14-inch styled aluminum wheels. Exterior equipment specific to the T TYPE included a blacked out grille, smoked tail lamp lenses, and charcoal lower body accent paint. Inside, vinyl or cloth bucket seats with backrest recliner, full-length operating console, special sport steering wheel, and color-coordinated seat belt buckles were included.

Standard equipment on all Skylarks included front wheel drive, power rack and pinion steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes, tungsten-halogen high/low beam headlamps, a Delco Freedom II Plus battery, and an AM radio with two front speakers and a fixed-mast radio antenna.

Options included dual electric remote mirrors ($78), Vista-Vent flip-open removable glass sunroof ($295), air conditioning ($725), Cruise Master speed control with resume ($170), power windows ($180), tilt steering ($105), and an ETR AM/FM stereo radio with cassette player and graphic equalizer ($505).

Skylark pages from the 1983 Buick T TYPEs brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures pages.

Despite Buick’s commitment to extending the T TYPE line (they even went to the extent of creating a T TYPE brochure), sales were not impressive—about 3.5% of the sales of the Skyhawk, Skylark, Century, Regal, and Riviera. Of the T TYPEs, the Skylark was comparatively successful, with 2,489 sold—about 6.1% of overall Skylark sales.

I haven’t seen a Skylark T TYPE since they were new and I saw one parked outside of the long-gone Crown Buick on the Lincoln Highway in Ardmore, PA. Skylarks of this era are rarely seen in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors—when one does come up for sale Hemmings considers it worthy of a portion of a blog entry.

There were only four exterior colors available for the Skylark T TYPE: white, silver, dark red, and light sand gray. Make mine silver, please.