Eighties Vehicles at the 2021 Mecum Kissimmee, Part One

January’s Mecum auction at Kissimmee always provides some interesting fodder for commentary, if only because it is so large. I’ll concentrate on the at least reasonably stock 1980s vehicles that sold (remember that Mecum auctions are not “no reserve” auctions—a white 1981 Chevrolet Camaro Yenko Turbo Z coupe with black bucket seats and 39,000 miles was a no sale bid up to $70,000) and add some of my opinions. I’m going to separate this auction into two posts—this first covers the eighties 14% of the approximately 680 vehicles sold from Thursday through Sunday.

Thursday, January 7th:

  • 1983 yellow Cadillac Seville sedan with a black carriage roof, ivory leather seats, an HT-4100 135 bhp 4.1 liter/249 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 92,000 miles—$4,500 hammer price.
  • 1986 Light Green Metallic Chevrolet El Camino pickup truck with a light green cloth bench seat, an LG4 150 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—at $10,500, the first eighties vehicle in this auction meets my criteria for serious collectability of fairly original cars or trucks: selling for equal to or above its original base list price. I’ll mark these vehicles in bold green.
  • 1988 Summit White Chevrolet 1500 Silverado pickup truck with garnet Custom cloth bucket seats, an L05 210 bhp 5.7 liter/305 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 63,000 miles—at $17,000, the highest eighties vehicle sale on Thursday
  • 1987 Bright Red Chevrolet Corvette convertible with a white convertible top, red leather bucket seats, an L98 240 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and the Doug Nash 4+3—$16,500
  • 1988 black BMW 635Csi coupe with black leather bucket seats, an M30B35 208 bhp 3.4 liter/209 ci inline six with fuel injection, and an automatic—$9,000
  • 1986 Black Chevrolet Camaro Z28 hatchback coupe with gray cloth bucket seats, an LB9 190 bhp engine with fuel injection, an automatic, and 62,000 miles—$5,000
  • 1983 blue Dodge W150 Power Ram pickup truck with a blue cloth bench seat, a 5.2 liter/318 ci V8 with a two-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 52,000 miles—$8,500
  • 1984 white Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 15th Anniversary Edition hatchback coupe with gray leather/cloth bucket seats, an LG9 HO 190 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 83,000 miles—$9,000
  • 1984 Silver/Medium Gray two-tone Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with red leather bucket seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 205 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, and an automatic—$4,500
  • 1980 Olympic White with woodgrain AMC Eagle Limited station wagon with beige leather seats, a 110 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a two-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 82,000 miles–$12,000. Is this the nicest one left?
1980 AMC Eagle Limited station wagon, linked from Mecum’s website
  • 1984 Silver/Medium Gray two-tone Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with graphite leather bucket seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 205 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, and an automatic—$6,000
  • 1988 White Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GTA coupe with camel leather bucket seats, a B2L 225 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 83,000 miles—$11,000 for a rare notchback
  • 1987 Midnight Black/Steel Gray two-tone Chevrolet Blazer Silverado SUV with slate gray Custom cloth bucket seats, an L05 210 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$11,500
  • 1984 white Pontiac Fiero Pace Car Edition coupe with red/gray bucket seats, an Iron Duke 92 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with throttle-body fuel injection, an automatic, and 27,000 miles—$16,000
  • 1987 Garnet Red Dodge Ramcharger SUV with red cloth bucket seats, a 143 bhp 5.2 liter/318 ci V8 with a two-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$8,500
  • 1982 silver Chevrolet El Camino custom (engine) pickup truck with blue cloth bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$8,000
  • 1988 red Mazda 323 GTX hatchback coupe with a 132 bhp 1.6 liter/97 ci inline four with fuel injection and a turbocharger, a five-speed manual, and 82,000 miles—$6,500 for the most interesting car on day one.
  • 1980 green GMC Caballero custom (powertrain, exterior, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a cloth split seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$11,500
  • 1988 tan Chevrolet 1500 pickup truck with an automatic—$3,000
  • 1982 blue Fiat 124 Spider 2000 convertible with gray vinyl bucket seats, a 102 bhp 2.0 liter/122 ci inline four with fuel injection, an automatic, and 57,000 miles—$9,500

Friday, January 8th:

  • 1987 red Chevrolet C10 custom (engine, exterior, suspension, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a gray interior, a Vortec 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$16,000
  • 1989 Cabernet Red Ford Mustang LX 5.0 convertible with a black top, scarlet red cloth bucket seats, a Windsor 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, and a five-speed—$8,500
  • 1986 burgundy Chevrolet Corvette custom (exterior, engine, interior) hatchback coupe with tan leather seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$7,500
  • 1989 White Jeep Wrangler SUV with black bucket seats and an automatic—$5,000
  • 1984 black Cadillac Series 75 Fleetwood limousine with a black interior, a 140 bhp 6.0 liter/368 ci V8 with throttle-body fuel injection, and an automatic—$12,500
  • 1985 Sunrise Red Mazda RX-7 hatchback coupe with gray cloth bucket seats, a 12A 101 bhp 1.1 liter/70 ci two-rotor with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 80,000 miles—$11,000
  • 1985 silver/gray two-tone Chevrolet C10 custom (powertrain, suspension, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a burgundy cloth bench seat, a 6.3 liter/383 ci V8, and an automatic—$22,500
  • 1981 Red Chevrolet Corvette coupe with red leather seats, an L81 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 53,000 miles—$21,000
  • 1980 beige Toyota Land Cruiser HJ-45 SUV with black bucket seats, an H 3.6 liter/218 ci diesel inline six, and a four-speed manual—$39,000 made this the highest eighties vehicle sale on Friday
1980 Toyota Land Cruiser HJ-45 SUV, linked from Mecum’s website
  • 1986 white Porsche 944 Turbo hatchback coupe with brown leather bucket seats, a 220 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with fuel injection and a turbocharger, and a five-speed manual, and 34,000 miles—$24,500
  • 1987 Red Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with tan leather seats, an M117 238 bhp 5.5 liter/339 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 84,000 miles—$13,500
  • 1987 Midnight Black/Apple Red two-tone Chevrolet Blazer custom (engine) SUV with red cloth bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$11,500
  • 1988 Arctic White Lincoln Town Car with a white vinyl carriage roof, oxford white leather seats, a Windsor 150 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 8,800 miles—$19,000
  • 1989 Silver Frost Lincoln Town Car with a silver frost vinyl carriage roof, titanium cloth seats, a Windsor 150 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 19,000 miles—$16,000
  • 1989 red Classic International Brillanté Vendetta convertible with an L98 340 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection and an automatic—$18,000 for this Corvette-based Ferrari Testarossa imitator.
  • 1986 medium blue/dark blue two-tone GMC Sierra Classic pickup truck with a blue vinyl bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$19,000
  • 1986 blue/white two-tone Chevrolet C10 custom (exterior, interior, suspension, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a blue bench seat, an unknown V8, and an automatic—$14,500
  • 1986 blue/white two-tone Chevrolet C10 custom (exterior, suspension, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a blue vinyl bench seat, an unknown V8, and an automatic—$21,000
  • 1984 White Chevrolet Camaro Z28 hatchback coupe with tan vinyl bucket seats, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, and an automatic—$5,500
  • 1986 blue/white two-tone Chevrolet Blazer SUV with blue vinyl bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$21,000
  • 1988 White Chevrolet Corvette 35th Anniversary Edition hatchback coupe with white leather seats, an L98 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 46,000 miles—$22,000
  • 1986 Dark Red Metallic Chevrolet Corvette convertible with a white top, red leather seats, an L98 235 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 8,200 miles—$20,000
  • 1985 White Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with saddle leather seats, an L98 230 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 8,100 miles—$16,000
  • 1985 White Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS coupe with maroon cloth bucket seats, a B4V 180 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 24,000 miles—$16,500
  • 1987 silver Toyota Supra Turbo hatchback coupe with blue cloth bucket seats, a 7M-GE 230 bhp 3.0 liter inline with fuel injection and a turbocharger, and a five-speed manual—$13,000
  • 1984 white Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Brougham coupe with burgundy cloth seats, an LV2 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$8,500

Saturday, January 9th:

  • 1982 White Chevrolet Corvette coupe with dark red cloth bucket seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 13,000 miles—$30,000
  • 1987 red/white two-tone Chevrolet Silverado custom (suspension, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a black custom cloth bench seat, an 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$34,000
  • 1987 white Pontiac Fiero GT coupe with gray cloth bucket seats, a 135 bhp 2.8 liter/173 ci V6 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 27,000 miles—$9,000
  • 1986 white Spartan II coupe with a gray interior, a 3.0 liter V6 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 39,000 miles—$20,000 for this Nissan 300ZX-based neo-classic
  • 1988 Charcoal/Radiant Silver two-tone Dodge Ramcharger LE SUV with red cloth bucket seats, a 145 bhp 5.2 liter/318 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$18,500
  • 1988 brown/tan two-tone Chevrolet Suburban SUV with tan cloth bucket seats, an L19 230 bhp 7.4 liter/454 ci v8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 73,000 miles—$17,500
  • 1983 yellow Toyota DLX mild custom pickup truck with gray cloth bucket seats, a 22R 2.4 liter inline four, a five-speed manual, and 101,000 miles—$16,500
  • 1981 maroon Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler custom pickup truck with gray bucket seats, an unknown V8, and an automatic—$20,000
  • 1988 red Sebring convertible with tan bucket seats, a 4.9 liter/302 ci V8, and an automatic—$19,000 for this Austin Healey 3000 replica
  • 1988 White Chevrolet Corvette 35th Anniversary Edition hatchback coupe with white leather seats, an L98 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, the Doug Nash 4+3, and 6,300 miles—$26,000
  • 1988 White Chevrolet Corvette 35th Anniversary Edition hatchback coupe with white leather seats, an L98 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$15,500. A bidder had their choice of these distinctive coupes at this auction.
  • 1980 red/black two-tone Chevrolet El Camino very custom (just about everything) pickup truck with red cloth bucket seats, a 406 ci V8, and an automatic—$13,000
  • 1987 Candy Apple Red GMC Sierra Classic custom (engine, exterior, interior, wheels/tires) pickup truck with silver bucket seats, an LS2 6.2 liter V8, and an automatic—$28,000
  • 1987 white Chevrolet C10 custom (powertrain) pickup truck with a red vinyl bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$27,000
  • 1987 black Buick Regal T-Type custom (powertrain) coupe with gray cloth bucket seats, a 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with a turbocharger, and an automatic—$35,000
  • 1985 Burgundy Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS coupe with gray cloth bucket seats, a B4V 180 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 10,000 miles—$21,750
  • 1989 Black Ford Mustang ASC/McLaren convertible with a black top, a gray interior, a 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 44,000 miles—$15,500
  • 1986 Shelby GLHS custom hatchback coupe with gray cloth bucket seats, a 2.2 liter/135 ci inline four with a turbocharger, an intercooler, and fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$18,000
  • 1986 black Nissan 300ZX hatchback coupe with black leather bucket seats, a VG30ET 200 bhp 3.0 liter/181 ci V6 with fuel injection and a turbocharger, a five-speed manual, and 43,000 miles—$31,500 is around $7,000 over #1/Concours money, according to Hagerty’s valuation tools.
  • 1986 red GMC Sierra Classic pickup truck with a gray cloth bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, an automatic, and 100,000 miles—$23,500
  • 1985 black Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole coupe with black leather seats, a Quattrovalvole 230 bhp 2.9 liter/179 ci V8 with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 69,000 miles—$50,000
  • 1986 Guards Red Porsche 911 Turbo coupe with black leather seats, a 282 bhp 3.3 liter/201 ci flat six with turbocharging and fuel injection, a four-speed manual, and 57,000 miles—$100,000 made this by far the highest eighties vehicle sale on this Saturday.
1986 Porsche 911 Turbo coupe, linked from Mecum’s website
  • 1980 red/white two-tone Plymouth Trail Duster custom (suspension, wheels/tires) SUV with red bucket seats and an automatic—$15,000
  • 1985 silver Chevrolet K10 Silverado very custom (just about everything) pickup truck with a gray cloth bench seat, a Vortec 6.0 liter V8, and an automatic—$38,000
  • 1986 hazel/brown two-tone Rolls-Royce Silver Spur sedan with a cream vinyl top, cream leather bucket seats, a 6.75 liter/412 ci V8, an automatic, and 17,000 miles—$35,000
  • 1987 Black Buick Grand National coupe with black/gray cloth seats, a 245 bhp LC2 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with turbocharging and fuel injection, an automatic, and 15,000 miles—$34,000
  • 1985 White Buick Riviera coupe with a white Landau top, blue cloth notchback 55/45 seats, a 5.0 liter/307 ci V8, an automatic, and 12,000 miles—$12,500
  • 1985 Cotillion White Cadillac Eldorado coupe with a white vinyl top, blue leather seats, an HT-4100 135 bhp 4.1 liter/249 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 4,100 miles—$23,000
  • 1984 black Oldsmobile 98 Regency coupe with a maroon vinyl top, red cloth seats, an LV2 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 4,500 miles—$27,000. Who saves these cars?
  • 1989 green Land Rover Defender 90 SUV with brown bucket seats, a 2.5 liter/152 ci diesel inline four, a manual, and 69,000 miles—$60,000
  • 1988 Black BMW M6 coupe with tan leather seats, a S38B35 256 bhp 3.5 liter/211 ci inline six with fuel injection, a five-speed, and 120,000 miles—$27,000
  • 1980 Pollux Orange Toyota Land Cruiser pickup truck with gray seats, a 3.6 liter engine, and a four-speed manual—$40,000
  • 1982 Black Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with a brown top, brown bucket seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$11,000
  • 1986 silver Mercedes-Benz 560SEC coupe with gray leather bucket seats, an M117 238 bhp 5.5 liter/339 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 75,000 miles—$19,000

Sunday, January 10th:

  • 1984 crimson Rolls-Royce Silver Spur sedan with camel leather bucket seats, a 6.75 liter/412 ci V8, and an automatic—$9,000
  • 1988 white Rolls-Royce Silver Spur sedan with a white vinyl top, tan leather bucket seats, a 6.75 liter/412 ci V8, an automatic, and 97,000 miles—$9,500
  • 1980 blue Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith II with a blue vinyl top, blue leather bucket seats, a 6.75 liter/412 ci V8, and an automatic—$9,000
  • 1983 silver Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit sedan with tan leather bucket seats, a 6.75 liter/412 ci V8, and an automatic—$9,000
  • 1988 dark blue Lincoln Town Car limousine with a dark green interior, a 4.9 liter/302 ci V8, and an automatic—$11,000
  • 1988 Red Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z convertible with a black top, gray leather bucket seats, an unknown 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 (could be the L03 170 bhp engine with throttle-body fuel injection or the LB9 195 bhp engine with fuel injection), an automatic, and 29,000 miles—$22,000
  • 1988 Delphin Gray BMW 635Csi coupe with pearl beige leather bucket seats, an M30B35 215 bhp 3.4 liter/209 ci inline six with fuel injection, an automatic, and 54,000 miles—$44,000 for this gray market car.
  • 1989 blue Toyota FJ-70 Land Cruiser SUV with gray bucket seats, a 3F 155 bhp 4.0 liter/241 ci inline six with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$22,000
  • 1988 White Chevrolet Corvette convertible with a white convertible top, red leather bucket seats, an L98 240 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 40,000 miles—$17,000
  • 1980 White/Light Blue Metallic two-tone Chevrolet El Camino pickup truck with a blue vinyl bench seat, an unknown V8 (could be the L39 120 bhp 4.4 liter/267 ci with a two-barrel carburetor or the LG9 135 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci with a four-barrel carburetor), an automatic, and 14,000 miles—$18,000
  • 1983 blue Ford F100 custom (exterior, wheels/tires) pickup truck with blue seats, a 5.8 liter/351 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$16,000
  • 1989 Twilight Blue Lincoln Town Car sedan with an arctic white carriage top, shadow blue cloth seats, a 150 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$5,000
  • 1984 silver/black two-tone Tiffany coupe with red leather seats, a 4.9 liter/302 ci V8, and an automatic—$15,000 for this Mercury Cougar-based “neo-classic.”
  • 1989 black AM General Humvee SUV with a black interior, an automatic, and 18,000 miles—$20,000
  • 1983 Sable Black Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz coupe with a bushed stainless steel roof cap, a black vinyl top, red leather “tufted multi-button” seats, an HT-4100 135 bhp 4.1 liter/249 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 19,000 miles—$27,000 for this striking Eldorado whose aftermarket continental kit actually doesn’t bother me that much.
1983 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz coupe, linked from Mecum’s website
  • 1988 blue Ford Crown Victoria sedan with a dark blue vinyl top, blue cloth seats, a 4.9 liter/302 ci V8, and an automatic—$3,000
  • 1986 blue Pontiac Firebird Trans Am hatchback coupe with gray cloth bucket seats, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, and an automatic—$7,000

1984 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible

For 1984, Cadillac decided to join the eighties convertible party with a version of the Eldorado Biarritz. With a base price of $31,286 (about $80,600 in today’s dollars), the Eldorado droptop was operating in rarified air. In constant dollars, it was the most costly Eldorado of any type since 1960’s hand-crafted Pininfarina-built Brougham.

The only powertrain available for the 1984 Eldorado convertible was an HT-4100 135 bhp 4.1 liter/249 ci V8 with fuel injection paired with a four-speed automatic. With a curb weight of about 3,900 pounds, 0-60 mph came in about 13.5 seconds. Fuel economy was rated at 17 city/27 highway by 1984 standards (14/20 by today’s measures). A 20.4-gallon gas tank meant an Eldorado convertible owner could expect a range of between 310 and 405 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

1984 Cadillac Eldorado convertible advertisement
1984 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible advertisement

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the Biarritz convertible included a power convertible top, power rear quarter windows, car color body side moldings, and P225/70R15 tires (a size still readily available) on 15-inch wheels with wire wheel discs. Inside, a theft-deterrent system, leather seats, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel rim were standard.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on every 1984 Eldorado included Soft Ray tinted glass, front-wheel-drive, a four-wheel independent suspension, power steering, remote mirrors, and four-wheel power disk brakes. Inside, electronic climate control, power door locks, and power windows were all included. Standard audio features included a Delco-GM 2000 stereo with four speakers and a power antenna.

Options and Production Numbers

Options available for the Biarritz convertible included an engine block heater, a remote locking fuel filler door, power mirrors, Twilight Sentinel, cruise control, and a six-way power passenger seat.

Many Eldorado coupe options were not available with the convertible. Some of these unavailable options included the touring suspension, the memory seat, and the all-conquering Delco-GM/Bose Symphony Sound System.

Cadillac sold 3,300 Eldorado convertibles in 1984—substantial numbers for such a high-end droptop and well more than the platform-mate Buick Riviera managed to sell in any single year. General Motors ended up having to navigate at least one lawsuit from folks who had purchased the 1976 Eldorado which Cadillac advertised it as “the last convertible.”

The View From 2021

Tenth-generation Eldorados do attract collector interest, and there is club support. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1984 Eldorado convertible in #1/Concours condition is $32,800, with a far more normal #3/Good condition version going for $9,000. These Eldorados are often available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds, on eBay Motors, and at auction. As I write this post, a Cotillion White 1984 Eldorado convertible with red leather “tufted multi-button” seats and 78,000 miles is for sale on Hemmings for $14,500.

Make mine Autumn Maple Firemist, please.

Other Eldorados I have written about include the 1982 Touring Coupe, the 1986 coupe, and the 1988 coupe. Additional E-body/K-body cars with blog entries include the 1980 Buick Riviera S TYPE coupe, the 1980 Cadillac Seville sedan, the 1982 Oldsmobile Toronado Brougham coupe, and the 1984 Buick Riviera T TYPE coupe.

End of the Year Review: 2020

All in all, 2020 was a positive year for Eighties Cars. We managed 51 new or substantially revised blog entries—one every seven days. Posts counts divided into 37 featuring a specific car, six covering auctions, seven miscellaneous posts, and one announcing a pandemic-influenced change: Eighties Cars Is Speeding Up Again.

Five marques made their first appearance in specific posts in 2020: Jeep, Maserati, Renault, Triumph, and Volvo. I have no set plan on what marques to cover the most—Chevrolet ended up in the lead, with Ford and Porsche also prevalent. Finally, 2020 was by far the best year for page views since I started the blog—we were up a substantial 38% over 2019.

Every year, I look at the end of the year results for the blog’s most viewed posts. For 2020, it once again looked like the key to an individual post’s popularity was often in the rarity of the other coverage available for that particular vehicle. It also didn’t hurt to be a Chevrolet, a Buick, or a Pontiac—our readers seem to be GM-centric. This year, there was one more obvious pattern—four of the top ten posts were for 1980 model year cars. In reverse order, we’ll discuss the top ten most viewed posts of this year.

10) 1980 Chevrolet Camaro Rally Sport coupeRally Sports are given short shrift by most late second-generation Camaros followers, with the Z28 getting far more attention. Despite this, Hagerty does track them—seeing them as worth $17,600 in #1/Concours condition and $10,600 in #3/Good condition with the best available LG4 V8. This August 2018 post was a new entry in the top 10 this year—it was #16 in 2019.

9) 1980 Buick Riviera S Type coupe—this post is about a car that Hagerty and others do see as somewhat collectible ($13,800 in #1/Concours condition, $3,900 in #3/Good condition). Another new entry—up from #14 in 2019.

8) 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity sedan—I doubt many articles are being written about any of the A-body cars. This August 2016 article—inspired by a work colleague’s Celebrity—continued to get a substantial number of page hits this year, though it dropped three spots to #8. Chevrolet sold 162,462 sedans in the 1989 model year and over 2.1 million Celebrities in the 1980s.

7) 1980 Pontiac Grand Am coupe—a rarely discussed 1980 Pontiac makes the list (collectors generally think of the 1973 to 1975 examples). This entry was the most viewed post in 2017, so it’s been consistently popular—now seventh for two years running and the first in this year’s top ten to have over 1,000 views. 1,647 Grand Ams were sold in the 1980 model year, which marked the last year for the rear-wheel-drive Grand Am.

6) 1987 Chevrolet Caprice Classic coupe—this elderly (April 2014) but evidently evergreen post is about the last of the big Caprice coupes. For the seven years Eighties Cars has been around, it’s the third most viewed post overall, and it moved up three spots in 2020. Chevrolet sold a mere 3,110 coupes in the 1987 model year.

5) 1980 Pontiac Sunbird Sport Hatch—this may be an even more rarely discussed car than the Grand Am of the same year, so I understand why the portion of the internet that cares about it is coming here. These Sunbirds also seem to have vanished entirely from the streets of America. Up one spot from last year.

4) 1987 Buick LeSabre T Type coupe—unlike those Regals and Rivieras, this is a T Type many don’t know about. A good number who are interested seem to be finding this page, which was #4 for a second straight year. Buick built 4,123 LeSabre T Types in 1987.

3) 1986 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta hatchback coupe—the Berlinetta is rarely written about, with almost all the eighties Camaro attention going to the Z28 and the IROC-Z. Despite this, Hagerty does track this car, currently at $12,800 in #1/Concours condition, $5,900 in #3/Good condition for the version with the optional V8. This post dropped from #1 in 2019 to #3 in 2020 but remains the all-time most popular entry.

2) 1987 Mercury Lynx XR3 hatchback coupe—this post repeated at #2 in 2020 and is the third most popular all-time. Mercury is, of course, an orphan make, but this blog entry has been viewed almost five times more than my write-up on the related 1981 Ford Escort hatchback coupe.

1985 Buick Somerset Regal coupe exterior photograph
1985 Buick Somerset Regal, showing off perhaps its best angle

1) 1985 Buick Somerset Regal coupe—this post has been picked up by other websites a few times, including a couple of years ago by Jalopnik. Hilariously, I don’t think I would have ever gotten around to writing about the Somerset Regal if I hadn’t actually seen one on the streets of Philadelphia back in 2014. Up from #3 in 2019, and the second most popular entry all-time.

Two posts that did not make it into the top ten in 2020, after doing so in 2019, were those on the 1980 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 coupe and the 1984 Buick Riviera T Type coupe. The best performing Chrysler product post was one on the 1980 Plymouth Horizon hatchback coupe (19th) while the best performing foreign car was the 1986 Honda Accord sedan (20th). The highest-ranking European car post was on the 1985 Volkswagen Cabriolet (45th and just ahead of the 1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible). A post on the rise in the final quarter of 2020 was the one written about the 1985 Chevrolet C20 Suburban Silverado SUV.

Thanks to all who viewed this blog in 2020!

1984 Honda Civic DX hatchback coupe

The 1984 model year brought the third generation Honda Civic, which was available in hatchback coupe, notchback sedan, and wagon versions—along with the CRX, of course. The topic of this post is the hatchback coupe in the upscale DX trim. With its Kammback design, Honda’s new hatchback brought unprecedented style to the compact car segment.

The Civic’s standard powertrain was a 60 bhp 1.3 liter/82 ci inline four with a CVCC three-barrel carburetor and a four-speed manual. However, the DX received a more powerful EW 76 bhp 1.5 liter/91 ci inline four with three valves per cylinder and a CVCC three-barrel carburetor along with a five-speed manual. DX purchasers could also choose an automatic. In a DX with the manual transmission, 0-60 came in about 11 seconds—more than competitive in class in 1984.

With its standard manual transmission, fuel economy ratings for the DX were an excellent 35 city/45 highway by the standards of the day and a still respectable 27/32 by today’s standards. Despite the small 11.9-gallon fuel tank, a new DX owner could expect a range of from 315 to 425 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

1984 Honda Civic Hatchback advertisement

At the beginning of the model year, the base Civic hatchback coupe went for $5,242—about $13,500 in 2020 dollars. Standard mechanical equipment on every Civic hatchback included front-wheel-drive, rack and pinion steering, and 155/80R13 steel-belted radial tires (a size still available thanks to Kumho) on 13-inch wheels. Inside, every Civic hatchback included a day/night rearview mirror and reclining front bucket seats.

The $6,292 DX—about $16,200 in today’s dollars and almost exactly what a base 2020 Honda Fit hatchback sedan goes for—added the aforementioned engine and transmission upgrades. It also included tinted glass, a rear window defroster, and reclining rear seatbacks.

There were few factory options beyond the automatic transmission, but many accessories listed in the brochure. Air conditioning was a dealer-installed option for the Civic—and would be so well into the 1990s.

Overall, the 1984 Civic sold very well—at 184,846, it set a new sales record for Honda. Third-generation Civics rarely show up for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds but have more of a presence on eBay Motors—though most are either highly modified or with substantial miles.

Make mine Claret Red Metallic, please.

Other Hondas I have written about include the 1983 Civic S hatchback coupe, the 1984 CRX hatchback coupe, the 1985 CRX Si hatchback coupe, the 1986 Accord sedan, and the 1988 Civic sedan.

1980 Chrysler Cordoba coupe

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a 1980 Cordoba—can that be true?

“A singular tradition.”

Chrysler’s Cordoba personal luxury was heavily revised for 1980, moving from the first-generation’s somewhat baroque styling to a more angular design. There was also a change in platform, with the Cordoba now based on the 1979 LeBaron coupe.

For the first time, the Cordoba’s base engine was a six—a 90 bhp 3.7 liter/225 ci version of the famous inline Slant Six with a one-barrel carburetor. Power options included a 5.2 liter/318 ci V8 with either a two-barrel carburetor (120 bhp/$230) or a four-barrel carburetor (155 bhp/$291) and a 185 bhp 5.9 liter/360 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor (which required the $192 Sport Handling package option package and less than 100 buyers paid $545 for). The 5.2 liter with the four-barrel carburetor was California and high altitude only. Chrysler paired all engines with a TorqueFlite automatic transmission.

With the Slant Six, the Cordoba was brutally slow even by 1980 standards—0-60 was likely in the 18 second range with a top speed of 90 mph. Performance was notably better with the two 5.2 liter V8s and might even be described as spritely with the rare 5.9 liter engine. None of the powerplants yielded good fuel economy as they dragged around a 3,300-pound plus car with a three-speed automatic. The best was the Slant Six, rated at 17 mpg city, with the 5.9 liter getting a mere 13 mpg. With an 18-gallon fuel tank, Cordoba buyers could expect a range of between 210 and 275 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

The 1980 Cordoba’s base price was $6,978—about $24,100 in 2020 dollars, or about $4,000 less than a base 2020 Dodge Challenger coupe (close to the same size and still rear-wheel-drive) goes for. Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the Cordoba included tinted glass, power steering, power front disk/rear drum brakes, and P195/75R15 white sidewall tires on 15-inch wheels with Deluxe wheel covers. Inside, a heater and defroster, coat hooks, a cigarette lighter, and an AM radio were included. Standard upholstery was a cloth-and-vinyl split-back bench seat with a folding center armrest.

For a little less money than the standard Cordoba, Chrysler offered the LS ($6,745). It deleted the sill molding and carpeted trunk and changed the tires to black sidewall. The LS was upholstered with a cloth-and-vinyl bench seat.

Heading upmarket, the $7,248 Cordoba Crown added a padded Landau vinyl roof and Premier wheel covers. Inside, the Crown was upholstered with cloth-and-vinyl 60/40 seats with a folding center armrest and a passenger-side seatback recliner.

Corinthian Edition pages from the 1980 Cordoba brochure

Only available for the Cordoba Crown, the $1,818 Corinthian Edition package included chrome remote side mirrors and P205/75R15 “wider” whitewall tires on 15-inch wheels with wire wheel covers. A choice of two colors was available—Black Walnut Metallic or a Designer’s Cream over Designer’s Beige paint treatment. Inside, deep cut-pile carpeting and a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel were included. Of course, the package included leather/vinyl 60/40 seats and Corinthian Edition identification.

Options and Production Numbers

Individual exterior and mechanical options included an electric glass sunroof ($787) and forged aluminum road wheels ($334). Inside, air conditioning ($623), automatic speed control ($116), power windows ($148), and power door locks ($96) were available. The top-of-the-line radio was an AM/FM stereo with a CB transceiver and four speakers ($383), though the Cordoba’s brochure hyped the new $240 AM/FM stereo with cassette player and Dolby noise reduction. A final option was an extra cost 5/50 protection plan.

Cordoba sales dropped by about 37% to 46,406 in 1980, but I’m not willing to blame this entirely on the new design—very little was going right for the Chrysler division in 1980. The Cordoba’s percentage of overall Chrysler division sales actually increased in 1980—but Oldsmobile sold four times as many Cutlass Supreme coupes. Chrysler continued to make the Cordoba through the 1983 model year, with sales dropping each year. Its putative replacement for 1984 was the far different front-wheel-drive Laser XE hatchback coupe.

The View From 2020

Hagerty does not track values for any Cordoba, but they do show up in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors. As I write this post, Hemmings lists a Charcoal Gray Metallic 1983 with red cloth bucket seats and 44,000 miles for sale, asking $9,000.

Make mine Crimson Red Metallic, please.

Other rear-wheel-drive Chrysler products I have written about are the 1980 Plymouth Volaré station wagon and the 1983 Imperial coupe.

Eighties Vehicles at the 2020 Mecum Houston

Mecum’s Dallas auction in December 2020 provided some interesting fodder for commentary. It’s important to remember that Mecum auctions are not “no reserve” auctions—a black 1983 Mercedes-Benz G300 SUV with white bucket seats was a no-sale bid up to $52,000. I’ll concentrate on the at least reasonably stock 1980s vehicles that sold and add some of my opinions. Eighties vehicles were about 11% of the 364 vehicle lots sold in this auction.

Thursday, December 3rd:

  • 1984 blue BMW 318i coupe with tan bucket seats, a 101 bhp 1.8 liter/108 ci inline four with fuel injection, an automatic, and 47,000 miles—$4,000 hammer price.
  • 1985 Cotillion White Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible with a white top, red leather “tufted multi-button” seats, an HT-4100 135 bhp 4.1 liter/249 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 57,000 miles—$15,000 is #2/Excellent money, according to Hagerty’s valuation tools.
1985 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz interior, linked from Mecum’s website
  • 1982 blue/white two-tone Ford F100 pickup truck with a blue bench seat, a 133 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8, and an automatic—$6,500
  • 1983 brown Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck with a brown interior, an unknown V8, and an automatic—$9,500
  • 1982 blue Datsun 280ZX Turbo 2+2 hatchback coupe with gray bucket seats, an L28ET 145 bhp 2.8 liter/168 ci inline six with a turbocharger and fuel injection, and an automatic—$10,500
  • 1982 Silver Beige Chevrolet Corvette coupe with silver beige leather bucket seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 36,000 miles—$14,500
  • 1982 white Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce convertible with a brown top, brown bucket seats, a 111 bhp 2.0 liter/120 ci inline four with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 97,000 miles—$7,500
  • 1985 Shelby GLHS custom (engine, interior) hatchback coupe with gray cloth bucket seats, a 2.2 liter/135 ci inline four with a turbocharger, an intercooler, and fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 32,000 miles—at $19,500, the highest eighties vehicle sale on Thursday
  • 1989 pearl white Chevrolet 1500 custom (exterior) pickup truck with an unknown V8—$7,000
  • 1984 beige/black two-tone Chevrolet Suburban custom (suspension, wheels/tires) SUV—$5,000
  • 1984 red Toyota Celica hatchback coupe with red cloth bucket seats, a 22R-E 105 bhp 2.4 liter inline four with fuel injection, and an automatic—$14,000
  • 1982 blue Toyota FJ-40 Land Cruiser mild custom SUV with tan seats, a 2F 4.2 liter inline six, and a four-speed manual—$15,000
  • 1986 white Nissan Spartan II coupe with a gray interior, a 3.0 liter V6 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$11,500 for this 300ZX-based neo-classic
  • 1983 sky blue Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with blue bucket seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 92,000 miles—$3,000 for this SL stated to not be in running condition
  • 1985 chocolate Chevrolet C10 custom (just about everything) pickup truck with tan leather bucket seats, a 6.3 liter/383 ci V8, and an automatic—$16,000

Friday, December 4th:

  • 1985 black/silver two-tone Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck with 65,000 miles and little other description—$7,000
  • 1982 Red Chevrolet Corvette coupe with an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 67,000 miles—$7,500
  • 1987 red/white two-tone Chevrolet C10 custom (suspension, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a black cloth bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 65,000 miles—$23,000
  • 1982 Dark Brown Metallic Datsun 280ZX Turbo hatchback coupe with tan cloth bucket seats, an L28ET 145 bhp 2.8 liter/168 ci inline six with a turbocharger and fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—at $28,000 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.
1982 Datsun 280ZX Turbo, linked from Mecum’s website
  • 1984 white Zimmer Golden Spirit coupe with red leather bucket seats, a Windsor 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$21,000
  • 1989 maroon/white two-tone Dodge Ramcharger SUV with red cloth seats, an unknown V8 (could be a 5.2 liter or a 5.9 liter), an automatic, and 57,000 miles—$9,500
  • 1987 blue metallic Chevrolet K10 custom (exterior, engine, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a blue cloth bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a carburetor, and an automatic—$18,000
  • 1984 Apple Red Chevrolet C10 pickup truck with a charcoal vinyl bench seat, an LE9 150 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, and an automatic—$15,000
  • 1983 Rally Red Jeep CJ-7 custom (just about everything) SUV with red bucket seats and a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a supercharger—at $37,000, the highest eighties vehicle sale on Friday
  • 1980 beige Mercedes-Benz 450SL convertible with a black soft top, brown bucket seats, a 160 bhp 4.5 liter/276 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$19,000
  • 1984 black GMC 1500 custom (engine, suspension, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$19,500
  • 1981 Chevrolet C10 custom (just about everything) pickup truck with blue cloth bucket seats, a 6.0 liter V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$22,000
  • 1988 Salmon Silver Metallic BMW 325i convertible with a black top, black leather bucket seats, an M20B25 168 bhp 2.5 liter/152 ci inline four with fuel injection, and an automatic—$7,000.
  • 1983 beige Jeep CJ-7 SUV with tan bucket seats, a manual, and 132,000 miles—$13,000
  • 1985 Apple Red/Frost White two-tone Chevrolet K5 Blazer Silverado SUV with red cloth bucket seats and an automatic—$25,500
  • 1987 Medium Gray Metallic Chevrolet El Camino pickup truck with a gray cloth seat, an LG4 150 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 29,000 miles—$9,000
  • 1983 tan Jeep Scrambler custom (just about everything) pickup truck with gray bucket seats, a 5.9 liter V8, and an automatic—$15,500
  • 1986 white Volkswagen custom (exterior, wheels/tires) cabriolet with gray/white bucket seats, a 90 bhp 1.8 liter inline four, a five-speed manual, and 122,000 miles—$4,000

Saturday, December 5th:

  • 1982 Silver Beige Chevrolet Corvette coupe with silver beige leather bucket seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 11,000 miles—$24,000 is solid money for a 1982 CE.
  • 1984 Chevrolet C10 custom (engine, suspension, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a 7.4 liter/454 ci V8 and an automatic—$22,000
  • 1986 blue/tan two-tone Chevrolet C10 custom (powertrain, interior, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a gray bench seat, a 6.0 liter V8, and an automatic—$31,000
  • 1987 black Porsche 930 Turbo coupe with brown bucket seats, a 282 bhp 3.3 liter/201 ci flat six with a turbocharger and fuel injection, a four-speed manual, and 28,000 miles—$120,000 for this factory slant nose made it the highest eighties vehicle of this auction
1988 Porsche 930 Turbo, linked from Mecum’s website
  • 1983 Chevrolet C10 custom (engine, suspension, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a cloth bench seat, a 6.3 liter/383 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$30,000
  • 1987 red orange Land Rover Defender 90 custom (just about everything) SUV with orange/black leather bucket seats, a 2.5 liter diesel inline four, and a five-speed manual—$41,000

Houston was another Mecum auction in Texas that featured many Chevrolet trucks. This profusion of bowtie trucks meant that Chevrolets were 44% of the eighties vehicles sold. Other prevalent marques were Jeep and Nissan/Datsun. What do you think?

1984 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 15th Anniversary Edition hatchback coupe

I clearly remember a 15th Anniversary Edition Trans Am being displayed inside Marsh Pontiac’s small showroom on the Lincoln Highway in Ardmore, PA.

“… leaves the also-rans even further behind …”

1984 Trans Am press release
15th Anniversary Trans Am press materials

For 1984, Pontiac announced a special edition Trans Am to commemorate the Firebird sub-model’s 15th year.

The $3,499 15th Anniversary Edition featured white paint with blue graphics that hearkened back to the original 1969 Trans Am. Other exterior components included the Aero Package optional on normal Trans Ams and T-tops. Mechanical features included the LG9 HO 190 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, the WS6 special handling package, four-wheel power disc brakes, and P245/50R16 tires (a size still readily available) on 16 x 8 inch white hi-tech turbo aluminum wheels.

As had been true in many previous Trans Am special editions, the 15th Anniversary Edition Trans Am featured Recaro front bucket seats—these were leather with cloth inserts. Other interior features specific to the special edition included a white leather steering wheel and shifter knob. Standard equipment on all 1984 Trans Ams included sport mirrors, a rear deck spoiler, tungsten halogen headlamps, rally gauges, a console, and power steering.

Only the top of the line engine was available with the 15th Anniversary Edition, but there was a choice of transmissions. A five-speed manual came standard, with an automatic being a $295 option. 0-60 came in less than seven seconds—two to three seconds better than it had been in 1982. Fuel economy ratings were 16 city/27 highway by 1984 standards (13/20 by today’s measures). With a smallish 13.3-gallon gas tank, a Trans Am owner could expect a range of 200 to 255 mikes with a 10% fuel reserve.

Options and Production Numbers

Trans Ams (even special editions ones) did not come loaded in 1984—by the time the 20th Anniversary Edition came around in 1989, that would no longer be so. Exterior and mechanical options included Soft-Ray tinted glass ($110), an electric rear window defogger ($140), and a limited slip differential ($95).

Interior options included air conditioning ($730), power windows ($215), a power antenna ($60), and a Delco AM/FM stereo cassette with a five-band graphic equalizer ($590). Upholstery and trim options included six-way power seats ($215 each), a tilt steering wheel ($110), luggage compartment trim ($110), and cloth floor mats ($20 front/$15 rear).

Pontiac built a symbolic 1,500 15th Anniversary Editions—500 with the five-speed manual and 1,000 with the automatic. Those 1,500 were a small part of the 55,374 total Trans Ams made in the 1984 model year, with those sales less than half of 128,304 Firebirds sold (Pontiac sold a lot of base Firebirds). Both the Trans Am numbers and the overall Firebird sales marked an eighties peak for Pontiac, with only 1980 and 1982 coming close.

The View From 2020

15th Anniversary Edition Trans Ams do attract some collector interest. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 15th Anniversary Edition Trans Am with the five-speed in #1/Concours condition is $28,400, with a far more normal #3/Good condition version with an automatic going for $9,500. These Trans Ams are often available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors, and they sometimes show up at auction.

Make mine White, please—it’s not like I have a choice.

I evidently can’t help myself with eighties Trans Ams; I’ve also written about the 1981, the 1982, the 1985, and the 1989 Turbo. I probably should write about the Formula and the S/E at some point—perhaps even the base car.

Eighties Vehicles at the 2020 Mecum Dallas

Mecum’s Dallas auction in October 2020 provided some interesting fodder for commentary. It’s important to remember that Mecum auctions are not “no reserve” auctions—a yellow 1982 Toyota FJ-45 Land Cruiser SUV with a black bench seat was a no-sale bid up to $42,500. I’ll concentrate on the at least reasonably stock 1980s vehicles that sold and add some of my opinions. Eighties vehicles were about 7% of the 529 vehicle lots sold in this auction.

Thursday, October 15th:

  • 1982 Silver Metallic Chevrolet Corvette coupe with silver gray leather bucket seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 36,000 miles—$12,000 hammer price
  • 1985 silver Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck with a blue interior, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$7,500
  • 1980 red Jeep CJ-7 SUV with tan bucket seats, a 119 bhp 5.0 liter/304 ci V8 with a two-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—at $18,000 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.
  • 1985 yellow Cadillac Eldorado coupe with a yellow vinyl top, tan leather seats, an HT-4100 135 bhp 4.1 liter/249 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$6,000
  • 1981 red/white two-tone Ford F150 Explorer pickup truck with a plaid cloth bench seat, a 120 bhp 4.9 liter/300 ci inline six with a carburetor, an automatic, and 51,000 miles—$20,000 for this truck with it’s original “big six.”
1981 Ford F150 Explorer, linked from Mecum’s website
  • 1986 red/white two-tone Dodge Ramcharger Royale SE SUV with red cloth seats, a 150 bhp 5.2 liter/318 ci V8 with a two-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$10,500
  • 1985 red Chevrolet K10 mild custom pickup truck with a red cloth bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$38,000
  • 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, and an automatic—$27,500
  • 1989 black Ford F150 custom (engine, wheels/tires) pickup truck with gray cloth bucket seats, a Windsor 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 87,000 miles—$10,000
  • 1986 Dark Cordovan Chrysler LeBaron convertible with a tan top, cordovan vinyl bucket seats, an unknown inline four (could be a 2.2 liter or a 2.5 liter), an automatic, and 26,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1989 dark green/beige two-tone Chevrolet Blazer mild custom SUV with beige cloth bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$11,500
  • 1989 white with woodgrain Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser station wagon with a dark sapphire blue 55/45 cloth seat, a 140 bhp 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 42,000 miles—$9,000

Friday, October 16th:

  • 1980 Carousel Red Pontiac Firebird Trans Am coupe with dark camel cloth bucket seats, a W72 150 bhp 4.9 liter/301 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$23,000
  • 1986 Light Regatta Blue/Colonial White two-tone Ford F250 XLT mild custom pickup truck with a blue cloth bench seat, a Lima 7.5 liter/460 ci V8, and an automatic—$17,000
  • 1988 Black Ford Mustang convertible with a black top, medium gray cloth bucket seats, a Windsor 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 38,000 miles—$14,000
  • 1989 Medium Red Toyota SR5 custom (engine) pickup truck with gray cloth bucket seats, a 3.4 liter V6, and a five-speed manual—$14,500
  • 1987 black Chevrolet Silverado custom (exterior, suspension, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a red interior, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, an automatic, and 87,000 miles—$30,000
  • 1982 yellow Chevrolet Corvette coupe with camel leather bucket seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, and an automatic—$13,000
  • 1981 Red Chevrolet Camaro Z28 coupe with red vinyl bucket seats, an LM1 175 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 36,000 miles—$22,000
1981 Chevrolet Camaro Z28, linked from Mecum’s website
  • 1988 gray Dodge Ramcharger mild custom SUV with red cloth bucket seats, an LA 170 bhp 5.2 liter/318 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 38,000 miles—$8,500
  • 1986 red Chevrolet K10 custom (engine, suspension, exterior, interior) pickup truck with a gray cloth bench seat, a 427 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 27,000 miles—$40,000
  • 1984 Le Mans Blue Chevrolet K10 custom (engine, suspension, exterior, interior) pickup truck with blue cloth seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$25,000
  • 1981 orange Jeep CJ-5 custom (just about everything) SUV with black seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$15,000
  • 1981 black Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler pickup truck with black bucket seats, a 110 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a two-barrel carburetor, a four-speed manual, and 47,000 miles—$24,000
  • 1984 Light Blue Metallic/Silver two-tone Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck with blue cloth bench seat, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, and an automatic—$24,000
  • 1986 Bright Red Chevrolet Corvette convertible with medium gray leather seats, an L98 235 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$18,000 is substantial money for a C4 Corvette convertible without a lot of provenance.
  • 1981 white/black two-tone Chevrolet Blazer SUV with blue cloth bucket seats, a V8, and an automatic—$22,000
  • 1986 red Dodge SLE pickup truck with a red cloth bench seat, a 5.8 liter/360 ci V8, and an automatic—$20,000
  • 1988 Medium Blue Metallic Chevrolet Corvette convertible with a black top, blue leather seats, an L98 240 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$7,500

Saturday, October 17th:

  • 1980 Black Chevrolet Camaro Z28 coupe with red cloth bucket seats, an LM1 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, a four-speed manual, and 37,000 miles—$22,000
  • 1985 black Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck with a burgundy cloth bench seat, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, and an automatic—$13,500
  • 1984 red Chevrolet Silverado custom (body, engine) pickup truck with a gray cloth bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$28,000
  • 1987 amber/cream two-tone Chevrolet Silverado custom (paint, engine) pickup truck with a tan vinyl bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$29,000
  • 1985 orange/white two-tone Chevrolet Silverado custom (paint, engine) pickup truck with a chocolate vinyl bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$30,000
  • 1985 red with flames Chevrolet Silverado custom (just about everything) pickup truck with bucket seats, an LS V8, and an automatic—$40,000
  • 1984 gray/white two-tone Chevrolet Silverado custom (paint, engine, suspension) pickup truck with an olive green bench seat, an LS V8, and an automatic—$40,000
1984 Chevrolet Silverado custom, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1984 green/cream two-tone Chevrolet Silverado custom (paint, engine, suspension, interior) pickup truck with a tan bench seat, an LS V8, and an automatic—$43,000
  • 1988 red Chevrolet 2500 custom (paint, engine, suspension, interior) pickup truck with a red bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$24,000
  • 1980 black Land Rover Defender 110 custom (paint, engine, interior) SUV with black leather bucket seats, a V8, and an automatic—$85,000

This particular auction contained many Chevrolet trucks—most from the Hill’s Hot Rods Square Body Collection. This profusion of bowtie trucks meant that Chevrolets were 55% of the eighties vehicles sold. Other prevalent marques were Ford, Dodge, and Jeep. What do you think?

1983 BMW 633CSi coupe

A neighbor of mine owned a BMW 633CSi for many years. I think all 6-series coupes from the seventies and eighties are good-looking, but this one was exceptionally attractive, with a dark blue exterior and a tan interior.

“A conspicuous exception”

For the 1983 model year, BMW changed the platform of the 6-series coupe in North America. This substantial update—the first since the introduction of the series in 1977—resulted in changes to the exterior styling, the engine, the chassis, the suspension, the electronics, and the interior. These changes still left the 633CSi both very recognizable to and quite comfortable for its intended market.

BMW updated the 633CSi’s engine to the M30 181 bhp 3.2 liter/196 ci inline six with Bosch Motronic fuel injection. This engine was available with a standard wide-ratio five-speed manual or an optional automatic. With an 18.5-gallon gas tank, the fuel economy rating of 19 city/29 highway mpg meant a range of between 360 and 400 miles with a 10% fuel reserve. 0-60 mph came in about 8.5 seconds—competitive performance for a luxury coupe in 1983.

The updated front suspension featured double-linked struts, making the big coupe less likely to dip under hard braking. The new rear axle assembly added a top-mounted link to the trailing arm layout of the E28 528i. BMW replaced the ventilated rear disc brakes seen in previous years with solid ones in a token bid at simplicity.

1983 BMW 633CSi advertisement
1983 BMW 633CSi advertisement

The 633CSi’s base price was $39,210—about $103,900 in today’s dollars, and about 18% more than a base 2021 840i coupe goes for. Notably, this price was still less than it’s putative German competition; a 1983 Mercedes-Benz 380SEC was almost $15,000 more. Standard exterior and mechanical equipment included quad headlights with halogen high beams, power steering, four-wheel power disc brakes, and 205/70R14 tires (a size still readily available) on 14 x 6.5 inch light-alloy wheels.

Inside the 633CSi, BMW paired leather reclining front bucket seats with leather rear bucket seats. Other interior accouterments included air conditioning, power heated side mirrors, power door locks, a three-spoke leather-covered steering wheel, and a digital clock.

BMW would build the 6-series coupes through the 1989 model year. Like many BMWs, the 633CSi does attract collector interest, and there is series-specific club support along with that of the bigger BMW car clubs. 633CSi’s are often available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors, and they sometimes show up at auction. As I write this post, an Atlantic Blue Metallic 1984 633CSi with blue leather seats and 231,000 miles is for sale on Hemmings for $6,900 firm. Bring A Trailer auctioned a Sapphire Blue 1984 633CSi with a five-speed manual and blue bucket seats for $11,500 in June 2020.

Make mine Lapis Blue, please.

Other BMWs I have written about include the 1984 325e coupe, the 1988 M3 coupe, and the 1988 750iL sedan.

1982 Ford EXP hatchback coupe

“Two-seat excitement in a world class coupe.”

Ford’s EXP two-seat coupe was new for the 1982 model year and introduced early in April 1981. Ford’s first two-seat car since the 1957 Thunderbird, the EXP was designed for a far different purpose. Built on the same platform as the Ford Escort/Mercury Lynx twins and closely related to the Mercury LN7, the EXP was marketed as a car for buyers who wanted an efficient and decently-equipped vehicle somewhat sportier than the Escort.

The design language of the EXP resembled that of the contemporary Fox-body Mustang. However, front-wheel-drive and a different platform made the proportions different, which some observers saw as ungainly. I remember thinking that it was different-looking, but not unattractive.

Ford’s new two-seater was a small car—a length of 170.3 inches makes the EXP more than half a foot shorter than the 2020 Honda Civic coupe. However, the EXP’s length was almost seven inches longer than an Escort hatchback coupe, while its height was over 2.5 inches shorter. Because Ford made the EXP fairly well-equipped, it’s weight was about 125 pounds greater than the spare base Escort.

The EXP’s standard powertrain was a CVH 70 bhp 1.6 liter/98 ci inline four with a Motorcraft 740 two-barrel carburetor paired with a four-speed manual. An automatic transmission was optional for $411. EPA fuel economy ratings with the manual were 29 city/46 highway by the standards of the day. With an 11.3-gallon gas tank, an EXP owner could expect a range of between 345 and 380 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

What the EXP wasn’t was anything approaching quick. Figures are hard to find, but the EXP’s 0-60 time was likely about 14.5 seconds. Late in the extended 1982 model year, an HO version of the same engine became available, with 80 bhp. It likely dropped the EXP’s 0-60 time by more than a second, but in this case, HO did not mean fast.

1982 Ford EXP brochure cover
1982 Ford EXP brochure cover

Standard equipment on the $7,387 EXP included front-wheel-drive, a four-wheel independent suspension, rack and pinion steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes, and P165/80R13 tires (a size now hard to find) on 13-inch wheels. Inside, a Sport steering wheel, reclining high-back bucket seats, a console, and an AM radio were included.

Exterior and mechanical options included tinted glass (initially $82 but standard later in the model year), a flip-up open air roof ($276), power steering ($190), and cast aluminum wheels ($232). Inside, options included an air conditioner ($611), fingertip speed control ($151), leather/vinyl reclining low back bucket seats ($138), and a few different stereo choices.

The optional TR Performance Suspension Package included special handling tuned suspension components (a thicker stabilizer bar, stiffer shocks, and stiffer springs) and P165/70R 365 Michelin TRX tires (still available!) on a choice of either TR Sport aluminum wheels ($405) or Sport steel wheels ($204).

First-year sales of the EXP were decent: 98,258 in a model year that extended from April 1981 through September 1982. Following 1982, sales dropped precipitously—only 19,697 for 1983, 23,016 for 1984, 26,462 for 1985, 30,978 for 1986, and 25,888 for the EXP’s final year in 1987.

I have not seen an EXP on the road in over a decade. EXPs rarely show up for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors—in fact, they seem to have virtually vanished.

Make mine Bright Red, please.

I have previously written about the 1981 Escort hatchback coupe and the 1987 Mercury Lynx XR3 hatchback coupe. Perhaps someday I shall write about the short-lived Mercury LN7.