1988 Cadillac Eldorado coupe

“… a bold styling statement.”

For 1988, Cadillac’s Eldorado gained a new 4.5 liter V8, along with a power dome hood, a revised grille, a reshaped rear window treatment, and an extended trunk. Length increased by three inches, and the 1988 Eldorado looked a little bit more like the Eldo people had grown to expect.

The Eldorado’s powertrain was Cadillac’s 155 bhp HT series 4.5 liter/273 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection paired with a four-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration improved notably—the Eldorado’s 0-60 mph time was now under 10 seconds for the first time since the early 1970s. Fuel economy was 17 city/24 highway by the standards of the day (15/22 by today’s standards). With an 18.8-gallon fuel tank, an Eldorado owner could expect a range of between 315 and 345 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

So, what did those buyers get with their $24,891 (about $52,600 in today’s dollars or about what a loaded 2019 ATS coupe goes for) 1988 Eldorado? Standard exterior and mechanical equipment included front wheel drive, a four-wheel independent suspension, power-assisted rack and pinion steering, power four-wheel disc brakes, and 205/70R14 tires (a size still readily available) on 14-inch aluminum wheels. Inside, six-way front power seats, a leather-trimmed steering wheel with tilt and telescope adjustment, cruise control, power side mirrors, power windows, power door locks, electronic climate control, Twilight Sentinel, and an AM/FM stereo radio with power antenna were all included—the Eldorado was pretty well equipped.

Moving up to the Biarritz (almost always the top if the line Eldorado since 1956) added wire wheels, two-tone paint, nicer front seats with power lumbar support and power recliners, and real walnut trim on the instrument panel, console, and door trim plates.

Options included anti-lock brakes, touring suspension with 15-inch aluminum alloy wheels, Astroroof, a nicely integrated cellular phone, and Delco/Bose Symphony Sound System.

Eldorado page from 1988 Cadillac brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures pages.

The exterior redesign and the new engine definitely assisted sales—they were nearly double what they had been in 1987, though still not close to the salad days of 1985 and prior.

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1988 Eldorado in #1/Concours condition is $9,800, with a far more typical #3/Good car going for a mere $3,500. Eldorados of this age come up for sale often in Hemmings Motor News, so folks are saving them. As I write this in November 2018, three 1988 Eldorados are for sale, with prices ranging from $5,000 to $11,900.

Eighties Vehicles at the 2018 Mecum Chicago

Mecum’s three-day October auction in Chicago 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 black 1989 Land Rover Defender 90 custom SUV with black leather seats was a no sale bid up to $30,000) and add some of my opinions. Eighties vehicles were about 9% of the 570 vehicle lots sold in this auction.

Thursday, October 25th:

  • 1989 red Ford Mustang LX convertible with a black top, red cloth seats, a 220 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$12,000 hammer price.
  • 1987 red Pontiac Fiero GT coupe with gray cloth seats, an L44 130 bhp 2.8 liter/173 ci V6 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$4,500
  • 1984 burgundy AMC Eagle sedan with burgundy/beige patterned cloth seats, and unknown engine (could be an inline four or an inline six, but is likely the six), and an automatic—$3,500
  • 1980 white Toyota Celica hatchback coupe with a beige interior, a 20R 90 bhp 2.2 liter/134 ci inline four with two-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$2,500
  • 1987 blue Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GTA custom (powertrain, body, wheels/tires) hatchback coupe with tan cloth seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$7,500
  • 1981 tan Toyota Land Cruiser SUV with gray seats, an unknown engine, and a four-speed manual—$14,000
  • 1980 black Chevrolet Corvette custom (engine) coupe with black leather seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$8,500
  • 1989 green Ford Bronco Eddie Bauer Edition SUV with ivory cloth seats, a Windsor 210 bhp 5.8 liter/351 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$9,500
  • 1987 gold Porsche 944 hatchback coupe with black leather seats, a 150 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with Bosch fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$14,000
  • 1984 black Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with gray leather seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 205 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, and an automatic—$4,000
  • 1986 blue Ford F250 XLT extended cab pickup truck with blue cloth seats, a Windsor 210 bhp 5.8 liter/351 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 82,000 miles—$14,000
  • 1983 tan/brown two-tone Chevrolet K20 Scottsdale custom (suspension, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a beige cloth bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and a four-speed manual—$20,000
  • 1983 copper Cadillac Eldorado coupe with light brown tufted cloth seats, an HT-4100 135 bhp 4.1 liter/249 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 79,000 miles—$6,000 for this unusual-colored Eldo also with no vinyl top.
1983 Cadillac Eldorado coupe, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1989 white Cadillac Coupe DeVille with white leather seats, an HT 155 bhp 4.5 liter/273 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—an ouch! at $2,750
  • 1986 silver Chevrolet Monte Carlo coupe with blue cloth seats, a 150 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$4,750
  • 1988 bright silver metallic Pontiac Fiero GT coupe with gray seats, a Tech IV 98 bhp 2.5 liter inline four with fuel injection, and an automatic—$4,250
  • 1987 metallic gray Jaguar XJ-SC cabriolet with gray leather seats, an HE 262 bhp 5.3 liter/326 ci V12 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 51,000 miles—$10,500
  • 1987 red Pontiac Firebird Formula hatchback coupe with gray cloth seats, a 210 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 34,000 miles—$6,500
  • 1980 charcoal firemist Oldsmobile Toronado XSC custom (engine) coupe with tan cloth seats, a 6.6 liter/403 ci V8, an automatic, and 47,000 miles—$5,000. The XSC’s were rare—methinks a hotted up version (the 160 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci was the best available engine for 1980) is far rarer.
  • 1986 black Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 sedan with black leather seats, a 167 bhp 2.3 liter/140 ci inline four with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$9,500
  • 1989 red Jaguar XJ-S convertible with saddle leather seats, an HE 262 bhp 5.3 liter/326 ci V12 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 62,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1981 black F100 very custom (powertrain, suspension, body, wheels/tires) pickup truck with black seats, a 460 ci V8 with an Eldobrock four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$10,500
  • 1986 gray BMW L7 sedan with light gray leather seats, a 182 bhp 3.4 liter/209 ci inline six with Bosch Motronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$7,500 for the most luxurious BMW you could buy in the eighties, at least until the 750iL came out two years later.
  • 1983 butterscotch Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with both tops, tan leather seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 40,000 miles—$8,000
  • 1987 silver Honda CRX Si hatchback coupe with gray cloth seats, an EW3/4 91 bhp 1.5 liter/91 ci inline four with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 148,000 miles—$4,000. What is the purchaser’s intent for this car?
  • 1985 red Pontiac Firebird Trans Am hatchback coupe with red/gray cloth seats, an LB9 205 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 16,000 miles—$10,000
  • 1986 silver Porsche 944 hatchback coupe with black seats, a 150 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with Bosch fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 31,000 miles—$10,000

Friday, October 26th:

  • 1980 red Austin Mini Cooper custom hatchback coupe with black leather seats, a 1.3 liter inline four, and a four-speed manual—$7,000
  • 1981 white/maroon metallic two-tone Chevrolet El Camino custom (engine) pickup truck with a maroon textured vinyl split bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$6,000
  • 1980 black Pontiac Firebird Trans Am custom (engine) coupe with black cloth seats, a 400 ci V8 with a Holley four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$29,000
  • 1984 red Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole coupe with black leather seats, a 205 bhp 2.9 liter/179 cubic inch V8 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$45,000 is between #4/Fair and #3/Good money, according to Hagerty’s valuation tools.
1984 Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole coupe, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1988 black Ford Bronco II SUV with red cloth seats, a Cologne 140 bhp 2.9 liter/179 ci V6 with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$11,000
  • 1980 green Mercedes-Benz 450SL convertible with both tops, tan leather seats, a 160 bhp 4.5 liter/276 ci V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$3,500
  • 1981 black Pontiac Firebird Trans Am coupe with tan cloth seats, a 150 bhp 4.9 liter/301 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 18,.000 miles—at $35,000, 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.
  • 1987 black Buick Grand National custom (brakes, body) coupe with black/gray cloth seats, a 245 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection and turbocharger, an automatic, and 7,400 miles—$26,000 for this Grand National modified to resemble a GNX.
  • 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 19,000 miles—$27,500
  • 1984 black Ferrari Mondial Quattrovalvole convertible with a black top, black leather seats, a 235 bhp 2.9 liter/179 ci V8 with Bosch fuel injection, and a five-speed—$32,500
  • 1989 black Land Rover Defender 90 custom (body, interior, wheels/tires) SUV with black seats, a 2.5 liter/152 ci diesel inline four with a turbocharger, and a five-speed manual—$22,000
  • 1985 blue Lincoln Town Car limousine with blue cloth seats, a 4.9 liter/302 ci V8, an automatic, and 45,000 miles—$5,250
  • 1985 silver/blue two-tone Chevrolet Suburban SUV with blue cloth seats, an LS9 165 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 58,000 miles—$8,500
  • 1983 red Porsche 944 hatchback coupe with a tan interior, a 150 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with Bosch fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$5,000 for this first-year 944.
  • 1987 blue Toyota Crown sedan with blue cloth seats, a 5V-EU 190 bhp 4.0 liter/244 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic transmission, and 34,000 miles—$7,000 for this top-of-the-line and very conservative Toyota
  • 1983 black Jeep CJ-7 custom (exterior, interior, suspension, wheels/tires) SUV with tan seats, a 5.0 liter/304 ci V8, and an automatic—$22,500
  • 1988 red Pontiac Firebird Trans Am hatchback coupe with gray cloth seats, an LB9 190 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 38,000 miles—$8,500

Saturday, October 27th:

  • 1983 black Datsun 280ZX hatchback coupe with tan leather seats, an L28 145 bhp 2.8 liter/168 ci inline six with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 79,000 miles—$10,000
  • 1989 black Land Rover Defender 90 custom (interior, suspension, wheels/tires) pickup truck with black seats, a 2.5 liter/152 ci diesel inline four with a turbocharger, and a five-speed manual—$22,000
  • 1985 silver/black two-tone Chevrolet C10 custom (body, suspension, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a gray cloth bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$9,500
  • 1981 silver/charcoal two-tone Chevrolet Corvette coupe with charcoal leather seats, an L81 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$8,500
1981 Chevrolet Corvette coupe, linked from Mecum’s website
  • 1986 blue Toyota FJ45 mild custom (suspension, interior) pickup truck with brown leather seats, an inline six, and a five-speed manual—$40,000

This auction had a lot of interesting and unusual cars, including an AMC Eagle, a BMW L7, an Oldsmobile Toronado XSC, and a Toyota Crown. Among eighties vehicles, Pontiac, Chevrolets, Fords, and Toyotas were heavily represented in this auction—combining for a little more than half of the sold lots from that decade. What do you think of these results?

Eighties Vehicles at the 2018 Mecum Dallas

Mecum’s four-day October auction in Dallas 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 red 1988 Porsche 930 Turbo Cabriolet with black leather seats was a no sale bid up to $77,000) and add some of my opinions. Eighties vehicles were about 9% of the 714 vehicle lots sold in this auction.

Wednesday, October 3rd:

  • 1984 black Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham d’Elegance coupe with black leather seats, an HT-4100 135 bhp 4.1 liter/249 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$12,500 hammer price.
  • 1984 black/silver two-tone Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais Hurst/Olds 15th Anniversary coupe with maple red seats, a 180 bhp 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with a Rochester 4MV Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, an automatic attached to that famous lightning rod shifter, and 11,000 miles. At $25,000, 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.
  • 1983 black Chevrolet El Camino mild custom pickup truck with gray cloth seats, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, and an automatic—$7,000
  • 1989 blue Cadillac Brougham sedan with blue tufted leather seats, a 140 bhp 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 68,000 miles—$5,000
1989 Cadillac Brougham, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1981 blue Chevrolet Corvette coupe with silver leather seats, an L81 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$11,000
  • 1989 red Subaru Samber fire truck with a gray bench seat, an unknown two-cylinder engine, and a three-speed manual—$4,750
  • 1989 white Toyota TownAce pickup truck with a gray interior and an unknown diesel—$6,750
  • 1985 medium blue/dark blue two-tone GMC Suburban mild custom SUV with a blue interior, an unknown V8, and an automatic—$13,500
  • 1984 white GMC 3500 Olympic Edition crew cab pickup truck with a blue/white checked cloth bench seat, a 7.4 liter/454 ci V8, and an automatic—$5,750
  • 1988 black Ford Mustang ASC/McLaren convertible with red leather seats, a 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 80,000 miles—$12,250
  • 1984 white Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible with a white top, white tufted leather seats, an HT-4100 135 bhp 4.1 liter/249 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 85,000 miles—$6,500
  • 1987 black/red two-tone Chevrolet Silverado custom (paint, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a black cloth bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$9,000
  • 1983 black/tan Zimmer Golden Spirit coupe with a black/tan interior, a 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$9,500 for this Mustang-based “neo-classic.”

Thursday, October 4th:

  • 1982 red Ford Mustang GT custom (engine, wheels/tires) hatchback coupe with red vinyl seats, a 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with a Holley four-barrel carburetor, a four-speed manual, and 49,000 miles—$4,000
  • 1987 red Ford Mustang GT custom (engine, wheels/tires) hatchback coupe with a gray interior, a 4.9 liter/302 ci V8, a manual transmission, and 21,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1986 silver beige/black two-tone Chevrolet Corvette Malcolm Konner hatchback coupe with graphite leather seats, an L98 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, a Doug Nash 4+3 transmission, and 41,000 miles—$12,500 for 1 of 50 cars built in honor of what was once the highest selling Corvette dealer.
1986 Chevrolet Corvette Malcolm Konner, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1984 red Chevrolet C10 pickup truck with a red cloth bench seat, an LE9 160 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$14,500
  • 1989 black Pontiac Firebird Trans Am custom (KITT replica) hatchback coupe with a black interior, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$27,000
  • 1982 silver beige Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition hatchback coupe with silver beige leather seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 53,000 miles—$9,000
  • 1980 copper/tan two-tone Chevrolet K5 Blazer SUV with patterned tan/white cloth seats, a 170 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$13,500
  • 1984 red Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible with white tufted leather seats, an HT-4100 135 bhp 4.1 liter/249 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 75,000 miles—$8,000
  • 1989 blue Ford Bronco Eddie Bauer Edition SUV with tan cloth seats, a Windsor 185 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 99,000 miles—$12,500
  • 1987 red Chevrolet pickup truck with a red interior, an unknown V8, and an automatic—$8,000
  • 1981 charcoal/silver two-tone Chevrolet Corvette custom (reversed two-tone) coupe with silver leather seats, an L81 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 41,000 miles—$10,500
  • 1980 red Chevrolet Corvette custom (engine) coupe with red leather seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 50,000 miles—$14,000
  • 1987 black Buick Grand National coupe with black/gray cloth seats, a 245 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection and turbocharger, and an automatic—$31,000
  • 1982 black 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—$26,500
  • 1985 magnolia Rolls-Royce Corniche II convertible with navy blue leather seats, a 220 bhp 6.75 liter/412 ci V8 with Bosch fuel injection, and an automatic—$28,000
  • 1986 black Buick Regal custom (engine, wheels) coupe with gray cloth seats, a 7.4 liter/455 ci V8, and an automatic—$13,000
  • 1985 blue/silver two-tone Chevrolet C10 Silverado pickup truck with a blue cloth bench seat, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, an automatic, and 31,000 miles—$20,000
  • 1987 black Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Aerocoupe with a burgundy cloth interior, a 180 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 16,000 miles—$20,000
  • 1981 gray Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with both tops, blue leather seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 ci fuel injected V8, and an automatic—$10,500
  • 1987 blue/silver two-tone Chevrolet Blazer SUV with a blue interior, an unknown V8, and an automatic—$18,500
  • 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 72,000 miles—$9,500
  • 1983 white Chevrolet Blazer custom (engine, interior) SUV with red seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$10,500
  • 1982 silver beige Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition hatchback coupe with silver beige leather seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, and an automatic—$10,500

Friday, October 5th:

1981 Pontiac Firebird Turbo Trans Am Pace Car, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 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—$15,500
  • 1980 white Chevrolet Corvette coupe with black leather seats, an L48 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 27,000 miles—$12,000
  • 1980 white Chevrolet Corvette Duntov Turbo convertible with red seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a turbocharger, an automatic, and 15,000 miles—$10,000 for this rare car.
  • 1984 blue/silver two-tone Chevrolet Silverado K1500 custom (engine) pickup truck with blue cloth seats, a 7.4 liter/454 ci V8, and an automatic—$19,000
  • 1987 silver Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS coupe with a black cloth interior, a 180 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$19,000
  • 1982 silver beige Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition hatchback coupe with silver beige leather seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, and an automatic—$13,000. You had your pick of 82 CE’s at this auction.
  • 1984 black Chevrolet C10 custom (engine, interior, wheels/tires) pickup truck with black seats, a 6.3 liter/383 ci V8, and an automatic—$25,500
  • 1984 black Buick Grand National coupe with black/gray cloth seats, a 200 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection and turbocharger, an automatic, and 26,000 miles—$28,000
  • 1984 black Buick Grand National coupe with black/gray cloth seats, a 200 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection and turbocharger, an automatic, and 55,000 miles—$23,000
  • 1988 signal red Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with palomino leather seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 ci V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 45,000 miles—$30,000
  • 1989 black/gray two-tone GMC Jimmy SUV with gray cloth seats, a 210 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$14,000
  • 1980 black Chevrolet Camaro Z28 coupe with red cloth seats, an LM1 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$29,000 for this handsome car.
  • 1980 black Chevrolet Camaro Z28 coupe with a gray interior, an LM1 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$10,000
  • 1981 red Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler very custom (powertrain, suspension, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a black interior, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$41,000
  • 1988 black Land Rover Defender 110 custom (body, interior, wheels/tires) SUV with black seats, a 2.5 liter/152 ci diesel inline four with a turbocharger, and a five-speed manual—$58,000
  • 1988 gray Land Rover Defender 110 SUV with black seats, a 134 bhp 3.5 liter/216 ci V8 with two Solex 175 CDSE carburetors, and a five-speed manual—$47,000
  • 1982 tan Chevrolet Custom Deluxe stepside pickup truck with a tan bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and a four-speed manual—$19,000
  • 1980 white Toyota FJ43 Land Cruiser SUV with gray seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a carburetor, and a five-speed manual —$50,000

Saturday, October 6th:

  • 1987 guards red Porsche 930 coupe with black leather seats, a 282 bhp 3.3 liter/201 ci flat six with turbocharger and fuel injection, a four-speed manual, and 26,000 miles—$77,500 for this Porsche in a classic eighties color combination.
1987 Porsche 930, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1988 dark blue Ford Bronco Eddie Bauer Edition SUV with tan cloth seats, a Windsor 185 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$11,000
  • 1981 blue Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler custom (engine) pickup truck with blue seats, a 5.0 liter/304 ci V8, and an automatic—$39,000
  • 1987 red Chevrolet K5 Blazer SUV with red cloth seats, a 210 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$20,000
  • 1981 white Toyota FJ43 Land Cruiser SUV with gray seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a carburetor, and a five-speed manual —$27,500
  • 1982 anthracite gray Porsche 930 slantnose coupe with gray leather seats, a 296 bhp 3.3 liter/202 ci flat six with turbocharger and fuel injection, a four-speed manual, and 26,000 miles—at $85,000, the highest eighties vehicle sale of this auction.
  • 1987 gray Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 4-4-2 coupe with gray cloth seats, a 170 bhp 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$11,000
  • 1985 olive Toyota FJ45 Land Cruiser pickup truck with gray seats, an inline six, a four-speed manual, and 71,000 miles—$49,000
  • 1985 beige Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser SUV with tan seats, an inline six, and a four-speed manual—$56,000

Among eighties vehicles, Chevrolets, Fords, and Toyota Land Cruisers were heavily represented in this auction—combining for 56% of the sold lots from that decade. What do you think of these results?

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?