1986 Mercury Capri hatchback coupe

Hemmings is making a go at auctions. One of their first offerings is a white 1982 Mercury Capri RS coupe with red vinyl bucket seats, a Windsor 157 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with a Motorcraft 356CFM two-barrel carburetor, a four-speed manual, and 33,000 miles. That’s enough to get me to generate an update to this four-year-old post about the later 1986 version.

“Proof that getting there can be a fun experience in itself.”

Mercury made three attempts at the Capri. The first was an imported version of the European Ford Capri and was sold from the 1970 to 1978 model years as first the Capri and then the Capri II. The second was Mercury’s version of the Fox body Mustang and was sold from 1979 to 1986. The final version of the Capri was an imported version of the Australian Ford Capri and was 1991 to 1994. Sense a trend here?

For 1986, Mercury’s Capri had three engine choices and two transmission choices. Standard on the GS was the Lima 88 bhp (aargh!) 2.3 liter/140 ci in-line four with a Carter YFA one-barrel carburetor mated to a four-speed manual transmission. Power options for the GS included the Essex 120 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection and the (wonderful) Windsor 200 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with sequential fuel injection that was standard on the 5.0L. All three engines could be paired with a three-speed automatic transmission for an additional $510 (the V6 required the automatic while the 5.0L came standard with a five-speed manual transmission with overdrive).

Mileage ratings for the various configurations ranged from 23 city/28 highway (21/26 by today’s standards) for the four-speed manual/in-line four combination that I’m not convinced that anyone bought to 17/25 for the “big daddy” five-speed manual paired with the V8.

Performance with the 2.3 liter four paired with either transmission was ghastly. 0-60 came in about 15 seconds, which meant a Capri driver with the Lima engine would see only the taillights of Iron Duke powered Camaros and Firebirds (such a sad competition!). Moving to the V6 paid significant performance dividends, dropping the 0-60 time by about 3.5 seconds. Of course, the V8 was by far the best: even the automatic was in the 7 second range, while the manual could do 0-60 in about 6.5 seconds.

The base price for a Capri GS was $8,331 (about $19,700 in 2019 dollars). For that money, the Capri came relatively well equipped by mid-1980s standards. External features included halogen headlamps, tinted glass, and the distinctive bubble-back rear hatch with rear-window defroster. Mechanical equipment included power steering, power brakes, and P195/75R14 tires (still available thanks to Hankook and Kumho) on 14-inch wheels with turbine wheel covers. Inside, power windows, interval wipers, tilt steering wheel, and an AM/FM stereo radio were standard.

Page from the 1986 Mercury Capri brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures section.

The more sporty Capri 5.0L stickered for $10,950 (about $25,800 in today’s dollars) and added the V8 mentioned above, dual exhaust, and P225/60VR15 tires (a size still readily available) on cast aluminum wheels.

Exterior options for both the GS and the 5.0L included a flip-up open-air roof ($315) or a T-Roof ($1,100). Inside, buyers could add air conditioning ($762), power door lock group ($182), speed control ($176), and an AM/FM stereo radio with cassette ($300).

Sales for the last of the second generation Capris were not at all good, but Capri sales had not been good for years—Mercury’s traditional problem wedged between Ford and Lincoln. By 1986, Capri sales were about 9% of Mustang sales.

MercuryCapriSales

Fox body Capris sometimes show up in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and eBay Motors, but there’s not a lot of activity. I’ll say they are uncommon rather than unloved. Make mine Smoke Metallic, please.

Updated September 2019.

Eighties Vehicles at the 2019 Mecum Harrisburg

Mecum’s late July/early August auction in Harrisburg provided some fodder for commentary. I’ll concentrate on the at least fairly stock 1980s cars (and a few trucks) that sold (remember that Mecum auctions are not no reserve auctions—a black 1984 Land Rover Defender 110 custom pickup truck with brown leather bucket seats was a no sale bid up to $65,000) and add some of my opinions. Eighties vehicles were about 11% of the 776 vehicle lots sold in this auction.

Wednesday, July 31st:

  • 1989 burgundy Cadillac Sedan deVille with burgundy leather seats, an HT 155 bhp 4.5 liter/273 ci V8 with throttle-body fuel injection, an automatic, and 19,000 miles—$6,000 hammer price.
  • 1986 Dark Red Metallic Chevrolet Corvette convertible with a black top, medium gray leather bucket seats, an L98 235 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 39,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1986 Silver Beige/Medium Bronze two-tone Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with medium gray leather bucket seats, an L98 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$5,750
  • 1984 white with woodgrain Chrysler LeBaron convertible with still lovely Mark Cross brown leather bucket seats, a Mitsubishi 4G54 99 bhp 2.6 liter/156 ci inline four with a two-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—an ouch! at $1,000.
  • 1987 beige Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a black soft top, brown leather seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 ci V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$7,000
  • 1986 Yellow Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with medium gray cloth bucket seats, an L98 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$7,500
  • 1986 silver/gray two-tone Dodge D150 pickup truck with a red cloth bench seat, an LA 5.9 liter/360 ci V8, an automatic, and 42,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1987 silver Lincoln Continental Mark VII coupe with gray leather bucket seats, a Windsor 150 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$3,000
  • 1983 black Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with a brown convertible top, a hard top, gray bucket seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 ci V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 78,000 miles—$10,500
  • 1989 red Ford Mustang LX convertible with a black top, red cloth bucket seats, a Windsor 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$7,500
  • 1987 burgundy Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS coupe with a burgundy interior, a 180 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$11,000
  • 1981 Seaspray Green/Neptune Aqua two-tone Cadillac Seville sedan with an LF9 105 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci diesel and an automatic—$2,000 for this car, striking in this color combination but stunningly slow.

Photograph of 1982 Cadillac Seville sedan
1982 Cadillac Seville, linked from Mecum’s website.

  • 1986 red/cream two-tone Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck with a tan cloth bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, an automatic, and 45,000 miles—$11,000
  • 1980 Frost Beige Chevrolet Corvette coupe with oyster leather bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$3,500. This car paid a brutal price for its period color combination.
  • 1989 black Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a black soft top, cream beige leather bucket seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 ci V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 60,000 miles—$23,500
  • 1984 black Ford Mustang SVO hatchback coupe with charcoal cloth bucket seats, a Lima 175 bhp 2.3 liter/140 ci inline four with turbocharger, intercooler, and fuel injection, a five-speed manual, 73,000 miles, and a rebuilt/salvage tires—$4,500
  • 1981 black Lancia Beta Zagato targa coupe with a black interior, a 108 bhp 2.0 liter/122 ci inline four with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 80,000 miles—$5,500
  • 1987 Orange Pearl Chevrolet Blazer custom (just about everything) SUV with gray cloth bucket seats, a 6.3 liter/383 ci V8, and an automatic—$13,500
  • 1981 Dark Brown Pontiac Firebird Trans Am coupe with light sandstone cloth bucket seats, an LG4 145 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$10,000. A strange car, as most sources believe the LG4 was only available with a four-speed manual in the second-generation’s final year.
  • 1980 Black Chevrolet Corvette coupe with black leather bucket seats, an L48 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$6,750
  • 1983 light brown Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency Brougham sedan with a burgundy vinyl top, a red interior, an LV2 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$2,500
  • 1983 red Porsche 944 hatchback coupe with black bucket seats, a 150 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$5,500
  • 1986 white Pontiac Fiero custom (paint, engine, wheels/tires) coupe with gray cloth seats, a V6, and a four-speed manual—$2,000
  • 1987 red/cream two-tone Chevrolet Suburban SUV with a tan interior, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$5,000

Thursday, August 1st:

  • 1986 red TVR 280i convertible with a black top, black bucket seats, a Cologne 160 bhp 2.8 liter/170 cubic inch V6 with Bosch fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 10,000 miles—$8,000
  • 1984 White 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 58,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1980 white Toyota HJ-47 Land Cruiser custom (camper unit) pickup truck with gray cloth bucket seats, a turbo diesel, and a five-speed manual—$14,500
  • 1987 green/beige two-tone Mitsubishi Delica van with gray cloth bucket seats, a diesel inline four, and a five-speed, and 91,000 miles—$9,500
  • 1985 red Nissan Safari fire truck with blue bucket seats, an unknown inline four, a four-speed manual, and 5,700 miles—$7,500
  • 1989 Bright Red Chevrolet Camaro RS hatchback coupe with gray custom cloth bucket seats, an L03 170 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with throttle-body fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 60,000 miles—$10,000. Not an IROC? Not a Z28? Who saves these cars?
  • 1983 Guards Red Porsche 911 SC custom (body) coupe with a black top, black leather seats, a 180 bhp 3.0 liter/183 ci flat six with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 65,000 miles—$43,000
  • 1989 red Ford F150 pickup truck with a black/red bench seat, a 150 bhp 4.9 liter/300 ci inline six with fuel injection, an automatic, and 54,000 miles—$11,500
  • 1989 light blue metallic Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a blue soft top, blue leather bucket seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 ci V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 58,000 miles—$34,000. The really nice eighties SLs are starting to separate from the average ones; $34,000 is between #3/Good and #2/Excellent money, according to Hagerty’s valuation tools.
  • 1987 Dark Red Chevrolet Corvette Callaway convertible with a tan soft top, tan leather bucket seats, a 345 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with twin turbochargers and fuel injection, the Doug Nash 4+3 transmission, and 17,000 miles—$16,000
  • 1982 beige Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with a blue soft top, a hard top, blue bucket seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 ci V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 70,000 miles—$9,000
  • 1986 red Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a dark tan soft top, tan leather bucket seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 ci V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 56,000 miles—$45,000
  • 1986 red/white two-tone Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck with a red cloth bench seat, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, and an automatic, and 72,000 miles—$9,000
  • 1986 silver Toyota SR5 pickup truck with blue/gray cloth bucket seats, a 22R-TE 135 bhp 2.4 liter/144 ci inline four with a turbocharger, and a five-speed manual—$17,500 makes thus the first vehicle in this auction to meet my criteria for serious collectability of 1980s cars or trucks in stock condition: selling for equal to or above its original base list price. I’ll mark these vehicles in bold green.

Photograph of 1986 Toyota SR5
1986 Toyota SR5 pickup truck, linked from Mecum’s website

  • 1985 black Pontiac Firebird Trans Am hatchback coupe with pewter/graphite cloth bucket seats, an LB9 210 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 6,100 miles—$17,000
  • 1987 red Chrysler LeBaron convertible with a black top, black bucket seats, a 2.5 liter/153 ci inline four with a turbocharger, an automatic, and 1,800 miles—$8,500
  • 1986 black Dodge Shelby Omni GLHS hatchback sedan with gray cloth bucket seats, a Turbo II 175 bhp 2.2 liter/135 ci inline four with a turbocharger and intercooler, and a five-speed manual—$17,500
  • 1986 black Buick Grand National coupe with black/gray cloth seats, a 235 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection and turbocharger, an automatic, and 4,900 miles—$33,000
  • 1983 red Aurora convertible with black leather seats, a 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, a four-speed manual, and 13,000 miles—$25,000 for this Shelby Cobra replica.
  • 1984 brown GMC Caballero pickup truck with a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 48,000 miles—$10,000
  • 1986 burgundy Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme coupe with a burgundy interior, a 5.0 liter/307 ci V8, an automatic, and 42,000 miles—$4,000
  • 1985 Blaze Red Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z hatchback coupe with gray cloth bucket seats, an LB9 215 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$7,000
  • 1984 white Toyota FJ-40 Land Cruiser SUV with black bucket seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$19,000
  • 1985 black Alpha Romeo Spider Graduate Edition convertible with a black top, red leather bucket seats, a 115 bhp 2.0 liter/120 ci four with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 58,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1984 red Chevrolet K10 pickup truck with a burgundy interior, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$19,500
  • 1986 Bright Red Pontiac Firebird Trans Am custom (it’s a convertible!) convertible with tan bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 21,000 miles—$12,500
  • 1982 cream Excalibur Series IV Phaeton with a tan top, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, an automatic, and 34,000 miles—$21,000 for the most prestigious of the neo-classics, now judged by the AACA.
  • 1982 Silver Beige Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition hatchback 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 93,000 miles—$9,000
  • 1988 black with woodgrain Chevrolet Caprice Classic Estate station wagon with light brown 50/50 seats, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 12,000 miles—$12,500
  • 1989 gold Jaguar XJ-S convertible with a tan convertible top, beige leather bucket seats, an HE 262 bhp 5.3 liter/326 ci V12 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 40,000 miles—$9,500
  • 1987 red Dodge Ram pickup truck with a red vinyl bench seat, an LA 5.9 liter/360 ci V8, and an automatic—$4,750

Friday, August 2nd:

  • 1982 Bright Blue Chevrolet Corvette coupe with notably faded dark blue cloth bucket seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 61,000 miles—$13,500
  • 1986 black Buick Grand National coupe with black/gray cloth seats, a 245 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection and turbocharger, an automatic, and 47,000 miles—$24,000
  • 1981 Beige/Dark Bronze two-tone Chevrolet Corvette coupe with camel cloth bucket seats, an L81 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 30,000 miles—$17,000 is solid money for a 1981 Corvette.
  • 1980 Bright Caramel Mercury Bobcat Runabout hatchback coupe with orange cloth bucket seats, a Lima 88 bhp 2.3 liter/140 ci inline four with a Motorcraft 5200 two-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 53,000 miles—$10,500. It’s an auction cliche, but is this the nicest one left?

Photograph of 1980 Mercury Bobcat
1980 Mercury Bobcat, linked from Mecum’s website.

  • 1984 red/silver two-tone Ford F150 pickup truck with a red bench seat, a 122 bhp 4.9 liter/300 ci inline six with a carburetor, an automatic, and 500 miles—$10,000. If you were looking for six-cylinder F150s, Mecum Harrisburg was your auction.
  • 1985 yellow Chevrolet custom (body, engine, suspension, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a gray cloth bench seat, a 6.5 liter/ 396 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$12,000
  • 1980 Red Chevrolet Corvette coupe with oyster leather bucket seats, an L48 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$9,000
  • 1982 silver Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with both tops, blue leather bucket seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 ci V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 73,000 miles—$9,000
  • 1982 White 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, an automatic, and 63,000 miles—$13,500
  • 1987 blue/tan two-tone Chevrolet S10 Blazer SUV with tan cloth bucket seats, a 125 bhp 2.8 liter/173 ci V6 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 64,000 miles—$4,500
  • 1984 white Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta hatchback coupe with gray cloth seats, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a Rochester E4ME four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 77,000 miles—$6,000
  • 1987 black Jeep Wrangler SUV with black bucket seats, a 112 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a Carter BBD two-barrel carburetor, a five-speed manual, and 48,000 miles—$11,000
  • 1983 Bright Red Ford Mustang GLX convertible with a black top, black bucket seats, an Essex 112 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with a two-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 29,000 miles—$6,000
  • 1986 red Ford Mustang custom (body, engine, wheels/tires) hatchback coupe with gray cloth bucket seats, a V8 with a supercharger and a fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$9,000
  • 1988 red Land Rover Defender 110 custom (exterior, interior, wheels/tires) SUV with red/ black seats, a 2.5 liter/152 ci diesel inline four with a turbocharger, and a five-speed manual—$45,000
  • 1985 Dark Maroon Metallic 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 41,000 miles—$14,000
  • 1980 black cherry Chevrolet Corvette custom (paint, engine, wheels/tires) coupe with black leather bucket seats, an L98 5.7 liter/355 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$30,000
  • 1989 blue/gray two-tone GMC Jimmy SUV with blue cloth bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$10,000
  • 1983 silver Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with a hard top, red leather bucket seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 ci V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$24,000
  • 1984 red Maserati Biturbo coupe with tan leather bucket seats, a 192 bhp 2.5 liter/152 ci V6 with a Weber two-barrel carburetor and twin turbochargers, and a five-speed manual—$4,500
  • 1982 beige Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler pickup truck with tan bucket seats, a 110 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a Carter two-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$24,000

Saturday, August 3rd:

  • 1980 red Chevrolet Corvette custom (body, engine) coupe with oyster leather bucket seats, a 6.3 liter/383 ci V8, and an automatic—$13,000
  • 1987 white/red March 87C race car with a black seat and a 2.65 liter/162 ci Cosworth DFX V8 with a turbocharger—$40,000 for this piece of eighties CART history.
  • 1981 black/gold Pontiac Firebird Trans Am coupe with light sandstone cloth bucket seats, an LU8 200 bhp 4.9 liter/301 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor and a turbocharger, an automatic, and 9,200 miles—$63,000. Remember when nice late second-generation Trans Ams could be purchased for a song?
  • 1980 green Jeep CJ-5 Golden Eagle custom (interior, wheels/tires) SUV with black leather bucket seats, a 119 bhp 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with a Motorcraft two-barrel carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$17,500
  • 1982 olive Toyota FJ-43 Land Cruiser SUV with tangerine seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$35,000
  • 1982 silver/gray two-tone Buick Regal Grand National coupe with silver/black cloth/vinyl bucket seats, a 125 bhp 4.1 liter/252 ci V6 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 20,000 miles—$26,000 for this rare proto-Grand National.

Photograph of 1982 Buick Regal Grand National
1982 Buick Regal Grand National, linked from Mecum’s website.

  • 1983 blue Toyota FJ-40 Land Cruiser SUV with brown bucket seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$35,000
  • 1983 stainless steel DeLorean DMC-12 coupe with gray leather bucket seats, a ZMJ-159 130 bhp 2.8 liter/174 ci V6 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 12,000 miles—$31,000

Mecum Harrisburg had the usual profusion of Chevrolets, along a plethora of Mercedes-Benz SL convertibles and a solid amount of Fords, Pontiacs, and Toyotas. What do you think of these results?

Eighties Vehicles at the 2019 Barrett-Jackson Northeast

Barrett-Jackson’s fourth Northeast auction at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut in late June included a reasonable amount of vehicles from the 1980s—about 8% of the 542 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, June 27th:

  • 1982 Impact Red Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue Edition sedan with a red Landau roof, a 60/40 red leather seat, an unknown (depends on the unstated carburetor) 5.2 liter/318 ci V8, an automatic, and 64,000 miles—a $1,100 hammer price marks the usual ignominious beginning for eighties vehicles we see at most auctions.
  • 1989 Bright Red Jeep Wrangler SUV with gray bucket seats, a 117 bhp 2.5 liter/200 ci inline four with throttle body fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 57,000 miles—$5,500
  • 1984 Bright Red 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, an automatic, and 79,000 miles—$6,000
  • 1984 Black Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with medium gray leather bucket seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 205 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, and the Doug Nash 4+3 transmission—$4,500
  • 1989 blue Jaguar XJS convertible with a tan convertible top, tan leather bucket seats, an HE 262 bhp 5.3 liter/326 ci V12 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 52,000 miles—$12,000
  • 1985 red (not an original paint color) Nissan 300ZX hatchback coupe with two-tone gray cloth bucket seats, a VG30 160 bhp 3.0 liter/181 ci V6 with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 97,000 miles—$6,200
  • 1985 red Toyota 4Runner custom (engine, suspension, interior, wheels/tires) SUV with gray cloth bucket seats, a 22R 2.4 liter/144 ci inline four with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$10,000
  • 1985 Signal Red Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with tan leather seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$8,200
  • 1986 blue Chevrolet K10 custom (engine, suspension) pickup truck with a blue cloth bench seat, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, and an automatic—$10,000
  • 1985 white Jeep CJ7 custom (powertrain, suspension, interior, wheels/tires) SUV with tan bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci engine, and an automatic—$20,000
  • 1988 Arctic White Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a black soft top, a hard top, palomino leather bucket seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 ci V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$15,000
  • 1986 Oxford White Ford Mustang GT convertible with a black top, white bucket seats, a Windsor 200 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 42,000 miles—$10,000
  • 1987 Black Chevrolet Corvette Callaway convertible with a black soft top, red leather bucket seats, a 345 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with twin turbochargers and fuel injection, the Doug Nash 4+3 transmission, and 31,000 miles—$15,000 for this rare (only 67 convertibles made in 1987) and fast (0-60 mph in about 4.6 seconds) Corvette.

Photo of 1987 Chevrolet Corvette Callaway convertible
1987 Chevrolet Corvette Callaway convertible, linked from Barrett-Jackson’s web pages.

  • 1981 Yellow Toyota SR5 pickup truck with black/patterned bucket seats, a 22R 2.4 liter/144 ci inline four, and a five-speed manual—$12,500 makes this the first vehicle in this auction to meet my criteria for serious collectability of 1980s cars or trucks in stock condition: selling for equal to or above its original base list price. I’ll mark these vehicles in bold green.
  • 1988 black Chevrolet Blazer custom (paint, suspension, wheels/tires) SUV with gray bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$13,500
  • 1981 stainless steel DeLorean DMC-12 coupe with gray bucket seats, a ZMJ-159 130 bhp 2.8 liter/174 ci V6 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 19,000 miles—$30,000
  • 1988 white Chevrolet Blazer custom (engine, suspension, wheels/tires) SUV with gray bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$16,000
  • 1987 Diamond Blue Metallic Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a blue soft top, a hard top, blue leather bucket seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 ci V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 65,000 miles—$16,500
  • 1985 Midnight Blue/Silver two-tone Chevrolet C10 Silverado pickup truck with a blue custom cloth bench seat, an LE9 160 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 31,000 miles—$20,500
  • 1987 black Buick Grand National coupe with black/gray cloth bucket seats, an LC2 245 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci turbocharged V6 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 26,000 miles—$18,000
  • 1980 white Pontiac Firebird Trans Am coupe with blue cloth bucket seats, a 170 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$10,700
  • 1989 Bright Red Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z convertible with a black soft top, red bucket seats, an LB9 195 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 28,000 miles—$20,500
  • 1987 blue Toyota Supra Turbo hatchback coupe with blue bucket seats, a 7M-GTE 232 bhp 3.0 liter/180 ci inline six with a turbocharger, intercooler, and fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$10,500
  • 1989 blue Cadillac Brougham limousine with blue leather seats, a 140 bhp 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$7,500

Friday, June 28th:

  • 1988 Allanté Red Cadillac Allanté convertible with a black soft top, tan leather bucket seats, an HT-4100 170 bhp 4.1 liter/249 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 22,000 miles—$4,500
  • 1980 black MG MGB Limited Edition convertible with a black soft top, black vinyl bucket seats, a 62.5 bhp 1.8 liter/110 ci inline four with a Zenith 150 CD4T carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$6,200
  • 1986 dark gray/light gray two-tone Ford F-150 XL pickup truck with a gray bench seat, a Windsor 4.9 liter/302 ci V8, and an automatic—$16,500
  • 1980 Montreux Maroon Pontiac Firebird Turbo Trans Am with black cloth bucket seats, a 210 bhp 4.9 liter/301 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor and a turbocharger, an automatic, and 57,000 miles—$18,500
  • 1983 green Chrysler LeBaron convertible with a tan convertible top, brown leather seats, an Astron 93 bhp 2.6 liter/156 ci inline four with a two-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 82,000 miles—$10,000 for this car modeled after the one featured in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
  • 1986 green Jeep CJ8 Scrambler pickup truck with black bucket seats, a 5.0 liter/304 ci V8, and a four-speed manual—$22,000
  • 1981 red Bristol double-decker bus with black seats, a six-cylinder engine, and a three-speed manual—$19,000. It’s not the cost; it’s the storage and driving requirements.

Photo of 1981 Bristol double-decker bus
1981 Bristol bus, linked from Barrett-Jackson’s web pages

  • 1987 green AM General Humvee M998 SUV with a green interior, a 6.2 liter diesel V8, and an automatic—$17,000

Saturday, June 29th:

  • 1981 orange Jeep CJ5 custom (engine, interior, wheels/tires) SUV with black seats, a 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$7,000
  • 1983 burgundy Porsche 944 hatchback coupe with black bucket seats, a 150 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$4,000
  • 1988 Oxford White Ford Mustang GT convertible with a white soft top, scarlet red cloth bucket seats, a Windsor 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 46,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1987 Oxford White Ford Mustang GT fastback coupe with scarlet red cloth bucket seats, a Windsor 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 31,000 miles—$16,500. It’s definitely the manual cars that do better among the Fox-body Mustangs.
  • 1989 black Ford Mustang GT fastback coupe with tan cloth bucket seats, a Windsor 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 27,000 miles—$10,000
  • 1987 black Ford Mustang GT convertible with a black soft top, gray cloth bucket seats, a Windsor 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 30,000 miles—$10,000
  • 1984 red Chevrolet C10 custom (powertrain, suspension, interior) pickup truck with a cloth bench seat, a 6.3 liter/383 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$13,500
  • 1987 red Datsun Sunny custom (engine, paint, interior) pickup truck with black bucket seats, an A12 70 bhp 1.2 liter inline four, and a four-speed manual—$12,000 for perhaps the most interesting eighties vehicle at this auction.

Photo of 1987 Datsun Sunny pickup truck
1987 Datsun Sunny custom pickup truck, linked from Barrett-Jackson’s web pages.

  • 1982 stainless steel DeLorean DMC-12 coupe with gray bucket seats, a ZMJ-159 130 bhp 2.8 liter/174 ci V6 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 5,600 miles—$34,000
  • 1987 black Buick GNX coupe with black/gray cloth seats, an LC2 276 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with turbocharging and fuel injection, an automatic, and 1,800 miles—$94,000. There remain more butts than seats for the GNX.
  • 1985 Heath Gray Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser SUV with brown bucket seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six, and a four-speed manual—$57,000 for this beautifully restored FJ.

I see a lot of Chevrolets, Fords, Jeeps, and Toyotas. What do you think of this auction’s results?

1981 Plymouth Reliant coupe

Lee Iacocca passed yesterday after leading a full life—he was 94. In his honor, I have revised my write-up one of his most famous creations.

“right for the times we drive in”

The 1981 Plymouth Reliant and its sibling the Dodge Aries are the K-body cars often (and reasonably) credited with saving Chrysler in the early 1980s. The first K cars were basic transportation, famously (like the GM X cars a year before) with no roll-down rear windows and just barely mid-size by the EPA’s classification—with an overall length of 176 inches, the Reliant coupe is almost exactly as long as a 2019 Honda Civic coupe.

The standard powertrain was an 84 bhp 2.2 liter/135 ci inline four with a Holley two-barrel carburetor paired with a four-speed manual. A Mitsubishi built 92 bhp 2.6 liter/156 ci inline four was optional for $159 and required both power steering ($174) and the three-speed TorqueFlite automatic ($360). Gas mileage with the base powertrain combination was rated at 29 city/41 highway by the standards of the day (23/29 by today’s standards). With a 13-gallon gas tank, a Reliant coupe with the standard engine and transmission could travel between 305 and 410 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

For $5,880 (about $17,800 in 2019 dollars), you got a Reliant coupe with front-wheel drive, rack-and-pinion steering, front disc and rear drum brakes, a cloth and vinyl split back bench seat, and P175/75R13 tires (a size that isn’t generally available anymore) on 13-inch wheels. The base coupe was only available in white, tan, and black.

Spending another $435 on your Reliant coupe moved you up to Custom trim, which added front disc brakes, quarter-window louvers, halogen headlights, a cigarette lighter, a color-keyed “deluxe” two-spoke steering wheel, a digital clock, a glove box lock, and an AM radio. You also got many more exterior and interior color choices.

The top-of-the-line Special Edition (SE) Reliant coupes ($6,789 or about $20,500 in today’s dollars) added dual horns, deluxe wheel covers, special sound insulation, a cloth bench seat, and a snazzier “luxury” two-spoke steering wheel. An option only available with the SE was cloth bucket seats ($91).

External and mechanical options for all Reliant coupes included tinted glass ($75), a glass sunroof ($246), and power brakes ($82). Both the mid-range upgrade P185/75R13 tires and the P165/75R14 upmarket tires (a size that fit the mid-90s Plymouth Neon compact just fine) are still readily available.

Inside, air conditioning cost $605 and required tinted glass, power brakes, and power steering—things were tightly engineered in the early 1980s. Other options included automatic speed control ($132), intermittent wipers ($44), a tilt steering wheel ($81), power door locks ($93), power front seats ($173 and said to be quite rare), along with a variety of radios up to an AM/FM radio with a cassette tape player and four speakers ($224).

1981PlymouthReliant
1981 Plymouth Reliant two-door coupe, scan courtesy of Alden Jewell

The Reliant sold well in 1981—between the coupe and the sedan, Plymouth moved 101,127. Motor Trend managed to get a 2.2 liter with the automatic to do 0-60 in 12.4 seconds—they tried with another Reliant running the same combination, and it took 14.0 (oog) seconds. Top speed (if you could call it that) ranged from 88 to 96 mph in the 2,350-pound car.

In 2019, Plymouth Reliants rarely comes up for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds or on eBay Motors, though you do see them occasionally on Craigslist. I haven’t seen a coupe in the wild for many years. Make mine Baron Red, I think.

Other K-body and K-body based cars I have covered in this blog include the 1982 Chrysler LeBaron convertible, the 1984 Chrysler Laser fastback coupe, the 1985 Dodge 600 Club Coupe, and the 1986 Chrysler Town & Country convertible. There’s also a short commentary I did on an unidentified K-car wagon I did called Some Quiet Love For A K Car.

Updated July 2019.

1983 Chevrolet Malibu sedan

When I’m out running early on weekday mornings, I often see an eighties Malibu sedan driving along the Lincoln Highway in Bryn Mawr. Time to update this elderly post.

“… a beautiful and practical choice …”

The 1983 Malibu was the final rear-wheel-drive Malibu and the last Malibu of any kind until the 1997 model year. For 1983, Chevrolet eliminated the Malibu Classic designation and reverted to Malibu as the single trim level, which you could get in either a four-door sedan or a five-door wagon.

Standard motivation for the 3,100 to 3,200-pound sedan (weight largely depended on engine choice) was provided by the evergreen LD5 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with a two-barrel carburetor hooked up to a three-speed automatic transmission, making 110 bhp and getting 20 city/29 highway by the standards of the day. Power options included two different diesels (a $500 V6 and a $700 V8 that just about no one purchased) and the LG4 150 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a Rochester E4ME four-barrel carburetor rated at 18 city/26 highway. With an 18.1-gallon fuel tank, the owner of a V8 Malibu could expect a range of 325 to 360 miles. Performance was not exactly sparkling: 0-60 took a little over 11 seconds with the V8.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $8,084 Malibu V6 sedan (about $21,100 in today’s dollars or a little under what a 2019 Malibu L costs) included quad rectangular headlamps, high-energy ignition, a Delco Freedom II battery, power front disc/rear drum brakes, power steering, and P185/75R14 glass-belted radial tires (a size currently available thanks to Hankook) on 14-inch wheels. Inside, a base Malibu came spare—highlights were a vinyl bench seat, a cigarette lighter, a locking glove compartment, and a day/night rearview mirror.

Moving to the V8 brought the Malibu sedan’s base price up $225 to $8,309 (about $21,700 in 2019 dollars). Options that were ordered in more than 50% of 1983 Malibus included air conditioning (the most expensive option at $725), tinted glass ($105), remote left-hand side-view mirror ($22), and rear window defogger ($135).

1983 Chevrolet Malibu brochure cover, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures section.

Interestingly, you could still order some performance-oriented options for the Malibu even in its final year. A limited-slip differential ($95), performance rear axle ($21), gauge package with trip odometer ($95), heavy-duty battery ($25), heavy-duty cooling, rally wheels ($108), and the F40 heavy-duty suspension ($26) were all available, though I’m not convinced they found a lot of buyers among the total of 117,426 Malibus purchased in 1983.

This generation of Malibu does come up for sale every once in a while in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds or on eBay Motors, but there were no reasonably stock sedans available when I updated this blog entry in June 2019.

Make mine Dark Blue Metallic, please.

Other rear-wheel drive G-platform (designated A-platform before 1982) cars I have written about include the 1984 Buick Regal Grand National coupe, the 1981 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Sport Coupe, the 1981 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme coupe, the 1980 Pontiac Grand Am coupe, and the 1987 Pontiac Grand Prix coupe.

Updated June 2019.

Eighties Vehicles at the 2019 Mecum Indianapolis

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

Tuesday, May 14th:

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

Wednesday, May 15th:

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

Thursday, May 16th:

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

Friday, May 17th:

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

Saturday, May 18th:

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

Sunday, May 19th:

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

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

1988 Chevrolet Corvette 35th Anniversary Edition coupe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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