Mecum’s 3,000-vehicle Indy auction recently completed. In the middle of 2021, I gave up trying to chronicle every eighties vehicle sold at any particular auction—there’s often an endless sameness to them. So, I now only write about the cars and trucks that are less seen at auction—and those that sold (a 1984 Lola race car driven by Mario Andretti was a no-sale at $300,000). Here are ten that attracted my eye, described in a little more detail than usual.
[Lot J104] 1981 AMC Spirit hatchback coupe. Oriental Red with beige Deluxe Grain vinyl front bucket seats. 100 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a one-barrel carburetor, a three-speed automatic, and 23,000 miles. A $9,500 hammer price for a model that comes up for auction a little more than you’d think.
[J133] 1986 Chevrolet Monte Carlo LS coupe. Light Brown Metallic with a matching Landau vinyl top, removable roof panels, and a saddle cloth 55/45 front seat. Unknown replacement V8 (other than it’s “GMC”) with a four-speed automatic. You hardly ever see Monte Carlos of this era up for auction that aren’t the SS version, but I did write about the 1981 Sport Coupe several years ago. $14,000
[J175] 1986 BMW 528e sedan. Silver Metallic with a sunroof and blue cloth front bucket seats. M20B27 121 bhp 2.7 liter/165 ci inline six with fuel injection, a four-speed automatic, and 76,000 miles. $6,000 for a car misidentified as a 528i (big difference) in the auction listing.
[J235] 1984 Maserati Quattroporte sedan. Dark Garnet with tan leather front bucket seats. 288 bhp 4.9 liter/301 ci V8 with four two-barrel carburetors, a three-speed automatic, and 28,000 miles. $5,000 is about half of Hagerty’s #4/Fair condition valuation—a 1980 model went for $2,000 more later in the same auction.
[L136] 1984 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency coupe. White with a white landau vinyl top and a blue cloth front seat. LV2 140 bhp 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, a four-speed automatic, and an indicated 6,100 miles. $20,000 for another C-body that somebody saved. Perhaps it is time for me to write a blog post about these handsome cars.
[E222] 1981 Buick Regal Pace Car Edition coupe. Silver Metallic/Dark Maple Metallic two-tone with a hatch roof and maroon cloth front bucket seats. LD5 110 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with a two-barrel carburetor, a three-speed automatic, and 44,000 miles. $17,000 for one of the few remaining of the either 100, 125, or 150 originally made (how can this not be definitively known?).
[T110] 1988 Aston Martin Vantage Volante convertible. British Racing Green with a tan convertible top and tan leather front bucket seats. 403 bhp 5.3 liter/326 ci V8 with four carburetors, a three-speed automatic, and 40,000 miles. $175,000 for a car you don’t often see at Mecum—this is the only eighties Aston they’ve had in the last year.
[T125] 1989 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 convertible. Dark Red Metallic with a white convertible top and gray Sport Cloth front bucket seats. LB6 130 bhp 2.8 liter/173 ci V6 with fuel injection, a three-speed automatic, and 73,000 miles. $11,000 for a car that, when new, went for almost precisely twice what a base Cavalier coupe cost. Despite the relatively high barrier to entry—especially for what the EPA classified as a subcompact car—Chevrolet sold 13,075 Z24 convertibles in the 1989 model year.
[T137] 1988 Mazda RX-7 convertible. Sunrise Red with a black convertible top (why no photos with the top down?) and gray cloth/vinyl bucket seats. 13B 146 bhp 1.3 liter/80 ci two-rotor Wankel with fuel injection, a five-speed manual transmission, and 44,000 miles. $11,000 for one of the more innovative convertibles of the eighties.
[T225.1] 1986 Mercury Cougar coupe. Silver Metallic/Medium Charcoal Metallic two-tone with gray cloth bucket seats. Essex 120 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection, a three-speed automatic, and 4,700 miles. It’s either an LS or a GS (I couldn’t tell for sure) and it went for $10,000.