1981 Ford Escort hatchback coupe

“Built to take on the world.”

Ford’s biggest news for 1981 was the all-new Escort. Marketed as a “World Car,” the Escort replaced the unloved Pinto and represented a three billion dollar commitment from Ford. The new Escort was shorter, thinner, taller, and about 400 pounds lighter than the Pinto it supplanted.

The Escort’s standard powertrain was the Compound Valve Hemispherical (CVH) 65 bhp 1.6 liter/98 ci inline four with Holley-Weber 5740 2-barrel carburetor paired to a four-speed manual transmission (a three-speed automatic was a $344 option). Mileage with the standard powertrain was impressive: 28 city/43 highway by the standards of the day (about 23 city/31 highway by 2018 standards). Acceleration was less so: 0-60 came in about 14 seconds in the approximately 2,000-pound car. With a 10-gallon fuel tank, Escort drivers could expect a range of from 240 to 320 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $5,158 base Escort (about $15,300 in today’s dollars and close to what a 2018 Fiesta SE hatchback costs) included front wheel drive, rack-and-pinion steering, fully independent four-wheel suspension, halogen headlamps, and P155/80R13 tires (a size still available thanks to Kumho) on 13-inch steel wheels. Inside, high-back body-contoured front bucket seats, fold-down rear bench seat, and an AM radio were included.

As was often true with 1980s Fords, there were many trim levels. L added bright headlamp surrounds and a bright grill along with other brightwork. Moving up to the GL gave the purchaser reclining bucket seats and a four-spoke steering wheel. GLX added dual color-keyed remote sport mirrors, digital clock, locking glovebox, and P165/80R13 tires on styled steel wheels—but started at $6,476 (about $19,200 in 2018 dollars).

Fitting between the GL and the GLX in price, the somewhat sporty SS included black grill and headlamp housing, tape striping, and handling suspension ($37 for other Escorts).

Exterior and mechanical options included power brakes ($79) and power steering ($163). Inside, air conditioning ($530), fingertip speed control ($132), a floor console ($98), cloth/vinyl seat trim ($28), and an AM/FM stereo radio with cassette player ($187) were all available.

Escort page from the 1981 Ford brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures pages.

The first-year Escort and its platform-mate Mercury Lynx sold well: 193,000 Escort hatchback coupes, 128,000 Escort liftback sedans, 73,000 Lynx hatchback coupes, and 39,000 Lynx liftback sedans, making for a total of over 430,000. First-generation Escorts and Lynx’s were once so prevalent on American roads, but have virtually disappeared by now. You do occasionally see Escorts for sale in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors, but there were none out there as I write this in June 2018.

1985 Pontiac Grand Am coupe

“Introducing a brilliant new driver’s coupe”

The Grand Am name returned for the 1985 model year. Instead of the rear-wheel-drive coupe and sedan that it been in its previous two lives from 1973 to 1980 (with none in 1976 or 1977), it was now a front-wheel-drive coupe, part of GM’s N-body offerings. As such, it’s first relatives were the Buick Somerset Regal and the Oldsmobile Calais.

The standard powertrain on the Grand Am was GM’s Tech IV 92 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with throttle-body fuel injection connected to a five-speed manual. For $560, optional power was a 125 bhp 3.0 liter/181 ci V6 with fuel injection which required the $425 automatic transmission (also available with the base engine). 0-60 times for early N-body cars are hard to come by, but were likely about 10.5 seconds for the standard powertrain and about 9.0 seconds for the V6/automatic combination—the 2,419 pound shipping weight helped. Mileage with the standard powertrain was rated at 24 city/34 highway by the standards of the day (21/31 by today’s standards). With the 13.6-gallon tank, Grand Am buyers could expect a range of 310 to 350 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $7,995 base coupe (about $19,600 in 2018 dollars) included power rack and pinion steering, power front disc brakes, and P185/80R13 tires on 13-inch wheels. Inside, reclining bucket seats and an integral floor console were included.

The LE (starting at $8,495 or about $20,200 in today’s dollars) included “substantial body side moldings,” upgraded front bucket seats with adjustable headrests, deluxe door trim, and a fold-down rear seat armrest.

Options included rally tuned suspension ($50) and cruise control ($175). A Driver’s Package was also available, which included 215/60R14 Goodyear Eagle GT radials on 14-inch turbo cast aluminum wheels, “sport-tuned” front and rear stabilizers, and a Driver Information Center.

1985 Pontiac Grand Am, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures pages.

I think these were handsome cars, especially with those turbo cast aluminum wheels. Like many America cars of the era that aren’t considered to be collectible, they have essentially vanished despite over 82,000 sold in 1985 alone. They’re invisible in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and on eBay and are hard to find anywhere.

1989 Jaguar XJ-S convertible

“A car for all seasons …”

For 1989, a full convertible version of the Jaguar XJ-S finally became available after five years of the little-loved targa convertible. The power top, which could go up and down in as little as 12 seconds, was padded, lined, and included a heated glass rear window.

1989 Jaguar XJ-S Convertible advertisement.

The only powertrain available for any XJ-S continued to be the 262 bhp H.E. 5.3 liter/326 ci V12 with Lucas-Bosch fuel injection paired with a three-speed automatic transmission sourced from General Motors. Performance was respectable for the almost 4,200-pound convertible: 0-60 in a little under 10 seconds. Mileage remained what you might expect from a thirsty V12—12 city/16 highway by the standards of the day (11/15 by today’s standards). With a 10% fuel reserve, an XJ-S owner could expect a range of between 250 and 275 miles.

Standard equipment on the $56,000 car (about $116,700 in today’s dollars) included a four-wheel independent suspension, power steering, and four-wheel anti-lock power disc brakes. 15-inch alloy wheels were paired with Pirelli P600 235/60VR15 tires—which are still available!

Inside, the buyer received air conditioning with automatic temperature control, power windows, heated power mirrors, power door locks, intermittent windshield wipers, cruise control, and an AM/FM stereo cassette with Dolby and metal tape capability. New sport-contoured seats featured power-variable lumbar support and electric heating elements.

The Jaguar XJ-S has good club support, and there are some restoration parts available. There’s also a free 738 page (!) ebook written by an XJ-S owner named Kirby Palm available with much hard-earned advice. Keeping an XJ-S at 100% is non-trivial—as it is with so many high-end eighties cars.

Like all Jaguars, XJ-S convertibles have a following and make frequent appearances in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and eBay. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1989 XJ-S convertible in #1/Concours condition is $31,000, with a far more typical #3/Good car going for $14,100. As I write this in June 2018, a white 1989 XJ-S with 70,000 miles is for sale for $15,000.

Make mine British Racing Green, please.

1981: What Cars Are Collectible?

The question always arises: what cars are considered collectable? One way is to look at what Hagerty tracks with their valuation tools. For 1981 cars, the full list is below—I have added a few comments.

Alfa Romeo; GTV-6 hatchback coupe, Spyder convertible

Alpine; A310 coupe

Aston Martin; Lagonda sedan, V8 coupe and convertible

Avanti; Avanti II coupe

Bentley; Corniche convertible, Mulsanne sedan

Bitter; SC coupe

BMW; 320i coupe, 633CSi coupe, 733i sedan, M1 coupe

Bristol; 412 convertible

Buick; Regal coupe, Riviera coupe

Cadillac; DeVille coupe and sedan, Eldorado coupe, Fleetwood coupe and sedan, Seville sedan

Checker; Marathon sedan

Chevrolet; C10/K10 pickup truck, C10/K10 Blazer SUV, C10/K10 Suburban SUV, C20/K20 pickup truck, C20/K20 Suburban SUV, C30/K30 pickup truck, Camaro coupe, Corvette coupe, El Camino pickup truck

Chrysler; Imperial coupe

Clenet; SII convertible

Datsun; 280ZX hatchback coupe

Delorean; DMC-12 coupe

DeTomaso; Deauville sedan, Pantera coupe

Dodge; Ramcharger SUV

Excalibur; Series IV convertible

Ferrari; 308 GTBi/GTSi coupe, 400i coupe, 512 BB coupe, Mondial coupe

Fiat; 2000 convertible, X1/9 coupe

Ford; Bronco SUV, F-100 pickup truck, F-150 pickup truck, F-250 pickup truck, F-350 pickup truck, GT40 coupe and convertible, Mustang coupe and hatchback coupe, Thunderbird coupe

GMC; C1500/K1500 pickup truck, C2500/K2500 pickup truck, C3500/K3500 pickup truck, Caballero pickup truck

Jaguar; XJ-6 sedan, XJ-S coupe

Jeep; Cherokee SUV, CJ-5 SUV, CJ-7 SUV, CJ-8 Scrambler pickup truck, Wagoneer SUV

Lamborghini; Countach coupe

Lancia; Beta coupe, convertible, sedan, and station wagon, Gamma coupe and sedan, Scorpion coupe

Lincoln; Continental coupe and sedan, Continental Mark VI coupe and sedan

Lotus; Esprit coupe

Maserati; Kyalami coupe, Merak coupe, Quattroporte III sedan

Matra; Murena coupe

Mazda; RX-7 hatchback coupe

Mercedes-Benz; 240D sedan, 280CE coupe, 280E sedan, 300CD coupe, 300D sedan, 300SD sedan, 300TD station wagon, 380SEL sedan, 380SL convertible, 380SLC coupe

Morgan; 4/4 convertible, Plus 8 convertible

Panther; DeVille convertible and sedan, J72 convertible, Kallista convertible

Peugeot; 504 convertible

Plymouth; Trail Duster SUV

Pontiac; Firebird coupe

Porsche; 911 coupe, 924 hatchback coupe, 928 hatchback coupe

Puma; GT coupe, GTC coupe and convertible

Replicar; sedan and convertible

Rolls-Royce; Camargue coupe, Corniche I convertible, Phantom VI sedan, Silver Spirit sedan, Silver Spur sedan

Saab; 99 coupe

Stutz; Bearcat convertible, Blackhawk coupe, Iv-Porte sedan, Royale sedan

Toyota; Celica hatchback coupe, Land Cruiser SUV

Triumph; TR7 convertible, TR8 coupe and convertible

Volvo; 262C coupe

Hagerty casts a wide net, except when they don’t (why does the Toronado go away in 1981 if it was around in 1980?). Speaking of going away, AMC, International, and Subaru all get no love when it comes to 1981 models.

Coupes are dominant—37% of 128 models listed with an additional 5% being hatchback coupes. Unsurprisingly, the rarest body style is a station wagon, at 2%.

Eighties Vehicles at the 2018 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 green, gold, and white 1989 Porsche 962 Miller High Life race car was a no sale bid up to $1,500,000) and add some of my opinions. Eighties vehicles were about 7% of the 1,242 vehicle lots sold in this auction.

Tuesday, May 15th:

  • 1982 silver blue/dark blue two-tone Chevrolet Corvette coupe with dark blue interior, an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, and an automatic—a $3,570 hammer price marks an ignominious start for eighties vehicles.
  • 1988 red Cadillac Allanté convertible with tan leather seats, an HT-4100 170 bhp 4.1 liter/249 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 39,000 miles—$6,250
  • 1985 red Jaguar XJS coupe with gray leather seats, an HE 262 bhp 5.3 liter/326 ci V12 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 48,000 miles—$5,000
  • 1985 silver Porsche 928 S hatchback coupe with black leather seats, a 288 bhp 4.7 liter/285 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 64,000 miles—$8,750
  • 1983 tank green Honda Civic custom station wagon with green seats, a B18B 1.8 liter/121 ci inline four with fuel injection from an Acura Integra, and a five-speed manual—$11,500
  • 1988 white Chevrolet 3500 Cheyenne stake flatbed truck with tan bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 54,000 miles—$8,000
  • 1980 dark green metallic Chevrolet Corvette coupe with doeskin leather seats, an unknown (could be an L48 or an L82) 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with Rochester four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 88,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1987 red Jeep Wrangler SUV with black seats, a 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with Carter two-barrel carburetor, a five-speed manual, and 2,700 miles—at $20,000 the first vehicle in this auction to meet my criteria for serious 1980s collectability of original cars or trucks: selling for equal to or above its original base list price. I’ll mark these vehicles in bold green.
  • 1986 gray GMC Sierra Classic mild custom pickup truck with gray cloth bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$16,000
  • 1981 dark maroon metallic Pontiac Firebird Trans Am coupe with tan seats, a 145 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with 4-barrel carburetor, a four-speed manual, and 76,000 miles—$12,500
  • 1985 silver/blue two-tone Chevrolet El Camino Conquista pickup truck with blue velour bench seat, an LG4 145 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with 4-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$7,500
  • 1986 orange/red two-tone Ford F150 Supercab XLT Lariet pickup truck with red seats, a Windsor 5.8 liter/351 ci V8 with four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 53,000 miles—$7,500
  • 1980 red Chevrolet Corvette coupe with black leather seats, an unknown (could be an L48 or an L82) 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with Rochester four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$7,500
  • 1983 beige Lincoln Continental Mark VI coupe with beige leather seats, a 4.9 liter/302 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—an ouch! at $1,000.
  • 1984 light bronze/dark bronze two-tone Chevrolet Corvette coupe with bronze leather seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 205 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, and an automatic—$4,570
  • 1984 autumn maple firemist Buick Regal custom station wagon with brown cloth seats, a 7.5 liter/455 ci V8 (!) and an automatic—$8,000
  • 1985 blue GMC K15 mild custom (lifted, tires, exhaust) pickup truck with blue cloth seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$13,000
  • 1986 white Chevrolet custom pickup truck with a burgundy interior, an 8.8 liter/536 ci V8, and an automatic—$12,000
  • 1986 white Ford F150 mild custom (wheels, exhaust) pickup truck with a red interior, a Windsor 4.9 liter/302 ci V8, and an automatic—$9,750
  • 1984 white Mazda RX-7 mild custom (body kit, wheels) hatchback coupe with red cloth seats, a 12A 101 bhp 1.1 liter/70 ci two-rotor Wankel, and a five-speed manual—$4,000
  • 1985 black Mercury Grand Marquis sedan with a maroon interior, 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 43,000 miles—$3,750
  • 1986 yellow Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car Edition convertible with black seats, a black convertible top, an L98 235 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, the Doug Nash 4+3, and 5,000 miles—$16,000
  • 1984 brown/beige two-tone Volkswagen Vanagon Campmobile Wolfsburg Edition van with a brown cloth interior, an 83 bhp 1.9 liter/117 ci inline four with fuel injection, a four-speed manual, and 82,000 miles—$16,500

    1984 Volkswagen Vanagon Campmobile Wolfsburg Edition, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1980 silver Mercedes-Benz 450SL convertible with a hard top, blue leather seats, a 160 bhp 4.5 liter/276 ci V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$15,000
  • 1985 gold Oldsmobile Toronado Caliente coupe with tan leather seats, a 140 bhp 5.0 liter/307 cubic inch V8 with Rochester four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 27,000 miles—$8,250
  • 1986 canyon red metallic Ford Mustang GT convertible with a black top, gray leather seats, a 200 bhp 4.9 liter/302 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 95,000 miles—$9,500
  • 1984 blue Buick Regal T-Type coupe with a blue interior, a 200 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection and turbocharger, and an automatic—$9,000
  • 1987 maroon Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GTA hatchback coupe with a gray interior, an LB9 190 bhp 5.0 liter/305 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 52,000 miles—$9,500
  • 1986 dark brown Chevrolet C10 mild custom (exhaust, fender skirts) pickup truck with a tan interior, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$10,000
  • 1988 gray Porsche 928 S4 hatchback coupe with beige/burgundy leather seats, a 320 bhp 5.0 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$7,500
  • 1981 blue Chevrolet C10 pickup truck with a blue interior, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, and an automatic—$1,250
  • 1989 maroon Porsche 928 S4 hatchback coupe with tan leather seats, a 320 bhp 5.0 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$29,000 is #3 money according to Hagerty’s valuation tools.
  • 1989 red Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a hard top, beige leather seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 cubic inch V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$6,500

Wednesday, May 16th:

  • 1982 black Chevrolet crew cab pickup truck—$3,250
  • 1982 silver beige Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition hatchback coupe with beige leather seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 4,500 miles—$21,500
  • 1985 white Mercury Capri ASC/McLaren hatchback coupe with gray cloth seats, a 210 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with four-barrel carburetor, a five-speed manual, and 17,000 miles—$19,000
  • 1987 red Ford Mustang ASC/McLaren convertible with a black top, gray leather seats, a 200 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$9,000
  • 1987 red Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z hatchback coupe with saddle cloth seats, an LB9 190 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$6,000
  • 1986 midnight blue Chevrolet C10 custom (engine, wheels) pickup truck with a blue cloth bench seat, a 7.4 liter/454 ci V8, and an automatic—$18,000
  • 1986 red Nissan Safari fire truck with blue seats, an unknown inline six, a five-speed manual, and 5,600 miles—$4,250
  • 1988 black Toyota Crown hearse with blue seats, an unknown inline six, a four-speed manual, and 38,000 miles—$9,000
  • 1981 martinique blue Pontiac Firebird Trans Am custom (engine, body, wheels) coupe with a 6.6 liter/400 ci V8 and a four-speed manual—$17,000
  • 1985 burgundy Zimmer Golden Spirit coupe with red leather seats, a 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$17,500 for this Mustang-based “neo-classic.”
  • 1989 red Chevrolet Corvette convertible with a white convertible top, red leather seats, an L98 240 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 5,600 miles—$16,000
  • 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—$19,000
  • 1989 red Chevrolet Camaro RS hatchback coupe with gray cloth seats, an L03 170 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, and an automatic—$5,500. Almost all eighties Camaro auction action centers around Z28s and IROCs; rare indeed are the sport coupes, Berlinettas, and RSs.

    1989 Chevrolet Camaro RS, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1980 red Chevrolet Camaro Z28 custom (engine, exhaust, wheels) coupe with gray cloth seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and a four-speed manual—$16,000
  • 1986 black Porsche 944 Turbo custom (body, wheels) hatchback coupe with a black interior, a 2.5 liter inline with fuel injection and turbocharger, and a five-speed manual—$24,000
  • 1982 white Pontiac Firebird Trans Am very custom (engine, body) hatchback coupe with a black interior, a 9.1 liter/555 ci V8 with a supercharger, and an automatic—$14,500
  • 1983 silver/black two-tone Rolls-Royce Silver Spur sedan with black leather seats, a 6.8 liter/412 ci V8, and an automatic, and 23,000 miles—$16,000
  • 1981 red Chevrolet Corvette coupe with an L81 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 19,000 miles—$8,500

Thursday, May 17th:

  • 1987 black Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS coupe with maroon cloth 55/45 seats, a B4V 180 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci “H.O.” V8 with Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 17,000 mile—$16,000
  • 1987 beige Zimmer Golden Spirit coupe with tan leather seats, a 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$18,500. Two Zimmers in the same auction?
  • 1981 red Chevrolet Corvette coupe with red leather seats, an L81 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$10,500
  • 1989 blue Ford Bronco XLT SUV with tan cloth seats, a Windsor 210 bhp 5.8 liter/351 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$24,000
  • 1984 blue Chevrolet pickup truck with a blue vinyl bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$14,000
  • 1986 red Pontiac Fiero SE coupe with an L44 140 bhp 2.8 liter/173 ci V6 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 8,300 miles—$8,000
  • 1986 orange Chevrolet custom (body, engine, interior) pickup truck with brown leather seats, a 6.3 liter/383 ci V8, and an automatic—$17,000
  • 1984 brown Jeep CJ-7 Renegade SUV with tan vinyl seats, a 105 bhp 2.5 liter/150 ci inline four with Carter YFA one-barrel carburetor, a four-speed manual, and 42,000 miles—$12,000
  • 1984 silver Nissan President sedan with gray tufted cloth seats, a Y44E 200 bhp 4.4 liter V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 42,000 miles—$8,000
  • 1984 white Porsche 928 S hatchback coupe with tan leather seats, a 288 bhp 4.7 liter/285 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$23,000
  • 1980 francisco red Pontiac Firebird coupe with a red interior, an “original powertrain” (could be 3.8 liter V6, 4.3 liter V8, 4.9 liter V8, or 5.0 liter V8, but I’m betting it one of the first two), an automatic, and 18,000 miles—$12,500
  • 1981 white Chevrolet Corvette coupe with red leather seats, an L81 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 15,000 miles—$16,000
  • 1988 red BMW 325i convertible with a black top, black leather seats, a 168 bhp 2.5 liter/152 ci inline six with Bosch Motronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$5,000
  • 1984 red Chevrolet custom (engine, interior, paint) pickup truck with red/black bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, an automatic, and 90,000 miles—$12,000
  • 1982 blue/silver Datsun 280ZX coupe with blue/silver leather seats, an L28E 145 bhp 2.8 liter/168 ci inline six with fuel injection, and an automatic—$5,000
  • 1981 stainless steel DeLorean DMC-12 coupe with gray leather seats, a 130 bhp 2.8 liter/173 cubic inch V6 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and approximately 50,000 miles—$18,000
  • 1988 black Ford Mustang Saleen convertible with a black top, gray leather seats, a 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 14,000 miles—$28,500
  • 1982 black Porsche 930 Turbo coupe with black leather seats, a 3.3 liter flat six with fuel injection and turbocharger, a four-speed manual, and 17,000 miles—$67,000 makes for the highest eighties vehicle sale of the week.
  • 1987 red/black two-tone Chevrolet S10 Blazer SUV with red cloth seats, a 2.8 liter/173 ci V6 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 50,000 miles—$12,500
  • 1986 black Shelby Omni GLH-S hatchback sedan with gray cloth seats, a 175 bhp 2.2 liter/135 ci inline four with fuel injection and turbocharger, a five-speed manual, and 23,000 miles—$34,000

    1986 Shelby Omni GLH-S, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1989 red Porsche 944 hatchback coupe with black seats, a 165 bhp 2.7 liter/164 ci inline four with Bosch fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$9,500
  • 1988 dark shadow blue metallic Ford Mustang SSP coupe with a black top, blue cloth seats, a 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$19,000

Friday, May 18th:

  • 1983 orange Toyota pickup truck with beige seats, an 22R 2.4 liter/144 ci inline four, a five-speed manual, and 60,000 miles—$17,000

    1983 Toyota pickup truck, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 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 attached to that famous lightning rod shifter, and 59,000 miles—$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, an automatic, and 9,500 miles—$18,000
  • 1989 white Dodge Ramcharger LE mild custom (lift kit) SUV with blue cloth seats, a 5.8 liter/360 ci V8 with fuel injection, and a four-speed manual—$21,000

Saturday, May 19th:

  • 1989 white Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z mild custom (wheels, seats) convertible with a black top, white leather seats, the base L03 170 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 64,000 miles—$6,500
  • 1982 pale yellow Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible with a saddle top, saddle leather seats, a 220 bhp 6.75 liter/412 ci V8 with Bosch fuel injection, an automatic, and 57,000 miles—$36,000
  • 1985 dark red Oldsmobile Toronado Caliente coupe with dark red leather seats, a 140 bhp 5.0 liter/307 cubic inch V8 with Rochester four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 12,000 miles—$25,000. Suddenly, eighties Toronados are showing up at auction.

    1985 Oldsmobile Toronado Caliente, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1981 gold metallic Chevrolet Camaro Z28 coupe with camel vinyl seats, an LG4 165 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with four-barrel carburetor, a four-speed manual, and 12,000 miles—$33,000
  • 1985 red Porsche 911 Carrera Targa coupe with black leather seats, a 207 bhp 3.2 liter/193 ci flat six with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 52,000 miles—$50,000
  • 1986 yellow Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car Edition convertible with a black convertible top, black seats, an L98 235 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 5,000 miles—part of 16 vehicle Corvette pace car collection that sold for $1.6 million.
  • 1985 red Chevrolet Corvette custom (engine, exhaust, wheels) coupe with red leather seats, a 6.9 liter/420 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 770 miles—$23,000

Sunday, May 20th:

  • 1986 yellow Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car Edition convertible with black leather seats, an L98 235 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$18,000
  • 1989 british racing green Jaguar XJS convertible with a tan convertible top, tan leather seats, an HE 262 bhp 5.3 liter/326 ci V12 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 85,000 miles—$5,500
  • 1986 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 67,000 miles—$18,000
  • 1981 red Chevrolet Corvette custom (engine, exhaust) coupe with black cloth seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with Edelbrock carburetor, an automatic, and 13,000 miles—$15,000
  • 1988 red Porsche 944 S hatchback coupe with black seats, a 187 bhp 2.5 liter/152 ci inline four with Bosch fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 102,000 miles—$4,500
  • 1986 white Chevrolet Corvette convertible with a white convertible top, red leather seats, an L98 235 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 16,000 miles—$15,000
  • 1988 white Bentley Turbo R sedan with blue leather seats, an approximately 325 bhp 6.75 liter/412 ci V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection and turbocharger, and an automatic—$5,000
  • 1987 dark maroon metallic Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS mild custom (hood) coupe with maroon interior, a B4V 180 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci “H.O.” V8 with Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 27,000 miles—$7,500

I found it striking how General Motors dominated the eighties vehicle sales at Mecum Indy—all told, GM vehicles marked 54% of eighties sales, with Chevrolet alone accounting for 37%. What do you think of these results?

1980 MG MGB convertible

Writing a blog entry on cars from 1980 that Hagerty considers to be collectible reminded me that I should probably do an entry on the last of the MGBs.

“The Classic Breed”

1980 was the final year for MG’s MGB convertible, which had been in production since 1962.

Changes for 1980 were minimal. The standard powertrain remained the 62.5 bhp (not 62 or 63!) 1.8 liter/110 cubic inch inline four with Zenith 150 CD4T carburetor paired with a four-speed manual transmission. 0-60 mph came in a leisurely 16 seconds in the 2,400-pound car. Mileage was pretty good by the standards of the day: 16 city/30 highway. With a 13-gallon fuel tank, an MGB driver could expect a range of about 270 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $7,950 MGB (about $27,100 in today’s dollars) included rack and pinion steering, power front disc and rear drum brakes, and 165/80-14 radial tires on 14-inch wheels. Inside, vinyl bucket seats, a center console, a locking glovebox, and a clock were standard.

Optional equipment included an electrically-operated overdrive for the transmission, center-lock wire wheels, a luggage rack, and various radios with either 8-track or cassette players included.

The Limited Edition that had debuted in 1979 remained available and popular, with 6,668 produced over the two years. In addition to black paint, the Limited Edition included silver body stripes, 5-spoke alloy wheels, air dam, boot and tonneau covers, chrome luggage rack, leather padded 3-spoke steering wheel, Limited Edition dash plaque, and Limited Edition thresholds.

Like all MGs, MGBs have a following and make frequent appearances in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and eBay. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1980 MGB in #1/Concours condition is $20,700, with a far more typical #3/Good car going for $7,300.

Make mine Brooklands Green, please.

1980: What Cars Are Collectible?

The question always arises: what cars are considered collectable? One way is to look at what Hagerty tracks with their valuation tools. For 1980 cars, the full list is below—I have added a few comments.

Alfa Romeo; Spyder convertible

Alpine; A310 coupe

American Motors; AMX hatchback coupe (in its final year), Pacer hatchback coupe and station wagon, but no Eagle

Aston Martin; Lagonda sedan, V8 coupe and convertible

Avanti; Avanti II coupe

Bentley; Corniche convertible, T2 sedan

BMW; 320i coupe, 633CSi coupe, 733i sedan, M1 coupe

Bristol; 412 convertible

Buick; Regal coupe, Riviera coupe

Cadillac; DeVille coupe and sedan, Eldorado coupe, Fleetwood coupe and sedan, Seville sedan

Checker; Marathon sedan

Chevrolet; C10/K10 pickup truck, C10/K10 Blazer SUV, C10/K10 Suburban SUV, C20/K20 pickup truck, C20/K20 Suburban SUV, Camaro coupe, Corvette coupe, El Camino pickup truck

Clenet; SII convertible

Datsun; 280ZX hatchback coupe

DeTomaso; Deauville sedan (a car I’d never heard of before)

Dodge; D150/W150 pickup truck, D200/W200 pickup truck, D300 pickup truck, Ramcharger SUV

Excalibur; Series IV convertible

Ferrari; 308 GTBi/GTSi coupe, 400i coupe, 512 BB coupe, Mondial coupe

Fiat; 2000 convertible, X1/9 coupe

Ford; Bronco SUV, F-100 pickup truck, F-150 pickup truck, F-250 pickup truck, F-350 pickup truck, Mustang coupe and hatchback coupe, Thunderbird coupe

GMC; C1500/K1500 pickup truck, C2500/K2500 pickup truck, C3500/K3500 pickup truck, Caballero pickup truck

International; Scout II SUV

Jaguar; XJ-6 sedan, XJ-S coupe

Jeep; Cherokee SUV, CJ-5 SUV, CJ-7 SUV, Wagoneer SUV

Lamborghini; Countach coupe

Lancia; Beta coupe, convertible, sedan, and station wagon, Gamma coupe and sedan, Scorpion coupe

Lincoln; Continental coupe and sedan, Continental Mark VI coupe and sedan, Versailles sedan

Lotus; Eclat coupe, Elite hatchback coupe, Esprit coupe

Maserati; Kyalami coupe, Merak coupe, Quattroporte III sedan (I am reminded that I have yet to discuss any eighties Maserati in this blog)

Matra; Bagheera coupe, Murena coupe

Mazda; RX-7 hatchback coupe

Mercedes-Benz; 240D sedan, 280CE coupe, 280E sedan, 280SE sedan, 300CD coupe, 300D sedan, 300SD sedan, 300TD station wagon, 450SEL sedan, 450SL convertible, 450SLC coupe

MG; MGB convertible

Morgan; 4/4 convertible, Plus 8 convertible

Oldsmobile; Toronado coupe

Panther; DeVille convertible and sedan, J72 convertible, Lima convertible

Peugeot; 504 convertible

Plymouth; Trail Duster SUV

Pontiac; Firebird coupe but no Grand Am (Hagerty only tracks them up to 1975)

Porsche; 911 coupe, 924 hatchback coupe, 928 hatchback coupe

Puma; GT coupe, GTC coupe and convertible, GTS convertible

Replicar; sedan and convertible

Rolls-Royce; Camargue coupe, Corniche I coupe and convertible, Phantom VI sedan, Silver Shadow II sedan, Silver Wraith II sedan

Stutz; Bearcat convertible, Blackhawk coupe, Duplex/Iv-Porte/Victoria sedan, Royale sedan

Subaru; BRAT pickup truck

Toyota; Celica hatchback coupe, Land Cruiser SUV

Triumph; TR7 coupe and convertible, TR8 coupe and convertible

Volvo; 242 coupe, 242GT coupe, 244 sedan, 245 station wagon, 262C coupe, 264 sedan, 265 station wagon

Hagerty casts a wide net (AMX). Coupes are dominant—33% of 156 models listed with an additional 6% being hatchback coupes. Unsurprisingly, the rarest body style is a station wagon, at 3%.