1980 Toyota Corolla Tercel Liftback

“… a price that belies its good looks.

1980 was the first year that Toyota sold the Corolla Tercel in the United States. Despite its name, the front-wheel-drive Tercel was not related in any meaningful way to the rear-wheel-drive Corolla, but Toyota evidently figured that adding the Corolla name would make buyers more confident in their purchasing decision. The Tercel was available as a 2-Door Sedan and a 3-Door Liftback (a four-door sedan would arrive one year later).

Corolla Tercel Liftback pages from the 1980 Corolla brochure

The Corolla Tercel Liftback was a small and light car, with a 160 inch length (about 20 inches shorter than a 2022 Corolla) and a curb weight of 2,030 pounds. The Liftback’s standard powertrain combined a 60 bhp 1.5 liter/99 ci inline four paired to a five-speed manual (a three-speed automatic was optional). Unusually for a front-wheel-drive car, the Tercel’s engine was longitudinally placed, which Toyota claimed resulted in easier serviceability.

Road & Track clocked a 0-60 time of 14.8 seconds in a loaded Tercel Liftback SR-5. As might be expected with a 99 cubic inch engine and a five-speed, fuel economy was impressive—33 city/43 highway by the day’s standards. With an 11.9-gallon fuel tank, a Tercel driver could expect a range of 330 to 365 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

The Liftback had more standard equipment than the 2-Door Sedan, which was the loss leader. At $4,848, the Corolla Tercel Liftback Deluxe included body side moldings, front-wheel-drive, rack-and-pinion steering, power-assisted front disc/rear drum brakes, and 155/80R12 tires on 12-inch wheels. Inside, reclining front bucket seats and a split-back fold-down rear seat were included.

The $600 SR-5 package added black accents, side striping, and 165/70SR13 radial tires (a size still available thanks to Vredestein) on 13-inch wheels. Inside, SR-5 features included a cloth interior, full interior carpeting, a tachometer, and an AM/FM/MPX stereo radio.

Options were relatively few, but did include aluminum alloy wheels ($215), a rear window washer/wiper ($75), and air conditioning ($520).

I haven’t seen a first-generation Tercel in decades. Make mine Light Blue Metallic, please.

Other Toyotas I have written about include the 1981 Celica Sport Coupe, the 1982 Celica Supra hatchback coupe, the 1983 Camry sedan, and the 1985 MR2 coupe. This list hints that I should write about an actual Corolla soon.


1980 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ coupe

Bring a Trailer offered an almost unique 1979 Grand Prix for auction recently. It had a four-speed manual transmission—quite rare in 1979 and no longer available in 1980. With only 858 miles on the odometer, this Grand Prix sold for $35,000.

… carries Grand Prix sportiness to the max

1980 was the final year for the SJ designation on Pontiac’s Grand Prix. SJ had been a Grand Prix equipment level since the first year of the second generation Grand Prix in 1969. By 1980, SJ indicated something like “moderately sporty.”

The 1980 Grand Prix returned to a vertical bar grille and featured new taillight lenses with “GP” logos. A three-speed automatic transmission became standard equipment on all Grand Prix models, and the two-barrel 4.9 liter/301 ci Pontiac V8 was replaced by a new 4.3 liter/265 ci V8 rated at 125 hp.

The SJ’s powertrain choices were slightly loftier. The standard non-California powertrain was a W72 170 bhp 4.9 liter/301 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor mated with a three-speed automatic transmission. California cars swapped in the LG4 150 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor. 0-60 came in a little under 10 seconds in a car with a 3,291-pound curb weight—spritely for a personal luxury coupe in 1980. EPA fuel economy ratings for the non-California cars were 17 city/25 highway by the day’s standards. With an 18.1-gallon gas tank, an SJ‘s owner could expect a range of 310 to 340 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

With a base price of $6,219, standard exterior and mechanical equipment on all Grand Prix’s included dual rectangular headlamps, power steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes, and P195/75R14 tires (a size still readily available) on 14-inch wheels with hubcaps. Interior features included door pull straps, an inside hood release, and an electric quartz clock.

Grand Prix SJ page from the 1980 Pontiac brochure

For $7,295, the SJ added Custom finned wheel covers, body-color Sport mirrors, wide rocker panel moldings with extensions, accent stripes, and, of course, SJ identification to the exterior. Inside, SJ buyers got rally gages with clock and trip odometer, Lamp Group, and added acoustical insulation. SJ trim and upholstery included a Custom Sport steering wheel, a simulated brushed aluminum instrument panel, a Custom stitched-appearance instrument panel pad, Custom pedal trim plates, and SJ-specific front vinyl bucket seats.

Options and Production Numbers

Options were many—exterior options included two-tone paint in two different styles, cornering lamps, Soft Ray glass, a removable hatch roof, and a power sunroof (either glass or metal). Air conditioning (Custom or climate control), power door locks, and power windows were among the available interior options. Trim and upholstery options included Viscount leather front bucket seats with vinyl bolsters, a power driver’s seat, a tilt steering wheel, and a litter container.

Audio options included dual rear extended range speakers, two power antenna options, and six different stereo radios, including two 8-track tape choices, one cassette tape choice, one CB radio choice, and an ETR radio choice. A buyer looking to make their SJ as sporting as possible would have ordered 205/75R14 tires (which included the Rally Handling Package), Rally II wheels, and rally gages with an instrument panel tachometer (which required either the digital clock or the ETR radio).

Though the Grand Prix sold pretty well overall, the SJ did not—only 7,087 left dealer lots in the 1980 model year. This total meant that the SJ was a mere 6% of Grand Prix sales and hints strongly at why it was gone for the 1981 model year, with the new Grand Prix submodel being the Brougham. Pontiac would use the SJ designation on the sportiest versions of the compact Phoenix until the end of the 1984 model year.

The View From 2022

Grand Prix’s of this generation are not generally considered collector cars—Hagerty does not track any Grand Prix newer than 1977. These cars are sometimes available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors. As we have seen, these Grand Prix’s also show up at auction.

Make mine Bordeaux Red, please.

Other Grand Prix models I have written about include the 1987 coupe and the 1988 coupe. I seem to like Pontiacs—have covered twelve other models over the last seven years.

1980 Ford Fiesta hatchback coupe

Recently Bring a Trailer featured a 1980 Ford Fiesta with unknown mileage selling at no reserve—it went for $7,200.

Ford’s first-generation Fiesta was in its final year of availability in the United States, soon to be replaced by the Escort. Because of this, the 1980 Fiesta had only minor trim and detail changes.

The Fiesta’s standard powertrain was a transverse-mounted 66 bhp 1.6 liter/98 ci inline four with a two-barrel carburetor paired with a four-speed manual. Ford’s full-line brochure stated that Fiesta acceleration was “exhilarating.” In reality, 0-60 mph took between 11 and 12 seconds in a car with a shipping weight of 1,726 pounds. The EPA rated fuel economy at an impressive 26 city/38 highway. With a 10-gallon gas tank, a Fiesta owner could expect a range of about 290 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Classified by the EPA as a subcompact, the Fiesta was a small car even in 1980, and is tiny by modern standards. With a 90 inch wheelbase and a 147.1 inch length, it gives up 8 inches of wheelbase and over 5 inches of length to a modern MINI Cooper. In 1980 brochures, Ford used the old trick of putting the car in the foreground and putting models at some indeterminate distance in the background.

Fiesta page from the 1980 Ford brochure

Standard equipment for the $5,032 Fiesta (about $18,300 in today’s dollars) included front wheel drive, a MacPherson strut front suspension, rack and pinion steering, front disc brakes, and Michelin 155-12 steel-belted radial tires on 12-inch argent road wheels. Inside, the Fiesta included all-vinyl high back front bucket seats, a fold-down rear seat, and color-keyed passenger compartment carpeting.

Options included a manually-operated flip-up open-air sunroof ($219), tinted glass ($55), an electric rear window defroster ($96), white sidewall tires ($70), air conditioning ($475 and not available in European versions), and an AM/FM stereo radio ($183). Decor Group and a Ghia interior which included velour and cloth upholstery were also available.

1980 Fiesta sales were off 11% from 1979, but Ford still moved 68,841. I haven’t seen a first-generation Fiesta on the streets for many years. Apparently, Bring A Trailer auctions one of these Fiestas about once a year.

Make mine Venetian Red, please.

1982 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Indy 500 Commemorative Edition hatchback coupe

Every May, the Indianapolis 500 race is a “tentpole” event in the international racing schedule. Since 1911, there have been designated pace cars, with replica pace cars often being sold. A 1982 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Indy 500 Commemorative Edition with 2,630 miles sold for a $35,000 hammer price at the 2021 Mecum Indy. Are these distinctive and good-looking (I think) cars finally attracting significant interest?

“Even its shadow boasts performance”

The 1982 Chevrolet Camaro could reasonably be described as all-new. This moniker applied to the “pleasing and exciting” exterior, the interior, much of the chassis, and most of the engines. As Road & Track stated, the new Camaro was “keenly anticipated.”

The Z28‘s standard powertrain was the LG4 145 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor paired with a four-speed manual transmission. An optional LU5 Cross-Fire 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with throttle-body fuel injection and 165 bhp set the buyer back $450 and required the $396 three-speed automatic transmission. 0-60 took just under 10 seconds with the base V8 and the four-speed manual and shortened to 9 seconds with the top-of-the-line Cross-Fire motor and the automatic.

1982 Camaro Commerative Edition flyer
1982 Camaro Z28 Indy 500 Commemorative Edition flier

The Z28 had a base price of $9,700—about $27,700 in 2021 dollars or about what a base 2021 Camaro coupe goes for. Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on all 1982 Z28s included front air dam, “ground effect” lower body extensions, a rear spoiler, body-color dual Sport mirrors, power front disc/rear drum brakes, and 215/65R-15 tires (a size still readily available) on 15 x 7 inch 5-spoke aluminum wheels. Inside, every 1982 Z28 came with full instrumentation, an electric quartz analog clock, courtesy lamps, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Standard equipment specific to the $10,999.26 Z50 Indy 500 Commemorative Edition included Silver/Blue two-tone accent paint, specific commemorative edition decals, Custom interior trim, and blue Custom cloth bucket L/S Conteur (Chevrolet’s spelling) front seats.

Options and Production Numbers

Among the many options available for the Camaro Z28 were tinted glass ($88), removable glass roof panels ($790!), power windows ($165), a power door lock system ($106), an electric rear window defogger ($125), automatic speed control ($155), air conditioning ($675), a Comfortilt steering wheel ($95), and a host of radios ($111 to $390).

Chevrolet sold 6,360 Indy 500 Commemorative Edition cars in 1982, in addition to 63,563 “normal” Z28s. However, the most popular Camaro was actually the base Sport Coupe, which moved 78,761 units. The somewhat more luxurious Berlinetta sold another 39,744 copies.

Reviews of the new Camaro were decent. Road & Track liked the Z28‘s exterior and the handling but bemoaned the interior packaging and the fuel mileage (EPA rated at 17 mpg but rarely attaining that in real life). Car and Driver famously accused the Z28 of being “Emily Post polite” but later retracted the remark.

The View From 2021

Third-generation Camaros attract plenty of collector interest, and there is substantial club support. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1982 Camaro Z28 hatchback coupe with the Cross-Fire motor in #1/Concours condition is $24,700, with a far more normal #3/Good condition version going for $11,100. 1982 Camaro Commemorative Editions are often available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds, on eBay Motors, and at auction. As I write this post, Hemmings has three listed for sale, all in the $25,000 range.

Other Camaros I have written about include the 1980 Rally Sport coupe, the 1980 Z28 coupe, the 1985 IROC-Z hatchback coupe, and the 1986 Berlinetta hatchback coupe. Pontiac Firebird Trans Ams with blog entries here include the 1981 coupe, the 1982 hatchback coupe, the 1984 15th Anniversary Edition hatchback coupe, the 1985 hatchback coupe, and the 1989 20th Anniversary Turbo hatchback coupe. Unlike with the Camaro, I have yet to cover anything but the top-the-line Firebird.

1980 Chrysler Cordoba coupe

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

“A singular tradition.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corinthian Edition pages from the 1980 Cordoba brochure

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

Options and Production Numbers

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

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

The View From 2020

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

Make mine Crimson Red Metallic, please.

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

1980 Mercedes-Benz 450SL convertible

A 1980 Mercedes-Benz 450SL convertible sold for $27,000 at Mecum’s “Summer Special” auction in August 2020. I’ve previously written about the other two eighties SL versions: the 380SL and the 560SL. Perhaps it’s time to write about the 450SL.

In production since the 1972 model year, the Mercedes-Benz 450SL changed little in its final year, with a few new exterior colors and some new stereo choices. There were also multiple emissions-related changes to the powertrain, with horsepower ratings dropping from 180 bhp to 160 bhp and torque ratings increasing.

The sole powertrain for the 450SL remained a 4.5 liter/276 ci V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection paired to a three-speed automatic. Car and Driver tested a 1980 450SL and recorded an 11.6-second 0-60 time, but raw acceleration likely wasn’t that important to SL buyers. Mileage also wasn’t great in a vehicle with a 3,730-pound curb weight—this SL was no longer anything resembling Sport Light. The 1980 EPA fuel economy rating was 16 mpg, and most owners report that number as somewhat hopeful. At least the sizeable 23.8-gallon gas tank allowed a range of close to 345 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

1980 Mercedes-Benz 450SL advertisement
1980 Mercedes-Benz 450SL advertisement

For 1980, the 450SL’s base price was a substantial $35,839—about $123,500 in today’s dollars, which is about 35% more than today’s SL 450 goes for. Standard exterior and mechanical equipment for this expensive car included tinted glass, variable-ratio power steering, power four-wheel disc brakes, and 205/70HR14 tires (a size still available thanks to Vredestein) mounted on 14 x 6 inch light-alloy wheels. Inside, air conditioning, adjustable MB-Tex bucket seats, cruise control, electric windows, and central locking were all included.

Options included a limited-slip differential, 15-inch wheels, leather bucket seats, and an array of Becker stereos. Like many other European cars of the early eighties, the 450SL did not have a standard stereo, though a power antenna was included.

The 450SL was a cultural icon, finding fans among various executives, celebrities, professional athletes, and rock stars when new. It was also a film and television star—famously driven by Richard Gere in American Gigolo, by Stephanie Powers and Robert Wagner on Hart to Hart, and by Patrick Duffy on Dallas.

450SLs have many adherents to this day, and there is much club support. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1980 450SL in #1/Concours condition is $36,000, with a more normal #3/Good condition car going for $11,500. These SLs are always available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors, and often at auction. As I write this post, there are eleven 1980 450SLs available for sale in Hemmings. An example with Champagne Metallic paint, brown leather bucket seats, and 45,000 miles is asking $20,000.

Make mine Astral Silver Metallic, please. Sometimes the cliché is correct.

Other eighties Mercedes-Benz models I have written about include the 1985 300CD Turbo coupe and 1986 560SEC coupe.

1980 Chevrolet Monza Sport 2+2 Hatchback Coupe

“Your kind of features. Your kind of fun.”

1980 was the Chevrolet Monza’s final year. Available in base coupe, 2+2 hatchback coupe, and Sport 2+2 hatchback coupe, the Monza received few changes for 1980. The biggest news that wasn’t about deleted models and options (there was no more wagon or V8) was probably the integration of 1979’s Spyder Appearance Package and Spyder Equipment Group into a single Spyder Equipment Package.

The Monza’s standard engine was the LX8 Iron Duke 86 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with a Rochester 2SE two-barrel carburetor. The only engine option for 1980 was the LD5 110 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with a Rochester M2ME two-barrel carburetor ($225). A four-speed manual was standard, with an optional three-speed automatic ($320) available.

Mileage with the inline four and four-speed manual was pretty impressive in 1980: 22 city/35 highway by the standards of the day (around 17/27 by today’s standards). Spending $545 for the automatic and the V6 combination took mileage down to 20 city/27 highway. With the V6/automatic transmission pairing and the 18.5-gallon gas tank, a Monza owner could expect a range of 300 to 390 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Exterior and mechanical equipment for the $4,921 Monza Sport 2+2 Hatchback Coupe (approximately $16,700 in today’s dollars) included tinted windows, a Delco Freedom battery, front disc/rear drum brakes, white-stripe tires, and full wheel covers. Inside, the Monza Sport 2+2 included a Sport steering wheel with a cushioned rim, high-back Sport front bucket seats in cloth/vinyl or all-vinyl, a console, color-keyed seat and shoulder belts, and a Delco AM radio (which could be deleted for a $52 credit).

1980 Chevrolet Monza brochure cover
1980 Chevrolet Monza brochure cover

Featured on the cover of the 1980 Monza brochure, the expensive ($521, or about $1,800 in today’s dollars) Spyder Equipment Package added a Spyder hood decal, a body color front air dam and rear spoiler, black Sport mirrors, a sport suspension, and BR70-13 blackwall radial tires (nearly equivalent 195/70R13 tires are available from BF Goodrich) on 13-inch black-painted Rally II wheels with bright trim rings. About 37% of Sport 2+2 Hatchback Coupe buyers chose the Spyder Equipment Package.

Exterior and mechanical options included a Sky Roof manual sunroof ($193), variable-ratio power steering ($158), and power brakes ($76). Inside, you could add air conditioning ($531), a Comfortilt steering wheel ($73), and an AM/FM stereo cassette player ($188).

The Monza sold quite well in its final year—in fact, 1980 was the Monza’s best year out of its six years of production. Chevrolet produced over 169,000, with more than 95,000 being the base coupe. There is some club support for the Monza, and they occasionally come up for sale in Hemmings Motor News and eBay Motors, though many are highly-modified drag-racing cars. As I write this blog entry in August 2020, there were no stock examples for sale.

Make mine Dark Blue Metallic, please.

Other 1980 model year Chevrolets I have written about include the Camaro Rally Sport coupe, the Camaro Z28 coupe, the Citation hatchback sedan, and the Corvette coupe. I also wrote about the 1980 Pontiac Sunbird Sport Hatch a few years ago.


1980 Cadillac Seville sedan

“Introducing Seville for the 80’s”

For 1980, the Cadillac Seville sedan could justifiably be called all-new. It switched from rear-wheel-drive to front-wheel-drive, used a completely different platform, and made a diesel engine standard.

Of course, the Seville’s exterior look was also completely changed. That styling—by Wayne Cady under Bill Mitchell’s direction—was instantly polarizing; words used in period reviews included striking, astonishing, controversial, and odd. Despite my pre-teen bent toward classically-influenced cars, I did not like the new Seville’s design. Perhaps this was because I really liked the styling of the first-generation Seville.

The 1980 Seville’s standard engine was an LF9 105 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci diesel V8. An L61 145 bhp 6.0 liter/368 ci V8 with fuel injection was a no-cost option. In California, the gasoline engine choice was a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection.

As might be expected, fuel mileage ratings for the standard diesel were impressive, especially for a car with a 3,911 shipping weight. A Seville owner could expect 21 city/31 highway. With a 23-gallon gas tank, range was an astounding 540 miles with a 10% fuel reserve—at least in theory. What wasn’t impressive was the Seville’s performance; Road & Track clocked a 0-60 mph time of 21 seconds.

The story was different but not necessarily better with the gas engine. With it, mileage was 14 city/22 highway, so range dropped to about 375 miles. Performance was notably better, but still not good with the 0-60 time at about 13 seconds.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $19,662 Seville (about $67,000 in 2020 dollars) included Soft-Ray glass, tungsten-halogen headlamps, a four-wheel independent suspension, electronic level control, four-wheel disc brakes, and P205/75R15 tires (a size still readily available) on 15-inch wheels. Inside 50/45 Dual Comfort front seats, electronic climate control, and a tilt and telescope steering wheel were included.

Seville Elegante brochure page
Seville Elegante page from the 1980 Cadillac brochure

The $2,934 Elegante package included two-tone paint and 40/40 leather seats. Chrome-plated wire wheel covers were available at no extra cost.

Options included an Astroroof ($1,058), power door locks ($129), the Cadillac trip computer ($920), and an AM/FM stereo cassette ($225).

Famously, the Cadillac with the Deadhead sticker that passes Don Henley when he sings about “The Boys of Summer” was a second-generation Seville—likely a 1980 or a 1981.

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1980 Cadillac Seville with the gas engine (they don’t list values for the diesel) in #1/Concours condition is $15,500, with a more normal #3/Good condition car going for $3,500.

Second-generation Cadillac Sevilles are often available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds, on eBay Motors, and at auction. As I write this post, a silver/gray two-tone 1983 Seville with gray bucket seats and 31,000 miles is for sale on Hemmings for $8,000.

Make mine an Elegante in its Sable Black/Sheffield Gray Firemist two-tone, please. Over time, the second-generation styling has grown on me—especially with two-tone paint. Mecum sold a striking Seaspray Green/Neptune Aqua two-tone at their Harrisburg auction in 2019.

Other eighties Cadillacs I have covered include the 1982 Eldorado Touring Coupe, the 1986 Eldorado coupe, the 1986 Fleetwood Brougham sedan, the 1988 Eldorado coupe, the 1989 Allanté convertible, and the 1989 Cadillac Sedan deVille.

1980 Ford Mustang Cobra hatchback coupe

“A sports car for the 80’s.”

1980 was the second year for the Fox-body Mustang and brought few changes from the debut year—and some of those weren’t great, such as a downgraded V8. The Cobra inherited some features from 1979 Pace Car, including a front spoiler, dual fog lamps, and a rear deck spoiler.

The standard powertrain on the base Mustang was Ford’s Lima 88 bhp 2.3 liter/140 ci inline four with a Motorcraft 5200 two-barrel carburetor matched with a four-speed manual. A Windsor 119 bhp 4.2 liter/255 ci V8 with a Motorcraft 2150 two-barrel carburetor was available with a three-speed automatic, but the top-of-the-line powertrain was a turbocharged version of the Lima inline four with a Holley 6500 two-barrel carburetor making 132 bhp paired with the four-speed manual. Thus, for 1980 the fastest available Mustang had a 0-60 time of a little under 11 seconds. With a 12.5-gallon fuel tank and 18 city/30 highway fuel mileage (about 15/25 by today’s standards), a Cobra‘s proud new owner could expect a range of about 225 to 270 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard mechanical equipment on the $7,098 Cobra (about $23,700 in today’s dollars) included the turbocharged inline four, the four-speed manual, a “special suspension system” with heavy duty front and rear stabilizer bars and special shock valving, a sport-tuned exhaust with bright tailpipe extension, and Michelin TRX 190/65R390 tires (they’re still available!) on 15.3-inch forged aluminum wheels. Exterior equipment included dual remote styled mirrors and black lower bodyside paint. A Cobra‘s interior didn’t have many upgrades, but you did get an 8,000-rpm tachometer and a black engine-turned instrument panel applique.

Standard equipment on all Mustang hatchback coupes included dual rectangular halogen headlamps, wraparound taillamps, a modified MacPherson strut front suspension, front disc/rear drum brakes, and rack and pinion steering. Inside, full instrumentation (tachometer, trip odometer, fuel/temperature/oil/alternator gauges), a sports steering wheel, color-keyed cut pile carpeting, all vinyl high-back bucket seats, a lockable glove box, and a cigarette lighter were included.

Exterior and mechanical options included Cobra hood graphics ($88), a flip-up open air roof ($219), black liftgate louvers ($141), and a rear window/wiper washer ($79). Inside, you could choose SelectAir conditioning ($538), Recaro high-back bucket seats ($531), an electric rear window defroster ($96), interval windshield wipers ($39), tilt steering wheel ($78), and the power lock group ($113). A series of stereos were available, with the most capable being an AM/FM stereo radio with a cassette tape player ($271). Higher end stereos could be paired with the Premium Sound System ($94), which added a higher-power amplifier and more capable rear speakers.

Cobra pages from the 1980 Ford Mustang brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures pages.

1980 Ford Mustangs sold decently, accounting for about 23% of Ford’s overall sales in a down year. Reviews of the day were unhappy, but understanding about the loss of the 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 in the middle of the second oil crisis—Car and Driver stated that “Whether you like life with turbochargers or not, you might as well get used to it.”

Folks are definitely collecting these early Fox-body Mustangs. Cobras come up for sale every once in a while in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds or on eBay Motors, though there aren’t any available right now.

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1980 Cobra in #1/Concours condition is an astounding $23,100, with a more normal #3/Good car going for $9,800. Make mine Black, I think, perhaps with those extra-cost Cobra hood graphics.

Later Fox-body Mustangs I have covered include the 1982 GT hatchback coupe, the 1983 GT convertible, and the 1984 SVO hatchback coupe. I guess I’ll have to get to the second half of the Mustang’s decade at some point.

1980 Buick Riviera S TYPE coupe

I’ve been on a Riviera kick recently, brought on (no lie!) by the appearance of a 1965 model in a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries movie a couple of days ago. I covered the 1984 T-Type a few years ago—here’s the 1980 S TYPE.

“… an impressive road car.”

In its second year, Buick’s sixth-generation Riviera gained little but revised body mounts and new side mirrors with a notably more integrated look. Buick continued to offer Riviera fans a slightly more sporty S TYPE version, returning to a theme first present with the 1965 Riviera Grand Sport.

The S TYPE‘s standard powertrain was the LD5 170 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with turbocharger and a Rochester M4ME four-barrel carburetor paired with a Turbo Hydra-matic automatic transmission. The LG4 155 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester M4ME four-barrel carburetor was optional (it was standard on the base Riviera). The S TYPE was spritely for a big (3,633 pound) coupe by 1980 standards, but not fast: 0-60 came in about 11 seconds, which compared well with the Cadillac Eldorado, [Chrysler] Imperial, Lincoln Continental Mark VI, and Oldsmobile Toronado. Fuel mileage was rated at 16 city/23 highway by the (rather unrealistic) standards of the day—with a 21.2-gallon fuel tank, range was about 305 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

The $11,823 S TYPE (about $39,800 in 2018 dollars, or about what a 2019 Buick LaCrosse Sport Touring sedan goes for) came with amber front park and turn signal lenses, tungsten-halogen high-beam headlights, dual remote black mirrors, and GR70-R15 tires (equivalent to P225/70R15, which is still a readily available size) on 15-inch wheels with Designer’s Sport wheel covers. Inside, cloth or vinyl bucket seats, sport steering wheel, storage console, and black-trimmed instrument panel were all standard. The 1980 S TYPE also included a Rallye ride-and-handling suspension with larger front and rear stabilizer bars and stiffer shock absorbers.

Standard exterior and mechanical features on all 1980 Rivieras included front-wheel drive, four-wheel independent suspension, automatic level control, Soft Ray tinted glass, power steering, and power front disc/rear drum brakes. Inside, every Riviera had air conditioning, electric door locks, power windows, a driver’s-side 6-way power seat, and an AM/FM stereo radio with automatic power antenna.

Exterior and mechanical options included four-wheel disc brakes ($222), electric rear window defogger ($109), and the Astroroof ($1,058). Inside, automatic air conditioner ($150), Cruise-Master speed control ($118), Twilight Sentinel ($51), a passenger-side 6-way power seat ($179), and leather with vinyl bucket seats ($360) were all available. You couldn’t get the tilt and telescoping steering column on an S TYPE, but you could get a tilt only steering column ($83).

S TYPE pages from the 1980 Buick Riviera brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures pages.

Sales of the S TYPE were decent in 1980—with 7,217 made, it accounted for about 15% of overall Riviera sales. For 1981, the Riviera S TYPE was supplanted by the T-Type.

Folks are collecting the sixth generation Rivieras—there’s robust discussion and support on the AACA’s Buick Riviera page, which is affiliated with the Riviera Owners Association. S TYPEs also come up for sale every once in a while in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds or on eBay Motors, though there aren’t any right now. As I write this in November 2018, there is a “civilian” 1980 with a white exterior, burgundy leather seats, a V8, and 19,000 miles for sale on Hemmings, asking $11,500.

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1980 Riviera in #1/Concours condition is $11,800, with a more normal #3/Good car going for a mere $4,000. Make mine the extra-cost ($186) Gray Firemist, please. I love those Buick color names and believe everyone should have at least one Firemist.