1982 Fiat X1/9 coupe

“Nothing moves you like a Fiat Sportscar.”

1982 was the final model year that the X1/9 coupe that had debuted in 1974 was sold under the Fiat name—after that, it would be marketed under the Bertone name as Fiat withdrew from the United States. The X1/9 was small; at 156.3 inches in length, it was more than three inches shorter than today’s Fiat 124 Spider.

1982 Fiat X1/9 advertisement.

With its wedge shape, the X1/9 was part of a design trend in inexpensive sports coupes that included the Triumph TR7/TR8, the Pontiac Fiero, and the Toyota MR2.

The only powertrain available on the X1/9 continued to be a 75 bhp 3.5 liter/91 ci inline four with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection paired with a five-speed manual. An X1/9 owner could expect a 0-60 time of a little over 11 seconds in a coupe with a curb weight of 2,209 pounds.

Mileage wasn’t as good as you would think: rated at 26 city/37 highway by 1982 standards (20/26 by today’s calculation). With a 12.7-gallon gas tank, the driver of an X1/9 could expect a range of between 265 and 360 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard equipment on the $10,900 X1/9 (about $29,400 in today’s dollars or about what a 2019 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth convertible goes for) included pop-up headlights, a removable targa roof, rack-and-pinion steering, four-wheel disc brakes, and Pirelli Cinturato P3 P165/70R13 tires (a size still available thanks to Vredestein) on 13 x 5.5 inch wheels. Inside, bucket seats, a four-spoke padded steering wheel, a lockable glove box, and full instrumentation were included.

Options included metallic paint, tinted glass, air conditioning, and an AM/FM stereo radio.

The X1/9 has a following in both its Fiat and Bertone versions. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1982 X1/9 in #1/Concours condition is $19,800, with a more normal #3/Good car going for $6,300. X1/9s come up for sale every once in a while in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds or on eBay Motors. As I write this in February 2019, there’s a 1979 Black Metallic X1/9 with tan/black vinyl seats and 83,000 miles available for $10,500.

1982: 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 1982 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

Bristol; 412 convertible

Buick; Regal coupe, Riviera coupe and convertible

Cadillac; Cimarron sedan, 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 hatchback coupe, Corvette coupe, El Camino pickup truck

Chrysler; Imperial coupe

Clenet; SII convertible. SIII coupe and convertible

Datsun; 280ZX hatchback coupe

Delorean; DMC-12 coupe

DeTomaso; Deauville sedan, Pantera coupe

Dodge; Ramcharger SUV

Duesenberg; LaGrande convertible

Excalibur; Series IV convertible

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

Fiat; 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 hatchback coupe, Thunderbird coupe

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

Jaguar; XJ-S coupe

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

Lamborghini; Countach coupe, Jalpa coupe

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

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

Lotus; Esprit coupe

Maserati; Quattroporte III sedan

Matra; Murena coupe

Mazda; RX-7 hatchback coupe

Mercedes-Benz; 240D 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, Kallista convertible

Peugeot; 504 convertible

Pontiac; Firebird hatchback coupe

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

Puma; GT coupe, GTC coupe and convertible

Renault; Fuego hatchback coupe

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

Stutz; Bearcat convertible, Blackhawk coupe, IV-Porte sedan

Subaru: BRAT pickup truck

Toyota; Celica hatchback coupe, Land Cruiser SUV

TVR; 280i coupe and convertible

Hagerty casts a wide net, except when they don’t. Coupes are dominant—32% of 117 models listed with an additional 9% being hatchback coupes. Unsurprisingly, the rarest body style is a station wagon, at 2%.

1982 Cadillac Cimarron sedan

Hemmings Motor News published an extended discussion on the Cadillac Cimarron in their always interesting Hemmings Daily blog, so I figured I’d bring one of my first posts up to a more current location.

“A new kind of Cadillac for a new kind of Cadillac owner.”

Ah—the poor Cadillac Cimarron, rushed to market for CAFE and other reasons without much thought as to who would actually buy it. When released in 1982, it was just a nice as possible, relatively well equipped Chevrolet Cavalier.

Inside page from the 1982 Cadillac Cimarron brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures section.

The only engine available for 1982 was the 88 bhp L46 1.8 liter/112 ci inline four with Rochester Varajet II two-barrel carburetor. When paired with the standard four-speed manual transmission, mileage was an impressive 26 city/42 highway by the standards of the day (about 21/31 by modern standards), but the car was slow—0-60 mph took a little under 14 seconds. A three-speed automatic transmission was optional and likely even slower (estimates come to about 16 seconds). The 13.7-gallon fuel tank gave a range of between 330 and 420 miles with a 10% reserve.

The $12,181 base price (about $32,900 in today’s dollars—just a little under what a base 2018 Cadillac ATS sedan costs) included standard exterior and mechanical features such as power brakes, power steering, power mirrors, intermittent windshield wipers, and P195/70R13 tires on 13-inch aluminum wheels. Air conditioning, leather seating areas, a leather steering wheel, a tachometer, and an AM/FM stereo radio with four speakers were all standard in the interior.

Options included a sunroof ($261), cruise control (about $150), power door locks ($12—why bother making it an option?), power windows (yes, the base 1982 Cimarron came with roll-up windows—power windows were an extra $216), six-way power seats ($366), tilt steering wheel ($88), and an AM/FM stereo radio with cassette ($153). It wasn’t hard to load a Cimarron up to almost $13,500—real money in 1982 and about $36,400 in 2018 dollars.

In typical General Motors fashion, the Cimarron improved each year (sometimes significantly). However, the stench of that horribly failed initial release stayed with the car until Cadillac finally stopped selling them at the end of the 1988 model year. By that point, the Cimarron had upgraded from the fairly awful four-cylinder to a decent (and standard) V6 and had exterior styling that was at least somewhat more differentiated from Chevrolet’s.

So, the Cimarron remains a spectacularly easy target—routinely making those “worst ten cars of all time” lists and suchlike. I have yet to see a Cimarron at a serious classic car show, but I’m betting some intrepid soul will save one and bring it back.

Surprisingly, Hagerty does track the Cimarron with their valuation tools—according to them, all the money for a 1982 in #1/Concours condition is $6,100, with a far more typical #3/Good car going for $1,600. I can’t remember ever seeing one for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds—they’re treated by Cadillac folks like Ford folks treat the Mustang II from the 1970s. You do occasionally see them on eBay Motors.

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1982 Oldsmobile Toronado Brougham coupe

Barrett-Jackson’s second Northeast auction at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut in late June 2017 included a 1982 black Oldsmobile Toronado Brougham coupe with a tan interior, a 5.0 liter/307 ci V8, an automatic, and 12,000 miles. It sold for $10,000. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen an eighties Toronado up for auction, though the “sister” Buick Riviera and Cadillac Eldorado are often present. Time to write a blog entry, methinks.

“Nothing ordinary”

For 1982, Oldsmobile gave up on the (slightly) sportier XSC variant that they had offered for two years and made the Brougham the only available version. Changes included a new chrome/argent grille with more horizontal bars, a new memory seat option with two memory positions, a revised instrument panel, and a new optional radio.

The standard engine was a 125 bhp 4.1 liter/252 ci V6 with Rochester four-barrel carburetor. Optional power included the 140 bhp 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with Rochester four-barrel carburetor at no additional charge and the (don’t do it!) 105 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci diesel V8 ($825). A four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive was standard with all three engines. The Toronado was not light—curb weight was 3,705 pounds—so even with the more powerful V8, 0-60 mph took about 13 seconds. With the gasoline V8, mileage was rated at 16 city/27 highway by the standards of the day; with the 21.1-gallon fuel tank, Toronado owners could expect to travel about 400 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment included in $14,462 base price (about $38,000 in today’s dollars) included power disc brakes and P205/75R15 tires (still readily available) on 15 by 6-inch steel wheels. Inside, air conditioning, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, and divided cloth seats were standard. Options included Twilight Sentinel ($57), Tempmatic air conditioning ($50), power Astro Roof with sliding glass panel, and leather seats.

Oldsmobile sold 33,928 1982 Toronado Broughams, down from over 42,000 the previous year. In 1982, Buick sold 42,823 Riviera coupes along with another 1,246 convertibles while Cadillac sold 52,018 Eldorado coupes, so the Toronado was not holding up its end of the E-body platform bargain.

1982 Oldsmobile Toronado Brougham page from the 1982 Oldsmobile full-line brochure

Third-generation Toronados from 1979 to 1985 have a following, though (a little strangely) models after 1980 are not rated in Hagerty’s valuation tools. These Toronados sometimes show up for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors. When I wrote this blog entry in July 2017, Hemmings was listing a 1983 Toronado Brougham with a champagne exterior and red cloth seats for $9,900.

I like these big coupes, though I think the Toronado may have too closely resembled the Eldorado for its own good—something that had not been true in the 1960s. Make mine Medium Slate Firemist, please.

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1982 Cadillac Eldorado Touring Coupe

“Created for the person who loves to drive.”

Though Cadillac’s eighth-generation Eldorado had been in production since the 1979 model year, 1982 was the first year for the Touring Coupe edition of the Eldorado. The Touring Coupe marked the first even remotely sporting Eldorado in many years.

Newly standard for the 1982 Eldorado and available on all Cadillacs except the Cimarron was the HT-4100 4.1 liter/249 ci V8 with throttle-body fuel injection. Unfortunately, horsepower for this all-new engine was an unimpressive 135 bhp—somewhat of an issue when you considered the Eldorado’s platform mates. Buick’s Riviera T TYPE had a 170 bhp turbocharged V6, and Oldsmobile’s Toronado was available with a 150 bhp V8. 0-60 mph took around 14 seconds in the approximately 3,700-pound Eldorado, while the Riviera T TYPE was about four seconds faster. Fuel mileage with the new engine was 17 city/27 highway by the standards of the day (14/20 by today’s standards). With a 20.4-gallon fuel tank, an Eldorado owner could expect a range of 310 to 405 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment in the $20,666 Eldorado Touring Coupe (about $55,600 in 2018 dollars or about what a loaded 2019 Cadillac ATS coupe goes for) included Touring Suspension and P225/70R15 blackwall tires (a size still readily available) on 15-inch aluminum alloy wheels. Inside, reclining bucket seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a front seat console were all part of the Touring Coupe experience.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on any 1982 Eldorado included front-wheel drive, a four-wheel independent suspension, power steering, tungsten halogen highbeam headlamps, and four-wheel power disc brakes. Inside, Twilight Sentinel, power door locks, power windows, side window defoggers, remote trunk release, electronic climate control with outside temperature display, a six-way power seat for the driver, and an electronically tuned AM/FM stereo radio with power antenna were all included.

Options included Astroroof ($1,195), electronic cruise control ($175), tilt/telescope steering wheel ($169), and Symphonic Sound System ($290).

Eldorado Touring Coupe page from the 1982 Cadillac brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures section.

The Eldorado Touring Coupe got reasonably even-handed (perhaps a little surprised) reviews from the “buff books,” but didn’t sell very well. First-year sales of 1,700 units (about 3% of overall Eldorado production) declined every year until eighth-generation production ended with the 1985 model year.

Eighth-generation Eldorados definitely have a following—and values are sliding up. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1982 Eldorado in #1/Concours condition is $14,900, with a more normal #3/Good condition car going for $6,400. Eldorado Touring Coupes sometimes show up for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors.

There was only one color available for the 1982 Eldorado Touring Coupe (later years had more choices), so make mine Sterling Silver.

Updated February 2019.

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1982 Chrysler LeBaron convertible

“No other car is causing so much excitement.”

The Chrysler LeBaron convertible was a mid-year introduction, becoming available in the spring of 1982. It was the first factory convertible from an American manufacturer available for sale in the United States since the 1976 Cadillac Eldorado.

All LeBarons were all-new for 1982. Based on the more plebeian Dodge Aries/Plymouth Reliant front-wheel drive K cars that had been on sale for a year, the LeBaron (sometimes described as the Super-K) was a move at least slightly up-market. Most exterior body panels were the same as the K. Notable styling differences were a waterfall style grill (somewhat resembling that of the previous year’s rear-wheel-drive LeBaron), quad headlamps, relocation of the parking lamps and turn signals to the front bumper, and a full-width tail-lamp housing.

Chrysler used almost all of the standard K pieces inside the LeBaron. Recessed door handles and rocker type door locks were one of the few changes, along with a different style of armrest and door pull. There was less vinyl trim, and the carpeting and other fabrics were of somewhat higher quality. A significant difference was the attention paid to noise, vibration, and harshness: between soundproofing, better parts, and suspension tuning, the LeBaron was upgraded from the base K in 26 separate ways.

Cars & Concepts in Brighton, Michigan heavily modified two-door LeBaron coupes on their way to becoming convertibles—the process included 32 steps. They installed a boxed-in backbone along the center of the car and welded a three-piece windshield header to the A-pillars. Next, Cars & Concepts installed new door glass and added door wedges. Finally, they added a new fiberglass panel to hold the rather small rear seats and mounted the convertible motor on the floor pan behind the rear bulkhead.

The convertible top itself had a plastic rear window and broad rear quarter panels; Car and Driver wrote that this created “a sort of Conestoga-wagon effect.” The top was actuated from a button on the console, and a padded top boot snapped into place when the top was lowered.

A K 2.2 liter/135 ci inline four with a two-barrel Holley carburetor producing 84 bhp was the base engine. A two-barrel carburetted Mitsubishi G54B 2.6-liter inline four with 92 bhp and 20 additional ft-lbs of torque was available for an added $171. Both engines were paired with a TorqueFlite three-speed automatic transmission. Mileage with the base engine was 25 city/36 highway by the standards of the day. The optional engine was rated at 23 city/31 highway and brought the 0-60 time down from about 17 (aargh!) seconds to about 15 seconds.

The LeBaron convertible’s base price was $11,698 (about $31,200 in today’s dollars and about 44% more than the 1982 LeBaron coupe). For that money, you got dual outside mirrors (actually taken from the Dodge Omni 024), power brakes, power steering, and P185/70R14 whitewall tires (a size still readily available, though finding whitewalls might be tough) on 14-inch wheels. Inside you got vinyl bucket seats with a folding center armrest, digital clock, and an AM radio. 76% of convertible drivers moved up to Medallion trim, which boosted the price to $13,998 (about $37,400 in 2018 dollars) and added halogen headlamps, better gauges, and snazzier wheel covers.

The Mark Cross package cost an additional $861, moved the sticker to a non-trivial $14,859 (about $39,700 in today’s dollars) and added the 2.6-liter engine, air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, and attractive Mark Cross leather/vinyl seats. Other options included cornering lamps ($57), cast aluminum wheels ($344), automatic speed control ($155), and an AM/FM stereo radio with electronic tuning and cassette player ($455).

1982 Chrysler LeBaron convertible advertisement.
1982 Chrysler LeBaron convertible advertisement.

First-year sales of LeBaron convertible were a respectable 12,825, especially considering the shortened year and the relatively high price. I would characterize In a piece of general eighties trivia, the first commercial cell phone call in history was made from a LeBaron convertible in October 1983.

These cars are being collected and shown—I see them often at AACA judging meets. You see them for sale in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors: as I update this blog entry in December 2018, there’s a Morocco Red LeBaron with 24,000 miles for sale on Hemmings for $10,800.

These convertibles also started Chrysler’s long tradition of making convertibles that might occasionally be sporty but were not sports cars—a market niche they exited in 2014 with the demise of the Chrysler 200 convertible.

I still like what Chrysler was trying to do, and I appreciate how these cars look, at least with the top down. Make mine Mahogany Metallic, please, with the Mark Cross package.

Updated in December 2018

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1982 Chevrolet Corvette coupe

“Cross-Fire injection adds to the Corvette performance equation.”

1982 was the final year for the “shark” Corvette but the first year for the L82 Cross-Fire 5.7 liter/350 ci V8—a throttle body fuel-injected design that put out a respectable for the day 200 bhp and 285 lb-ft of torque. The downside was that it was only available with a four-speed automatic transmission; a manual transmission would not return until the middle of the 1984 model year. Top speed for the 1982 Corvette was 125 mph, and Road & Track managed a 0-60 time of 7.9 seconds. Estimated fuel economy was 15 city/26 highway by the standards of the day—not bad for a fairly large V8 with primitive engine controls.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment in the $18,290 base Corvette (about $45,100 in today’s dollars) included a Delco Freedom II battery, power steering, power disc brakes, and P225/70R15 tires on 15-inch by 8-inch steel rally wheels. Inside, air conditioning, power windows, tilt-telescopic steering wheel, quartz analog clock, and an AM/FM stereo radio were all included.

Optional exterior and mechanical equipment included power sport mirrors ($125), power door locks ($155), cruise control ($165), electric rear window defogger ($129), gymkhana suspension (only $61 for specially tuned shock absorbers, higher-rate rear spring, and a rear stabilizer bar), two-tone paint ($428), aluminum wheels ($458), and  P255/60R15 Goodyear Eagle GT tires ($543). Optional interior equipment included a six-way power driver’s seat ($197) and an AM/FM stereo radio with a cassette player ($423).

Options that date this car include the stereo radio with cassette and Citizens Band  ($755) and the stereo radio with 8-track player ($755). Corvette buyers piled on the options: the average buyer ordered $2,195 worth, raising the sticker to $20,485 (about $50,500 in 2014 dollars).

Rear cover of the 1982 Corvette brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures section.

There is strong club support for the 1982 Corvette, as there is for all Corvettes. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a non-Collector Edition 1982 Corvette in #1 condition is $29,000, with a more normal number #3 condition car going for $13,900. 1982 Corvettes often show up in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds—as I write this in September 2014, there’s a black car with a red leather interior with 39,000 miles available for $18,000.

Make mine one of the relatively rare (and absolutely gorgeous) Silver Green Metallic cars, with the Silver Green interior.