1982 Toyota Celica Supra

This post was one of my first entries in this blog. I’ve updated it to reflect both changes in my posting style and substantial improvements in available data.

“The ultimate performance Toyota.”

Remember when Toyota made a reasonable amount of cool sporty cars?

I do—I believe they nailed it with the Mark II Celica Supra. First, the styling: though based on the Celica, the longer hood (to accommodate the Supra’s inline six) along with the pop-up headlights (you’ll have to believe me that they were very cool in the 1980s) substantially changed the look of the car. It wasn’t just the styling—Supras also included a notably higher level of interior equipment.

1982 Toyota Celica Supra, the 1982 Motor Trend Import Car Of The Year.
1982 Toyota Celica Supra, picture courtesy of Motor Trend from their Import Car Of The Year photo shoot.

The engine was Toyota’s 145 bhp 5M-GE 2.8 liter/168 ci dual overhead cam fuel injected inline six, giving a 0-60 time of about 9 seconds (spritely for 1982) and a top speed of approximately 125 mph. Over the next few years, engine power would climb to 161 bhp.

Mileage with the standard five-speed manual transmission was 21 city/34 highway by the standards of the day (19/31 by today’s standards). Choosing the optional four-speed automatic transmission reduced highway mileage to 32 highway. With a 16.1-gallon gas tank, Supra drivers could expect to drive 360 to 395 miles before seeking more fuel.

All Celica Supras included a four-wheel independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, cruise control, and a tilt steering wheel. Two models were available: the L– (for “Luxury”) Type and the P– (for “Performance”) Type. The $13,598 L-Type (about $36,700 in 2018 dollars) included standard power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, and P195/70R-14 tires (a size still readily available) on 14 x 5.5-inch wheels.

Moving up to the $14,598 P-Type (about $39,400 in today’s dollars) added fender flares, a limited slip differential, eight-way adjustable sport seats, and P225/60HR-14 tires (a size currently available only from BFGoodrich) on 14 x 7 inch aluminum wheels.

Here’s a classic commercial, with legendary (and very tall) race car driver Dan Gurney shilling for the brand new Supra.

The second-generation Supra was well-received—Car and Driver made it part of their first 10Best in 1983. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1982 Toyota Celica Supra in #1/Concours condition is $17,300. The value for a more “normal” #3/Good condition example is $7,200.

This generation of Supras maintains some presence in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors—as I update this post in December 2018, there’s Silver 1985 Supra with Gray cloth seats and 109,000 miles for sale in Hemmings asking $12,500.

Make mine Silver, please.

Updated December 2018.

1982 Jaguar XJ-S H.E. coupe

“Never has a more exciting car been offered with so much, to so few.”

Significantly changed for 1982 (there was no 1981 XJ-S), the Jaguar XJ-S received a substantially updated H.E. 5.3 liter/326 ci fuel injected V12 engine with higher compression, upping horsepower to 263 bhp and increasing efficiency. The other end of the powertrain remained a three-speed automatic transmission sourced from General Motors.

Performance was quite respectable for the almost 4,000-pound coupe: 0-60 in about 8.0 seconds. Despite the efficiency upgrades, mileage remained what you might expect from a V12—14 city/22 highway by the standards of the day (13/20 by today’s standards).

XJS
Jaguar XJ-S coupe

With its flying buttresses in the rear, the basic XJ-S exterior design from 1976 was nothing if not distinctive. Standard equipment included power steering and four-wheel power disk brakes. 15-inch aluminum wheels were paired with Pirelli 215/70VR15 tires.

Inside, the buyer received air conditioning with automatic temperature control, leather seats, power windows, power mirrors, intermittent windshield wipers, cruise control, and an AM/FM stereo cassette with Dolby and metal tape capability. Burl elm on the dashboard and door panels was a new addition to the still somewhat cramped interior for 1982.

There were no options—probably a good idea in a car that used a six-year-old design and cost $32,100 (about $78,600 in today’s dollars). The approximately 3,100 buyers for the 1982 model year picked their exterior color, and that was it.

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 H.E. 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. Current discussions in the XJ-S portion of the Jag-lovers forums are replete with transmission issues, brake system replacements, gas tank challenges, and ECU problems.

Many examples are available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds. As I write this in March 2014, a black 1984 XJ-S with 80,000 miles is for sale for $11,000. Make mine Racing Green Metallic, please.

1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am hatchback coupe

I recently revisited this very early post, modifying it enough to classify it as brand new.

“From sabre-like nose to rakish tale the Trans Am is a brilliant orchestration of aerodynamic function.”

It is hard now to remember how new and wildly aerodynamic the 1982 Firebird Trans Am looked when it debuted. It suddenly made every other American car (and more than a few European ones) look like they were standing still.

The Trans Am didn’t just look aerodynamic, either: the drag coefficient of .323 is still respectable even in 2013. Pontiac’s choice of pop-up headlights (over the Camaro’s open headlights) and careful airflow tuning yielded an impressive result.

Unfortunately, the mechanicals did not come close to backing up the looks. The top of the line engine for the Trans Am was the LU9 “Crossfire” throttle-body injected 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, with 165 bhp—and that was only available with a three-speed automatic transmission, yielding about a nine second zero to sixty time (Motor Trend managed to do it in 8.89 seconds). If you wanted the four-speed manual transmission, the best engine choice available on the Trans Am was the base LG4 V8 with 145 bhp—and approximately ten seconds from 0 to 60 mph.

These performance issues did not, however, prevent Pontiac from implying the world in their commercials.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $9,658 Trans Am (about $25,500 in today’s dollars) included power brakes (front disc/rear drum), hidden electronically-controlled halogen headlamps, dual sport mirrors, an all-glass rear hatch, a rear decklid spoiler, and 205/70R14 steel-belted radial tires (still a readily available size) on turbo cast aluminum wheels. Inside, reclining front bucket seats and side window defoggers were included.

Options included special performance package ($387 bought you the special handling package, four-wheel disc brakes, and 215/65R15 blackwall tires on 15 x 7 aluminum wheels), power windows ($165), power door locks ($106), tilt steering wheel ($95), and air conditioning ($675).

Third-generation Firebirds have a strong following, and 1982 Trans Ams make regular appearances in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors. As I update this post in December 2018, there’s a Bright Red 1983 Trans Am with 85,000 miles for sale for $6,700. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1982 Trans Am with the “Crossfire” in #1/Concours condition is $20,400, with a more normal #3/Good car going for $7,600.

Please make mine Black, but I think I’d hold out for the 1983 and its five-speed manual transmission/190 bhp L69 HO engine combination.

Updated in December 2018.