1982 Ford Mustang GT hatchback coupe

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

“If excitement is your master key, this one opens all the doors.”

The 1982 Ford Mustang GT marked the return to form of America’s definitive pony car and ignited a second round of the power wars with the then brand new third generation Camaro and Firebird. Along with the new GT trim level, the new high output (H.O.) version of the venerable 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 was up to 157 bhp—quite an upgrade from 1981’s 4.2 liter/255 ci engine.

Mustang GT page from the 1982 Ford Mustang brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures section.

157 bhp feels quaint in 2014 (the lowest horsepower engine for the 2015 Mustang is the 300 bhp 3.7 liter V6), but the 1981 Mustang had topped out at (oog…) 115 bhp and as tested 0-60 times in the 2,600 pound GT dropped by over 3 seconds for 1982.

You could get the H.O. engine with any Mustang, but the hot setup was with the GT, which offered a four-speed manual transmission and a 3.08:1 rear axle ratio with Traction-Lok limited slip differential. Other options that were standard with the $8,308 GT (about $20,500 in today’s dollars) with the 302 were power steering and traction bars. The GT also received cast aluminum wheels, dual fog lamps, a forward-facing hood scoop, and the same spoiler initially featured on the first-year for the Fox-body Mustang 1979 Pace Car.

Options for the Mustang GT included air conditioning ($676), snazzy Recaro high-back bucket seats ($834), power windows ($165), and an AM/FM stereo with either 8-track or cassette player ($178)—it seems that 1982 was Ford’s crossover year for 8-track versus cassette.

The Mustang GT shows up often in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds.  As I write this in August 2014, there are no 1982s, but there is a white 1985 with 28,000 miles on sale for $11,500. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for an 1982 Ford Mustang GT in #1 condition is $14,700, with values sliding up.

I only have four exterior color choices with a 1982 Mustang GT—make mine Bright Red, please.

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 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am looked when it debuted—Car and Driver wrote that it’s “exterior sculpturing is an absolute knockout.” The Trans Am 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 2019. 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 for the Trans Am.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $9,658 Trans Am (about $26,000 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 14-inch turbo cast aluminum wheels. Inside, reclining front bucket seats and side window defoggers were included.

Options included a 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), a 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. 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. When I updated this blog entry in February 2019, there was a Black/Gold 1984 Trans Am with black seats, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, a five-speed manual, and 1,971 miles for sale in Hemmings for $23,000.

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

Updated in February 2019.