1984 Buick Skyhawk coupe

“Take flight.”

1984 was the third year for Buick’s version of the J-car. It also marked the Skyhawk’s peak sales year, with Buick producing 75,760 coupes, 45,648 sedans, and 13,668 station wagons.

The Skyhawk’s standard powertrain was an LQ5 86 bhp 2.0 liter/121 ci inline four with throttle-body fuel injection paired with a four-speed manual. An LH8 84 bhp 1.8 liter inline four with throttle-body fuel injection was $50, but required an upgrade to a five-speed manual ($75). Both engines were available with a three-speed automatic ($395). An LA5 turbocharged version of the 1.8 liter engine with 150 bhp was only available with the T TYPE coupe.

Performance wasn’t exactly scintillating, but Skyhawk coupe’s relatively low 2,316-pound weight did help. 0-60 times with the 1.8 liter/five-speed combination were likely in the 12 second range. Fuel economy with the same powertrain was rated at 29 city/46 highway by the day’s standards—today’s measures give a far less impressive 23/33. With a 13.5-gallon gas tank, a Skyhawk owner could expect a range of 340 to 455 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Two Skyhawk pages from the 1984 Buick brochure
Skyhawk pages from the 1984 Buick brochure

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $7,133 base Skyhawk coupe (designated as Custom) included manual rack-and-pinion steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes, and P175/80R13 blackwall tires on 13-inch wheels with Deluxe wheel covers. Inside, full carpeting, reclining front bucket seats, a full-length operating console, a Custom steering wheel, and an AM radio were included.

Moving up to the $7,641 Limited (about $22,400 in 2022 dollars and slightly less than a 2022 Buick Encore SUV costs) added dual horns, an acoustic package, a Limited steering wheel, and instrument gauges, along with cloth-covered seats and door panels.

Exterior and mechanical options for the Skyhawk coupe included tinted glass ($95), tungsten-halogen headlamps ($22), and styled aluminum wheels ($229). Inside, Electronic Touch Climate Control air conditioning ($780), manual air conditioning ($630), power windows ($185), and a series of stereo choices ranging up to an electronic tuning AM/FM stereo radio with cassette tape and graphic equalizer ($505) were all available.

The View From 2022

I haven’t seen a second-generation Skyhawk in person in many years. Buick made them through the 1989 model year, by which time sales numbers had dropped to a mere fraction of those in 1984.

Skyhawks are sometimes available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and at online auctions such as Bring a Trailer that cater to the eighties car market. As I write this blog entry in September 2022, Hemmings has a 1986 White Skyhawk T-Type hatchback with gray lower accents, silver/black cloth bucket seats, and 10,000 miles for sale for $16,000.

Make mine Silver Metallic, please.


1984 Chevrolet Camaro Sport Coupe

Bring a Trailer recently featured a 1984 Chevrolet Camaro Sport Coupe that was generally original except for the wheels and tires. It sold for $8,000.

“Looks. Performance. Price.”

For 1984, the Chevrolet Camaro Sport Coupe had relatively few changes. A four-speed automatic became the only automatic available (1983 Camaros had three-speed and four-speed automatic options). Steel-belted radial tires were newly standard on all Camaros, and all manual transmission vehicles received a hydraulic clutch.

The Sport Coupe continued with the LQ9Iron Duke” 92 bhp 2.5 liter inline four with fuel injection as standard, paired with a four-speed manual transmission. Optional engines were two: the LC1 107 bhp 2.8 liter V6 with a two-barrel carburetor ($250) and the LG4 150 bhp 5.0 liter V8 with a four-barrel carburetor ($550). Both a five-speed manual ($125) and a four-speed automatic ($525) were optional.

Sport Coupe pages from the 1984 Camaro brochure

With the standard powertrain, the Sport Coupe was all show, no go. 0-60 tests of four cylinder F-cars are rare to non-existent, but reasonable estimates are in the high 12 to high 13 second range. For all that trouble, mileage wasn’t that impressive: 24 city/36 highway by the day’s standards, which would now be 19/26. With a 15.5-gallon gas tank, a four cylinder Sport Coupe owner could expect a range of 315 to 415 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

The hot setup for the Sport Coupe, such as it was, was the LG4 V8 paired with the four-speed automatic (five-speed manuals with V8s were Z28-only in 1984). For a total of $1,075, this combination changed the car’s character, with the 0-60 time dropping by more than three seconds compared to the base four. These changes did not mean that a V8 Sport Coupe was going to see anything but the taillights of a Z28 with the 190 bhp “H.O.” V8. Fuel economy ratings with the V8 also dropped significantly to 18 city/29 highway, but a slightly larger 16.1-gallon fuel tank reduced the range penalty—a V8 Sport Coupe owner could expect a 260 to 340 mile range.

Perhaps the most engaging Sport Coupe—but certainly not the fastest—was the LC1 V6/five-speed manual combination. At $375 over the base car, it was about a second faster from 0-60 mph. Fuel economy ratings of 20 city/31 highway along with a 16.1-gallon fuel tank meant a 275 to 370 fuel range.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment for the $8,097 Sport Coupe (about $22,500 in today’s dollars or about 10% less than a 2022 base 1LS Camaro coupe costs) included dual black side mirrors, fast-ratio power steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes, and P195/75R14 radial tires (a size still reasonably available) on 14-inch body-colored wheels with hubcaps. Inside, reclining front vinyl bucket seats, a floor console, and an AM radio were included.

Options & Production Numbers

Options were many and included body color Sport mirrors ($139), a rear deck spoiler ($69), tinted glass ($110), removable glass roof panels ($850), and four-wheel power disc brakes ($179 and V8-only). Inside, buyers could add a gage package with a tachometer ($149), Deluxe luggage compartment trim ($164 and including a locking rear compartment storage cover), Custom cloth bucket seats ($359 and including quiet sound group), and air conditioning ($730).

Six different optional radios were available, with the top-of-the-line being an electronically tuned AM/FM stereo radio with seek and scan, cassette tape, clock, and graphic equalizer ($493). A well-equipped Sport Coupe could easily sticker for substantially more than a base Berlinetta or Z28.

The 1984 Sport Coupe sold quite well—Chevrolet moved 127,292 units, making it about 49% of overall Camaro sales. 1984 would be the peak for Sport Coupe sales in the 1980s, and it isn’t obvious why.

The View From 2022

Third-generation Camaros have substantial forum support and they attract collector interest. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1984 Camaro Sport Coupe with the V8 in #1/Concours condition is $13,400, with a far more normal #3/Good condition version going for $6,000. V6 versions get a 30% deduction, while four cylinder cars go for half price.

Make mine Charcoal Metallic, please.

Other third-generation Camaro hatchback coupes I have written about include the 1982 Z28 Indy 500 Commemorative Edition, the 1985 IROC-Z, and the 1986 Berlinetta. I have yet to write about any of the 1987 thru 1989 Camaro convertibles.

1984 Mercury Grand Marquis Colony Park LS station wagon

At Mecum Kansas City 2021, a Light Desert Tan Mercury Grand Marquis Colony Park LS station wagon with bodyside and tailgate rosewood woodtone appliques sold for $8,500. For Boxing Day 2021, here’s a big American station wagon.

“luxurious working cars”

For 1984, Mercury’s Grand Marquis Colony Park station wagon was little changed. The Colony Park name had been around since 1957 as a signifier of Mercury’s top-of-the-line station wagon.

The Colony Park’s only powertrain—indeed the only powertrain available for any Grand Marquis—was a Windsor 140 bhp 4.9 liter/302ci V8 with fuel injection paired with a four-speed automatic. Fuel economy was 17 city/27 highway by 1984 standards (14/20 by current measures). With an 18.5-gallon fuel tank, a Colony Park owner could expect a range of between 285 and 365 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

The Colony Park was a large car, with a 114.1-inch wheelbase and 218-inch length. It had changed little since 1979, when Ford downsized its full-size cars to the Panther platform. Changes over the next five years were mostly confined to trim and color variations, along with powertrain changes.

Colony Park pages from the 1984 Grand Marquis brochure
Colony Park pages from the 1984 Grand Marquis brochure

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $11,816 Grand Marquis Colony Park (about $32,500 in today’s dollars or about what a base 2022 Ford Explorer goes for) included the distinctive “bodyside and tailgate rosewood woodtone applique,” a three-way tailgate, a power tailgate window, power steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes, and P215/75R14 white sidewall tires (a size still available thanks to Hankook) on 14-inch wheels with Deluxe wheel covers. Inside, reclining Twin Comfort Lounge front seats in vinyl, a fold-down rear seatback, and AM/FM stereo radio with two rear speakers were included.

At $12,437, the Colony Park LS added tinted glass, Luxury cloth seat trim for the Twin Comfort Lounge front seats, seatback map pockets, and 18-ounce color-keyed cut-pile carpeting.

Packages, Options, and Production Numbers

Packages available for the Colony Park included Convenience Group, Lock Group, Light Group, and the Trailer Towing Package.

Since there were no Lincoln station wagons, the Colony Park LS was the top-of-the-line wagon available from Ford Motor Company in the mid-1980s. Despite all the luxury Mercury implied the Colony Park LS had, it still didn’t include standard air conditioning, though the take rate on the two air conditioning options—one manual ($743) and one automatic ($809)—must have been high.

Other options available included “glamour” paint ($77), a luggage rack ($104), a Traction-Lok axle ($95), fingertip speed control ($176), a leather-wrapped steering wheel ($59), a tilt steering wheel ($110) and the Premium Sound System. Optional P205/75R15 tires ($17/$178 if puncture sealant) required the optional turbine spoke cast aluminum wheels ($361). A well-equipped Colony Park could easily get to $14,600—not that many thousand dollars from Lincoln money.

Mercury sold 17,421 Colony Park wagons in 1984, but the split for the base versus the LS versions is unknown.

Make mine Medium Canyon Red Metallic, please.

Two other Panther-based cars I have written about are the 1980 Lincoln Continental Mark VII coupe and the 1983 Mercury Grand Marquis sedan.

1984 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible

“… this is one convertible that truly brings luxury out in the open.”

For 1984, Cadillac decided to join the eighties convertible party with a version of the Eldorado Biarritz. With a base price of $31,286 (about $80,600 in today’s dollars), the Eldorado droptop was operating in rarified air. In constant dollars, it was the most costly Eldorado of any type since 1960’s hand-crafted Pininfarina-built Brougham.

The only powertrain available for the 1984 Eldorado convertible was an HT-4100 135 bhp 4.1 liter/249 ci V8 with fuel injection paired with a four-speed automatic. With a curb weight of about 3,900 pounds, 0-60 mph came in about 13.5 seconds. Fuel economy was rated at 17 city/27 highway by 1984 standards (14/20 by today’s measures). A 20.4-gallon gas tank meant an Eldorado convertible owner could expect a range of between 310 and 405 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

1984 Cadillac Eldorado convertible advertisement
1984 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible advertisement

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the Biarritz convertible included a power convertible top, power rear quarter windows, car color body side moldings, and P225/70R15 tires (a size still readily available) on 15-inch wheels with wire wheel discs. Inside, a theft-deterrent system, leather seats, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel rim were standard.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on every 1984 Eldorado included Soft Ray tinted glass, front-wheel-drive, a four-wheel independent suspension, power steering, remote mirrors, and four-wheel power disk brakes. Inside, electronic climate control, power door locks, and power windows were all included. Standard audio features included a Delco-GM 2000 stereo with four speakers and a power antenna.

Options and Production Numbers

Options available for the Biarritz convertible included an engine block heater, a remote locking fuel filler door, power mirrors, Twilight Sentinel, cruise control, and a six-way power passenger seat.

Many Eldorado coupe options were not available with the convertible. Some of these unavailable options included the touring suspension, the memory seat, and the all-conquering Delco-GM/Bose Symphony Sound System.

Cadillac sold 3,300 Eldorado convertibles in 1984—substantial numbers for such a high-end droptop and well more than the platform-mate Buick Riviera managed to sell in any single year. General Motors ended up having to navigate at least one lawsuit from folks who had purchased the 1976 Eldorado, which Cadillac advertised at the time as “the last convertible.”

The View From 2021

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Tenth-generation Eldorados do attract collector interest, and there is club support. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1984 Eldorado convertible in #1/Concours condition is $32,800, with a far more normal #3/Good condition version going for $9,000. These Eldorados are often available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds, on eBay Motors, and at auction. As I write this post, a Cotillion White 1984 Eldorado convertible with red leather “tufted multi-button” seats and 78,000 miles is for sale on Hemmings for $14,500.

Make mine Autumn Maple Firemist, please.

Other Eldorados I have written about include the 1982 Touring Coupe, the 1986 coupe, and the 1988 coupe. Additional E-body/K-body cars with blog entries include the 1980 Buick Riviera S TYPE coupe, the 1980 Cadillac Seville sedan, the 1982 Oldsmobile Toronado Brougham coupe, and the 1984 Buick Riviera T TYPE coupe.

1984 Honda Civic DX hatchback coupe

The 1984 model year brought the third generation Honda Civic, which was available in hatchback coupe, notchback sedan, and wagon versions—along with the CRX, of course. The topic of this post is the hatchback coupe in the upscale DX trim. With its Kammback design, Honda’s new hatchback brought unprecedented style to the compact car segment.

The Civic’s standard powertrain was a 60 bhp 1.3 liter/82 ci inline four with a CVCC three-barrel carburetor and a four-speed manual. However, the DX received a more powerful EW 76 bhp 1.5 liter/91 ci inline four with three valves per cylinder and a CVCC three-barrel carburetor along with a five-speed manual. DX purchasers could also choose an automatic. In a DX with the manual transmission, 0-60 came in about 11 seconds—more than competitive in class in 1984.

With its standard manual transmission, fuel economy ratings for the DX were an excellent 35 city/45 highway by the standards of the day and a still respectable 27/32 by today’s standards. Despite the small 11.9-gallon fuel tank, a new DX owner could expect a range of from 315 to 425 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

1984 Honda Civic Hatchback advertisement

At the beginning of the model year, the base Civic hatchback coupe went for $5,242—about $13,500 in 2020 dollars. Standard mechanical equipment on every Civic hatchback included front-wheel-drive, rack and pinion steering, and 155/80R13 steel-belted radial tires (a size still available thanks to Kumho) on 13-inch wheels. Inside, every Civic hatchback included a day/night rearview mirror and reclining front bucket seats.

The $6,292 DX—about $16,200 in today’s dollars and almost exactly what a base 2020 Honda Fit hatchback sedan goes for—added the aforementioned engine and transmission upgrades. It also included tinted glass, a rear window defroster, and reclining rear seatbacks.

There were few factory options beyond the automatic transmission, but many accessories listed in the brochure. Air conditioning was a dealer-installed option for the Civic—and would be so well into the 1990s.

Overall, the 1984 Civic sold very well—at 184,846, it set a new sales record for Honda. Third-generation Civics rarely show up for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds but have more of a presence on eBay Motors—though most are either highly modified or with substantial miles.

Make mine Claret Red Metallic, please.

Other Hondas I have written about include the 1983 Civic S hatchback coupe, the 1984 CRX hatchback coupe, the 1985 CRX Si hatchback coupe, the 1986 Accord sedan, and the 1988 Civic sedan.

1984 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 15th Anniversary Edition hatchback coupe

I clearly remember a 15th Anniversary Edition Trans Am being displayed inside Marsh Pontiac’s small showroom on the Lincoln Highway in Ardmore, PA.

“… leaves the also-rans even further behind …”

1984 Trans Am press release
15th Anniversary Trans Am press materials

For 1984, Pontiac announced a special edition Trans Am to commemorate the Firebird sub-model’s 15th year.

The $3,499 15th Anniversary Edition featured white paint with blue graphics that hearkened back to the original 1969 Trans Am. Other exterior components included the Aero Package optional on normal Trans Ams and T-tops. Mechanical features included the LG9 HO 190 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, the WS6 special handling package, four-wheel power disc brakes, and P245/50R16 tires (a size still readily available) on 16 x 8 inch white hi-tech turbo aluminum wheels.

As had been true in many previous Trans Am special editions, the 15th Anniversary Edition Trans Am featured Recaro front bucket seats—these were leather with cloth inserts. Other interior features specific to the special edition included a white leather steering wheel and shifter knob. Standard equipment on all 1984 Trans Ams included sport mirrors, a rear deck spoiler, tungsten halogen headlamps, rally gauges, a console, and power steering.

Only the top of the line engine was available with the 15th Anniversary Edition, but there was a choice of transmissions. A five-speed manual came standard, with an automatic being a $295 option. 0-60 came in less than seven seconds—two to three seconds better than it had been in 1982. Fuel economy ratings were 16 city/27 highway by 1984 standards (13/20 by today’s measures). With a smallish 13.3-gallon gas tank, a Trans Am owner could expect a range of 200 to 255 mikes with a 10% fuel reserve.

Options and Production Numbers

Trans Ams (even special editions ones) did not come loaded in 1984—by the time the 20th Anniversary Edition came around in 1989, that would no longer be so. Exterior and mechanical options included Soft-Ray tinted glass ($110), an electric rear window defogger ($140), and a limited slip differential ($95).

Interior options included air conditioning ($730), power windows ($215), a power antenna ($60), and a Delco AM/FM stereo cassette with a five-band graphic equalizer ($590). Upholstery and trim options included six-way power seats ($215 each), a tilt steering wheel ($110), luggage compartment trim ($110), and cloth floor mats ($20 front/$15 rear).

Pontiac built a symbolic 1,500 15th Anniversary Editions—500 with the five-speed manual and 1,000 with the automatic. Those 1,500 were a small part of the 55,374 total Trans Ams made in the 1984 model year, with those sales less than half of 128,304 Firebirds sold (Pontiac sold a lot of base Firebirds). Both the Trans Am numbers and the overall Firebird sales marked an eighties peak for Pontiac, with only 1980 and 1982 coming close.

The View From 2020

15th Anniversary Edition Trans Ams do attract some collector interest. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 15th Anniversary Edition Trans Am with the five-speed in #1/Concours condition is $28,400, with a far more normal #3/Good condition version with an automatic going for $9,500. These Trans Ams are often available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors, and they sometimes show up at auction.

Make mine White, please—it’s not like I have a choice.

I evidently can’t help myself with eighties Trans Ams; I’ve also written about the 1981, the 1982, the 1985, and the 1989 Turbo. I probably should write about the Formula and the S/E at some point—perhaps even the base car.

1984 Plymouth Voyager van

1984 Plymouth Voyager on the National Mall
1984 Plymouth Voyager on the National Mall, courtesy of the HVA

In spring 2018, the Historic Vehicle Association placed a series of five notable vehicles in a glass case on the National Mall in Washington, DC. One of those vehicles was a 1984 Plymouth Voyager Limited Edition minivan—highly original, and with a mere 12,000 miles.

“The Magic Wagon.”

Few eighties vehicles changed the world as much as the Dodge Caravan/Plymouth Voyager twins—because few automobiles essentially create a new market segment. The essential glory of K-platform minivans was their splitting of the packaging differences between traditional station wagons and full-size vans, along with their utilization of front-wheel-drive. Astoundingly, Allpar writes that Chrysler had been working on the same basic idea since around 1972. A reason given that those early designs were not brought to market was that General Motors and Ford had not released their own versions. It took Lee Iaccoca’s arrival in late 1978 to finally get upper management support for the T-115 concept.

The Voyager’s standard powertrain was an 84 bhp 2.2 liter/135 ci inline four with a two-barrel carburetor paired with a five-speed manual. Powertrain options included a $439 three-speed automatic and a $259 105 bhp 2.6 liter/156 ci inline four with a two-barrel carburetor (which required the automatic).

For a mainstream vehicle in 1984, the Voyager came respectably equipped. Standard exterior and mechanical equipment ($8,290 or about $20,200 in today’s dollars) included tinted glass for all windows, a right hand sliding door with a vented window, quad halogen headlamps, power rack and pinion steering, and P185/75R14 blackwall tires on 14-inch wheels with bright wheel covers. Inside, a left hand remote control mirror, two-speed windshield wipers, cloth low back front bucket seats, a three-passenger rear seat, full-floor carpeting, and an AM ETR radio with a digital clock were included.

Moving up to the S.E./Special Edition package ($227) added black exterior window trim, black lower body paint, road styled wheels with bright centers and trim rings, and Deluxe cloth low back front bucket seats.

Page from the 1984 Plymouth Voyager brochure
L.E. page from the 1984 Plymouth Voyager brochure

The top-of-the-line L.E./Limited Edition package ($815) included everything from the S.E. package and added woodgrain exterior vinyl bodyside panels, dual horns, a Luxury steering wheel, and Luxury cloth high back front bucket seats with recliners.

Individual options included premium wheel covers ($203), a 20-gallon fuel tank ($43), air conditioning ($737), automatic speed control ($179), a rear window defroster ($143), power door locks ($176), and an AM/FM stereo with a cassette player ($389). A Seven-Passenger Seating Package ($336) was available with either the S.E. or the L.E.—that was Chrysler’s nomenclature for adding a third row seat.

Of course, the Chrysler minivan twins were a huge success, with 209,895 sold in their initial model year. They also received good to great reviews from the automotive press—Car and Driver included them in their 1985 10Best Cars.

Ford and General Motors had notable trouble in responding. Both had competitors (Chevrolet Astro, Ford Aerostar, GMC Safari) in place by the 1986 model year, but the market found them wanting—in part because they were rear-wheel-drive. The first real competition for Chrysler did not come until the mid-nineties when Honda debuted the front-wheel-drive Odyssey.

Despite their importance, just a few folks out there collect these minivans—though I did spot one at a car show several years ago. Chrysler minivans of this era rarely show up for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors—in fact, they now are seldom for sale anywhere.

Make mine Gunmetal Blue Pearl Coat, please.

1984 Maserati Biturbo coupe

After over six years of writing, this is the first Maserati to be featured in Eighties Cars.

“Formula One Performance in a Grand Touring Masterpiece”

After two years of European production, 1984 was the first model year that Maserati’s Pierangelo Andreani-styled Biturbo coupe was available in the United States. The Biturbo was a complete change of pace for Maserati, essentially designed to be an Italian-flavored BMW 3 series competitor.

Of course, the Biturbo was famous for—and named for—it’s engine, the first production twin-turbocharged powerplant in the world. For 1984’s move to the US market, displacement of the V6 was increased to 2.5 liters/152 cubic inches, which resulted in 192 bhp. Unsurprisingly for the era, a Weber two-barrel carburetor fed the fuel/air mixture. The only transmission available for 1984 was a five-speed manual.

page from 1984 maserati Biturbo brochure
Page from the 1984 Maserati Biturbo brochure

Maserati’s four-page brochure claimed a top speed of 130 mph and a 0-60 time of 6.9 seconds in the 2,650-pound Biturbo (quick in 1984), and period road tests came reasonably close to those figures. Fuel economy was less impressive—rated at 15 city/25 highway by the standards of the day (12/18 by today’s standards). With a sizeable 21.2-gallon gas tank, a Biturbo owner could expect a range of between 285 and 380 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard equipment on the $26,874 Biturbo (about $68,200 in today’s dollars or about what a 2020 Ghibli sedan costs) included a four-wheel independent suspension, rack and pinion steering, four-wheel power disc brakes, and Pirelli P6 195/60HR14 tires (a size still readily available) on 14 x 5.5 inch magnesium alloy wheels. The luxurious interior design was highly acclaimed at the time and remains attractive even to this day.

Initially, the Biturbo sold reasonably well in North America, aided by positive reviews—Popular Mechanics called it “the Clark Kent of cars.” However, a reputation for both engine unreliability (related to the blow-through carburetor/turbo combination) and spotty build quality quickly took its toll, and by 1985 many coupes sat on dealer lots. Decades later, this notoriety would end up landing the 1984 Biturbo on Time magazine’s The 50 Worst Cars of All Time list, where it joined other notably failed cars such as the 1982 Cadillac Cimarron. As always, as with any vehicle, there are different opinions.

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1984 Biturbo coupe in #1/Concours condition is currently $8,400, with a more normal #3/Good condition car going for a mere $3,200. These Biturbos sometimes show up for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors, but are often in at least somewhat sketchy condition. Make mine Bordeaux, please.

1984 Pontiac 2000 Sunbird S/E hatchback coupe

“One of the world’s most advanced production turbos”

For 1984, Pontiac’s top-of-the-line Sunbird S/E gained a new turbocharged motor along with a minor front-end revision and clear fog lamps.

The S/E‘s new engine was an LA5 150 bhp 1.8 liter/110 ci inline four with a Garrett turbocharger and fuel injection. It was paired with a standard four-speed manual gearbox, with a three-speed automatic optional for $320. With the standard powertrain, 0-60 came in about nine seconds—class-competitive in 1984. Fuel economy ratings were 25 city/36 highway by the standards of the day (20/26 by today’s standards). The Sunbird’s 13.5-gallon gas tank meant that owners could expect a range of 280 to 370 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $9,489 S/E hatchback coupe (about $24,200 in 2019 dollars) included two-tone paint, power steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes, a WS6 performance suspension, special chassis tuning, and Goodyear Eagle GT P205/60R14 tires (a size now only marginally available) mounted on attractive 14-inch “hi-tech turbo” cast-aluminum wheels. Inside, fully adjustable reclining front seats, a folding split-back rear seat, a three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel, rally gages, and a Delco-GM AM radio were included.

Exterior options included a power glass sunroof ($300) and a louvered rear sunshade ($199). Inside, custom air conditioning, electronic cruise control, and Lear Siegler bucket seats ($400) were available.

2000 Sunbird S/E pages from the 1984 Pontiac brochure, linked from Hans Tore Tangerud’s lov2xlr8 website.

Reviews of the new turbocharged configuration were positive—Popular Mechanics called it a “150-hp screamer.” 1984 Sunbirds did sell well—almost 170,000, but more than 80% of them were the base coupes and sedans, not the LE or the S/E. Sunbirds of this generation (1982-1994) are now almost completely vanished from the nation’s roads, and models other than the convertibles rarely show up in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds or eBay Motors.

I wrote about the last of the previous-generation Sunbird’s here. Other J platform cars I have covered this blog include the 1982 Cadillac Cimarron sedan, the 1988 Cadillac Cimarron sedan, and the 1986 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 coupe. I will not ignore Buick and Oldsmobile forever.

1984 Oldsmobile Omega sedan

“… comfort and value you can feel good about …”

In its final year, Oldsmobile’s Omega variant of GM’s X-car received few changes. The grille now consisted of horizontal stripes with vertical park/signal lamps, and there were new bumper treatments.

The Omega’s standard powertrain continued to be an LR8 “Iron Duke” 92 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with electronic fuel injection paired with a four-speed manual transmission. Powertrain options included the LE2 112 bhp 2.8 liter/173 ci V6 ($250) and a three-speed automatic transmission ($425). Mileage with the 2.8 liter V6 and the automatic was 21 city/33 highway by the standards of the day (17/24 by today’s standards). With a 14.6-gallon fuel tank, an Omega’s owner could expect a range of between 270 and 350 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard equipment on the $7,832 (about $19,900 in 2019 dollars) Oldsmobile Omega sedan included front-wheel-drive, power front disc/rear drum brakes, P185/80R13 steel-belted radial tires (now a trailer size) on 13-inch wheels, deluxe wheel discs, custom bench seating, and a fold-down center armrest.

Moving up to the $8,104 Omega Brougham added a stand-up hood ornament, lower bodyside moldings, and a deluxe steering wheel.

Omega Brougham page from the 1984 Oldsmobile brochure, linked from Hans Tore Tangerud’s lov2xlr8 website.

The $675 ES package (RPO W48) remained available in 1984 as an upgrade for the Brougham, but only 224 were ordered. By far the sportiest version of the Omega, the ES included a suspension with higher-rate front and rear springs, firmer front and rear shock absorbers, and thicker stabilizer bars. In an attempt to appear more European, the ES2500 was the version with the 2.5 liter inline four, while the ES2800 was the version with the 2.8 liter V6. Both versions got a blacked-out grille.

Exterior and mechanical options on all Omegas included a glass-panel sunroof ($300), power steering, and high-capacity cooling. Inside, cruise control, power windows, and a four-season air conditioner were available.

Omega sales were significant, but not great, and they had been dropping steadily from the 1981 peak of almost 148,000 (including over 101,000 sedans). Oldsmobile produced 41,874 Omega sedans in the 1984 model year—small potatoes compared to all the other Oldsmobile sedans available (Firenza, Cutlass Ciera, Cutlass Supreme, Delta 88 Royale, and Ninety-Eight Regency).

I haven’t seen an Omega on the streets in well over a decade and they rarely show up in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds or eBay Motors. I’m also pretty sure I’ve never seen one shown, though I’m not betting against that happening at some point.

Other X-cars I have written about include the 1983 Buick Skylark T TYPE coupe, the 1980 Chevrolet Citation hatchback sedan, the 1981 Chevrolet Citation X-11 hatchback coupe, and the 1985 Chevrolet Citation II hatchback sedan. For some reason, I have yet to write about Pontiac’s Phoenix.