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.

1984 Audi 5000S sedan

1984 was the first year for Audi’s new aerodynamic design for their biggest sedan. At the time, the exterior design was differentiating—though many would follow, Audi’s was first. Despite being the top-of-the-line, the 5000S was not a large car by modern standards—every dimension was smaller than Audi’s current A6 sedan.

The standard powertrain on Audi’s new sedan was Volkswagon’s corporate 100 bhp 2.1 liter/123 ci inline five with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection mated with a five-speed manual transmission. An automatic was available with the standard engine. The automatic was the only transmission available with the upmarket Turbo option—the same engine with a KKK turbocharger that made 140 bhp.

Period road tests showed 0-60 times of 10.6 seconds for the Turbo, making it not much quicker than the base 5000S but almost 20 mph faster. Fuel economy ratings for the Turbo were 19 city/28 highway by the standards of the day (15/20 by today’s standards). With a 21.2-gallon gas tank, the driver of a new Turbo could expect a 335 to 445 mile range with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $16,840 5000S (about $42,800 in today’s dollars—approximately what a 2019 A5 costs) included halogen headlamps, flush-mounted window glass, power rack-and-pinion steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes, and 185/70SR14 tires (a size still readily available) on 14 x 6 inch aerodynamically styled lightweight aluminum wheels.

Inside, standard features included Electronic Climate Control, cloth bucket seats, a center console, and power windows. Features that look strange to our modern eyes included an illuminated ash tray and a “radio prep kit with power antenna” and four “high-quality” speakers.

Exterior options for the 5000S included an electric two-way tilting/sliding sunroof, power heated mirrors, and metallic paint. Inside, leather seats, heated seats, and a trip computer were all available.

In addition to more power, the Turbo package included an electric two-way tilting/sliding sunroof, a slightly tighter suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, and 205/60HR15 tires (also still readily available) on 15 x 6 inch aluminum wheels. Inside, power seats, power door locks, a trip computer, and a “fine-sounding” Audi Design/Blaupunkt AM/FM stereo radio with a cassette player and four speakers were included. The Turbo‘s $5,570 additional cost brought it up to about $56,900 in 2019 dollars—more like today’s A6 pricing.

1984 Audi 5000 S advertisement

Reviews of the new design were quite good, and sales reflected that. Then, of course, things all went horribly south with the unintended acceleration controversy. Sales would crater, and it would take Audi many years to recover.

5000S’s sometimes show up in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and eBay Motors, but there’s not a lot of activity. As I write this in September 2019, there’s a Nautical Blue Metallic 1987 5000S with gray velour bucket seats, a five-speed manual, and 59,000 miles being advertised on Hemmings and asking $7,000.

Make mine Sapphire Metallic, please.

1984 BMW 325e Coupe

Murilee Martin of The Truth About Cars posted a Junkyard Find on a BMW 325e recently, so I’ve updated this two-year old post.

“High technology dedicated to heightening your pulse rate.”

I see BMW’s 325e as a rare misstep for BMW in the eighties, a decade where BMW generally could do no wrong.

The e stood for efficiency and the engine was BMW’s torque-optimized M20B27 2.7 liter inline 6 with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, making 121 bhp and 170 lb-ft of torque with a fairly low 4,700 rpm redline. Mileage by the standards of the day was pretty good: 21 city/28 highway (18/26 by 2016 standards) with the standard five-speed manual transmission. Proud new owners of a 325e could expect about 320 miles of range with a 10% reserve.

0-60 mph with the five-speed manual took between 8.5 and 9 seconds and the top speed was 116 mph—not exactly the kind of numbers one would expect from the “Ultimate Driving Machine.” As Car and Driver wrote, “the 325e is less of a goer than you would imagine.”

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $19,700 325e (about $47,700 in 2016 dollars) included power four-wheel disk brakes, bumper-mounted fog lights, and 195/60R14 tires (the same size as those on the Isuzu Impulse). Inside, the 325e came well-equipped: power steering, cloth or leatherette manual sport seats, a power sunroof, power windows, power mirrors, power door locks, cruise control, air conditioning, a three spoke leather sport steering wheel, and a BMW/Alpine four-speaker AM/FM stereo with cassette and power antenna were all included.

Available options for the 325e were relatively few: a four-speed automatic transmission, leather seats, many choices of metallic paint, and a limited slip differential.

BMW did their best to present the 325e as a legitimate part of their overall product line.

BMW would continue with the 325e as the top of the line 3 series until 1987, when the 325i and 325is were released with the 2.5 liter M20B25 inline 6 featuring a much more sporting 168 bhp. Horsepower for the 325e would climb just a little in 1988, but by 1989 it would be gone, replaced completely in the 3-series model line by the 325i.

Hagerty does not follow 325e values and the 325e is rarely seen in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds. Examples do show up on eBay Motors—as I update this post in August 2016, there is a Bronzit Beige 1984 with a tan leatherette interior, an automatic transmission, a sunroof, and 49,000 miles available for $9,850.

1984 Buick Regal Grand National coupe

Last Sunday morning, I saw a Grand National actually being driven. The silhouette was distinctive even from a quarter of a mile away. Strangely, they look tall and even a little bit fragile in 2015.

“The hottest Buick this side of a banked oval.”

1984 was the first year that Buick offered a Grand National package for the Regal. The Regal T Types had debuted in 1983, but the Grand National definitely kicked things up a notch.

The star was, of course, the engine. For 1984, Buick’s turbocharged 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 gained sequential fuel injection, bumping horsepower up from 180 bhp to an even 200 bhp. Paired to a four-speed automatic transmission, 0-60 came in a little under 8 seconds. Mileage was 18 city/22 highway by the standards of the day (16/20 by 2015 standards). With an 18-gallon fuel tank, range was between 290 and 325 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard mechanical equipment on the $13,400 Grand National (about $32,100 in today’s dollars) included power brakes, power steering, dual exhausts, performance rear axle, Gran Touring suspension, and P215/65R15 blackwall tires on black-accented aluminum wheels. A Grand National’s exterior equipment included a turbo “power bulge” on the hood, dual mirrors, dual horns, front air dam, rear decklid spoiler, and that distinctive black paint with black accents—responsible for the “Darth Buick” nickname. Air conditioning, Lear Siegler cloth/leather seats, a tachometer, a turbo boost gauge, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel were all included inside.

Optional equipment included dual remote sport mirrors ($30), electric rear defogger ($140), touch climate control air conditioning ($150), tilt steering ($110), power windows ($185), Twilight Sentinel ($57), and electronic tuning AM/FM stereo radio with cassette and graphic equalizer ($605).

1984 Buick Regal Grand National flyer, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures section.

Buick Regal Grand Nationals have a fanatical following. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1984 Grand National in #1 condition is an astounding $38,700, with a more normal #3 condition car going for $12,700. Grand Nationals frequently show up for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors. As I write this in July 2015, there’s a 1986 with 28,000 miles available for $28,000.

I don’t have to tell you what color I want mine in.

1984 Chrysler Laser hatchback coupe

“The competition is good. We had to be better.”

The 1984 Chrysler Laser was intended to be the upscale complement for the Dodge Daytona. Equipment was not notably different from the Daytona, but the Laser had more of a luxury emphasis with a slightly softer suspension.

Two engines were available. The base engine, Chrysler’s 93 bhp 2.2 liter/135 ci inline four, was available with a standard five-speed manual transmission or a three-speed automatic transmission ($439). Mileage with the manual was 22 city/32 highway by the standards of the day (19/29 by today’s standards). Moving to the automatic helped city mileage a bit but dropped highway mileage significantly—23/27.

The more interesting engine was the optional 2.2 liter/135 ci turbocharged inline four cylinder with 142 bhp and the same transmission choices as the base engine. Depending on whether you were adding the turbo to the base Laser or the XE, the extra cost was either $934 or $872. Mileage with the hot setup (turbo and manual) was 20 city/27 highway by the standards of the day (18/25 by 2015 standards) while the 0-60 time was about 8.5 seconds. Moving to the three-speed automatic once again killed highway mileage, making the ratings 20 and 23.

Standard equipment on the base Laser (priced at $8,648 or about $19,700 in today’s dollars) included a leather-wrapped steering wheel, intermittent wipers, and an AM radio with digital clock.

Moving up to Laser XE ($10,546 or about $20,400 in 2015 dollars) added features such as an electronic instrument cluster, tilt steering wheel, driver’s side sport seat, dual power side mirrors, and an AM/FM stereo radio.

Optional equipment included air conditioning ($737), cruise control ($179), rear defroster ($168 base/$143 XE), power windows ($185), power door locks ($125), and AM/FM stereo cassette ($285/$160). With all the trimmings, a Laser XE could fairly easily get to $12,900 or so or about $29,500 in today’s dollars—about what a 2015 Dodge Challenger SXT costs.

The Laser sold decently in its first year, with almost 34,000 base coupes and nearly 26,000 XEs crossing dealer lots. This was actually more than its Dodge Daytona sister car (with a total of almost 50,000 sold).

However, Chrysler must have been disappointed—this was an era where the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, and Pontiac Firebird were routinely selling in the hundreds of thousands (the three models combined for 530,000 sold in 1984).

Chrysler would never see these first-year totals again—by 1987 the Laser would be gone, with the Daytona hanging on through the 1993 model year after a few pretty good years in the late 1980s.

DaytonaLaserSales

Lasers rarely show up in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds or on eBay. You see some Daytonas on eBay, but even they are relatively uncommon.

Not surprisingly, allpar.com has an interesting and detailed article on the front-wheel-drive Lasers and Daytonas—it is here. Make mine Black, please.

1984 Ford Mustang SVO hatchback coupe

Yesterday’s Hemmings Daily blog had an entry on the Mustang SVO, titled “Was this America’s most misunderstood sports car?” I’ve updated one of my early posts to reflect both changes in my posting style and substantial improvements in available data.

“Sophisticated performance for the knowledgeable driver.”

With the announcement of the 2015 Mustang and its available EcoBoost turbocharged inline four, my mind turned back to the 1984 to 1986 Mustang SVO.

Created by Ford’s Special Vehicle Operations department, the SVO was an admirable attempt to take a different and more advanced approach to the pony car market. This version of the Fox-body Mustang was built around the Lima turbocharged and fuel injected 2.3 liter/140 ci inline four making 175 bhp paired with a Borg-Warner T5 five-speed manual. By the standards of the day, this combination yielded a reasonable 19 city/26 highway (it would be 17/24 by current standards) and a respectable 7.5 second 0-60 time.

Other modifications over the standard Mustang included ventilated four-wheel power disc brakes (replacing the Mustang GT’s front disc/rear drum setup), and a Koni suspension system featuring adjustable struts and shocks. 16 × 7 inch aluminum wheels with 225/50VR16 Goodyear NCT tires (a size still readily available) were standard for the first year—Gatorbacks didn’t become available until 1985.

You could have the interior in any color you wanted as long as that was Charcoal, but you did get to choose from the standard cloth or optional leather seats. Standard features included adjustable sport seats with lumbar support and a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel. Air conditioning ($743), a cassette player ($222), power door locks ($177), and power windows ($198) all remained optional—this was 1984, after all.

The exterior featured an SVO-specific front grille, a hood with a functional scoop, and a “dual wing” spoiler that was also unique to the SVO.

Mustang SVO page from the 1984 Mustang brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures section.

With a base price of $15,596 (about $38,800 in 2018 dollars or about what a well-equipped 2019 Mustang EcoBoost Premium Fastback goes for), sales did not come close to meeting Ford’s hopes—less than 10,000 buyers took home a Mustang SVO over its three years of production. The reasons for its relative failure where many, but I think the most significant problems were:

  • The average Mustang buyer was happier with a Mustang GT, which, with a base price of $9,578, cost substantially less.
  • The potential buyer of a vehicle with turbocharged and intercooled four, four-wheel disc brakes, and an adjustable suspension wasn’t looking to Ford for this car.

It is interesting to note that Ford was much more successful in the 1990s and 2000s in selling high-end Mustangs. They’ve also done decently with the 2.3 liter (there’s a coincidence!) 310 bhp EcoBoost turbocharged inline four which first became available in 2015.

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1984 Mustang SVO in #1/Concours condition is $21,900, with a more normal #3/Good car going for $10,100. Make my SVO Silver Metallic, please.

Updated February 2019.

1984 Lincoln Continental Mark VII LSC coupe

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

“The ultimate American road car.”

The Lincoln Continental Mark VII was all new for 1984. The standard powertrain for 1984 was a Windsor 140 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with throttle-body fuel-injection connected to a four-speed automatic transmission. Despite the LSC’s 3,600 pound weight, 0-60 still came in under 9 seconds. Mileage by the standards of the day was 17 city/22 highway (14/20 by today’s standards). With a 22.3-gallon fuel tank, a Mark VII owner could expect a range of 340 to 390 miles with a 10% reserve.

Standard mechanical equipment on all Mark VIIs included four-wheel disk brakes, four-wheel air ride suspension, and the first composite headlights available in the United States. Inside, a Trip Minder computer, air conditioning, rear window defroster, interval wipers, tilt steering, cruise control, remote release fuel door, power windows, power door locks, power side view mirrors, power six-way driver’s seat, and an AM/FM stereo were all included.

The new LSC trim level added about $2,000 to the base Mark VII’s non-trivial $21,707 price (making the LSC start at about $54,400 in 2014 dollars). LSC-specific components included a stiffer air suspension, dual exhaust, leather seats, fog lamps, and P215/65R15 Goodyear Eagle GT radial tires (a size still readily available) on forged aluminum 15 x 6-inch wheels. A Traction-Lok limited slip differential was optional for $95.

Continental Mark VII LSC pages from the 1984 Lincoln brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures section.

Ford wanted the LSC to compete with the big BMW (635 CSi) and Mercedes-Benz (500 SEC) coupes, but it seems more likely that most LSC buyers were cross-shopping cars like the Buick Riviera T-Type, the Cadillac Eldorado Touring Coupe, or (horrors!) the Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe.

I always liked the look of the LSC—I think the stylists combined “traditional” Mark traits such as the rear spare tire hump with Ford’s new aerodynamic direction very effectively. At the time, people complained about the somewhat limited interior room and the quite small trunk for such a large car. The period of the big coupe was beginning to fade, but the LSC was indeed an interesting approach.

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1984 Continental Mark VII LSC in #1 condition is $9,100, with a more “normal” #3 condition LSC fetching $4,200. Lincoln Mark VIIs show up in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds reasonably regularly—as I write this in July 2014,  there’s a Sandstone 1988 LSC with 55,000 miles listed for $8,000. Make mine Platinum Clearcoat Metallic, please.