The Posts That Attract Interest, Part 4

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Earlier this week, my write-up on the 1980 Pontiac Sunbird Sport Hatch went over 1,000 views. This degree of interest is relatively rare for Eighties Cars—the three other posts that have proceeded it to greater than 1,000 views are on the 1986 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta hatchback coupe, the 1985 Buick Somerset Regal coupe, and the 1987 Chevrolet Caprice Classic coupe.

I have many theories—and almost no real data—about what makes a particular post more popular than others on Eighties Cars. One belief is that the key to the popularity of an individual post is generally the rarity of the other coverage available for that particular vehicle or variant thereof. That theory works for the Berlinetta (all of the attention is on the Z28 and IROC-Z versions of the eighties Camaro) and for the Somerset Regal—though most of the interest in that particular post is because of a Jalopnik Meh Car Monday write-up that referenced this site. It doesn’t work for the Caprice Classic, but that’s a discussion for another post.

The “rarity of other coverage” theory definitely seems to apply to these first-generation Pontiac Sunbirds, with my post often showing up on the initial page of a Sunbird-related Google search (I probably not have done as well with the more popular Chevrolet Monza). Autopolis did have an interesting article on all five years of the first-generation Sunbird several years ago. There’s always the Wikipedia article, which covers both Sunbird generations—I’ve also written about the second-generation cars.

As always, I am grateful for the views—and our readers.

A New Reference Arrives

American Light Trucks book cover
Cover of American Light Trucks & Utility Vehicles

Eighties Cars has been somewhat weak when it comes to the trucks, vans, and SUVs of the decade. Sure, there have been a few posts, including a recent one about the 1985 Chevrolet Suburban, but there certainly isn’t a representative amount.

There are a few reasons for this. One is that I simply don’t feel as familiar with trucks and SUVs as I am with automobiles. Another is that references are sparer for trucks and SUVs than for cars—at least American ones.

That second reason was at least partially ameliorated today with the arrival of J. “Kelly” Flory, Jr.’s latest opus. American Light Trucks & Utility Vehicles, 1967–1989 is exactly what it says—every model of truck, van, and sport utility vehicle, year by year. It’s a weighty tome, running 1,461 pages. I sourced it from Powell’s Books, and it arrived quickly.

Kelly Flory is familiar to folks who use automobile references. I already have his three American Cars volumes—1946 to 1959, 1960 to 1972, and 1973 to 1980, which combine for 2,950 pages. These books give a different view of any particular car model by placing it within the context of the overall marque and the rest of the American automotive industry for each model year. American Light Trucks & Utility Vehicles follows the same format.

For Eighties Cars, this new resource will mean two things. First, there will be more posts about trucks, vans, and SUVs. Second, I will revise previous truck and SUV posts where data was spare or imprecise.

Eighties Vehicles at Two Online Auctions in May 2020

The first completely online auctions from Barrett-Jackson and RM-Sotheby’s in May 2020 included a few vehicles from the 1980s—6% of the (85+193=278) lots offered between the two events. I’ll concentrate on the at least reasonably stock 1980s cars and trucks and add some of my opinions—I’ll leave the automobilia, boats, motorcycles, and tractors to others. Where I have covered the specific year and model of a car in this blog, I link to it.

Barrett-Jackson

  • 1984 Oxford White Ford Mustang GT350 convertible with a white top, canyon red cloth bucket seats, a Windsor 175 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with a Holley 4180 four-barrel carburetor, a five-speed manual, and 4,800 miles—did not meet reserve.
  • 1986 Victory Red Chevrolet C10 custom (engine, wheels/suspension, exterior, interior) pickup truck with a black bench seat, a Vortec 4.8 liter/293 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—did not meet reserve.
  • 1985 Guards Red Porsche 911 Carrera Targa with black leather bucket seats, a 207 bhp 3.2 liter/193 ci flat six with Bosch Motronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 9,900 miles—$45,000 hammer price. That price makes this the first vehicle in this auction review to meet my criteria for serious collectability of 1980s cars or trucks in stock condition: selling for equal to or above its original base list price. I’ll mark these vehicles in bold green.
  • 1984 Blue Gunmetal Dodge Daytona Turbo hatchback coupe with checkered cloth bucket seats, a Turbo I 142 bhp 2.2 liter/135 ci inline four with fuel injection and a turbocharger, a five-speed manual, and 5,200 miles—$18,500. Almost certainly the most unusual eighties vehicle at this auction—who saves these cars?
1984 Dodge Daytona Turbo
1984 Dodge Daytona Turbo, courtesy of Barrett-Jackson
  • 1985 Black Porsche 911 Carrera custom (cabriolet and slant nose conversions) with black bucket seats, a 207 bhp 3.2 liter/193 ci flat six with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 35,000 miles—$30,500

RM-Sotheby’s

  • 1985 Midnight Blue Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with royal blue leather bucket seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 ci V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 44,000 miles—$13,500 hammer price.
  • 1986 black Rolls-Royce Silver Spur limousine with gray leather seats, a 6.75 liter/412 ci V8, an automatic, and 40,000 miles—did not meet reserve.
  • 1988 Midnight Blue Metallic Porsche 928 S4 with marine blue leather bucket seats, a 320 bhp 5.0 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$16,500
  • 1981 Silver Metallic Pontiac Firebird Trans Am coupe with gray cloth bucket seats, a 145 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, an automatic transmission, and 10,000 miles—$21,000
  • 1985 camouflage AM General Humvee M998 SUV with tan bucket seats, a 6.2 liter diesel V8, and an automatic—$12,000
  • 1987 Signal Red Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a black convertible top, black leather bucket seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 ci V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 36,000 miles—$33,000
  • 1980 Sky Blue Toyota FJ43 Land Cruiser SUV with gray vinyl bucket seats, a 2F 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six, and a five-speed manual—$26,000
  • 1989 Astral Silver Metallic Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a black convertible top, black leather bucket seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 ci V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 31,000 miles—$42,000
  • 1989 Guards Red Porsche 911 Speedster convertible with a black top, black leather bucket seats, a 217 bhp 3.2 liter/193 ci flat six with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 41 miles—$200,000
  • 1980 beige Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser custom (mechanical, exterior, interior) SUV with beige leather bucket seats and a five-speed manual—did not meet reserve.
  • 1981 Grigio Alfa-Romeo GTV6 2.5 hatchback coupe with tan bucket seats, a 154 bhp 2.5 liter/152 ci V6 with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 35,000 miles. This Alfa originally owned by Mario Andretti did not meet reserve.
  • 1985 Rosso Ferrari 288 GTO coupe with black leather bucket seats, a 394 bhp 2.9 liter/175 ci V8 with fuel injection and twin turbochargers, a five-speed manual, and 15,000 miles—$2,100,000
1985 Ferrari 288 GTO, courtesy of RM-Sotheby’s
  • 1989 Grand Prix White Porsche 911 Carrera coupe with blue leather bucket seats, a 207 bhp 3.2 liter/193 ci flat six with Bosch Motronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 47,000 miles—did not meet reserve.

What do you think of these auction results?

The Posts That Attract Interest, Part 3

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Earlier this week, my write-up on the 1987 Chevrolet Caprice Classic coupe went over 1,000 views. This level of interest is relatively rare on Eighties Cars—the two other posts that have proceeded it to greater than 1,000 views are on the 1986 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta hatchback coupe and the 1985 Buick Somerset Regal coupe.

I have many theories about what makes a particular post more popular than others, at least on Eighties Cars. One thought is that the key to the popularity of an individual post is generally the rarity of the other coverage available for that particular vehicle. That theory works for the Berlinetta (all of the attention is on the Z28 and IROC-Z versions of the eighties Camaro) and definitely for the Somerset Regal—though most of the interest in that particular post is probably because of a Jalopnik Meh Car Monday write-up that casually referenced this site.

However, the Caprice Classic coupe doesn’t quite fit into the category of the Berlinetta and the Somerset Regal—aside from being a General Motors product. B platform cars were and are well-respected; only a few years prior to 1987, the Caprice had been on Car and Driver‘s inaugural 10Best Cars list. They also have a current following, though many that remain are at least somewhat modified.

So, the short form is I’m not quite sure why this last of the Caprice coupes has garnered so much interest—but I am grateful for the views.

1983: What Cars Are Collectible?

The question often arises: what eighties cars that were available in the United States are considered collectible? One way is to look at the slowly expanding list what Hagerty tracks with their valuation tools. For 1983 vehicles, the current full list is below—as usual, I have added a few comments in parens.

question mark graphic

Alfa Romeo; GTV-6 hatchback coupe, Spyder convertible

Alpine; A310 coupe

Aston Martin; Lagonda sedan, V8 coupe and convertible

Audi; GT hatchback coupe, Quattro hatchback coupe

Avanti; Avanti II coupe

Bentley; Corniche convertible, Mulsanne sedan

Bertone; X1/9 coupe

Bitter; SC coupe

BMW; 320i coupe (why no 633Csi or 733i?)

Bristol; 412 convertible

Buick; Regal T-Type coupe, Riviera coupe and convertible

Cadillac; Cimarron sedan, DeVille coupe and sedan, Eldorado coupe, Fleetwood coupe and sedan, Seville 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, El Camino pickup truck, Monte Carlo coupe (no 1983 Corvettes, of course)

Chrysler; Imperial coupe

Clenet; SIII coupe and convertible

Datsun; 280ZX hatchback coupe

Delorean; DMC-12 coupe

DeTomaso; Deauville sedan, Pantera coupe

Dodge; Ramcharger SUV

Excalibur; Series IV convertible

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

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 and convertible, Thunderbird coupe

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

Jaguar; XJ6 sedan, 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 and station wagon, Gamma coupe and sedan

Land Rover; Defender SUV, Range Rover SUV

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; 230G SUV, 230GE SUV, 240D sedan, 240 GD SUV, 280 GE SUV, 300CD coupe, 300D sedan, 300GD SUV, 300SD sedan, 300TD station wagon, 380SEC coupe, 380SEL sedan, 380SL convertible (so, basically the entire 1983 Mercedes-Benz line)

Morgan; 4/4 convertible, Plus 8 convertible

Oldsmobile; Cutlass Hurst coupe

Panther; DeVille convertible and sedan, Kallista convertible

Peugeot; 504 convertible

Pininfarina; Azzura convertible

Pontiac; Firebird hatchback coupe

Porsche; 911 coupe and convertible, 928 hatchback coupe, 944 hatchback coupe

Puma; GT coupe, GTC coupe and convertible

Renault; Fuego hatchback coupe, R5 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 (why just the BRAT?)

Toyota; Celica Supra hatchback coupe, Land Cruiser SUV

TVR; 280i coupe and convertible

Volkswagen; GTI hatchback coupe

Hagerty casts a wide net with their valuation tools, except when they don’t—the only BMW listed is the 320i. Coupes are dominant; 29% of 129 models listed with an additional 11% being hatchback coupes. Unsurprisingly, the rarest body style is a station wagon, at 2%. I have covered seven of the 1983 vehicles they track.

Eighties Cars Is Speeding up Again

Last May, I posted that Eighties Cars Is Slowing Down For A While. With the fraught situation that the world currently finds itself in, many of us are searching to re-establish upended routines and find ways to slow the spread of COVID-19.

As a very small offering, I have decided to accelerate my postings on Eighties Cars for the foreseeable future. All the best to my readers and stay safe.

End of the Year Review: 2019

2019 was a decent year for Eighties Cars. We managed 23 new or substantially revised blog entries—one every sixteen days. Posts were divided up into fifteen featuring a specific car, seven on auctions, and one announcing a change: Eighties Cars Is Slowing Down For A While. Despite, this 2019 was the best year for page views since I started the blog—we were up a substantial 62% over 2018.

Every year, I look at the end of the year results for most viewed posts. For 2019, it once again looked like the key to the popularity of an individual post was generally in the rarity of the other coverage available for that particular vehicle. It also didn’t hurt to be a Chevrolet, a Buick, or a Pontiac—our readers seem to be GM-centric. In reverse order, I’ll look at the top ten most viewed posts of this year.

10) 1980 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 coupe—these late second-generation Z28s have been sliding up in popularity and value ($34,600 in #1/Concours condition, $15,600 in #3/Good condition for the 5.7 liter/350 ci engine versions), which marks a hole in my overall thesis on what posts are popular. This post’s ranking did drop from #4 to #10 this year.

9) 1987 Chevrolet Caprice Classic coupe—this very old (April 2014) but evidently evergreen post is about the last of the big Caprice coupes. For the six years Eighties Cars has been around, it’s the third most viewed post overall, and it moved up one spot in 2019. A mere 3,110 coupes were sold in the 1987 model year.

8) 1984 Buick Riviera T-Type coupe—one of my first posts on this blog gets continued interest on a car that Hagerty does see as collectible ($15,100 in #1/Concours condition, $5,100 in #3/Good condition). Dropping two spots this year.

7) 1980 Pontiac Grand Am coupe—another rarely discussed 1980 Pontiac makes the list. This entry was the most viewed post in 2017, so it’s been consistently popular, though it dropped from third to seventh this year. 1,647 Grand Ams were sold in the 1980 model year.

6) 1980 Pontiac Sunbird Sport Hatch—now this is a rarely discussed car, so I understand why the portion of the internet that cares is coming here. They also seem to have vanished entirely from the streets of America. Dropping down one spot from last year.

5) 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity sedan—I doubt there are a ton of articles being written about any of the A-body cars. This August 2016 article inspired by a work colleague’s Celebrity continued to get a substantial number of page hits this year and moved up from #9. 162,462 sedans were sold in the 1989 model year; Chevrolet sold over 2.1 million Celebrities in the 1980s.

4) 1987 Buick LeSabre T Type coupe—a new entry for 2019 is the T Type many don’t know about. A good number seem to be looking as this page received a lot of hits. 4,123 LeSabre T Types were built for 1987.

3) 1985 Buick Somerset Regal coupe—this post has been picked up by other websites a few times, most recently by Jalopnik. Hilariously, I don’t think I would have ever gotten around to writing about the Somerset Regal if I hadn’t seen one on the streets of Philadelphia a few years ago. Down from #2 in 2018, but still the second most popular entry all time.

2) 1987 Mercury Lynx XR3 hatchback coupe—a post that was fast rising at the end of 2018 makes it all the way to #2 in 2019. Mercury is, of course, an orphan make, but this blog entry has been viewed five times more than my entry on the 1981 Ford Escort hatchback coupe.

Berlinetta pages from the 1985 Camaro brochure

1) 1986 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta hatchback coupe—the Berlinetta is rarely covered, with almost all the eighties Camaro attention going to the Z28 and the IROC-Z. In spite of this, Hagerty does value this car, currently at $13,400 in #1/Concours condition, $6,200 in #3/Good condition for the version with the optional V8. It repeats as my most viewed post and is the all-time most popular entry.

Posts that no longer made the cut in 2019 that were more popular in 2018 include 1982 Chrysler LeBaron convertible and 1981 Toyota Celica Sport Coupe. A post on the rise in the final quarter of 2019 was 1980 Buick Riviera S Type coupe.

Thanks to all who viewed this blog in 2019!

Eighties Vehicles at the 2019 Mecum Chicago

Mecum’s late October auction in Chicago provided some fodder for commentary. I’ll concentrate on the at least reasonably stock 1980s cars (and a few trucks) that sold (remember that Mecum auctions are not no reserve auctions—a cream 1985 Excalibur convertible with tan seats was a no sale bid up to $40,000) and add some of my opinions. Eighties vehicles were about 8% of the approximately 660 vehicle lots sold in this auction.

Thursday, October 24th

  • 1989 white Maserati Biturbo Spyder with tan leather bucket seats, a 225 bhp 2.8 liter/170 ci V6 with fuel injection and twin turbochargers, and a five-speed manual, and 17,000 miles—$5,000 hammer price.
  • 1989 blue Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce convertible with a black top, tan leather bucket seats, a 115 bhp 2.0 liter/120 ci inline four with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 31,000 miles—$5,500
  • 1984 red Mercedes-Benz 560 SEL sedan with tan leather bucket seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 ci V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$3,000
  • 1989 red Dodge Dakota convertible pickup truck with a black top, a red cloth bench seat, an LA 125 bhp 3.9 liter/238 ci V6 with throttle-body fuel injection, and an automatic—$2,500 for this ASC conversion
  • 1981 burgundy Chevrolet Corvette coupe with silver leather bucket seats, an L81 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 83,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1987 silver Alfa Romeo Spider Quadrifoglio convertible with gray leather bucket seats, a 115 bhp 2.0 liter/120 ci inline four with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$10,000
  • 1983 gray Mercedes-Benz 380 SEC coupe with black leather bucket seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 ci V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$4,500
  • 1980 Midnight Black Chevrolet pickup truck with a camel tan custom cloth bench seat, an LS9 175 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—at $12,500 the first vehicle in this auction to meet my criteria for serious collectability of 1980s cars or trucks in stock condition: selling for equal to or above its original base list price. I’ll mark these vehicles in bold green.
  • 1989 white Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z hatchback coupe with gray cloth bucket seats, an LB9 225 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$7,500
  • 1989 red Ford Mustang LX custom (engine, suspension, wheels/tires) convertible with a black top, red cloth bucket seats, a Windsor 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$7,500
  • 1985 Guards Red Porsche 928 S hatchback coupe with black leather bucket seats, a 288 bhp 5.0 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 77,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1989 Exotic Red Shelby Shadow CSX -VNT sedan with gray cloth bucket seats, a Turbo IV 175 bhp 2.2 liter/135 ci inline four with fuel injection and a turbocharger, and a five-speed manual—$6,500
  • 1989 black Bentley Turbo R sedan with tan leather bucket seats, a 308 bhp 6.75 liter/412  ci V8 with Bosch Motronic fuel injection and a turbocharger, an automatic, and 58,000 miles—$12,000
1989 Bentley Turbo R engine compartment, linked from Mecum’s website
  • 1986 silver Pontiac Fiero SE coupe with a 140 bhp 2.8 liter/173 ci V6 with fuel injection, a four-speed manual, and 11,000 miles—$4,500
  • 1987 black Pontiac Fiero GT coupe with a 135 bhp 2.8 liter/173 ci V6 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$5,500. Lots of Fiero choices at this auction.
  • 1989 white BMW 325is coupe with red bucket seats, an M20B25 168 bhp 2.5 liter/152 ci inline six with Bosch Motronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$4,500
  • 1989 red Cadillac Eldorado coupe with red leather bucket seats, an HT 155 bhp 4.5 liter/273 ci V8 with throttle-body fuel injection, an automatic, and 86,000 miles—$3,500
  • 1980 black Jeep CJ-7 SUV with black vinyl seats, a 112 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a Carter two-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 60,000 miles—$8,500
  • 1987 silver Pontiac Fiero coupe with gray cloth bucket seats and an automatic—$2,000
  • 1983 tan two-tone Lincoln Continental Mark VI sedan with tan seats, a Windsor 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with throttle-body fuel injection, an automatic, and 43,000 miles—$9,000

Friday, October 25th

  • 1987 silver Porsche 924 S hatchback coupe with tan bucket seats, a 150 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 68,000 miles—$4,000
  • 1983 white Buick Riviera convertible with a white top, burgundy leather seats, a 140 bhp 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 78,000 miles—$6,000
  • 1986 red Ford Bronco II XLT SUV with red cloth bucket seats, a Cologne 140 bhp 2.9 liter/179 ci V6 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 86,000 miles—$7,000. People are starting to collect these Bronco IIs.
  • 1980 black Ferrari 308 GTSi coupe with camel leather bucket seats, a 205 bhp 2.9 liter/173 ci V8 with a Weber two-barrel carburetor, a five-speed manual, and 7,600 miles—$48,000 just brings this Ferrari over its original base price.
  • 1985 Dark Red Metallic Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z convertible with saddle leather bucket seats, an LB9 215 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 18,000 miles—$14,500
  • 1986 black Buick Grand National coupe with black/gray cloth seats, an LD5 235 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection and turbocharger, an automatic, and 13,000 miles—$32,500
  • 1983 green Toyota FJ-45 Land Cruiser custom (engine, suspension) SUV with brown seats, an unidentified 6.0 liter engine, and a four-speed manual—$37,400
  • 1986 red Nissan 300ZX hatchback coupe with black bucket seats, a VG30E 160 bhp 3.0 liter/181 ci V6 with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$2,500
  • 1983 green Honda Civic custom (everything) wagon with plaid bucket seats, a B18B1 140 bhp 1.8 liter/112 ci inline four with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$9,000
  • 1982 blue Chevrolet C10 custom (body, paint, interior, wheels/tires) pickup truck with gray leather bucket seats, an LE3 115 bhp 4.1 liter/250 ci inline six with a two-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 58,000 miles—$11,000. It’s unusual to see one of these customs with the engine untouched, especially when it’s the six.
  • 1980 yellow Chevrolet Camino custom (body, paint, engine, interior) pickup truck with tan bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$12,000
  • 1987 red/dark gray two-tone GMC High Sierra pickup truck with a gray cloth bench seat, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 35,000 miles—$12,000
  • 1989 White Pontiac 20th Anniversary Turbo Firebird Trans Am hatchback coupe with saddle leather seats, a 250 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci turbocharged V6 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 18,000 miles—$29,500
  • 1982 blue/orange two-tone Chevrolet Suburban custom (everything) SUV with blue/orange seats, a small block V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$4,000
  • 1984 white Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible with red tufted leather seats, and HT-4100 135 bhp 4.1 liter/249 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$5,000. These convertibles, so expensive when new ($31,286, or about $80,000 in 2019 dollars), have yet to catch on as collector cars.
1984 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible, linked from Mecum’s website
  • 1980 green GMC custom (paint, interior, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a tan cloth bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Holley four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$4,500
  • 1984 yellow Chevrolet Camino custom (body, paint, engine) pickup truck with brown cloth seats, a V8 with a Holley four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$12,000

Saturday, October 26th

  • 1987 Linen Gray Metallic Porsche 944 hatchback coupe with tan leather bucket seats, a 150 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with fuel injection, and an automatic—$3,000
  • 1987 black Buick Grand National custom (engine) coupe with black/gray cloth seats, a 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection and turbocharger, an automatic, and 55,000 miles—$21,000
  • 1984 white Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS coupe with blue cloth bucket seats, a B4V 180 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 16,000 miles—$14,000
  • 1982 black Chevrolet Camaro Z28 hatchback coupe with gray cloth bucket seats, a Cross-Fire LU5 165 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with throttle-body fuel injection, an automatic, and 45 miles—$19,000
  • 1982 black Chevrolet Camaro Z28 hatchback coupe with gray cloth bucket seats, a Cross-Fire LU5 165 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with throttle-body fuel injection, an automatic, and 4,500 miles—$15,000
  • 1983 green Toyota FJ-45 Land Cruiser SUV with brown leather seats, a 130 ci inline six, and a four-speed manual—$40,000
  • 1983 tan Toyota FJ-45 Land Cruiser SUV with brown leather seats, a 130 ci inline six, and a four-speed manual—$37,000
  • 1982 blue Toyota FJ-40 Land Cruiser SUV with tan leather seats, a 4.2 liter inline six, and a four-speed manual—$15,000
  • 1987 Ivy Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a black soft top, palomino leather bucket seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 ci V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 67,000 miles—$13,500
  • 1982 red Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler pickup truck with gray bucket seats, a 110 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a Carter two-barrel carburetor, and a manual transmission—$16,000
  • 1987 black Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Aerocoupe with burgundy cloth bucket seats, a B4V 180 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$20,500
  • 1981 gold Mazda RX7 hatchback coupe with brown leather bucket seats, a 12A 100 bhp 1.1 liter/70 ci rotary engine with a four-barrel carburetor, a five-speed manual, and 53,000 miles—$5,500
  • 1988 blue with woodgrain Jeep Wagoneer Limited SUV with tan leather seats, a 177 bhp 4.0 liter/241 ci inline six with fuel injection, and an automatic—$5,500. You rarely see Wagoneers up for auction versus Grand Wagoneers, but here was one.
1988 Jeep Wagoneer, linked from Mecum’s website
  • 1982 Charcoal Chevrolet Corvette coupe with silver gray leather bucket seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 36,000 miles—$9,000
  • 1981 stainless steel DeLorean DMC-12 coupe with gray leather bucket seats, a ZMJ-159 130 bhp 2.8 liter/174 ci V6 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 16,000 miles—$33,500
  • 1989 green AM General Humvee M998 SUV with a green interior, a 6.2 liter diesel V8, an automatic, and 17,000 miles—$10,500
  • 1989 red Mazda RX7 convertible with a black top, a black interior, a 13B 146 bhp 1.3 liter/80 ci rotary engine with fuel injection, an automatic, and 54,000 miles—$4,000
  • 1983 black Pontiac Firebird Trans Am custom (KITT replica) convertible with tan cloth bucket seats, a Cross-Fire 175 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 70,000 miles—$15,000

Mecum Chicago had the usual profusion of Chevrolets, along a plethora of Pontiacs and Toyotas. What do you think of these results?

Eighties Vehicles at the 2019 Mecum Harrisburg

Mecum’s late July/early August auction in Harrisburg provided some fodder for commentary. I’ll concentrate on the at least fairly stock 1980s cars (and a few trucks) that sold (remember that Mecum auctions are not no reserve auctions—a black 1984 Land Rover Defender 110 custom pickup truck with brown leather bucket seats was a no sale bid up to $65,000) and add some of my opinions. Eighties vehicles were about 11% of the 776 vehicle lots sold in this auction.

Wednesday, July 31st:

  • 1989 burgundy Cadillac Sedan deVille with burgundy leather seats, an HT 155 bhp 4.5 liter/273 ci V8 with throttle-body fuel injection, an automatic, and 19,000 miles—$6,000 hammer price.
  • 1986 Dark Red Metallic Chevrolet Corvette convertible with a black top, medium gray leather bucket seats, an L98 235 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 39,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1986 Silver Beige/Medium Bronze two-tone Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with medium gray leather bucket seats, an L98 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$5,750
  • 1984 white with woodgrain Chrysler LeBaron convertible with still lovely Mark Cross brown leather bucket seats, a Mitsubishi 4G54 99 bhp 2.6 liter/156 ci inline four with a two-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—an ouch! at $1,000.
  • 1987 beige Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a black soft top, brown leather seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 ci V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$7,000
  • 1986 Yellow Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with medium gray cloth bucket seats, an L98 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$7,500
  • 1986 silver/gray two-tone Dodge D150 pickup truck with a red cloth bench seat, an LA 5.9 liter/360 ci V8, an automatic, and 42,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1987 silver Lincoln Continental Mark VII coupe with gray leather bucket seats, a Windsor 150 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$3,000
  • 1983 black Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with a brown convertible top, a hard top, gray bucket seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 ci V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 78,000 miles—$10,500
  • 1989 red Ford Mustang LX convertible with a black top, red cloth bucket seats, a Windsor 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$7,500
  • 1987 burgundy Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS coupe with a burgundy interior, a 180 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$11,000
  • 1981 Seaspray Green/Neptune Aqua two-tone Cadillac Seville sedan with an LF9 105 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci diesel and an automatic—$2,000 for this car, striking in this color combination but stunningly slow.

Photograph of 1982 Cadillac Seville sedan
1982 Cadillac Seville, linked from Mecum’s website.

  • 1986 red/cream two-tone Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck with a tan cloth bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, an automatic, and 45,000 miles—$11,000
  • 1980 Frost Beige Chevrolet Corvette coupe with oyster leather bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$3,500. This car paid a brutal price for its period color combination.
  • 1989 black Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a black soft top, cream beige leather bucket seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 ci V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 60,000 miles—$23,500
  • 1984 black Ford Mustang SVO hatchback coupe with charcoal cloth bucket seats, a Lima 175 bhp 2.3 liter/140 ci inline four with turbocharger, intercooler, and fuel injection, a five-speed manual, 73,000 miles, and a rebuilt/salvage tires—$4,500
  • 1981 black Lancia Beta Zagato targa coupe with a black interior, a 108 bhp 2.0 liter/122 ci inline four with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 80,000 miles—$5,500
  • 1987 Orange Pearl Chevrolet Blazer custom (just about everything) SUV with gray cloth bucket seats, a 6.3 liter/383 ci V8, and an automatic—$13,500
  • 1981 Dark Brown Pontiac Firebird Trans Am coupe with light sandstone cloth bucket seats, an LG4 145 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$10,000. A strange car, as most sources believe the LG4 was only available with a four-speed manual in the second-generation’s final year.
  • 1980 Black Chevrolet Corvette coupe with black leather bucket seats, an L48 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$6,750
  • 1983 light brown Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency Brougham sedan with a burgundy vinyl top, a red interior, an LV2 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$2,500
  • 1983 red Porsche 944 hatchback coupe with black bucket seats, a 150 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$5,500
  • 1986 white Pontiac Fiero custom (paint, engine, wheels/tires) coupe with gray cloth seats, a V6, and a four-speed manual—$2,000
  • 1987 red/cream two-tone Chevrolet Suburban SUV with a tan interior, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$5,000

Thursday, August 1st:

  • 1986 red TVR 280i convertible with a black top, black bucket seats, a Cologne 160 bhp 2.8 liter/170 cubic inch V6 with Bosch fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 10,000 miles—$8,000
  • 1984 White Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with red leather seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 205 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 58,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1980 white Toyota HJ-47 Land Cruiser custom (camper unit) pickup truck with gray cloth bucket seats, a turbo diesel, and a five-speed manual—$14,500
  • 1987 green/beige two-tone Mitsubishi Delica van with gray cloth bucket seats, a diesel inline four, and a five-speed, and 91,000 miles—$9,500
  • 1985 red Nissan Safari fire truck with blue bucket seats, an unknown inline four, a four-speed manual, and 5,700 miles—$7,500
  • 1989 Bright Red Chevrolet Camaro RS hatchback coupe with gray custom cloth bucket seats, an L03 170 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with throttle-body fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 60,000 miles—$10,000. Not an IROC? Not a Z28? Who saves these cars?
  • 1983 Guards Red Porsche 911 SC custom (body) coupe with a black top, black leather seats, a 180 bhp 3.0 liter/183 ci flat six with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 65,000 miles—$43,000
  • 1989 red Ford F150 pickup truck with a black/red bench seat, a 150 bhp 4.9 liter/300 ci inline six with fuel injection, an automatic, and 54,000 miles—$11,500
  • 1989 light blue metallic Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a blue soft top, blue leather bucket seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 ci V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 58,000 miles—$34,000. The really nice eighties SLs are starting to separate from the average ones; $34,000 is between #3/Good and #2/Excellent money, according to Hagerty’s valuation tools.
  • 1987 Dark Red Chevrolet Corvette Callaway convertible with a tan soft top, tan leather bucket seats, a 345 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with twin turbochargers and fuel injection, the Doug Nash 4+3 transmission, and 17,000 miles—$16,000
  • 1982 beige Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with a blue soft top, a hard top, blue bucket seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 ci V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 70,000 miles—$9,000
  • 1986 red Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a dark tan soft top, tan leather bucket seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 ci V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 56,000 miles—$45,000
  • 1986 red/white two-tone Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck with a red cloth bench seat, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, and an automatic, and 72,000 miles—$9,000
  • 1986 silver Toyota SR5 pickup truck with blue/gray cloth bucket seats, a 22R-TE 135 bhp 2.4 liter/144 ci inline four with a turbocharger, and a five-speed manual—$17,500 makes thus the first vehicle in this auction to meet my criteria for serious collectability of 1980s cars or trucks in stock condition: selling for equal to or above its original base list price. I’ll mark these vehicles in bold green.

Photograph of 1986 Toyota SR5
1986 Toyota SR5 pickup truck, linked from Mecum’s website

  • 1985 black Pontiac Firebird Trans Am hatchback coupe with pewter/graphite cloth bucket seats, an LB9 210 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 6,100 miles—$17,000
  • 1987 red Chrysler LeBaron convertible with a black top, black bucket seats, a 2.5 liter/153 ci inline four with a turbocharger, an automatic, and 1,800 miles—$8,500
  • 1986 black Dodge Shelby Omni GLHS hatchback sedan with gray cloth bucket seats, a Turbo II 175 bhp 2.2 liter/135 ci inline four with a turbocharger and intercooler, and a five-speed manual—$17,500
  • 1986 black Buick Grand National coupe with black/gray cloth seats, a 235 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection and turbocharger, an automatic, and 4,900 miles—$33,000
  • 1983 red Aurora convertible with black leather seats, a 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, a four-speed manual, and 13,000 miles—$25,000 for this Shelby Cobra replica.
  • 1984 brown GMC Caballero pickup truck with a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 48,000 miles—$10,000
  • 1986 burgundy Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme coupe with a burgundy interior, a 5.0 liter/307 ci V8, an automatic, and 42,000 miles—$4,000
  • 1985 Blaze Red Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z hatchback coupe with gray cloth bucket seats, an LB9 215 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$7,000
  • 1984 white Toyota FJ-40 Land Cruiser SUV with black bucket seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$19,000
  • 1985 black Alpha Romeo Spider Graduate Edition convertible with a black top, red leather bucket seats, a 115 bhp 2.0 liter/120 ci four with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 58,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1984 red Chevrolet K10 pickup truck with a burgundy interior, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$19,500
  • 1986 Bright Red Pontiac Firebird Trans Am custom (it’s a convertible!) convertible with tan bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 21,000 miles—$12,500
  • 1982 cream Excalibur Series IV Phaeton with a tan top, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, an automatic, and 34,000 miles—$21,000 for the most prestigious of the neo-classics, now judged by the AACA.
  • 1982 Silver Beige Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition hatchback coupe with silver beige leather bucket seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 93,000 miles—$9,000
  • 1988 black with woodgrain Chevrolet Caprice Classic Estate station wagon with light brown 50/50 seats, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 12,000 miles—$12,500
  • 1989 gold Jaguar XJ-S convertible with a tan convertible top, beige leather bucket seats, an HE 262 bhp 5.3 liter/326 ci V12 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 40,000 miles—$9,500
  • 1987 red Dodge Ram pickup truck with a red vinyl bench seat, an LA 5.9 liter/360 ci V8, and an automatic—$4,750

Friday, August 2nd:

  • 1982 Bright Blue Chevrolet Corvette coupe with notably faded dark blue cloth bucket seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 61,000 miles—$13,500
  • 1986 black Buick Grand National coupe with black/gray cloth seats, a 245 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection and turbocharger, an automatic, and 47,000 miles—$24,000
  • 1981 Beige/Dark Bronze two-tone Chevrolet Corvette coupe with camel cloth bucket seats, an L81 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 30,000 miles—$17,000 is solid money for a 1981 Corvette.
  • 1980 Bright Caramel Mercury Bobcat Runabout hatchback coupe with orange cloth bucket seats, a Lima 88 bhp 2.3 liter/140 ci inline four with a Motorcraft 5200 two-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 53,000 miles—$10,500. It’s an auction cliche, but is this the nicest one left?

Photograph of 1980 Mercury Bobcat
1980 Mercury Bobcat, linked from Mecum’s website.

  • 1984 red/silver two-tone Ford F150 pickup truck with a red bench seat, a 122 bhp 4.9 liter/300 ci inline six with a carburetor, an automatic, and 500 miles—$10,000. If you were looking for six-cylinder F150s, Mecum Harrisburg was your auction.
  • 1985 yellow Chevrolet custom (body, engine, suspension, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a gray cloth bench seat, a 6.5 liter/ 396 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$12,000
  • 1980 Red Chevrolet Corvette coupe with oyster leather bucket seats, an L48 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$9,000
  • 1982 silver Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with both tops, blue leather bucket seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 ci V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 73,000 miles—$9,000
  • 1982 White Chevrolet Corvette coupe with camel leather bucket seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 63,000 miles—$13,500
  • 1987 blue/tan two-tone Chevrolet S10 Blazer SUV with tan cloth bucket seats, a 125 bhp 2.8 liter/173 ci V6 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 64,000 miles—$4,500
  • 1984 white Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta hatchback coupe with gray cloth seats, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a Rochester E4ME four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 77,000 miles—$6,000
  • 1987 black Jeep Wrangler SUV with black bucket seats, a 112 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a Carter BBD two-barrel carburetor, a five-speed manual, and 48,000 miles—$11,000
  • 1983 Bright Red Ford Mustang GLX convertible with a black top, black bucket seats, an Essex 112 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with a two-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 29,000 miles—$6,000
  • 1986 red Ford Mustang custom (body, engine, wheels/tires) hatchback coupe with gray cloth bucket seats, a V8 with a supercharger and a fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$9,000
  • 1988 red Land Rover Defender 110 custom (exterior, interior, wheels/tires) SUV with red/ black seats, a 2.5 liter/152 ci diesel inline four with a turbocharger, and a five-speed manual—$45,000
  • 1985 Dark Maroon Metallic Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS coupe with maroon cloth bucket seats, a B4V 180 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 41,000 miles—$14,000
  • 1980 black cherry Chevrolet Corvette custom (paint, engine, wheels/tires) coupe with black leather bucket seats, an L98 5.7 liter/355 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$30,000
  • 1989 blue/gray two-tone GMC Jimmy SUV with blue cloth bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$10,000
  • 1983 silver Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with a hard top, red leather bucket seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 ci V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$24,000
  • 1984 red Maserati Biturbo coupe with tan leather bucket seats, a 192 bhp 2.5 liter/152 ci V6 with a Weber two-barrel carburetor and twin turbochargers, and a five-speed manual—$4,500
  • 1982 beige Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler pickup truck with tan bucket seats, a 110 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a Carter two-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$24,000

Saturday, August 3rd:

  • 1980 red Chevrolet Corvette custom (body, engine) coupe with oyster leather bucket seats, a 6.3 liter/383 ci V8, and an automatic—$13,000
  • 1987 white/red March 87C race car with a black seat and a 2.65 liter/162 ci Cosworth DFX V8 with a turbocharger—$40,000 for this piece of eighties CART history.
  • 1981 black/gold Pontiac Firebird Trans Am coupe with light sandstone cloth bucket seats, an LU8 200 bhp 4.9 liter/301 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor and a turbocharger, an automatic, and 9,200 miles—$63,000. Remember when nice late second-generation Trans Ams could be purchased for a song?
  • 1980 green Jeep CJ-5 Golden Eagle custom (interior, wheels/tires) SUV with black leather bucket seats, a 119 bhp 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with a Motorcraft two-barrel carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$17,500
  • 1982 olive Toyota FJ-43 Land Cruiser SUV with tangerine seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$35,000
  • 1982 silver/gray two-tone Buick Regal Grand National coupe with silver/black cloth/vinyl bucket seats, a 125 bhp 4.1 liter/252 ci V6 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 20,000 miles—$26,000 for this rare proto-Grand National.

Photograph of 1982 Buick Regal Grand National
1982 Buick Regal Grand National, linked from Mecum’s website.

  • 1983 blue Toyota FJ-40 Land Cruiser SUV with brown bucket seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$35,000
  • 1983 stainless steel DeLorean DMC-12 coupe with gray leather bucket seats, a ZMJ-159 130 bhp 2.8 liter/174 ci V6 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 12,000 miles—$31,000

Mecum Harrisburg had the usual profusion of Chevrolets, along a plethora of Mercedes-Benz SL convertibles and a solid amount of Fords, Pontiacs, and Toyotas. What do you think of these results?

Eighties Vehicles at the 2019 Barrett-Jackson Northeast

Barrett-Jackson’s fourth Northeast auction at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut in late June included a reasonable amount of vehicles from the 1980s—about 8% of the 542 lots offered. I’ll concentrate on the at least reasonably stock 1980s cars (and a few trucks) that sold and add some of my opinions—I’ll leave the motorcycles, tractors, and automobilia to others. Where I have covered the specific year and model of a car in this blog, I link to it.

Thursday, June 27th:

  • 1982 Impact Red Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue Edition sedan with a red Landau roof, a 60/40 red leather seat, an unknown (depends on the unstated carburetor) 5.2 liter/318 ci V8, an automatic, and 64,000 miles—a $1,100 hammer price marks the usual ignominious beginning for eighties vehicles we see at most auctions.
  • 1989 Bright Red Jeep Wrangler SUV with gray bucket seats, a 117 bhp 2.5 liter/200 ci inline four with throttle body fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 57,000 miles—$5,500
  • 1984 Bright Red Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with red leather bucket seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 205 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 79,000 miles—$6,000
  • 1984 Black Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with medium gray leather bucket seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 205 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, and the Doug Nash 4+3 transmission—$4,500
  • 1989 blue Jaguar XJS convertible with a tan convertible top, tan leather bucket seats, an HE 262 bhp 5.3 liter/326 ci V12 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 52,000 miles—$12,000
  • 1985 red (not an original paint color) Nissan 300ZX hatchback coupe with two-tone gray cloth bucket seats, a VG30 160 bhp 3.0 liter/181 ci V6 with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 97,000 miles—$6,200
  • 1985 red Toyota 4Runner custom (engine, suspension, interior, wheels/tires) SUV with gray cloth bucket seats, a 22R 2.4 liter/144 ci inline four with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$10,000
  • 1985 Signal Red Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with tan leather seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$8,200
  • 1986 blue Chevrolet K10 custom (engine, suspension) pickup truck with a blue cloth bench seat, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, and an automatic—$10,000
  • 1985 white Jeep CJ7 custom (powertrain, suspension, interior, wheels/tires) SUV with tan bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci engine, and an automatic—$20,000
  • 1988 Arctic White Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a black soft top, a hard top, palomino leather bucket seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 ci V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$15,000
  • 1986 Oxford White Ford Mustang GT convertible with a black top, white bucket seats, a Windsor 200 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 42,000 miles—$10,000
  • 1987 Black Chevrolet Corvette Callaway convertible with a black soft top, red leather bucket seats, a 345 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with twin turbochargers and fuel injection, the Doug Nash 4+3 transmission, and 31,000 miles—$15,000 for this rare (only 67 convertibles made in 1987) and fast (0-60 mph in about 4.6 seconds) Corvette.

Photo of 1987 Chevrolet Corvette Callaway convertible
1987 Chevrolet Corvette Callaway convertible, linked from Barrett-Jackson’s web pages.

  • 1981 Yellow Toyota SR5 pickup truck with black/patterned bucket seats, a 22R 2.4 liter/144 ci inline four, and a five-speed manual—$12,500 makes this the first vehicle in this auction to meet my criteria for serious collectability of 1980s cars or trucks in stock condition: selling for equal to or above its original base list price. I’ll mark these vehicles in bold green.
  • 1988 black Chevrolet Blazer custom (paint, suspension, wheels/tires) SUV with gray bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$13,500
  • 1981 stainless steel DeLorean DMC-12 coupe with gray bucket seats, a ZMJ-159 130 bhp 2.8 liter/174 ci V6 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 19,000 miles—$30,000
  • 1988 white Chevrolet Blazer custom (engine, suspension, wheels/tires) SUV with gray bucket seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$16,000
  • 1987 Diamond Blue Metallic Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a blue soft top, a hard top, blue leather bucket seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 ci V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 65,000 miles—$16,500
  • 1985 Midnight Blue/Silver two-tone Chevrolet C10 Silverado pickup truck with a blue custom cloth bench seat, an LE9 160 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 31,000 miles—$20,500
  • 1987 black Buick Grand National coupe with black/gray cloth bucket seats, an LC2 245 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci turbocharged V6 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 26,000 miles—$18,000
  • 1980 white Pontiac Firebird Trans Am coupe with blue cloth bucket seats, a 170 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$10,700
  • 1989 Bright Red Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z convertible with a black soft top, red bucket seats, an LB9 195 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 28,000 miles—$20,500
  • 1987 blue Toyota Supra Turbo hatchback coupe with blue bucket seats, a 7M-GTE 232 bhp 3.0 liter/180 ci inline six with a turbocharger, intercooler, and fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$10,500
  • 1989 blue Cadillac Brougham limousine with blue leather seats, a 140 bhp 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$7,500

Friday, June 28th:

  • 1988 Allanté Red Cadillac Allanté convertible with a black soft top, tan leather bucket seats, an HT-4100 170 bhp 4.1 liter/249 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 22,000 miles—$4,500
  • 1980 black MG MGB Limited Edition convertible with a black soft top, black vinyl bucket seats, a 62.5 bhp 1.8 liter/110 ci inline four with a Zenith 150 CD4T carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$6,200
  • 1986 dark gray/light gray two-tone Ford F-150 XL pickup truck with a gray bench seat, a Windsor 4.9 liter/302 ci V8, and an automatic—$16,500
  • 1980 Montreux Maroon Pontiac Firebird Turbo Trans Am with black cloth bucket seats, a 210 bhp 4.9 liter/301 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor and a turbocharger, an automatic, and 57,000 miles—$18,500
  • 1983 green Chrysler LeBaron convertible with a tan convertible top, brown leather seats, an Astron 93 bhp 2.6 liter/156 ci inline four with a two-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 82,000 miles—$10,000 for this car modeled after the one featured in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
  • 1986 green Jeep CJ8 Scrambler pickup truck with black bucket seats, a 5.0 liter/304 ci V8, and a four-speed manual—$22,000
  • 1981 red Bristol double-decker bus with black seats, a six-cylinder engine, and a three-speed manual—$19,000. It’s not the cost; it’s the storage and driving requirements.

Photo of 1981 Bristol double-decker bus
1981 Bristol bus, linked from Barrett-Jackson’s web pages

  • 1987 green AM General Humvee M998 SUV with a green interior, a 6.2 liter diesel V8, and an automatic—$17,000

Saturday, June 29th:

  • 1981 orange Jeep CJ5 custom (engine, interior, wheels/tires) SUV with black seats, a 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$7,000
  • 1983 burgundy Porsche 944 hatchback coupe with black bucket seats, a 150 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$4,000
  • 1988 Oxford White Ford Mustang GT convertible with a white soft top, scarlet red cloth bucket seats, a Windsor 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 46,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1987 Oxford White Ford Mustang GT fastback coupe with scarlet red cloth bucket seats, a Windsor 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 31,000 miles—$16,500. It’s definitely the manual cars that do better among the Fox-body Mustangs.
  • 1989 black Ford Mustang GT fastback coupe with tan cloth bucket seats, a Windsor 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 27,000 miles—$10,000
  • 1987 black Ford Mustang GT convertible with a black soft top, gray cloth bucket seats, a Windsor 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 30,000 miles—$10,000
  • 1984 red Chevrolet C10 custom (powertrain, suspension, interior) pickup truck with a cloth bench seat, a 6.3 liter/383 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$13,500
  • 1987 red Datsun Sunny custom (engine, paint, interior) pickup truck with black bucket seats, an A12 70 bhp 1.2 liter inline four, and a four-speed manual—$12,000 for perhaps the most interesting eighties vehicle at this auction.

Photo of 1987 Datsun Sunny pickup truck
1987 Datsun Sunny custom pickup truck, linked from Barrett-Jackson’s web pages.

  • 1982 stainless steel DeLorean DMC-12 coupe with gray bucket seats, a ZMJ-159 130 bhp 2.8 liter/174 ci V6 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 5,600 miles—$34,000
  • 1987 black Buick GNX coupe with black/gray cloth seats, an LC2 276 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with turbocharging and fuel injection, an automatic, and 1,800 miles—$94,000. There remain more butts than seats for the GNX.
  • 1985 Heath Gray Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser SUV with brown bucket seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six, and a four-speed manual—$57,000 for this beautifully restored FJ.

I see a lot of Chevrolets, Fords, Jeeps, and Toyotas. What do you think of this auction’s results?