1986 Honda Accord sedan

“Once again, other manufacturers will be forced to return to their drawing boards.”

The Honda Accord was all new for 1986, with a brand new body and upgraded engines—the standard powertrain was the A20A 98 bhp 2.0 liter/120 ci inline four with two-barrel carburetor paired to a five-speed manual transmission (a four-speed automatic was optional). Acceleration was acceptable: 0-60 came in a little under 11 seconds in the approximately 2,400-pound car. Mileage was good: 27 city/33 highway by the standards of the day (about 23 city/30 highway by 2018 standards). With a 15.9-gallon fuel tank, Accord drivers could expect a range of from 380 to 430 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

By modern standards, the 1986 Accord was not a large car: with a 102.4-inch wheelbase and a 178.5-inch length, it was four inches shorter in both wheelbase and length than a 2018 Honda Civic and was classified by the EPA as a subcompact car (the modern Accord is classified as a large car). What’s even more striking is the height or lack thereof: at 53.3 inches, the Accord was only three inches taller than the same year’s Camaro. The 1986 Accord had a six-inch longer wheelbase, three inches more of length, and was almost an inch shorter than the 1985 version.

Standard equipment on the base Accord DX sedan included front wheel drive, double wishbone front and rear suspension, power brakes, variable-assist power steering, pop-up halogen headlights, hidden wipers, and P185/70R13 tires (a size still available) on 13-inch wheels with full wheel covers. Inside reclining front bucket seats, an adjustable steering column, and cruise control were included. The DX went for $9,299—about $21,600 in 2018 dollars.

Moving up to the LX added air conditioning, power door locks, power windows, and an AM/FM stereo with cassette player and power antenna. The top of the line LXi went for $12,675 (about $29,400 in today’s dollars or about what a 2018 Accord EX-L sedan goes for) and added the 110 bhp fuel injected engine, cast aluminum alloy wheels, and a power moonroof.

1986 Honda Accord advertisement.

The 1986 Honda Accord was well received. It was present on Car and Driver‘s 10 Best list and got good reviews. Honda sold 325,000 in the United States, making it the fifth best selling car model that year.

Third-generation Accords were once prevalent on American roads, but have virtually disappeared by now. You do occasionally see these Accords for sale in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors, but there were no sedans out there as I write this in July 2018.

1980 Lincoln Continental Mark VI coupe

“A car befitting its illustrious heritage”

For 1980, Lincoln completely revised the Continental Mark series, downsizing it for the first time and adding a sedan. The coupe was over 14 inches shorter than the 1979 Mark V and about 750 pounds lighter. However, the Mark VI was still a big car by any standard—a foot and a half longer than a 2017 Mercedes-Benz S550 coupe.

Standard power for 1980 was a Windsor 129 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection paired with a four-speed automatic overdrive transmission. Buyers could specify a $160 140 bhp 5.8 liter/351 ci V8 with a two-barrel carburetor. With the standard powertrain, 0-60 took about 14 seconds in the 3,892-pound car. Mileage was 17 city/24 highway by the standards of the day—with the 18-gallon gas tank, Mark VI owners could expect a range of about 330 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $16,291 base Mark VI ($54,500 in today’s dollars or about what a 2018 Lincoln Continental Reserve costs) included hidden halogen headlamps, luxury wheel covers, and P205/75R15 white sidewall tires (a size still readily available) on 15-inch wheels. Inside, cloth Twin Comfort lounge seats, power windows, an electronic instrumental panel with message center, a four-spoke color-keyed steering wheel, automatic temperature control air conditioning, and an AM/FM stereo radio with power antenna were all standard.

As had been true for many years, there were multiple designer packages available for the Mark VI: Bill Blass ($1,825), Cartier ($2,191), Emilio Pucci ($2,191), and Givenchy ($1,739). There was also the Signature Series ($5,485), which added just about every possible option and brought the price to $21,776 (about $72,900 in 2018 dollars).

Individual options included touring lamps ($67), Twin Comfort six-way power seats ($171), a tilt steering wheel ($83), and automatic speed control ($149).

Continental Mark VI page from the 1980 Lincoln brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures pages.

Like the Ford Thunderbird of the same year, the 1980 Continental Mark VI did not sell. Sales of the coupe dropped to 27% of the 1979 number—even if you added the newly-available sedan, they were still down 49%; not a good look for a brand new model. To make the news worse, the virtually unchanged Cadillac Eldorado (which had been downsized on 1979) more than doubled the Mark VI coupe’s sales. The agony would continue for several years, only changing with the release of the aerodynamic and significantly smaller Mark VII in 1984.

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1980 Continental Mark VI in #1/Concours condition is $15,200, with a far more typical #3/Good car going for $6,300. Values slide up with the various designer packages and the Signature Series, but only by about 5% to 10%. This generation of Marks maintains some presence in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors—as I write this in July 2018, there’s burgundy 1980 Signature Series coupe with 4,800 miles for sale asking $25,000.

1987 Mercury Lynx XR3 hatchback coupe

“… the sporting side of Lynx.”

1987 was the last year for Mercury’s version of Ford’s Escort. The Escort would soldier on for many more years (through model year 2002), but from 1988 on the smallest American-built Mercury would be the Topaz. For 1986 and 1987, the top of the line Lynx was the XR3 hatchback coupe.

The Lynx XR3’s standard powertrain was a “High Output” 115 bhp 1.9 liter/113 ci inline four with Bosch fuel injection paired to a five-speed manual transmission. Mileage was good: 25 city/34 highway by the standards of the day (about 22 city/31 highway by 2018 standards). Acceleration was reasonably spritely: 0-60 came in about 10 seconds in the approximately 2,400-pound car. With a 13-gallon fuel tank, Lynx XR3 drivers could expect a range of from 310 to 345 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $8,808 Lynx XR3 (about $20,100 in today’s dollars and close to what a 2018 Fiesta ST hatchback costs) included an asymmetrical grille, aerodynamic front air dam with built-in fog lamps, wide wheel flairs, rear spoiler, dual power mirrors, and P195/60R15 Goodyear Eagle GT tires (a size still readily available) on 15-inch cast-aluminum wheels. Inside, cloth sport bucket seats, power steering, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and locking fuel filler door with remote release were included.

Standard equipment on every Lynx included front wheel drive, rack-and-pinion steering, independent four-wheel suspension, aero halogen headlamps, low-back individual reclining seats, and folding rear seat.

Exterior and mechanical options included tinted glass ($105), rear window wiper/washer ($126), and engine block heater ($18). Inside, air conditioning ($688), speed control ($176), and tilt steering wheel ($179) were available.

1987 Mercury Lynx XR3, from the 1987 Mercury Lynx brochure.

The final-year Lynx didn’t sell very well: a total of 39,039 in a year when Ford sold 374,765 Escorts. First-generation Escorts and Lynx’s were once so prevalent on American roads, but have virtually disappeared by now. You do occasionally see Lynx’s for sale in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors, but there were none out there as I write this in July 2018.

Eighties Vehicles at the 2018 Barrett-Jackson Northeast

Barrett-Jackson’s third Northeast auction at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut in late June included a reasonable amount of vehicles from the 1980s—about 9% of the 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 21st:

  • 1984 white Pontiac Fiero Indy Pace Car coupe with orange/gray cloth seats, an Iron Duke 92 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with throttle-body fuel injection, an automatic, and 53,000 miles—$4,000 hammer price
  • 1983 silver BMW 633 CSi coupe with black seats, a 181 bhp 3.2 liter/196 ci inline six with Bosch Motronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$6,000
  • 1985 black Cadillac Seville sedan with tan vinyl top, tan leather seats, an HT-4100 135 bhp 4.1 liter/249 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 50,000 miles—$5,200. Why these Sevilles? Why now?
  • 1984 black Chevrolet Camaro custom (engine, transmission, body, wheels) hatchback coupe with beige cloth seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with an Edelbrock four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$3,200
  • 1983 black Chevrolet Monte Carlo custom (engine, brakes, body, wheels) coupe with burgundy cloth seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$5,700
  • 1983 burgundy Mercedes-Benz 240D sedan with brown seats, a 67 bhp 2.4 liter/147 ci inline diesel four, and an automatic—$7,500
  • 1985 silver Toyota Celica Supra hatchback coupe with gray cloth seats, a 161 bhp 2.8 liter/168 ci inline six, and a five-speed manual—$7,500
  • 1989 black Chevrolet Corvette custom (body) coupe with tan leather seats, an L98 5.7 liter/350 ci inch V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 69,000 miles—$4,000
  • 1989 medium blue metallic Chevrolet Corvette convertible with a black top, black leather seats, an L98 240 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci inch V8 with fuel injection, a six-speed manual, and 68,000 miles—$6,700
  • 1985 white Chevrolet Corvette coupe with red leather seats, a 230 bhp L98 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and the Doug Nash 4+3 transmission—$7,500
  • 1985 light gray/medium gray two-tone GMC Sierra 1500 pickup truck with a black cloth/vinyl bench seat, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, a four-speed manual, and 95,000 miles—$12,000
  • 1987 colorado red Jeep Wrangler SUV with spice vinyl seats, a 112 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with Carter two-barrel carburetor, and a five-speed manual—$10,000
  • 1986 brown Jeep CJ-7 Renegade SUV with tan vinyl seats, a 112 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with Carter two-barrel carburetor, a four-speed manual, and 102,000 miles—$10,000
  • 1986 gray Chevrolet Silverado regular cab pickup truck with a gray custom cloth bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$12,000
  • 1984 red Chevrolet C10 custom (engine, suspension, body, interior) regular cab pickup truck with a gray custom cloth bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a carburetor, and an automatic—$17,000
  • 1988 guards red Porsche 928 S4 hatchback coupe with tan leather seats, a 320 bhp 5.0 liter/302 ci V8 with Bosch fuel injection, an automatic, and 42,000 miles—$20,000
  • 1980 blue/white two-tone Chevrolet C10 custom (engine, suspension, wheels, interior) regular cab pickup truck with a tan leather bench seat, a 383 ci V8 with a carburetor, and an automatic—$21,500
  • 1987 black Buick Grand National coupe with black/gray cloth seats, a 235 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci turbocharged V6 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 26,000 miles—$29,000 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.
  • 1987 green Chevrolet Silverado custom (suspension, body, interior) regular cab pickup truck with a tan leather bench seat, a 383 ci V8 with a carburetor, and an automatic—$19,500
  • 1980 white Chevrolet Camaro Z28 coupe with red cloth seats, an LM1 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$14,000
  • 1985 bright blue metallic Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z hatchback coupe with black cloth seats, a 150 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with Rochester four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 20,000 miles—$17,500
  • 1984 white Pontiac Fiero Indy Pace Car coupe with orange/gray cloth seats, an Iron Duke 92 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with throttle-body fuel injection, an automatic, and 3,500 miles—at $9,200, less than a twelfth of the mileage of the first Indy Pace Car in this auction adds $5,200 to the price.
  • 1988 guards red Porsche 928 S4 hatchback coupe with black leather seats, a 320 bhp 5.0 liter/302 ci V8 with Bosch fuel injection, an automatic, and 56,000 miles—$18,500. More and more 928s are making an appearance at auction; it was the turn of the S4 version at this particular venue.
  • 1989 regatta blue Ford Mustang GT convertible with titanium lower cladding, a black top, opal gray leather seats, a Windsor 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 8,700 miles—$23,000
  • 1986 black Ford Mustang GT convertible with a black top, charcoal cloth seats, a Windsor 200 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 20,000 miles—$21,000
  • 1988 cabernet red Ford Mustang GT convertible with titanium lower cladding, a black top, gray leather seats, a Windsor 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 59,000 miles—$11,000
  • 1988 white Ford Mustang GT convertible with a white top, red cloth seats, a Windsor 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$10,500. If you were looking for a Fox-body convertible and didn’t leave with one after this auction, you weren’t really trying.
  • 1987 red Nissan 300ZX hatchback coupe with black/gray cloth seats, a VG30 160 bhp 3.0 liter/181 ci V6 with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$4,500

Friday, June 22nd:

  • 1988 british racing green Jaguar XJ6 Series III sedan with tan leather seats, an AJ6 181 bhp 3.6 liter/219 ci inline six with Lucas-Bosch fuel injection, an automatic, and 23,000 miles—an ouch! at $3,000.
  • 1980 bright blue metallic Chevrolet Camaro Rally Sport coupe with black vinyl seats, an LC3 115 bhp 3.8 liter/229 ci V6 with a Rochester M2ME two-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 45,000 miles—$4,700 for this honest, fairly original car that no one ever tried to turn into a Z28. The new owner’s challenge will be that 14 second 0-60 time …
  • 1984 white Pontiac Firebird Trans Am with gray cloth seats, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 29,000 miles—$6,500
  • 1988 blue Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a hard top, beige leather seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 ci V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$20,000
  • 1986 red Porsche 944 hatchback coupe with black leather seats, a 150 bhp 2.7 liter/164 ci inline four with Bosch fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 99,000 miles—$14,000
  • 1987 scarlet red Ford Mustang GT fastback coupe with gray cloth seats, a Windsor 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 62,000 miles—$9,000
  • 1987 green AM General Humvee SUV with a green interior, a 6.2 liter diesel V8, and an automatic—$20,000
  • 1980 orange Jeep CJ-7 custom (engine, wheels) SUV with gray seats, a 119 bhp 5.0 liter/304 ci V8 with Motorcraft two-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$12,500
  • 1988 guards red Porsche 928 S4 hatchback coupe with black leather seats, a 320 bhp 5.0 liter/302 ci V8 with Bosch fuel injection, an automatic, and 26,000 miles—$20,000
  • 1988 red BMW M3 coupe with black leather seats, an S14 192 bhp 2.3 liter/141 ci inline four with Bosch Motronic fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$35,000 is between #3/Good and #4/Fair money, according to Hagerty’s valuation tools. Eighties M3s have gotten serious over the last three years.
  • 1981 silver Pontiac Firebird Trans Am coupe with silver seats, a 150 bhp 4.9 liter/301 ci V8 with Rochester four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$18,000
  • 1986 black Jeep CJ-7 custom (paint, interior, wheels) SUV with black leather seats, a 112 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with Carter two-barrel carburetor, and a five-speed manual—$17,700
  • 1980 brown Jeep CJ-5 custom (paint, body) SUV with black seats, a 112 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with Carter two-barrel carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$9,500
  • 1987 black Buick Grand National custom (engine, transmission, wheels) coupe with black/gray cloth seats, a Vortec 5.3 liter/325 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$27,000
  • 1985 black Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Aero Coupe custom (engine, brakes, paint, interior, wheels) with black seats, a 383 ci V8, and an automatic—$39,000
  • 1983 platinum metz Porsche 944 hatchback coupe with tan seats, a 150 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 42,000 miles—$14,000
  • 1987 flame red metallic Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with saddle leather seats, an L98 240 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 71,000 miles—$6,000

Saturday, June 23rd:

  • 1989 red Chrysler Conquest TSi hatchback coupe with black seats, a Mitsubishi 4G54 188 bhp 2.6 liter/156 ci inline four with turbocharger and fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 69,000 miles—$9,000 for this almost wholly vanished variant of the itself rare Mitsubishi Starion, definitively the most interesting car at this auction by the Who Saves These Cars? criteria.
  • 1985 blue Mercedes-Benz 280SL convertible with gray seats, a 182 bhp 2.7 liter/168 ci inline six with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$8,000 for this European-market SL
  • 1985 white Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 convertible conversion with gray seats, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$7,000
  • 1985 gray Rolls-Royce Silver Spur sedan with tan leather seats, a 6.75 liter/412 ci V8, and an automatic—$11,000
  • 1988 guards red Porsche 930 coupe with black leather seats, the factory Slantnose option, a 282 bhp 3.3 liter/201 ci flat six with turbocharger and fuel injection, a four-speed manual, and 44,000 miles—$102,000
  • 1986 white gold metallic Porsche 930 coupe with burgundy leather seats, a 282 bhp 3.3 liter/201 ci flat six with turbocharger and fuel injection, a four-speed manual, and 66,000 miles—$65,000
  • 1984 red de Tomaso Pantera GT5 coupe with tan leather seats, a Cleveland 345 bhp 5.8 liter/351 ci V8 with Holley four-barrel carburetor, a five-speed manual, and 38,000 miles—$125,000
  • 1987 black Chevrolet Corvette Callaway hatchback coupe with red leather seats, a 345 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with turbocharger and fuel injection, and an automatic—$19,000
  • 1981 stainless steel DeLorean DMC-12 coupe with gray seats, a ZMJ-159 130 bhp 2.8 liter/174 ci V6 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 8,000 miles—$49,000
  • 1984 dark indigo Porsche 930 coupe with black leather seats, a 300 bhp 3.3 liter/201 ci flat six with a turbocharger and fuel injection, a four-speed manual, and 52,000 miles—$75,000 for this gray market car
  • 1988 black Land Rover 110 custom (engine, body) SUV with black seats, a 340 ci V8 with fuel injection, and a six-speed manual—$80,000
  • 1988 white Chevrolet Corvette 35th Anniversary Edition hatchback coupe with white leather seats, an L98 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—this car once again sells for charity, this time for $60,000
  • 1987 gunmetal Land Rover 110 custom (engine, suspension, body, wheels) SUV with black seats, a 2.5 liter diesel inline four, and a five-speed manual—$55,000
  • 1987 bright orange Land Rover 90 custom (engine, body, interior, wheels) pickup truck with orange and black seats, a 2.5 liter diesel inline four with a turbocharger, and a five-speed manual—$51,000
  • 1989 silver blue metallic Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a navy blue convertible top, a hard top, dark blue leather seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 ci V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$11,000

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

1981 Ford Escort hatchback coupe

“Built to take on the world.”

Ford’s biggest news for 1981 was the all-new Escort. Marketed as a “World Car,” the Escort replaced the unloved Pinto and represented a three billion dollar commitment from Ford. The new Escort was shorter, thinner, taller, and about 400 pounds lighter than the Pinto it supplanted.

The Escort’s standard powertrain was the Compound Valve Hemispherical (CVH) 65 bhp 1.6 liter/98 ci inline four with Holley-Weber 5740 2-barrel carburetor paired to a four-speed manual transmission (a three-speed automatic was a $344 option). Mileage with the standard powertrain was impressive: 28 city/43 highway by the standards of the day (about 23 city/31 highway by 2018 standards). Acceleration was less so: 0-60 came in about 14 seconds in the approximately 2,000-pound car. With a 10-gallon fuel tank, Escort drivers could expect a range of from 240 to 320 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $5,158 base Escort (about $15,300 in today’s dollars and close to what a 2018 Fiesta SE hatchback costs) included front wheel drive, rack-and-pinion steering, fully independent four-wheel suspension, halogen headlamps, and P155/80R13 tires (a size still available thanks to Kumho) on 13-inch steel wheels. Inside, high-back body-contoured front bucket seats, fold-down rear bench seat, and an AM radio were included.

As was often true with 1980s Fords, there were many trim levels. L added bright headlamp surrounds and a bright grill along with other brightwork. Moving up to the GL gave the purchaser reclining bucket seats and a four-spoke steering wheel. GLX added dual color-keyed remote sport mirrors, digital clock, locking glovebox, and P165/80R13 tires on styled steel wheels—but started at $6,476 (about $19,200 in 2018 dollars).

Fitting between the GL and the GLX in price, the somewhat sporty SS included black grill and headlamp housing, tape striping, and handling suspension ($37 for other Escorts).

Exterior and mechanical options included power brakes ($79) and power steering ($163). Inside, air conditioning ($530), fingertip speed control ($132), a floor console ($98), cloth/vinyl seat trim ($28), and an AM/FM stereo radio with cassette player ($187) were all available.

Escort page from the 1981 Ford brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures pages.

The first-year Escort and its platform-mate Mercury Lynx sold well: 193,000 Escort hatchback coupes, 128,000 Escort liftback sedans, 73,000 Lynx hatchback coupes, and 39,000 Lynx liftback sedans, making for a total of over 430,000. First-generation Escorts and Lynx’s were once so prevalent on American roads, but have virtually disappeared by now. You do occasionally see Escorts for sale in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors, but there were none out there as I write this in June 2018.

1985 Pontiac Grand Am coupe

“Introducing a brilliant new driver’s coupe”

The Grand Am name returned for the 1985 model year. Instead of the rear-wheel-drive coupe and sedan that it been in its previous two lives from 1973 to 1980 (with none in 1976 or 1977), it was now a front-wheel-drive coupe, part of GM’s N-body offerings. As such, it’s first relatives were the Buick Somerset Regal and the Oldsmobile Calais.

The standard powertrain on the Grand Am was GM’s Tech IV 92 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with throttle-body fuel injection connected to a five-speed manual. For $560, optional power was a 125 bhp 3.0 liter/181 ci V6 with fuel injection which required the $425 automatic transmission (also available with the base engine). 0-60 times for early N-body cars are hard to come by, but were likely about 10.5 seconds for the standard powertrain and about 9.0 seconds for the V6/automatic combination—the 2,419 pound shipping weight helped. Mileage with the standard powertrain was rated at 24 city/34 highway by the standards of the day (21/31 by today’s standards). With the 13.6-gallon tank, Grand Am buyers could expect a range of 310 to 350 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $7,995 base coupe (about $19,600 in 2018 dollars) included power rack and pinion steering, power front disc brakes, and P185/80R13 tires on 13-inch wheels. Inside, reclining bucket seats and an integral floor console were included.

The LE (starting at $8,495 or about $20,200 in today’s dollars) included “substantial body side moldings,” upgraded front bucket seats with adjustable headrests, deluxe door trim, and a fold-down rear seat armrest.

Options included rally tuned suspension ($50) and cruise control ($175). A Driver’s Package was also available, which included 215/60R14 Goodyear Eagle GT radials on 14-inch turbo cast aluminum wheels, “sport-tuned” front and rear stabilizers, and a Driver Information Center.

1985 Pontiac Grand Am, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures pages.

I think these were handsome cars, especially with those turbo cast aluminum wheels. Like many America cars of the era that aren’t considered to be collectible, they have essentially vanished despite over 82,000 sold in 1985 alone. They’re invisible in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and on eBay and are hard to find anywhere.

1989 Jaguar XJ-S convertible

“A car for all seasons …”

For 1989, a full convertible version of the Jaguar XJ-S finally became available after five years of the little-loved targa convertible. The power top, which could go up and down in as little as 12 seconds, was padded, lined, and included a heated glass rear window.

1989 Jaguar XJ-S Convertible advertisement.

The only powertrain available for any XJ-S continued to be the 262 bhp H.E. 5.3 liter/326 ci V12 with Lucas-Bosch fuel injection paired with a three-speed automatic transmission sourced from General Motors. Performance was respectable for the almost 4,200-pound convertible: 0-60 in a little under 10 seconds. Mileage remained what you might expect from a thirsty V12—12 city/16 highway by the standards of the day (11/15 by today’s standards). With a 10% fuel reserve, an XJ-S owner could expect a range of between 250 and 275 miles.

Standard equipment on the $56,000 car (about $116,700 in today’s dollars) included a four-wheel independent suspension, power steering, and four-wheel anti-lock power disc brakes. 15-inch alloy wheels were paired with Pirelli P600 235/60VR15 tires—which are still available!

Inside, the buyer received air conditioning with automatic temperature control, power windows, heated power mirrors, power door locks, intermittent windshield wipers, cruise control, and an AM/FM stereo cassette with Dolby and metal tape capability. New sport-contoured seats featured power-variable lumbar support and electric heating elements.

The Jaguar XJ-S has good club support, and there are some restoration parts available. There’s also a free 738 page (!) ebook written by an XJ-S owner named Kirby Palm available with much hard-earned advice. Keeping an XJ-S at 100% is non-trivial—as it is with so many high-end eighties cars.

Like all Jaguars, XJ-S convertibles have a following and make frequent appearances in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and eBay. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1989 XJ-S convertible in #1/Concours condition is $31,000, with a far more typical #3/Good car going for $14,100. As I write this in June 2018, a white 1989 XJ-S with 70,000 miles is for sale for $15,000.

Make mine British Racing Green, please.