Eighties Vehicles at the 2016 Mecum Kansas City

Mecum’s three-day auction in Kansas City included a reasonable amount of vehicles from the 1980s—fully 6% of the 472 lots. Remember that this is not a no reserve auction—a black 1987 Buick GNX coupe with a black/gray cloth interior, a 276 bhp 3.8 liter LC2 turbocharged and fuel-injected V6, and an automatic was a no sale bid up to $40,000. As always, I’ll concentrate on the cars that actually sold and add some of my opinions.

Thursday, December 1st:
  • 1989 red Ford F150 Lariat custom pickup truck with a gray cloth interior, a 5.0 liter fuel-injected V8, and a five-speed manual—$8,500 hammer price.
  • 1981 blue Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with a blue leather interior, a hardtop, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter fuel-injected V8, and an automatic—$5,250
  • 1986 red Chevrolet Silverado mild custom pickup truck with a red cloth interior, a 5.0 liter V8, and an automatic—$8,000
  • 1986 blue Chevrolet Caprice Classic very custom coupe with a gray interior and an automatic—$4,500 for this low rider.
  • 1982 white Porsche 928S coupe with a blue interior, a 234 bhp 4.6 liter fuel-injected V8, a five-speed manual, and 88,000 miles—$7,000
  • [one year early] 1979 blue/green two-tone Lincoln Continental sedan with a green leather interior, a 179 bhp (oog!) 400 cubic inch Cleveland carbureted V8, and an automatic—$5,500
  • 1980 beige Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais coupe with a brown cloth interior, an unknown engine, and an automatic—$3,000
  • [one year early] 1979 maroon Chevrolet Malibu Classic custom station wagon with red vinyl interior, a 355 cubic inch carbureted V8, and a four-speed manual—$7,500
  • 1989 red Chevrolet Corvette coupe with a red leather interior, a 230 bhp 5.7 liter L98 fuel-injected V8, an automatic, and 21,000 miles—$9,250
Friday, December 2nd:
  • [one year late] 1990 white Mazda Miata convertible with a black interior, a 116 bhp 1.6 liter fuel-injected inline four, and a five-speed manual—$6,000
  • [one year early] 1979 red Subaru Brat with a tan interior, a 67 bhp 1.6 liter EA-71 carbureted flat four, and a four-speed manual—$7,500
  • 1987 white Ford Bronco mild custom SUV with a blue interior, a 5.0 liter V8, and an automatic—$10,000
  • 1989 red Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z convertible with a black/gray interior, a 190 bhp 5.0 liter fuel-injected V8, and an automatic—$8,000 for this good looking IROC in what I consider is the correct color.
  • 1985 black Chevrolet Camaro Z28 coupe with a gray interior, a V8, and an automatic—$4,750
  • 1988 white Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z coupe with a gray interior, a 5.7 liter L98 fuel-injected V8, an automatic, and 57,000 miles—$10,500
  • 1981 silver DeLorean DMC-12 coupe with a gray interior, a 130 bhp 2.8 liter ZMJ-159 fuel-injected V6, and an automatic—$18,000
  • 1982 brown/gold two-tone Phillips Berlina coupe with a tan interior, a 350 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$17,500 for this Corvette-based “neo-classic.”
  • [one year early] 1979 black Cadillac Seville sedan with a black interior, a 170 bhp 350 cubic inch L49 fuel-injected V8, and an automatic—$7,000
  • 1987 black Dodge Ramcharger SUV with a red cloth interior, a 360 cubic inch carbureted V8, an automatic, and 83,000 miles—$6,500
  • [one year early] 1979 white/black two-tone GMC K pickup truck with a red interior, an automatic, and 62,000 miles—$8,500
Saturday, December 3rd:
  • [one year early] 1979 black Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck with a tan cloth interior, a 350 cubic inch V8, and a four-speed manual—$18,500
  • 1986 blue/white two-tone GMC K10 pickup truck with a blue interior, a 350 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$12,500
  • 1987 black Buick Grand National coupe with a black/gray cloth interior, a 245 bhp 3.8 liter LC2 turbocharged and fuel-injected V6, an automatic, and 27,000 miles—$21,000 makes this the first and only vehicle in this auction to meet my criteria for serious 1980s collectability of original cars or trucks: selling for equal to or above its original base list price.

What do you think of the results?

Eighties Vehicles at the 2016 Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas

Barrett-Jackson’s October auction at the Mandelay Bay casino in Las Vegas included a reasonable amount of vehicles from the 1980s. Where I have covered the specific year and model of a car in this blog, I link to it.

Thursday, October 13th:
  • 1984 red Chrysler LeBaron convertible with a white leather interior, a 140 bhp 2.2 liter turbo four, an automatic, and 23,000 miles—an ouch! at its $3,000 hammer price.
  • [one year early] 1979 blue Cadillac Coupe deVille coupe (natch!) with a blue leather interior, a 180 bhp 425 cubic inch V8, an automatic, and 17,000 miles—$5,000
  • 1988 red Cadillac Allante convertible with both tops, a buckskin leather interior, a 170 bhp HT-4100 4.1 liter V8, an automatic, and 32,000 miles—$5,000
  • 1985 white Cadillac Eldorado convertible with the Biarritz package, a red leather interior, a 135 bhp HT-4100 4.1 liter V8, an automatic, and 11,000 miles—$21,000 is solid money for a mid-1980s Eldorado convertible (Hagerty’s valuation tools see all the money for this Eldorado configuration as about $17,800).
  • 1986 maroon Chevrolet Monte Carlo coupe with a maroon interior and cloth bucket seats, a 150 bhp 305 cubic inch V8, an automatic, and 60,000 miles—$9,000. How many non-SS eighties Montes are left?
  • [one year early] 1979 heritage brown Pontiac Firebird Trans Am coupe with a tan interior, a 185 bhp L80 6.6 liter V8, an automatic, and 63,000 miles—$6,000
  • 1984 white Pontiac Fiero Indy Pace Car coupe with a red and white interior, a 92 bhp (aargh!) Iron Duke 2.5 liter four, a four-speed manual, and 22,000 miles—$5,000
  • 1980 black Chevrolet Corvette custom coupe with a tan interior, a 350 cubic inch V8, a four-speed manual, and 75,000 miles—$9,500
  • 1983 red Ford Mustang GT convertible with a white interior, a 175 bhp 5.0 liter V8, a five-speed manual, and 42,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1988 gray Jeep Wrangler very custom SUV with black interior, a 5.3 liter V8, and an automatic—$10,000
  • 1989 white with woodgrain Jeep Grand Wagoneer SUV with a burgundy interior, a 360 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$12,000
  • 1981 white Jeep CJ-5 custom SUV with a gray interior, a 350 cubic inch V8, and a four-speed manual—$14,000
  • 1985 blue Ford Bronco II very custom SUV with a tan interior, a 351 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$7,000
  • 1984 orange Jeep CJ-7 custom SUV with a black interior, a 383 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$16,000
  • [one year early] 1979 ocean foam Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II sedan with a mason’s black leather interior, a 6.75 liter V8, and an automatic transmission—$25,000
  • [one year early] 1979 white Chrysler Cordoba 300 custom coupe with a red leather interior, a 472 cubic inch Hemi V8 (not remotely stock—about 525 bhp versus the best-case original 195 bhp), an automatic, and 238 miles—$25,000
  • [one year early] 1979 black/gold two-tone Oldsmobile Hurst/Olds coupe with a tan interior, rare T-tops, a 160 bhp L34 350 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$12,000
  • 1980 purple Jeep CJ-7 custom SUV with a tan interior, a 5.7 liter Hemi V8, and an automatic—$14,500
  • 1986 red Chevrolet C-10 custom pickup truck with a gray interior, a 350 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$14,000
  • 1983 white Toyota SR5 mild custom pickup truck with a blue interior, a 2.4 liter four, and a five-speed manual—$22,000
  • 1980 tan Toyota Land Cruiser BJ-40 SUV with a tan interior, a 2.4 liter diesel four, and a four-speed manual—$29,000 makes this the first vehicle in this auction to meet my criteria for serious 1980s collectability of original cars or trucks: selling for equal to or above its original base list price. I’ll mark these vehicles in bold green.
  • 1986 red with woodgrain Jeep Grand Wagoneer SUV with a tan interior, a 4.2 liter six, an automatic, and 80,000 miles—$30,000 makes this the highest original eighties vehicle sale on Thursday.
  • [one year early] 1979 serrano red GMC C1500 custom pickup truck with a camel interior, a 350 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$9,000
  • 1985 silver Chevrolet Corvette coupe with a gray leather interior, a 230 bhp L98 350 cubic inch V8, an automatic, and 2,200 miles—$15,000
Friday, June 24th:
  • 1983 blue Chevrolet K-10 Silverado pickup truck with a black interior, a 350 cubic inch V8, an automatic, and 95,000 miles—$10,000
  • 1986 black Buick LeSabre Grand National coupe with a gray interior, a 150 bhp LG3 3.8 liter V6 (only the prototypes had turbos), an automatic, and 17,000 miles—$15,000 for this rare (117 built) homologation special, perhaps the most interesting eighties vehicle in this auction.
  • [one year late] 1990 guards red Porsche 911 Carrera cabriolet with a black leather interior, a 247 bhp 3.6 liter flat six, and a five-speed manual—$22,000 for this 911 with not one but two Carfax accident reports.
  • 1983 green Toyota Land Cruiser BJ-40 SUV with a white top, a gray interior, a 2F 4.2 liter inline six, and a four-speed manual—$28,000
  • 1981 silver Delorean DMC-12 coupe with a gray interior, a 130 bhp ZMJ-159 2.8 liter six, a five-speed manual, and 2,700 miles—$37,000 makes this the highest original eighties vehicle sale on Friday.
  • 1981 silver Delorean DMC-12 coupe with a gray interior, a 130 bhp ZMJ-159 2.8 liter six, a five-speed manual, and 900 miles—$33,000
  • 1989 british racing green Jaguar XJS coupe with an ivory interior, a 262 bhp 5.3 liter HE V12, and an automatic—$25,000 for this vehicle once owned by Frank Sinatra, which was auctioned at Mecum Monterey in August 2016 for $27,000.
  • 1983 white Porsche 911 SC Targa coupe with a black leather interior, a 180 bhp 3.0 liter flat six, and a five-speed manual—$19,000
  • 1989 silver Nissan Skyline coupe with a gray interior, a 245 RB25DET 2.5 liter turbocharged inline six, and a five-speed manual—$22,000
  • 1984 blue Mercedes-Benz 500SEL sedan with a blue cloth interior, a 184 bhp 5.0 liter V8, an automatic, and 44,000 miles—$13,500 is all the money for a 500SEL.
Saturday, June 25th:
  • 1983 copper Jeep CJ-7 Limited Edition SUV with a copper leather interior, a 4.2 liter inline six, and an automatic—$14,000
  • 1989 camouflage AM General Hummer SUV with an army green interior, a 6.5 liter diesel V8, and an automatic—$18,000 for this demilitarized example.
  • [one year late] 1990 black Chevrolet 454SS pickup truck with a red cloth interior, a 230 bhp 454 cubic inch V8, an automatic transmission, and 3,000 miles—$31,000
  • [one year early] 1979 black and gold Pontiac Firebird Trans Am coupe with a black interior, a 220 bhp W72 6.6 liter V8, a four-speed manual, and 64,000 miles—$60,000
  • [one year early] 1979 oak green Porsche 911 Turbo Carrera coupe with a cork leather interior, a 265 bhp 3.3 liter turbocharged flat six, and a four-speed manual—$120,000
  • 1989 grand prix white Porsche 911 Turbo coupe with a black leather interior, a 282 bhp 3.3 liter turbocharged flat six, and a five-speed manual—$150,000 makes this the highest original eighties vehicle sale of the auction.
  • [one year late] 1990 red Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 coupe with a red leather interior, a 375 bhp LT5 350 cubic inch V8, a six-speed manual, and 300 miles—$35,000

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

1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Sedan

A co-worker of mine casually mentioned that he owns a beige 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity sedan. That’s enough for me to write a blog entry.

“contemporary front-drive technology”

For 1989, Chevrolet’s Celebrity mid-size sedans and wagons were little changed. The major news was that the five-speed manual transmission that (very) few bought was no longer available and that the coupe had been discontinued.

Standard power on the Celebrity remained the 98 bhp 2.5 liter Tech IV inline four with throttle-body fuel injection. The 125 bhp LB6 2.8 liter V6 with multi-port fuel injection was available for $610. A three-speed automatic transmission was standard on both engines, but buyers of the V6 could add a four-speed automatic for an additional $175.

With these two engines and curb weights in the 2,750 to 2,800-pound range, the Celebrity was not a fast car. 0-60 mph with the four was a little over 13 seconds, while V6 owners got to 60 mph about two seconds faster.

Mileage with the base four was 23 city/30 highway (21/28 by today’s standards) while owners of the top-of-the-line V6/four-speed automatic combination could expect 20 city/29 highway. With a 15.7-gallon fuel tank, Celebrity V6 drivers could expect a range of about 350 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

My colleague's 1989 Celebrity, prior to restoration.
My colleague’s 1989 Celebrity before restoration.

Standard equipment on the $11,495 Celebrity (about $23,400 in 2016 dollars) included power steering, power brakes, 14-inch wheels on P175/75R14 tires, and a Delco AM/FM stereo radio with digital clock. Adding the V6 and the four-speed automatic brought the price up to $12,280, or about $25,000 in today’s dollars.

By 1989, Chevrolet was moving to “Preferred Equipment Group” option packages as a way to reduce the number of equipment combinations. The Celebrity’s option packages were:

  1. Air conditioning, auxiliary lighting, exterior moldings, floor mats—($931 with the 2.5 liter inline four/$957 with the 2.8 liter V6)
  2. Air conditioning, auxiliary lighting, exterior moldings, floor mats, power door locks, gauge package, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, and intermittent windshield wipers—($1,565 with the 2.5 liter inline four/$1,591 with the 2.8 liter V6)
  3. Air conditioning, auxiliary lighting, exterior moldings, floor mats, power door locks, gauge package, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, and intermittent windshield wipers, sport remote mirrors, AM/FM stereo cassette with digital clock, power trunk opener, and power windows—($2,062 with the 2.5 liter inline four/$2,088 with the 2.8 liter V6)

Adding the Preferred Equipment Group 3 to a Celebrity with the V6 and the four-speed automatic brought the price all the way up to $14,368, or about $29,300 in today’s dollars—about what a well-equipped (1LT with leather) 2017 Chevrolet Malibu costs.

The most glamorous option for the Celebrity continued to be the $230 Eurosport package, which included the F41 sport suspension and 14-inch rally wheels on P195/75R14 tires. The exterior featured blacked out window trim and red center stripes on the protective rubber door and bumper molding; fender and trunk emblems were red rather than the standard chrome. Eurosports also featured unique red emblems on the interior door panels and dash and a black steering wheel.

Other optional equipment included two-tone paint ($55), aluminum wheels ($195), engine block heater ($20), cloth bucket seats with console ($257), and six-way power driver’s seat ($250).

1989 would end up being the last year for the Celebrity sedan—the wagon would soldier on for one more year. I think of these cars as honest but basic. Celebrities sometimes show up for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds or on eBay Motors. I saw an early (1982-1985) coupe at an AACA show a few years ago. Make mine black, I think.

Other A-bodies in this blog:

1983 Pontiac 6000 STE sedan

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Eighties Vehicles at the 2016 Mecum Monterey

Mecum’s three day auction in Monterey included a lot of vehicles from the 1980s—fully 8% of the 650 lots. As always, I’ll concentrate on the cars that actually sold (remember that this is not a no reserve auction—a red 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO coupe with a black interior and 7,000 miles was a no sale bid up to $2,200,000) and add some of my opinions.

Thursday, August 18th:
  • 1980 black MG MGB Limited convertible with a black interior, a black top, a 94 bhp 1.8 liter inline four, a four-speed manual, and 77,000 miles—$4,750 hammer price.
  • [one year early] 1979 black Porsche 928 coupe with a cork interior, a 219 bhp 4.5 liter V8, a five-speed manual, and 30,000 miles—$35,000
  • [one year early] 1979 bronze Porsche 911 Carrera Turbo coupe with a black interior, a 265 bhp 3.3 liter flat six, a four-speed manual, air conditioning, a sunroof, and 103,000 miles—$80,000
  • 1989 british racing green Jaguar XJS coupe with an ivory interior, a 262 bhp 5.3 liter HE V12, and an automatic—$27,000 for this vehicle once owned by Frank Sinatra.
  • 1986 white London Sterling limousine with a 2.3 liter inline four, an automatic, and 11,000 miles—$12,500
  • 1989 blue Chevrolet Camaro race car with a gray interior—$9,000
  • 1988 red Ferrari 328 GTS coupe with a tan interior, a 260 bhp 3.2 liter V8, a five-speed manual, and 30,000 miles—at $55,000, by far the highest eighties vehicle sale on Thursday.
  • 1987 blue BMW M6 coupe with a gray interior, a 256 bhp 3.5 liter inline 6, and a five-speed manual—$22,500 for this handsome car.
Friday, August 19th:
  • 1982 chiffon white Porsche 911SC Targa with a beige interior, a 180 bhp 3.0 liter flat six, and a five-speed manual—$35,000 makes this the first vehicle in this auction to meet my criteria for serious 1980s collectability of original cars or trucks: selling for equal to or above its original base list price. I’ll mark these vehicles in bold green.
  • [one year late] 1990 white and blue Lola T90/00 Valvoline Indy Car driven by Al Unser, Jr.—$82,000
  • [one year early] 1979 black Volkswagen Super Beetle Epilogue Edition convertible with a black interior, a black top, a 67 bhp 1.8 liter flat four, a four-speed manual, and 2,500 miles—$34,000
  • 1986 red Ferrari Testarossa coupe with a tan interior, a 380 bhp 4.9 liter V12, a five-speed manual, and 16,000 miles—$132,500
  • 1988 red BMW M6 coupe with a tan interior, a 256 bhp 3.5 liter inline six, and a five-speed manual—$90,000
  • 1988 guards red Porsche 911 Carrera coupe with a tan interior, a 207 bhp 3.2 liter inline six, a five-speed manual, and 7,500 miles—$68,000
  • 1989 red Ferrari 328 GTS coupe with a tan interior, a 260 bhp 3.2 liter V8, a five-speed manual, and 2,100 miles—at $190,000, by far the highest eighties vehicle sale of the entire auction.
  • 1986 black Porsche 911 Carrera Turbo coupe with a black interior, a 282 bhp 3.3 liter inline six, a four-speed manual, and 16,000 miles—$125,000
  • 1988 grand prix white Porsche 911 Carrera Turbo factory slant nose convertible with a navy blue top, a navy blue interior, a 282 bhp 3.3 liter inline six, a four-speed manual, and 30,000 miles—$125,000
  • [one year early] 1979 yellow BMW 320i very custom coupe with a black interior, a 4.6 liter V8, a manual, and 24,000 miles—$17,000
Saturday, August 20th:
  • 1982 slate gray Porsche 911 very custom coupe with a black interior, a 316 bhp 3.6 liter flat 6, and a four-speed manual—$82,500
  • 1987 black Ferrari Testarossa coupe with a tan interior, a 380 bhp 4.9 liter V12, a five-speed manual, and 23,000 miles—$120,000
  • [one year early] 1979 black Porsche 911 Carrera Turbo coupe with a black interior, a 265 bhp 3.3 liter flat six, a four-speed manual, and 64 miles—$320,000
  • 1984 red Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole coupe with a tan interior, a 230 bhp 2.9 liter V8, and a five-speed manual—$56,000

Ferraris and Porsches looked strong at this auction, which makes sense given the timing and location. What do you think of the results?

Eighties Vehicles at the 2016 RM Sotheby’s Monterey

RM Sotheby’s August auction in Monterey included a few eighties cars that are the absolute top of the market. Every single one met my criteria for serious 1980s collectability of original cars: selling for equal to or above its original base list price. As always, I’ll concentrate on the cars that actually sold and add some of my opinions. Where I have covered the specific year and model of a car in this blog, I link to it.

    • 1986 red Ferrari 328 GTS coupe with a tan leather interior, a 270 bhp 3.2 liter V8, a five-speed manual, fitted luggage, and 13,000 miles—$90,000 hammer price.
    • 1982 cumberland gray Aston Martin V8 Vantage Series II coupe with a tobacco leather interior, a 425 bhp (serious power for 1982) 5.3 liter V8, a five-speed manual, and the original toolkit—$325,000. Hagerty’s valuation tools see all the money for a Series II as being $210,000; this sale may influence their value guide.
    • 1989 white Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition coupe with a black leather interior, a 449 bhp 5.2 liter V12, a five-speed manual, and 7,000 miles—$210,000 for this somewhat acquired Countach taste.
    • 1986 black Dodge Shelby Omni GLHS hatchback sedan with a gray cloth interior, a 175 bhp 2.2 liter inline four, a five-speed manual, and 7,000 miles, owned for many years by Carroll Shelby—I’m willing to bet that $25,000 marks the highest price that any “Omnirizon” will sell at for a long time.
    • 1981 inka orange BMW M1 coupe with a black leather interior, a 277 bhp 3.5 liter inline six, a five-speed manual, and 13,000 miles—$525,000
    • 1984 red Ferrari 512 Berlinetta Boxer coupe with a black leather interior, a 340 bhp 4.9 liter boxer 12, a five-speed manual, and 3,700 miles—$255,000

What do you think of this auction’s results?

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.

1985 Mercedes-Benz 300CD Turbo

For some reason, one of my local supermarkets often has interesting eighties cars. Today, there was a Mercedes-Benz 300CD Turbo casually parked among the crossovers—good enough reason for this blog entry.

A 1985 Mercedes-Benz 300D Turbo Coupe in Radnor, PA
An (I think) Champagne Metallic 1985 Mercedes-Benz 300CD Turbo in Radnor, PA

“A singular new achievement”

1985 was the last year for Mercedes-Benz’s mid-size W123 models—they would be followed by the substantially revised and very different looking W124 models in 1986.

For 1985, the 300CD Turbo powertrain continued to be the fuel-injected 125 bhp 3.0 liter five cylinder turbodiesel connected to a four-speed automatic transmission. At about 3,360 pounds, these were not fast cars—0-60 mph took about 15 seconds. Fuel economy was 22 city/25 highway by the standards of the day—19/23 by today’s standards. With the 21.1 gallon fuel tank, the driver of a 300CD could expect almost 450 miles of range with a 10% reserve.

Base price for the 300CD Turbo was a non-trivial $35,220—about $81,700 in today’s dollars. You did get a lot of standard equipment: power steering, power brakes, halogen headlamps, halogen fog lamps, and light alloy wheels were all included. Inside, power windows, power door locks, cruise control, intermittent windshield wipers, eight-way power front bucket seats, electronic climate control, and an AM/FM stereo with cassette player and power antenna were standard.

There were few options on the 300CD Turbo: leather upholstery and a power sunroof (optional at no extra cost) were available.

W123 models definitely have a following, especially the relatively rare coupes and the 300TD wagons. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1985 300CD in #1/Concours condition is $16,900, with a more normal #3/Good condition car going for $8,400. 300CDs sometimes show up for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors, often with mileage well over 200,000.

I like these coupes, with their smooth hardtop lines and their reasonable size. Make mine Astral Silver Metallic, I think.

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