Eighties Vehicles at the 2017 Mecum Dallas

Mecum’s September auction in Dallas 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 grand prix white 1982 Porsche 930 Turbo coupe with can-can red leather seats and 17,000 miles was a no sale bid up to $77,500) and add some of my opinions. Eighties vehicles were about 7% of the 450 vehicle lots sold in this auction.

Wednesday, September 6th:

  • 1984 blue Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with tan seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 cubic inch V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$7,000 hammer price.
  • 1988 alpine white Mercedes-Benz 560SEC custom coupe with tan leather seats, an M117 238 bhp 5.5 liter/338 cubic inch V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 69,000 miles—$15,500
  • 1985 light bronze metallic Chevrolet Corvette coupe with dark bronze leather seats, an L98 230 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 2,200 miles—$16,500
  • 1985 blue Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with a black convertible top, tan seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 cubic inch V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—an ouch! at $3,750.
  • 1980 black and gold Pontiac Firebird Trans Am custom coupe with a black interior, a 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 (that’s why it’s custom), and an automatic—$15,000
  • 1980 dark blue Chevrolet Corvette custom coupe with dark blue leather seats, a 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 63,000 miles—$9,500
  • 1985 black Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS custom coupe with maroon cloth seats, a 383 cubic inch V8 with a carburetor, and an automatic—$8,500 for this car dressed to look like a NASCAR race car.

Thursday, September 7th:

  • 1980 white Chevrolet Camaro Z28 coupe with a blue interior, an LM1 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic. At $12,500, 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.
  • 1998 red Chevrolet 3500 custom pickup truck with a red interior, a 7.4 liter/454 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$17,500
  • 1981 white Chevrolet Corvette coupe with medium red leather seats, an L81 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 60,000 miles—$17,000
  • 1981 autumn red/dark claret two-tone Chevrolet Corvette coupe with medium red leather seats, an L81 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic. $9,500 for this attractive and rare (probably less than 3% of production) two-tone.
1981 Chevrolet Corvette, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1981 red Chevrolet Corvette coupe with medium red leather seats, an L81 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$12,500. If you like 1981 Corvettes, this seems to have been your auction.
  • 1989 blue GMC 1500 custom pickup truck with blue/ gray cloth seats, a 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$4,000
  • 1982 silver beige Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition hatchback coupe with silver beige leather seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with throttle body fuel injection, and an automatic—$9,000
  • 1987 black GMC custom pickup truck with a gray cloth bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8, and a four-speed manual—$21,000
  • 1989 tan/brown two-tone Chevrolet Blazer Silverado SUV with tan cloth seats, a 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8, an automatic, and 22,000 miles—$14,000
  • 1987 blue/white two-tone Ford F-150 XLT Lariat pickup truck with a blue cloth bench seat, a Windsor 5.8 liter/351 cubic inch V8, an automatic, and 85,000 miles—$8,500
  • 1985 silver GMC custom pickup with a red leather bench seat, a 400 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$24,500

Friday, September 8th:

  • 1988 black BMW M6 coupe with silver gray leather seats, an M88/3 256 bhp 3.5 liter/211 cubic inch inline six with Bosch Motronic fuel injection, and a five-speed—$41,000 for this very complete (full toolkit included) coupe.
  • 1983 red GMC 1500 custom pickup truck with gray leather seats, a V8, and an automatic—$10,500
  • 1984 red Chevrolet C10 custom pickup truck with tan seats, a 502 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$21,000
  • 1989 light blue/dark blue two-tone Chevrolet K1500 Silverado pickup truck with a blue bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8, an automatic, and 16,000 miles—$21,000
  • 1987 black Buick Regal GNX coupe with black/gray cloth seats, an LC2 276 bhp 3.8 liter/231 cubic inch V6 with turbocharging and fuel injection, and an automatic—$49,000 for this GNX with a recently rebuilt engine.
  • 1987 black Buick Grand National coupe with a black/gray cloth seats, a 245 bhp 3.8 liter/231 cubic inch turbocharged V6 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 6,400 miles—$39,000
  • 1986 brown Ford Bronco Eddie Bauer Edition SUV with tan cloth seats, a Windsor H.O. 210 bhp 5.8 liter/351 cubic inch V8 with a Motorcraft two-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 14,000 miles—$20,000 is no longer crazy money for a low-mileage Bronco with the top-of-the-line power option.
1986 Ford Bronco, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1984 red Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with red leather seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 205 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with throttle-body fuel injection, an automatic, and 5,700 miles—$15,000. Hagerty’s valuation tools see this as between #1/Concours and #2/Excellent condition for this configuration.
  • 1987 black Chevrolet K10 Silverado pickup truck with a red interior, a 210 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$17,500
  • 1988 blue GMC Suburban SUV with blue cloth seats, a 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$7,500

Saturday, September 9th:

  • 1989 white Chevrolet custom pickup truck with a blue cloth bench seat, a 355 cubic inch engine with a supercharger and two Eldebrock four-barrel carburetors, and an automatic—$15,000
  • 1987 apple red/frost white GMC Sierra Classic pickup truck with a burgundy cloth bench seat, a 210 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 5,800 miles—$25,000
  • 1980 black Chevrolet Camaro Sport Coupe coupe (natch!) with black vinyl seats, a V8 with a carburetor (could be either a 4.4 liter or a 5.0 liter), and an automatic—$11,000 for this rarely seen version.

Many Chevrolets and a lot of trucks. What do you think of these results?

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Auction Favorite: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SL

The Mercedes-Benz 380SL is a common vehicle at the auctions I follow—since starting this blog in late 2013, I’ve seen almost 40 of these convertibles go across the block, mostly at the Barrett-Jackson and Mecum events. I chose to go with 1985 as the model year to write about because it and 1982 have been the two most common years I have seen.

“What do you get when you blend a Mercedes-Benz with a sports car? The incomparable 380SL.”

1985 was the final year for the 380SL—from 1986 on, the heavier and more powerful 560SL would be the only option in North America. There wasn’t much change for 1985; all cars got anti-lock brakes, and later cars got a drivers-side airbag. About 11,100 buyers took home this last of the line example.

Motive power was provided by a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 cubic inch V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, connected to a four-speed automatic transmission. As with all R107 models, mileage for the 3,600-pound car wasn’t very good—the ratings of the day were 16 city mpg/18 highway (14/17 by today’s standards). With the 22.5-gallon fuel tank, a 380SL driver could expect a range of between 310 and 350 miles with a 10% fuel reserve. 0-60 came in about 10.5 seconds; the 380SL was closer to a grand touring car than to a sports car.

The 380SL’s base price for 1985 was $43,820 (about $102,200 in today’s dollars—neatly spaced between what an SL 450 and an SL 550 cost in 2017). For the money, exterior and mechanical standard features included the aforementioned ABS controlling power disk brakes, power steering, a steel hardtop, and 205/70VR14 tires (now a rare size) on 14-inch forged light-alloy wheels. Inside, power windows, power door locks via a vacuum locking system, cruise control, and an AM/FM stereo with cassette player were standard. Air conditioning was also included in the electronic automatic climate control system, though most say it wasn’t that effective. Heated leather seats were optional.

1980 Mercedes-Benz 380SL Roadster

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1985 380SL in #1/Concours condition is $28,200, with a more typical #3/Good car going for $13,600. There is decent club support for the 380SL, as there is for almost all Mercedes-Benz’s. 380SLs maintain a substantial presence in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors. As I write this in September 2017, there are 66 advertised on Hemmings, including 14 of the 1985 models.

Make mine Astral Silver Metallic, please. Dealer advertising image courtesy of Alden Jewell, linked from Flickr.

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NASCAR’s Eighties Flashback

This weekend, NASCAR will have two “throwback” races at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, one for the “AAA” Xfinity series and one for the “major league” Monster Energy series. Darlington and NASCAR started with this throwback theme in 2015, and this year 35 of the 40 cars in the top-tier series will have retro color schemes centered around 1985-1989. In my opinion, two of the best of these liveries are Brad Keselowski’s tribute to Rusty Wallace’s #2 Miller Genuine Draft car and Aric Almirola’s version of Richard Petty’s 1984 #43 STP car—the one he won his 200th race in.

An example Darlington throwback paint scheme, linked from Motor Racing Network.
The #43 throwback paint scheme, also linked from Motor Racing Network.

To be fair, Brad, Aric, and their teams have some advantages over some of the other tribute schemes—they have the matching car number, and the original sponsor is a) still in business and b) willing to sponsor the new car. Because of this, some of the other schemes are more of a reach—but it’s still nice to see the effort.

It’s not just how the cars look, either. NBCSN will use some old school graphics, and with any luck, there will be some commercials from the period (I’ve seen Coca Cola and Mellow Yellow in past years). Some of the pit crews are wearing uniforms styled like those from decades ago. Even the Monster Energy girls are getting into it with some eighties hairstyles.

For me, this is appointment viewing—to be honest, likely the last time of the NASCAR racing year that this is true. What do others think?

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Eighties Vehicles at the 2017 Mecum Monterey

Mecum’s four-day auction in Monterey included a lot of vehicles from the 1980s—fully 10% of the 241 cars and trucks that sold. As always, I’ll concentrate on the cars that actually sold (remember that this is not a no reserve auction—a green, gold, and white 1989 Porsche 962 Miller High Life race car was a no sale bid up to $2,000,000) and add some of my opinions.

Thursday, August 17th:

  • 1984 white GMC 3500 pickup truck with a blue bench seat, a 7.4 liter/454 cubic inch V8, and an automatic —$11,000 hammer price for this truck with 1984 Olympics badging.
  • 1989 tungsten blue Jaguar XJS convertible with a blue top, medium blue interior, an HE 262 bhp 5.3 liter/326 cubic inch V12 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 86,000 miles—$6,500
  • 1985 gold BMW 528e sedan with a brown interior, an M20B27 121 bhp 2.7 liter/165 cubic inch inline six with Bosch Motronic fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—an ouch! at $1,000
  • 1985 black BMW 535i sedan with a black interior, an M30B34 182 bhp 3.4 liter/209 cubic inch inline six with Bosch Motronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$2,000
  • 1989 red Cadillac Allanté  convertible with beige leather seats, an HT-4500 200 bhp 4.5 liter/273 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 47,000 miles—$7,500
  • 1985 guards red Porsche 911 Carrera Targa coupe with a black interior, a 207 bhp 3.2 liter/193 cubic inch flat six with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 106,000 miles—$31,000
  • 1988 black Porsche 911 Carrera coupe with checkered cloth seats, a 217 bhp 3.2 liter/193 cubic inch flat six with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 197,000 miles—$29,000
  • 1987 red Porsche 911 Carrera Targa coupe with black leather seats, a 217 bhp 3.2 liter/193 cubic inch flat six with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 95,000 miles—$28,500
  • 1989 black pearl Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a black hard top, palomino leather seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 cubic inch V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 65,000 miles—$27,000 for this car once owned by Joe Montana.
  • 1987 zermatt silver metallic Porsche 924 S coupe with a black interior, a 150 bhp 2.5 liter/151 cubic inch inline four with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 44,000 miles—$19,000
  • 1981 stainless steel DeLorean DMC-12 coupe with a gray interior, a ZMJ-159 130 bhp 2.8 liter/174 cubic inch V6 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 1,900 miles. $39,000 makes this the first eighties vehicle in this auction to meet my criteria for serious 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.
  • 1987 venetian blue metallic Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet convertible with a black top, black leather seats, a 217 bhp 3.2 liter/193 cubic inch flat six with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 41,000 miles—$49,000

Friday, August 18th:

  • 1988 alpine white BMW M3 coupe with cardinal red leather seats, an S14 192 bhp 2.3 liter/141 cubic inch inline four with Bosch Motronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 78,000 miles—$60,000
  • 1988 black Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet convertible with a black top, black leather seats, a 217 bhp 3.2 liter/193 cubic inch flat six with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 88,000 miles—$31,000
  • 1988 black Porsche 911 Turbo coupe with brown leather seats, a 282 bhp 3.3 liter/301 cubic inch flat six with turbocharger and fuel injection, a four-speed manual, and 11,000 miles—$145,000
  • 1988 white Porsche 911 Speedster convertible with a black top, black leather seats, a 217 bhp 3.2 liter/193 cubic inch flat six with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 8,100 miles—$160,000
  • 1988 black Alpha Romeo Spider Graduate Edition convertible with a black top, a burgundy interior, a 115 bhp 2.0 liter/120 cubic inch inline four with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$15,000
  • 1983 white, orange, and black Chevrolet Camaro Z28 race car with a 310 cubic inch V8—$26,000

Saturday, August 19th:

  • 1988 black BMW M6 coupe with gray leather seats, an S38B35 256 bhp 3.5 liter/211 cubic inch inline six with Bosch Motronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 32,000 miles—$42,000
  • 1983 silver Ferrari 512 BBi coupe with Zenga striped cloth seats, a 335 bhp 4.9 liter/302 cubic inch flat 12 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 5,600 miles—$330,000
  • 1988 graphite Porsche 959 Komfort coupe with gray leather seats, a 444 bhp 2.8 liter/174 cubic inch flat six with twin turbochargers and Bosch Motronic fuel injection, a six-speed manual, and 14,000 miles—$950,000 is between #2/Excellent and #3/Good condition, according to Hagerty’s valuation tools. I’m happy that this 959 was driven a bit by its four previous owners.
1988 Porsche 959 Komfort coupe, linked from Mecum’s website
  • 1988 nero black Ferrari Testarossa coupe with black leather seats, a 380 bhp 4.9 liter/302 cubic inch V12 with Bosch fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 9,600 miles—$135,000
  • 1989 red Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary coupe with ivory leather seats, a 455 bhp 5.2 liter/315 cubic inch V12 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 6,600 miles—$260,000

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

Eighties Vehicles at the 2017 RM Sotheby’s Monterey

RM Sotheby’s August auction in Monterey included six eighties cars that are at the absolute top of the market—every single production car 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.

  • 1989 silver Porsche 911 Speedster convertible with a black top, black leather seats, a 217 bhp 3.2 liter/193 cubic inch flat six with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 4,800 miles—$195,000 hammer price.
  • 1989 red, white, and blue Aston Martin race car with a 6.0 liter V8—$560,000
  • 1989 red Ferrari 328 GTS coupe with a black leather interior, a 260 bhp 3.2 liter/195 cubic inch V8 and Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 8,500 miles—$140,000
  • 1984 red Ferrari 512 BBi coupe with red and black leather seats, a 335 bhp 4.9 liter/302 cubic inch flat 12 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 566 miles—$390,000
  • 1983 red Ferrari 512 BBi coupe with tan leather seats, a 335 bhp 4.9 liter/302 cubic inch flat 12 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 20,000 miles—$220,000
  • 1986 blu chiaro metallizato Ferrari Testarossa coupe with chrema leather seats, a 380 bhp 4.9 liter/302 cubic inch V12 with Bosch fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$132,500 for this very unusual color on a car originally delivered to Miami Vice director Michael Mann.

What do you think of this auction’s results?

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1981 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Sport Coupe

It was a beautiful weekend in the Philadelphia area. Lots of people had their old cars out—one that caught my eye was an eighties Monte Carlo. However, it wasn’t the relatively glamorous SS of the mid-eighties; just a “normal” coupe.

“A matter of personal pride.”

For the 1981 model, the Monte Carlo that had been downsized in 1978 was significantly restyled, both to improve aerodynamics and modernize its looks. Much of the sculpting on the sides (which the middle-school aged me found appealing) was flattened, the hood was lowered, and the trunk slightly raised.

The standard engine continued to be an LC3 110 bhp 3.8 liter/229 cubic inch V6 with a Rochester 2ME 2-barrel carburetor. Optional power included a $750 (!) Buick-built LC8 170 bhp 3.8 liter/231 cubic inch V6 with a turbocharger and a Rochester E4ME 4-barrel carburetor and a $50 L39 115 bhp 4.4 liter/267 cubic inch V8 with a Rochester 2ME 2-barrel carburetor. California got an LG4 150 bhp 5.0 liter/305 cubic inch V8 with a Rochester 4ME 4-barrel carburetor as an option replacing the 4.4 liter V8. All engines were paired with a Turbo Hydra-Matic three-speed automatic transmission.

Mileage for the standard engine was 19 city/26 highway by the standards of the day (16/22 by today’s standards). With an 18.1-gallon fuel tank, a Monte Carlo driver could reasonably expect 310 to 365 miles of range with a 10% fuel reserve. Performance wasn’t exactly sparkling: 0-60 mph came in about 14.5 seconds with the standard V6 and 14 seconds for the 4.4 liter V8. The rare (about 2% of 1981 sales) turbo V6 was much faster—about 9 seconds for the 0-60 mph dash.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $7,299 Sport Coupe (approximately $21,300 in today’s dollars or about what a base 2017 Chevrolet Malibu costs—the Monte Carlo disappeared after the 2007 model year) included Computer Command Control, Delco Freedom II battery, power steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes, and P195/75R14 steel-belted radial tires. Inside a split cloth front bench seat, cut pile carpeting, and an electric clock were standard.

Exterior and mechanical options for the Sport Coupe (there was also a higher-content Landau Coupe) included halogen high beam headlamps ($27), removable glass roof panels ($695), F41 Sport Suspension ($43), limited slip differential ($67), Rally wheels ($49), and attractive new aluminum wheels ($319). Inside, there were many options: air conditioning ($585), automatic speed control ($132), Comfortilt steering wheel ($81), power windows ($140), power door locks ($93), bucket seats ($118), gauge package ($55), and an AM/FM stereo radio with cassette tape ($264) were all available.

Back cover of the 1981 Monte Carlo brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures pages.

1981 Monte Carlo sales were astounding by modern standards for auto sales—Chevrolet sold 149,659 Sport Coupes along with another 38,191 Landau Coupes. For context, the combined Monte Carlo numbers would be enough to make it the 12th most popular car in 2016; and Chevrolet had four model lines that sold better in 1981 (Chevette, Citation, Malibu, and Impala/Caprice). Chevrolet was probably happy with the increased sales over 1980, but this would not last—1981 turned out to be the eighties high water mark for Chevrolet’s mid-size coupe.

Third-generation Monte Carlos have a following, though most of the interest is in the aforementioned SS, which is the only eighties Monte rated in Hagerty’s valuation tools. A 1986 maroon Chevrolet Monte Carlo coupe with a maroon interior and cloth bucket seats, an LG4 150 bhp 5.0 liter/305 cubic inch V8 with a 4-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 60,000 miles sold for $9,000 at Barrett-Jackson’s 2016 Las Vegas auction.

These Monte Carlos do show up for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors. As I write this, Hemmings is listing a 1985 Monte Carlo with a light brown metallic exterior, saddle cloth seats, an LG4 5.0 liter/305 cubic inch V8 with a 4-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 68,000 miles for $8,250.

Make mine Green Light Jade Metallic, please. Those GM light greens from the early eighties have aged very well.

Other rear-wheel drive G-platform (designated A-platform before 1982) cars I have written about include the 1984 Buick Regal Grand National, the 1983 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan, the 1981 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, and the 1980 Pontiac Grand Am.

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1980 Plymouth Horizon

The October 2017 issue of Hemmings Classic Car came in the mail today. It includes an article on an “Unbelievable Restoration of a 1979 Plymouth Horizon,” which certainly falls into my “Who Saves These Cars?” category. In honor of this, I’ve updated a blog entry on the 1980 Horizon from a few years ago.

“Handling it with confidence.”

1980 was the third year for Chrysler’s “Omnirizon” front-wheel drive subcompact. Once again, the only available engine was a Volkswagen-sourced 1.7 liter/105 cubic inch four-cylinder with a Holley two-barrel carburetor and all of 65 bhp. With the standard four-speed manual transmission, 0-60 came in about 14.5 seconds in the 2,135-pound car. Fuel economy was rated at 24 city/31 highway by the standards of the day, so the 13-gallon fuel tank gave a range of about 320 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $5,526 car (about $18,100 in today’s dollars) included rack and pinion steering, front disc brakes and rear drum brakes, a rear electric defroster, tinted glass, and P155/80R13 radial tires (a size still available from Kumho). Standard interior equipment included a heater, an AM radio, and an electric clock.

A variety of exterior and interior packages were available to dress up the rather spare base Horizon. The Custom exterior package ($101) added some brightwork to the outside of the car. Moving up to the Premium exterior ($207) added more brightwork and deluxe wheel covers. Custom ($112) and Premium ($355) interiors mostly made the upholstery slightly nicer.

Exterior and mechanical options included a sun roof ($182), power steering ($161), power brakes ($77), and a three-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission ($340) that slowed the car’s acceleration even more. Inside, air conditioning ($541), a sport steering wheel ($40), and an AM/FM stereo radio ($93) were available—there were no eight-tracks or cassettes available as factory stereos (it was left to Crutchfield and others to provide).

Page from 1980 Plymouth Horizon brochure, linked from the very useful PaintRef.com.

The Horizon continued to sell reasonably well in the 1980 model year—almost 86,000 units. The slightly sportier two-door TC3 hatchback added another 60,000 or so units. Combined, the two models accounted for 58% of Plymouth’s dire 1980 automobile sales totals in the United States (Plymouth’s other offerings for that year included the Arrow, Champ, Gran Fury, Sapparo, and Volaré).

There are a few folks trying to save “Omnirizons”—including that fellow featured in Hemmings Classic Car (journalist Robert Suhr)—but you rarely see these cars for sale in either the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds or on eBay Motors.

For a later and much faster L-body check out my blog entry on the 1985 Dodge Omni GLH.

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