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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Eighties Vehicles at the 2017 Mecum Harrisburg

Mecum’s 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 diamond blue 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with both tops, blue leather seats, and 17,000 miles was a no sale bid up to $42,000) and add some of my opinions. Eighties vehicles were about 9% of the 474 vehicle lots sold in this auction.

Thursday, August 3rd:

  • 1988 white Pontiac Fiero Formula coupe with gray cloth seats, a L44 135 bhp 2.8 liter/173 cubic inch V6 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 17,000 miles—$8,500 hammer price.
  • 1984 doeskin tan/frost white two-tone Chevrolet C10 Scottsdale pickup truck with a maroon bench seat, a 130 bhp 4.1 liter/250 cubic inch inline six  with 2-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 67,000 miles—$11,500
  • 1981 brazil brown metallic Volkswagen Rabbit convertible with a white top, gazelle leatherette seats, a 74 bhp 1.7 liter/105 cubic inch inline four with fuel injection, an automatic, and 82,000 miles—$2,500
1981 Volkswagen Rabbit convertible, linked from Mecum’s web site.
  • 1981 red Pontiac Grand Prix very custom coupe with red interior, a 6.6 liter/400 cubic inch V8 with two Holley 4-barrel carburetors, and an automatic—$6,500
  • 1989 dark red metallic Chevrolet Corvette convertible with black leather seats, an L98 245 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 92,000 miles—$9,000
  • 1987 gray Nissan 300ZX coupe with gray cloth seats, a VGE30 3.0 liter/181 cubic inch V6 with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 49,000 miles—$5,000
  • 1988 gray Chrysler Fifth Avenue sedan with burgundy velour seats, a 140 bhp 5.2 liter/318 cubic inch V8 with 2-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$3,000 for this one-owner car that continues Mecum Harrisburg’s trend of cars not often seen at auction.
  • 1985 cabernet red metallic Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with the optional hard top, tan seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 cubic inch V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$8,500
  • 1986 blue Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 4-4-2 coupe with blue cloth seats, a 180 bhp 5.0 liter/307 cubic inch V8 with Rochester four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 27,000 miles—$10,000. Suddenly, the eighties 4-4-2’s are showing up at auction.
  • 1983 red Fiat Spider 2000 convertible with a black top, a black interior, an 102 bhp 2.0 liter/122 cubic inch inline four with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 13,000 miles—$14,500
  • 1989 red Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z coupe with gray cloth seats, a 230 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 68,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1987 black GMC Sierra pickup truck with a maroon interior, a 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$16,500
  • 1989 carmine red Cadillac Eldorado coupe with a white leather interior, a 155 bhp 4.5 liter/273 cubic inch V8 engine with fuel injection, an automatic, and 12,000 miles—$13,000
  • 1982 red Lancia Beta Spider Zagato targa coupe with a black interior, a 108 bhp 2.0 liter/122 cubic inch inline four with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$5,000
  • 1988 white Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z coupe with gray cloth seats, a 230 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 68,000 miles—$9,000
  • 1986 red/silver two-tone Chevrolet K10 pickup truck with a red/black bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$13,000
  • 1981 copper Datsun 280ZX with a saddle interior, a 145 bhp 2.8 liter/168 cubic inch inline six with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 27,000 miles—$10,500
  • 1980 black and gold Pontiac Firebird Trans Am custom coupe with a tan interior, a 6.6 liter/400 cubic inch V8 with carburetor (that’s why it’s custom), and an automatic—$22,000
  • 1989 flame red Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GTA coupe with camel cloth seats, a B2L 235 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 27,000 miles—$10,000
  • 1981 yellow Chevrolet Camaro Z28 coupe with black vinyl seats, an LM1 175 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with Rochester 4-barrel carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$9,500
  • 1980 silver metallic Chevrolet Corvette custom coupe with black leather seats, a 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with Rochester Quadrajet 4-barrel carburetor, a four-speed manual, and 53,000 miles—$9,500
  • 1981 white Jeep CJ-5 Golden Eagle custom SUV with a black interior, a 5.9 liter/360 cubic inch V8, and a three-speed manual—$9,000
  • 1987 moorland green Jaguar XJ6 Series III sedan with biscuit leather seats, a 176 bhp 4.2 liter/256 cubic inch inline six with Lucas-Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—an ouch! at $2,500.
  • 1982 pale yellow Rolls-Royce Corniche I convertible with saddle top, saddle leather seats, a 6.75 liter/412 cubic inch V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$31,500 is a little under #3/Good money, according to Hagerty’s valuation tools.

Friday, August 4th:

  • 1980 blue Jeep CJ-5 custom SUV with a black interior, a 119 bhp 5.0 liter/304 cubic inch V8 with Motorcraft 2-barrel carburetor, a four-speed manual—$19,000
  • 1981 red Chevrolet Corvette coupe with medium red leather seats, an L81 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with Rochester Quadrajet 4-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 48,000 miles—$14,500 for one of the last of the St. Louis-built cars.
  • 1987 black Chevrolet pickup truck with a red interior, a 170 bhp 5.0 liter/305 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$18,500
  • 1981 black Chevrolet Corvette coupe with camel leather seats, an L81 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with Rochester Quadrajet 4-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 62,000 miles—$12,500
  • 1988 red Alpha Romeo Spider Graduate Edition convertible with a black top, a tan interior, a 115 bhp 2.0 liter/120 cubic inch inline four with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 71,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1982 silver beige Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition coupe with silver beige leather seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 7,300 miles—at $24,500 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.
  • 1983 red Porsche 911 SC Cabriolet custom convertible with a “slant-nose” wide-body conversion, a black top, a brown interior, and a 180 bhp 3.0 liter/183 cubic inch flat six with fuel injection—$31,000
  • 1980 black Dodge Adventurer Midnite Express Truck custom (because they didn’t build any factory Midnite Express Trucks in 1980) pickup truck with black seats, a 5.9 liter/360 cubic inch V8 with carburetor, and an automatic—$15,500
  • 1981 red Chevrolet Camaro Z28 coupe with a black interior, an LM1 175 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with Rochester 4-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 49,ooo miles—$17,500
  • 1986 white Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet custom convertible with a “slant-nose” wide-body conversion, a black top, a black interior, a 207 bhp 3.2 liter/193 cubic inch flat six with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$25,000 for another non-factory conversion.
  • 1987 silver/black two-tone Rolls-Royce Silver Spur limousine, with a black interior, a 6.75 liter/412 cubic inch V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$33,000
  • 1989 orange Chevrolet Blazer very custom SUV with gray seats, a 6.3 liter/383 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$10,500

Saturday, August 5th:

  • 1988 pearlescent white Lotus Esprit Turbo Special Edition coupe with baby blue leather seats, a 215 bhp 2.0 liter inline four with Garrett T3 turbocharger and Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 15,000 miles—$15,500
1988 Lotus Esprit Turbo interior, linked from Mecum’s web site.
  • 1983 gray Jeep CJ-7 custom SUV with a black interior, a 6.3 liter/383 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$25,000
  • 1989 white Land Rover Defender 110 pickup truck with a black interior, an 85 bhp 2.5 liter diesel inline four with turbocharger, and a five-speed manual—$40,000
  • 1985 red Lamborghini Jalpa coupe with a tan interior, a 250 bhp 3.5 liter/213 cubic inch V8 with Weber 4-barrel carburetor, a five-speed manual, and 16,000 miles—$62,000. Jalpas are suddenly more present at auctions—this is the second one I’ve seen in 2017.
  • 1985 dark sage green Ford Mustang SVO fastback coupe with gray cloth seats, a Lima 200 bhp 2.3 liter/140 cubic inch inline four with Garrett turbocharger, intercooler, and fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$13,500 for one of the sixty SVOs originally sold to Hertz.
  • 1986 jalapena cabernet Ford Mustang SVO fastback coupe with gray leather seats, a Lima 200 bhp 2.3 liter/140 cubic inch inline four with Garrett turbocharger, intercooler, and fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 23,000 miles—$13,000
  • 1988 oxford white/titanium two-tone Ford Mustang GT fastback coupe with red cloth seats, a Windsor 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 50,000 miles—$10,000
  • 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, an automatic, and 13,000 miles—$38,000
  • 1980 orange Toyota FJ-40 Land Cruiser SUV with a black interior, a 135 bhp engine, a five-speed manual transmission, and 42,000 miles—$25,000

What do you think of these results?

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1985 Dodge 600 Club Coupe

This post was one of my first ten in this blog, which I’ve updated to reflect both changes in my posting style and substantial improvements in available data. At this point, it’s changed enough to be considered a new post.

The crazy folks at The Truth About Cars posted recently about a 1985 Dodge 600 Club Coupe as part of their Junkyard Find series.

There’s a strong feeling of fulfillment behind the wheel of this striking coupe.

The Dodge 600 was an extended (E-platform) version of the original K-platform cars, with three more inches of wheelbase added to the sedans (coupes and wagons remained the same length as the original cars). It debuted in the 1983 model year, two years after the original K cars made it to market. Other E-platform cars were the Chrysler New Yorker, Chrysler E-Class, and (later) the Plymouth Caravelle.

There were three engines available for the Dodge 600. The base engine was Chrysler’s K 99 bhp 2.2 liter/135 cubic inch inline four with fuel injection. One option was the Turbo I 146 bhp version of the same engine with Garrett T3 turbocharger and fuel injection while another was Mitsubishi’s Astron series 4G54 101 bhp 2.6 liter/153 cubic inch inline four with a carburetor. Fuel economy for the Turbo I and three-speed automatic transmission combination (the five-speed manual was no longer available) was 19 city/24 highway by the standards of the day (it would be 17/22 today).

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $9,060 club coupe (about $21,100 in today’s dollars) included power brakes, power steering, halogen headlamps, Landau padded vinyl roof, and P185/70R14 tires. Inside, cloth front bucket seats, a full-length console, color keyed steering wheel, and an electronically-tuned AM radio were standard. Features listed that wouldn’t be considered worth mentioning now included a tethered fuel filler cap and an inside hood release.

Optional equipment included sport/handling suspension ($79), air conditioning ($757), tinted glass ($115), automatic speed control ($179), leather wrapped steering wheel ($50), and tilt steering wheel ($110).

Page from the 1985 Dodge 600 brochure, linked from the Old Car Manuals Project’s amazing brochures pages.

The original K cars and their many variants were once so common on the roads, but have essentially disappeared in mid-2017. I haven’t seen a 600 of any type in years, despite the fact that Dodge made over 300,000 of them between 1983 and 1988. You’ll occasionally see the original Dodge Aries/Plymouth Reliant cars at AACA shows along with the top of the line Chrysler LeBaron convertibles.

You do occasionally see Dodge 600s for sale in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors, but there are no coupes out there as I write this in July 2017.

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Eighties Vehicles at the 2017 Mecum Denver

Mecum’s July auction in Denver 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 red 1985 Porsche 911 coupe with a black interior and 39,000 miles was a no sale bid up to $80,000) and add some of my opinions. Eighties vehicles were about 7% of the 318 vehicle lots sold in this auction.

Thursday, July 20th:

  • 1984 blue Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS coupe with seat covers on the original seats, a B4V 180 bhp 5.0 liter/305 cubic inch “H.O.” V8 with Rochester Quadrajet 4-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$3,500 hammer price.
  • 1986 red Alpha Romeo Graduate Edition spyder with a black top, a black interior, a 115 bhp 2.0 liter/120 cubic inch inline four with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 50,000 miles—$6,000
  • 1985 black Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z coupe with custom black/gray custom cloth seats (the ones with “CAMARO” repeated over and over), an LB9 190 bhp 5.0 liter/305 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 80,000 miles—$5,500
  • 1986 red Chevrolet Corvette coupe with red leather seats, an L98 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, a 4+3 transmission, and 17,000 miles—$8,500
  • 1983 blue Jeep Cherokee SUV with tan cloth seats, a 140 bhp 5.9 liter/360 cubic inch V8 with a Motorcraft 2-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$8,000
  • 1987 red Jaguar XJS coupe with tan leather seats, a 262 bhp 5.3 liter/326 cubic inch HE V12 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 71,000 miles—$8,750
  • 1980 silver metallic Chevrolet Corvette coupe with oyster interior, an L82 230 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with Rochester Quadrajet 4-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 62,000 miles—$11,500
  • 1980 blue Chevrolet Camaro Z28 coupe with a blue interior, an LM1 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with Rochester 4-barrel carburetor, an automatic—at $15,500 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.

Friday, July 21st:

  • 1987 bright blue Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z coupe with gray cloth seats, an LB9 215 bhp 5.0 liter/305 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 2,500 miles—$18,000
  • 1983 white Porsche 944 coupe with black seats, a 150 bhp 2.5 liter/151 cubic inch inline four with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$4,000
  • 1987 dark gray metallic/titanium two-tone Ford Mustang GT hatchback with smoke cloth seats, a Windsor 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 33,000 miles—$14,000 for this good-looking Fox body.

    1987 Ford Mustang GT hatchback, linked from Mecum’s site.
  • 1988 black Porsche 944 coupe with red/black seats, a 160 bhp 2.5 liter/151 cubic inch inline four with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 76,000 miles—$5,000. What’s with all the 944’s suddenly showing up at auction?
  • 1980 yellow MG MGB convertible with a black interior, a black top, a 63 bhp 1.8 liter carburetted inline four, a four-speed manual, and 30,000 miles—$4,500
  • 1982 silver beige Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition 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—$26,000 is slightly over #2 money according to Hagerty’s valuation tools.
  • 1981 black and gold Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Special Edition coupe with camel tan cloth seats, a 200 bhp 4.9 liter/301 cubic inch turbo V8 with 4-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$18,500
  • 1989 silver Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a black convertible top, a silver hard top, a burgundy interior, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 cubic inch V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 116,ooo miles—$22,000
  • 1984 black Jeep CJ-7 Renegade SUV with black seats, a 115 bhp 4.2 liter/258 cubic inch inline six with Carter 2-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 28,000 miles—$22,000
  • 1988 camouflage AM General Hummer H1 pickup truck with a green interior, a 6.2 liter diesel V8, an automatic, and 34,000 miles—$9,250

Saturday, July 22nd:

  • 1981 white Chevrolet Corvette coupe with dark blue leather seats, an L81 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with Rochester Quadrajet 4-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 5,400 miles—$24,000
  • 1982 gold/brown two-tone Jeep Cherokee Laredo custom SUV with tan/brown cloth seats, a 401 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$30,000
  • 1984 red/white two-tone Chevrolet pickup truck with a red bench seat, a 5.0 liter/305 cubic inch V8, and 4,800 miles—$19,750

What do you think of these results?

 

 

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1982 Oldsmobile Toronado Brougham

Barrett-Jackson’s second Northeast auction at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut in late June 2017 included a 1982 black Oldsmobile Toronado Brougham coupe with a tan interior, a 5.0 liter/307 cubic inch V8, an automatic, and 12,000 miles. It sold for $10,000. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen an eighties Toronado up for auction, though the “sister” Buick Riviera and Cadillac Eldorado are often present. Time to write a blog entry, methinks.

“Nothing ordinary”

For 1982, Oldsmobile gave up on the (slightly) sportier XSC variant that they had offered for two years and made the Brougham the only available version. Changes included a new chrome/argent grille with more horizontal bars, a new memory seat option with two memory positions, a revised instrument panel, and a new optional radio.

The standard engine was a 125 bhp 4.1 liter/252 cubic inch V6 with Rochester 4-barrel carburetor. Optional power included the 140 bhp 5.0 liter/307 cubic inch V8 with Rochester 4-barrel carburetor at no additional charge and the (don’t do it!) 105 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch diesel V8 ($825). A four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive was standard with all three engines. The Toronado was not light—curb weight was 3,705 pounds—so even with the more powerful V8, 0-60 mph took about 13 seconds. With the gasoline V8, mileage was rated at 16 city/27 highway by the standards of the day; with the 21.1-gallon fuel tank, Toronado owners could expect to travel about 400 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment included in $14,462 base price (about $38,000 in today’s dollars) included power disc brakes and P205/75R15 tires (still easily available) on 15 by 6-inch steel wheels. Inside, air conditioning, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, and divided cloth seats were standard. Options included Twilight Sentinel ($57), Tempmatic air conditioning ($50), power Astro Roof with sliding glass panel, and leather seats.

Oldsmobile sold 33,928 1982 Toronado Broughams, down from over 42,000 the previous year. In 1982, Buick sold 42,823 Riviera coupes along with another 1,246 convertibles while Cadillac sold 52,018 Eldorado coupes, so the Toronado was not holding up its end of the E-body platform bargain.

1982 Oldsmobile Toronado Brougham page from the 1982 Oldsmobile full-line brochure

Third-generation Toronados have a following, though models after 1980 are not rated in Hagerty’s valuation tools. These Toronados sometimes show up for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors. As I write this, Hemmings is listing a 1983 Toronado Brougham with a champagne exterior and red cloth seats for $9,900.

I like these big coupes, though I think the Toronado may have too closely resembled the Eldorado for its own good. Make mine Medium Slate Firemist, please.

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Eighties Vehicles at the 2017 Barrett-Jackson Northeast

Barrett-Jackson’s second Northeast auction at the Mohegun Sun casino in Connecticut in late June included a reasonable amount of vehicles from the 1980s— about 7% of the lots offered. I’ll concentrate on the at least fairly 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 22nd:

  • 1980 orange BMW 635 CSi coupe with tan leather seats, a 235 bhp 3.5 liter/211 cubic inch inline six with Bosch Motronic fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$8,000 hammer price for this European spec car.
  • 1982 brown/gold two-tone Datsun 280ZX GL coupe with a beige interior, a 145 bhp L28E 2.8 liter/164 cubic inch inline six with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$7,500
  • 1989 blue Jaguar XJS convertible with barley leather seats, a 262 bhp 5.3 liter/326 cubic inch HE V12 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$10,000
  • 1983 maroon Mercedes-Benz 240D sedan with a tan interior, a 67 bhp 2.4 liter/147 cubic inch diesel inline four with fuel injection, an automatic, and 129,000 miles—$6,500
  • 1987 black GMC Caballero pickup truck with burgundy cloth seats, a 5.0 liter/305 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$7,500
  • 1987 light blue metallic Chevrolet El Camino pickup truck with gray cloth seats, a 5.0 liter/305 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$7,500
  • 1984 black Mercedes-Benz 500SEL custom sedan with gray interior, a 184 bhp 5.0 liter/304 cubic inch V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$6,000
  • 1985 white Chevrolet Corvette coupe with red leather seats, a 230 bhp L98 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, and the Doug Nash 4+3 transmission—$9,500
  • 1987 gold Pontiac Fiero GT coupe with a tan interior, a 135 bhp 2.8 liter/173 bhp V6 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 400 miles—$9,000
  • 1982 silver Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with blue leather seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 cubic inch V8 with Bosch Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$11,500
  • 1982 red Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue Edition sedan with red leather seats, a 5.2 liter/318 cubic inch V8 with carburetor, an automatic, and 63,000 miles—an ouch! at $4,000
  • 1984 red Jeep CJ-7 mild custom SUV with a black soft top, a black interior, a 112 bhp 4.2 liter/258 cubic inch inline six with Carter 2-barrel carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$20,000
  • 1982 silver beige Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition coupe with silver beige leather seats, a 200 bhp L83 Cross-Fire 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with throttle body fuel injection, and an automatic—$15,000
  • 1983 red Pontiac Firebird Trans Am custom coupe with tan leather seats, an LS1 5.7 liter/346 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$11,500
  • 1989 pearl white Tiffany coupe with tan leather seats, a 150 bhp 4.9 liter/302 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$15,500 for this Mercury Cougar-based “neo-classic.”
  • 1986 cream with woodgrain Jeep Grand Wagoneer SUV with a tan interior, a 144 bhp 5.9 liter/360 cubic inch V8 with Motorcraft 2-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 89,000 miles—$31,000 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.
  • 1980 dark blue metallic Chevrolet Corvette coupe with a blue interior, a 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with Rochester 4-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 40,000 miles—$33,000 is serious money for a late shark. Hagerty’s valuation tools sees all the money for this configuration as about $25,500.
  • 1982 black Oldsmobile Toronado Brougham coupe with a tan interior, a 140 bhp 5.0 liter/307 cubic inch V8 with Rochester 4-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 12,000 miles—$10,000. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen an eighties Toronado up for auction.

    1982 Oldsmobile Toronado, courtesy of Barrett-Jackson.
  • 1982 wimbledon white/apple red two-tone Ford F-150 XLT Lariet Edition pickup truck with a red interior, a 4.9 liter/302 cubic inch carbureted V8, an automatic, and 56,000 miles—$13,500
  • 1987 medium garnet red metallic Pontiac Fiero GT coupe with a gray interior, an L44 135 bhp 2.8 liter/173 cubic inch V6 with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$11,500
  • 1987 gray Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with a dark blue convertible top, a gray hard top, dark blue leather seats, a 227 bhp 5.5 liter/338 cubic inch V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$10,000
  • 1987 white Mercedes-Benz 560SEL sedan with a tan interior, a 238 bhp 5.5 liter/338 cubic inch V8 with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, and an automatic—$3,500

Friday, June 23rd:

  • 1984 red GMC Sierra C1500 Classic pickup truck with a red/black mild custom interior, a 5.0 liter/305 cubic inch V8, an automatic, and 91,000 miles—$10,000
  • 1988 satin beige metallic Jaguar XJ-SC cabriolet (not a full convertible) with brown leather seats, an HE 262 bhp 5.3 liter/326 cubic inch V12 with Lucas-Bosch fuel injection, and an automatic—$6,000
  • 1988 flame red Pontiac Fiero GT coupe with a tan interior, an L44 135 bhp 2.8 liter/173 cubic inch V6 with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$5,000
  • 1985 white Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z coupe with saddle cloth seats, an LB9 215 bhp 5.0 liter/305 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 12,900 miles—$16,500
  • 1989 silver Porsche 928S4 coupe with a burgundy interior, a 320 bhp 5.0 liter/302 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 33,500 miles—$29,000
  • 1980 brown Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 SUV with gray/black seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter carburetted inline six, and a four-speed manual—$28,000
  • 1980 mustard yellow Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 SUV with tan seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter carburetted inline six, and a four-speed manual—$38,000
  • 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, an automatic, and 38,000 miles—$24,000
  • 1988 red Porsche 911 Carrera custom coupe with a black interior, a 217 bhp 3.2 liter/193 cubic inch flat six with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 47,000 miles—$35,000
  • 1987 tan/white two-tone Chevrolet Suburban SUV with a tan interior, a 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$12,000 for this vehicle once owned by Ted Williams
  • 1987 guards red Porsche 928S4 coupe with a black interior, a 320 bhp 5.0 liter/302 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 56,000 miles—$20,000
  • 1980 black and gold Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Special Edition coupe with camel tan cloth seats, a 210 bhp 4.9 liter/301 cubic inch turbo V8 with 4-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 72,000 miles—$22,000
  • 1984 glacier blue Jeep CJ-7 custom SUV with a black interior, a Vortec 5.3 liter V8 with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$20,000
  • 1985 white Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z coupe with red leather seats, an L98 225 bhp 5.7 liter/350 cubic inch V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 22,000 miles—$20,000 for this loaded car (originally a $12,819 base price and $7,801 worth of options). Really nice early third-generation F bodies are starting to decently at auction—this one dates from when you could get the L98 or the five-speed, but not both.
  • 1981 blue Chevrolet Camaro Z28 very custom coupe with tan interior, a 454 cubic inch V8, and an automatic—$27,000
  • 1986 black Buick Regal Grand National very custom pickup truck with black/gray cloth seats, a 235 bhp 3.8 liter/231 cubic inch turbocharged V6 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$12,000 for a business in the front (Buick) and party in the back (El Camino).

    1986 custom Buck Regal Grand National, photo linked from Barrett-Jackson.
  • 1985 black cherry Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2 prototype coupe with a 305 cubic inch V8 and an automatic—sold on bill of sale only at $23,000
  • 1989 black Rolls-Royce Silver Spur sedan with black leather seats, a 6.8 liter/412 cubic inch V8 with Bosch fuel injection, and an automatic—$9,000

Saturday, June 24th:

  • 1987 blue Polski FIAT 126P with a black interior, a 0.7 liter two, and a four-speed manual—$5,000
  • 1984 chiffon white Porsche 928S coupe with a burgundy and beige interior, a 234 bhp 4.6 liter V8 with Bosch fuel injection, an automatic, and 40,000 miles—$15,000 for this car that sold at the same auction in 2016
  • 1983 silver Cadillac Sedan DeVille sedan (natch!) with a gray interior, a indeterminate V8 could be gas or diesel, an automatic, and 20,000 miles—$8,000
  • 1987 black Buick Grand National coupe with a black/gray cloth seats, a 235 bhp 3.8 liter/231 cubic inch turbocharged V6 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$17,000
  • 1986 guards red Porsche 930 Turbo coupe with champagne leather seats, a 326 bhp 3.3 liter/202 cubic inch flat six with Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, a four-speed manual, and 15,000 miles—$141,000 makes this European spec car by far the highest original eighties vehicle sale of the auction.

I see a lot of Chevrolets, Mercedes-Benz’s, Pontiacs, and Porsches. What do you think of this auction’s results?

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1981 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

Soul Survivor

1981 was the last year for the second-generation Firebird and thus also the last year for the second-generation Trans Am. With the third-generation cars on the way, Pontiac’s eleven-year-old F-car got only minor changes. The “screaming chicken” decal on the hood was now two colors, compared to the four color decal from 1979 and 1980. Not much could be done about the general lack of space efficiency (the EPA rated the Firebird as a subcompact car), the relatively high weight (about 3,300 pounds when the Mustang weighed about 2,800), and the fairly primitive technology.

The standard Trans Am powertrain was the L37 150 bhp 4.9 liter/301 cubic inch V8 with 4-barrel carburetor matched with an automatic. The only choice for Trans Am purchasers who wanted a manual transmission was the Chevrolet-built LG4 145 bhp 5.0 liter/305 cubic inch V8 with 4-barrel carburetor, but you did get a $147 credit.

The top engine was the $437 LU8 200 bhp 4.9 liter/301 cubic inch V8 with 4-barrel carburetor and turbocharger, which included a new hood-mounted boost gauge. A Turbo Trans Am would accelerate from 0-60 in a little over eight seconds. Fuel mileage was predictably bad—14 mpg by the standards of the day for the combination of the turbo engine and the automatic. With a 21-gallon fuel tank, Trans Am owners could expect to travel about 260 miles before refueling.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment included in the $8,322 base price of the Trans Am (about $24,300 in today’s dollars) included black accent grille and headlamp bezels, dual rectangular headlamps, wheel opening air deflectors, side-split tailpipe extensions, shaker hood, power brakes, and P225/70R15 blackwall tires on Rally II wheels. Inside, power steering, air conditioning, console, bright engine-turned dash plate, and rally gauges with tachometer were standard.

The Trans Am Special Edition package cost $735 additional—$1,430 bundled with t-tops. There was also a special edition of the Special Edition—the NASCAR Daytona 500 Pace Car, resplendent in oyster white with a black and red interior. It included the LU8 turbocharged engine, the WS6 special performance package, four wheel power disc brakes, and limited slip differential. Inside, the most notable upgrade from other Trans Ams was Recaro seats—among the best available from any manufacturer in 1981. All this extra content was a good thing, because the NASCAR Daytona 500 Pace Car listed for $12,257; about $35,700 in 2017 dollars.

Options available for included WS6 special performance package, limited slip differential, tungsten quartz halogen headlamps, white-lettered tires, cast aluminum wheels, four wheel power disc brakes, power antenna, electric rear window defroster, and custom bucket seats.

Firebird pages of the 1981 Pontiac brochure, linked for the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures pages.

Long neglected by the collector market and with most now used up, late second-generation Trans Ams in good or great shape are starting to get interesting numbers at auctions. A black and gold 1981 Trans Am went for $19,000 at Mecum’s May 2017 auction in Indianapolis. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1981 Trans Am in #1 condition is $38,200. A more normal #3 condition version is valued at $13,600.

Make mine the black and gold Special Edition, of course. The NASCAR Daytona 500 Pace Car is tempting, if only for those Recaro seats.

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