Eighties Vehicles at the 2019 Mecum Kissimmee, Part One

This year’s huge January auction at Mecum Kissimmee provided some interesting fodder for commentary. I’ll concentrate on the reasonably stock 1980s cars (and a few trucks) that sold (remember that Mecum auctions are not “no reserve” auctions—a Guards Red 1989 Porsche 911 Speedster convertible with cashmere beige leather seats and 252 miles was a no sale bid up to $260,000) and add some of my opinions. Mecum Kissimmee is a huge event, so I’m going to separate it into two posts—this first covers the eighties 11% of the approximately 805 vehicles sold from Thursday through Sunday.

Thursday, January 3rd:

  • 1985 Medium Blue Metallic Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with blue leather seats, an L98 230 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 22,000 miles—$9,000 hammer price.
  • 1985 Sunbeam Silver Metallic Mazda RX-7 GSL-SE hatchback coupe with beat-up maroon leather seats, a 13B 1.3 liter/80 ci Wankel two-rotor with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 113,000 miles—$5,500
  • 1983 Yellow Jeep CJ-7 SUV with black seats, an “Iron Duke” 92 bhp 2.5 liter/151 inline four with a Carter YFA one-barrel carburetor, an unknown manual transmission (could be a four-speed or a five-speed), and 123,000 miles—$7,000
  • 1981 White Chevrolet Camaro Z28 coupe with tan vinyl seats, an LG4 165 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, and a four-speed manual, and 48,000 miles—at $23,000, the first eighties vehicle in this auction meets my criteria for serious collectability of fairly original cars or trucks: selling for equal to or above its original base list price. I’ll mark these vehicles in bold green.
  • 1989 White Jaguar XJ-S convertible with a black top, white leather seats, an HE 262 bhp 5.3 liter/326 ci V12 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 82,000 miles—$8,500
  • 1984 Black Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with gray seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$11,000
  • 1986 gray Chevrolet S10 very custom (everything) pickup truck with gray seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$4,000
  • 1987 tan/brown two-tone Ford Club Wagon XLT van with tan cloth seats, a 5.8 liter/351 ci V8, an automatic, and 72,000 miles—$8,500
  • 1989 Bright Red Chevrolet Corvette convertible with a black top, black leather seats, an L98 240 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$9,000
  • 1982 Silver Chevrolet El Camino custom (engine, exterior, interior) pickup truck with a maroon cloth bench seat, a 355 ci V8, and an automatic—$8,000
  • 1984 White Jeep CJ-7 Laredo SUV with tan seats, a 112 bhp 4.2 liter/258 inline six with a Carter BBD two-barrel carburetor, and a five-speed manual—$11,000
  • 1985 Blue Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with a blue convertible top, gray seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$5,000
  • 1986 Blue Chevrolet K30 Silverado pickup truck with a blue custom cloth bench seat, an LE8 230 bhp 7.4 liter/454 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, a four-speed manual, and 40,000 miles—$12,500 for this truck originally owned by actor Kurt Russell.
  • 1980 White Pontiac Firebird Turbo Trans Am Pace Car coupe with oyster seats, a 210 bhp 4.9 liter/301 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor and turbocharger, and an automatic—$17,500
  • 1985 Red Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with red leather seats, an L98 230 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 47,000 miles—$10,000
  • 1982 Burgundy Chevrolet El Camino pickup truck with a burgundy interior, an automatic, and 74,000 miles—$6,000
  • 1983 Silver Datsun 280ZX hatchback coupe with gray seats, an L28 145 bhp 2.8 liter/168 ci inline six with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 59,000 miles—$14,000 is solid money for a 280ZX.
  • 1987 Burgundy Dodge Ramcharger mild custom SUV with red cloth bucket seats, a 175 bhp 5.9 liter/360 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$7,500
  • 1984 Black Chevrolet Corvette custom (body, interior, wheels) hatchback coupe with gray velour seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 205 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, and an automatic—$6,000
  • 1988 White Chevrolet Corvette 35th Anniversary Edition hatchback coupe with white leather seats, an L98 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 54,000 miles—$11,000
  • 1986 Oxford White Ford Thunderbird coupe with canyon red cloth seats, a Windsor 150 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 59,000 miles—$4,000 for a car you rarely see at auction.
1986 Ford Thunderbird, linked from Mecum’s web site.
  • 1986 White Chrysler LeBaron convertible with a white top, tan leather seats, a 146 bhp 2.2 liter/135 ci inline four with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection and a turbocharger, an automatic, and 118,000 miles—$3,000

Friday, January 4th:

  • 1989 Black Jeep CJ-7 very custom (everything) SUV with black seats, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an unknown transmission (I think it’s a manual)—$9,500
  • 1983 Stainless Steel DeLorean DMC-12 coupe with a black interior, a ZMJ-159 130 bhp 2.8 liter/174 ci V6 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, an automatic, and 7,500 miles—$30,000
  • 1985 Light Bronze Metallic Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with saddle cloth seats, an L98 230 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 28,000 miles—$6,500
  • 1989 Red Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z hatchback coupe with a black interior, an unknown 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 (could be the L03 170 bhp engine with a four-barrel carburetor or the LB9 195 bhp engine with fuel injection), an automatic, and 16,000 miles—$19,500
  • 1985 Black Chevrolet El Camino custom (exterior, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a black interior, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, an automatic, and 56,000 miles—$8,500
  • 1985 Gray/Silver two-tone Chevrolet El Camino custom (interior, wheels/tires) pickup truck with gray leather seats, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, an automatic, and 80,000 miles—$12,000
  • 1987 Black GMC K10 stepside pickup truck with a gray vinyl bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$16,000
  • 1987 Maroon Ford E150 van with maroon cloth seats, a 4.9 liter/302 ci V8, an automatic, and 49,000 miles—$16,000
  • 1989 Flame Red Metallic Pontiac Firebird Formula hatchback coupe with gray cloth seats, an L98 235 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 17,000 miles—$14,500
  • 1982 Silver Beige Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition hatchback coupe with silver beige leather seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, and an automatic—$10,500
  • 1989 Red Jaguar XJ-S convertible with a black top, tan leather seats, an HE 262 bhp 5.3 liter/326 ci V12 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 47,000 miles—$8,500
  • 1989 White Cadillac Sedan deVille with blue leather seats, an HT-4500 155 bhp 4.5 liter/273 ci V8 with throttle-body fuel injection, an automatic, and 32,000 miles—$6,500
  • 1982 Silver Beige Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition hatchback coupe with silver beige leather seats, an L83 Cross-Fire 200 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with throttle body fuel injection, an automatic, and 10,000 miles—$25,000
  • 1987 Burgundy Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme coupe with burgundy cloth seats, a 140 bhp 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 17,000 miles—$12,500 for a civilian Cutlass Supreme.
  • 1988 Black Ford Mustang ASC/McLaren convertible with a black top, red leather seats, a 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 80,000 miles—$9,500
  • 1987 Black Buick Grand National coupe with black/gray cloth seats, a 245 bhp LC2 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with turbocharging and fuel injection, an automatic, and 37,000 miles—$22,000
  • 1983 Black/Silver two-tone Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais Hurst/Olds 15th Anniversary coupe with burgundy leather seats, a 180 bhp 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, an automatic attached to that famous lightning rod shifter, and 13,000 miles—$22,000
  • 1988 Light Blue Mazda RX-7 convertible with a black top, blue leather seats, a 13B 146 bhp 1.3 liter/80 ci Wankel two-rotor with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 51,000 miles—$7,000. Two eighties Mazdas in one auction!
1988 Mazda RX-7, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1986 Beige Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-45 pickup truck with gray seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter inline six, and a manual—$41,000
  • 1982 Yellow Chevrolet C10 Silverado custom (engine, suspension) pickup truck with a tan interior, a 6.3 liter/383 ci V8, and an automatic—$11,000
  • 1982 Blue Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-73 SUV with gray bucket seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter inline six, and a manual—$20,000

Saturday, January 5th:

  • 1988 Red/White two-tone Ford Bronco SUV with red seats, a Windsor 210 bhp 5.8 liter/351 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$16,000
  • 1989 White Pontiac 20th Anniversary Turbo Firebird Trans Am hatchback coupe with saddle leather seats, a 250 bhp (at least) 3.8 liter/231 ci turbocharged V6 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 18,000 miles—$18,500
  • 1985 Brown/Tan two-tone GMC K1500 Sierra Classic pickup truck with a tan cloth bench seat, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, an automatic, and 48,000 miles—$11,500
  • 1980 Gold Ford Bronco SUV with tan seats, a 115 bhp 4.9 liter/300 ci inline six with a Carter one-barrel carburetor, a four-speed manual, and 26,000 miles—$19,000
  • 1984 Olive Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-40 SUV with tan leather seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six, and a five-speed manual—$37,000
  • 1984 Green Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-40 SUV with black seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six, and an unknown manual transmission—$33,000
  • 1986 White Gold Metallic Porsche 911 Turbo coupe with camel leather seats, a 282 bhp 3.3 liter/201 ci flat six with turbocharging and fuel injection, a four-speed manual, and 46,000 miles—$90,000
1986 Porsche 911 Turbo, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1983 Tan Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-40 SUV with brown seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six, and a four-speed manual—$43,000
  • 1980 Black/Gold Pontiac Firebird Trans Am custom (powertrain, wheels/tires) coupe with gray cloth seats, a 7.4 liter/455 ci V8 with a carburetor, and an automatic—$27,500
  • 1982 Black/White Ford Mustang SSP coupe with gray cloth seats, a Windsor 157 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, and four-speed manual—$29,000
  • 1981 Spring Green Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-45 pickup truck with gray seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six, and a four-speed manual—$31,000
  • 1987 Black BMW M6 coupe with gray leather seats, an M88/3 256 bhp 3.5 liter/211 ci inline six with Bosch Motronic fuel injection, and a five-speed—$24,000 is between #3/Good and #4/Fair money, according to Hagerty’s valuation tools.
  • 1986 Blue Jeep CJ-7 custom (everything) SUV with gray vinyl seats, a Vortec 5.7 liter/355 ci V8 with fuel injection, and a four-speed manual—$12,500
  • 1987 Black Porsche 911 Carrera Turbo Look Cabriolet with white leather seats, a 217 bhp 3.2 liter/193 ci flat six with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 75,000 miles—$45,500
  • 1985 Gold Chevrolet C10 custom (powertrain, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a tan bench seat, a 7.4 liter/454 ci V8 with an Edelbrock carburetor, and an automatic—$9,000

Sunday, January 6th:

  • 1988 Red Honda Civic CRX Si hatchback coupe with multi-colored cloth seats, a 105 bhp 1.6 liter/97 ci inline four with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 44,000 miles—$11,000
  • 1988 Maroon Ford Bronco II SUV with a maroon interior, a Cologne 140 bhp 2.9 liter/179 ci V6 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 100,000 miles—$9,000
  • 1988 Silver Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme coupe with gray cloth seats, a 140 bhp 5.0 liter/307 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 17,000 miles—$12,000
  • 1985 Blue Cadillac Seville sedan with a white carriage roof, blue tufted leather seats, an HT-4100 135 bhp 4.1 liter/249 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 17,000 miles—$11,000
  • 1988 White/Gray two-tone Chevrolet S10 Blazer SUV with a gray interior, a 160 bhp 4.3 liter/262 ci V6 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$7,000
  • 1986 Red Subaru Sambor fire truck with a gray bench seat, a 544 ci two cinder engine, a four-speed manual, and 14,000 miles —$8,500
  • 1982 Gray Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-40 SUV with gray cloth seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six, and an unknown manual transmission—$33,000
  • 1981 Red Chevrolet K5 Blazer SUV with tan vinyl seats, a 160 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 70,000 miles—$13,750
  • 1985 White Toyota pickup truck with gray cloth seats, a 22R 2.4 liter/144 ci inline four, a five-speed manual, and 42,000 miles—$19,500. Amidst all the Land Cruisers, we get a Toyota compact truck.
1985 Toyota pickup truck, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1989 White Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-74 SUV with tan cloth seats, a turbo diesel, and a five-speed manual—$21,000
  • 1987 Silver Porsche 911 Carrera coupe with black leather seats, a 217 bhp 3.2 liter/193 ci flat six with fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$44,000
  • 1989 Blue Avanti convertible with a blue top, blue leather seats, a 170 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 19,000 miles—$32,000
  • 1989 Red Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible with beige leather seats, an M117 238 bhp 5.5 liter/339 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 26,000 miles—$31,000
  • 1989 Pearl White Land Rover Defender 110 custom (interior, paint, wheels/tires) SUV with black leather seats, an 83 bhp 2.5 liter/152 ci inline four with a carburetor, and a five-speed manual—$72,000
  • 1985 Silver/Blue two-tone GMC K20 Sierra pickup truck with a blue interior, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, an automatic, and 83,000 miles—$9,500
  • 1987 Red Ford Mustang ASC/McLaren convertible with a black top, a tan interior, a 225 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$4,500
  • 1984 Black Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible with gray seats, a 155 bhp 3.8 liter/234 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$6,000
  • 1986 White Pontiac Firebird Trans Am hatchback coupe with a gray interior, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, and 97,000 miles—$5,000
  • 1983 Red Porsche 911 SC Targa coupe with cream leather seats, a 180 bhp 3.0 liter/183 ci flat six with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 51,000 miles—$42,000
  • 1989 Signal Red Jaguar XJ-S convertible with a black top, savile gray leather seats, an HE 262 bhp 5.3 liter/326 ci V12 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 33,000 miles—$14,500
  • 1987 Red/White two-tone GMC Sierra pickup truck with a red cloth bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, an automatic, and 5,800 miles—$32,000
  • 1981 Black Chevrolet Corvette coupe with black leather seats, an L81 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$14,000
  • 1980 Dark Claret Metallic Chevrolet Corvette coupe with oyster seats, an LG4 180 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor (California car!), an automatic, and 35,000 miles—$5,000 for a Corvette that takes over nine seconds to make the 0-60 mph run.
  • 1982 Blue Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-40 SUV with black vinyl seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six, and a four-speed manual—$45,000
  • 1987 Guards Red Porsche 911 Carrera Targa custom (slantnose conversion) coupe with white leather seats, a 217 bhp 3.2 liter/193 ci flat six with fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 71,000 miles—$32,000
  • 1981 Red Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-40 SUV with gray vinyl seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six, and a four-speed manual—$20,000
  • 1989 White Dodge Dakota Shelby pickup truck with a red/gray bench seat, a 175 bhp 5.2 liter/318 ci V8 with throttle-body fuel injection, and an automatic—$8,500
  • 1982 Gold with woodgrain Jeep Wagoneer SUV with nutmeg cloth seats, a 110 bhp 4.2 liter/358 ci inline six with a Carter two-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 104,000 miles—$20,000
  • 1982 Blue Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-40 SUV with black vinyl seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six, and a four-speed manual—$38,000

End of the Year Review: 2018

2018 was a good year for Eighties Cars. We managed 39 blog entries—one every nine days. Posts were divided up into 22 featuring a specific car, 14 on auctions, and three on a new for 2018 series—”What Cars Are Collectable?” discussed Hagerty’s choices in this area. 2018 was also the best year for page views since I started the blog—we were up 78% over 2017. I also added a Vanished category for cars that seem to have disappeared entirely.

Every year, I look at the end of the year results for most viewed posts. For 2018, it looked like the key to the popularity of an individual post was generally in the rarity of the other coverage available for that particular vehicle. It also didn’t hurt to be a Chevrolet, a Buick, or a Pontiac. In reverse order, I’ll look at the top ten most viewed posts of this year.

10) 1987 Chevrolet Caprice Classic coupe—this is a very old (April 2014) but evidently evergreen post about the last of the big Caprice coupes. For the five years Eighties Cars has been around, it’s the third most viewed post overall. 3,110 coupes were sold in the 1987 model year.

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

8) 1982 Chrysler LeBaron convertible—the return of the convertible does get covered elsewhere, and people are collecting these cars. So, why does this LeBaron post get three times as many page hits as the one on the Town & Country? 12,825 convertibles were sold in an abbreviated 1982 model year.

7) 1981 Toyota Celica Sport Coupe—another relatively early article that continues to get a lot of attention. The period when I wrote this article was around the point when I began to figure out that there’s usually a lot less information available on eighties imports versus domestic brands of the same era.

6) 1984 Buick Riviera T-Type coupe—one of my first posts on this blog gets continued interest on a car that Hagerty does see as collectible ($15,500 in #1/Concours condition, $5,400 in #3/Good condition). My rather strange interest in sporty Rivieras had me covering the 1980 S TYPE late this year.

5) 1980 Pontiac Sunbird Sport Hatch—now this is a rarely discussed car, so I understand why the portion of the internet that cares is coming here. They also seem to have vanished entirely from the streets of America.

4) 1980 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 coupe—these late second-generation Z28s have been sliding up in popularity and value ($33,300 in #1/Concours condition, $15,600 in #3/Good condition for the 5.7 liter/350 ci engine versions), which marks a hole in my overall thesis on what posts are popular. Maybe next year my post on the Camaro Rally Sport from the same year will get more hits.

3) 1980 Pontiac Grand Am coupe—another rarely discussed 1980 Pontiac makes the list. This was the most viewed post in 2017, so it’s been consistently popular. 1,647 Grand Ams were sold in the 1980 model year.

2) 1985 Buick Somerset Regal coupe—this post has been picked up by other websites a few times, most recently by Jalopnik. Hilariously, I don’t think I would have ever gotten around to writing about the Somerset Regal if I hadn’t actually seen one on the streets of Philadelphia a few years ago.

1) 1986 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta hatchback coupe—the Berlinetta is rarely covered, with almost all the eighties Camaro attention going to the Z28 and the IROC-Z.

Posts that no longer made the cut in 2018 that were popular in 2017 include 1985 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Station Wagon and 1981 Chevrolet Citation X-11 hatchback coupe. A post on the rise in the last quarter of 2018 was 1987 Mercury Lynx XR3 hatchback coupe.

1986 Chevrolet Corvette convertible

“Yes to wind. Yes to sunshine.”

For 1986, the big news for Corvette was the return of the convertible, gone since 1975. Other improvements included Bosch ABS II anti-lock brakes, a Vehicle Anti-Theft System (VATS), and the mid-year introduction of aluminum cylinder heads.

The standard powertrain was the L98 235 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection paired with a Turbo-Hydramatic four-speed automatic transmission. Car and Driver recorded 0-60 time of 6.0 seconds and a top speed of 144 mph. Estimated fuel economy was 17 city/24 highway by the standards of the day (15/22 by today’s standards). With a 20-gallon fuel tank, a Corvette convertible’s proud new owner could expect a range of between 335 and 370 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Built in collaboration with ASC, the convertible included a manual top, a rear-hinged deck panel to cover the top, and an X-brace underneath the floor. The newly-required high-mounted rear brake light was integrated into the rear fascia. Even the gas filler cover was different from the coupe—square because there was no rounded rear hatchback glass for it to wrap around.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment for the $32,032 Corvette convertible (about $76,700 in today’s dollars or about what a well-equipped 2019 Corvette Stingray convertible goes for) included a Delco Freedom Plus II battery, power operated quartz-halogen retractable headlamps, power rack-and-pinion steering, power brakes, and P255/50VR-16 tires on 16 x 9.5 inch cast alloy aluminum wheels. Inside, air conditioning, power windows, Tilt-Telescopic steering wheel, driver information system, cloth seats, and an AM/FM stereo radio with power antenna were all included.

Optional exterior and mechanical equipment included performance axle ratio ($22) and Delco-Bilstein shock absorbers ($189)—the Doug Nash 4+3 manual transmission was a no-cost option. Optional interior equipment included cruise control ($185), power door lock system ($175), electronic control air conditioning ($150), a six-way power driver’s seat ($225), and the Delco-GM/Bose Music System ($895). The Z51 Performance Handling Package was not available with the convertible.

Pages from the 1986 Corvette convertible, linked from the always useful PaintRef.com.

The return of the Corvette convertible was well-received—Chevrolet sold 7,315 in about half a model, even at $5,000 more than the coupe. Reviews were also good; Car and Driver stated that the convertible was “a mighty hospitable carriage.”

There is strong club support for the 1986 Corvette, as there is for all Corvettes. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1986 Corvette convertible in #1/Concours condition is $20,200, with a more normal number #3/Good condition car going for $7,700. 1986 Corvette convertibles are regularly featured in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors—as I write this in December 2018, there’s a Yellow car with black leather seats and 29,000 miles available on Hemmings for $17,900.

Make mine White, with red leather seats—the “heritage colors” that match the first Corvette back in 1953.

1988 Honda Civic sedan

There’s a white fourth-generation Honda Civic sedan routinely parked on the street about two blocks from my house. You can tell that it hasn’t led a particularly sheltered life, but it’s obviously still in regular use. That makes it time to add one of those sedans to my suite of eighties Hondas: the 1983 Civic 1500 S hatchback coupe, the 1984 Civic CRX hatchback coupe, the 1985 Civic CRX Si hatchback coupe, and the 1986 Accord sedan.

“That was then. This is now.”

For the 1988 model year, the Honda Civic was completely revised, with a brand new design with a lower hood line, an innovative four-wheel double wishbone suspension, and a wheelbase up almost two inches to 98.4 inches. All Civic sedans for the North American market were built in Honda’s still relatively new Marysville, Ohio factory.

The standard powertrain for the Civic sedan was the D15B2 92 bhp 1.5 liter/91 ci inline four with twin-injector fuel injection mated with a five-speed manual. Fuel economy was quite good—33 city/37 highway by the standards of the day (28/34 by 2018 standards). An optional four-speed automatic took mileage down to 28 city/33 highway. With an 11.9-gallon gas tank, a Civic owner could expect a range of between 330 and 375 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

The Civic’s performance was competitive for the class—0-60 came in about 11 seconds with the five-speed manual in a car whose curb weight ranged from 2,039 to 2,205 pounds. The sedan was almost a second slower with the automatic; common in many cars in the eighties.

For $8,795 (about $19,200 in today’s dollars), the base DX version of the sedan came with flush low profile halogen headlights, tinted glass, rack and pinion steering, front disc/rear drum brakes, and 175/70R13 steel belted radial tires (a size still readily available) on 13 x 5-inch wheels. Inside, an adjustable steering column, a rear window defroster, intermittent wipers, and full carpeting were included.

Moving up to $9,625 (about $21,000 in 2018 dollars or about $1,500 more than a 2019 Civic LX sedan goes for) LX added power brakes, a tachometer, power windows, power door locks, power side mirrors, and digital quartz clock.

Other than the choice of trim level, exterior and interior colors, and transmission, there were no options. Air conditioning was available only as a dealer accessory, as was a choice of various car stereos: Honda would continue to sell AC as a dealer accessory well into the 1990s.

The larger 1988 Civic was well received—it made Car and Driver‘s 10 Best list and sold like hot cakes; a 1988 Civic LX sedan marked the one-millionth car built at the Marysville plant in early April 1988. They were still small cars by modern standards—the 1988 Civic was only about five inches longer than the current Honda Fit.

In 2018, the Civic sedan rarely comes up for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds. Some do show up on eBay Motors, but they’re often in sketchy condition.

Make mine Cardinal Red Metallic, please.

1987 Sterling 825 sedan

“… such effortless motion, …”

The Sterling 825 sedan was an interesting (perhaps desperate) attempt at re-introducing Rover cars to the North American market, but with different branding than the brutally unsuccessful Rover 3500 hatchback sedan from 1980. Based on the same platform as the acclaimed Acura Legend, the Sterling featured an angular exterior design and an interior with traditional British luxury cues such as Connolly leather seats and burled walnut trim. On the exterior, only the door handles were obviously shared between the Acura and the Sterling.

A Honda-built 151 bhp 2.5 liter/152 ci V6 with fuel injection combined with a five-speed manual transmission yielded mpg ratings of 18 city /24 highway by the standards of the day (16/22 by modern standards). The four-speed automatic transmission dropped mpg incrementally to 17 city/23 highway.

The $19,200 (about $30,700 in today’s dollars or about $6,000 less than the price of a base 2019 Jaguar XE sedan) 825 S came with remote locking, power rack-and-pinion steering, power brakes, and 195/65R15 tires (a size still readily available) on 15-inch alloy wheels. Inside, air conditioning, power windows, an electric moonroof, cruise control, velour cloth seats, and a Phillips AM/FM stereo cassette with six speakers were all included.

Moving up to the $23,900 (about $38,200 in 2018 dollars) 825 SL added a four-speed automatic transmission, Bosch anti-lock brakes, a trip computer, leather upholstery with a heated driver’s seat, and an eight-speaker stereo.

Advertised as “The inevitable British road car.” Sterling sold 14,171 units of the 825 in the 1987 model year—not a bad debut. But, trouble was brewing; in an attempt to generate more jobs in the United Kingdom, Rover had decided to use Lucas electronic systems instead of those from Honda. Predictably, those electronics weren’t reliable, and there were also issues with the interior plastics and the exterior paint. Finally, rust came much too quickly.

All this meant that sales dropped rapidly. In 1988, only 8,901 were sold, and every year following things got worse. In August 1991, Sterling announced they were leaving the North American market after selling a total of about 35,000 cars over five years.

In 2018, the Sterling 825 rarely comes up for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds or on eBay Motors. I haven’t seen one in many years, but I believe I’d still notice that handsome styling if I did. Make mine silver, I think.

Eighties Vehicles at the 2018 Mecum Kansas City

Mecum’s three-day December auction in Kansas City usually provides much fodder for commentary and this year was no exception. I’ll concentrate on the at least reasonably stock 1980s cars (and a few trucks) that sold (remember that Mecum auctions are not no reserve auctions—a beige 1980 Toyota HJ-45 Land Cruiser SUV with gray seats was a no sale bid up to $28,000) and add some of my opinions. Eighties vehicles were about 9% of the 307 vehicle lots sold in this auction.

Thursday, December 6th:

  • 1987 red Chevrolet El Camino custom (engine, interior, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a red bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 31,000 miles—$10,000 hammer price.
  • 1989 red Chevrolet Corvette convertible with a black top, black leather seats, an L98 240 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$6,500
  • 1988 pearl white Cadillac Allanté convertible with a hardtop, tan leather seats, an HT-4100 170 bhp 4.1 liter/249 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 72,000 miles—an ouch! at $3,750
  • 1980 maroon Triumph TR7 convertible with a black top, black vinyl seats, an 86 bhp 2.0 liter/122 ci inline four with a carburetor, and a four-speed manual—$3,000 is #4/Fair money, according to Hagerty’s valuation tools.
  • 1983 black Jeep CJ-7 SUV with black seats, a 112 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a Carter two-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 59,000 miles—$6,500
  • 1989 beige Nissan Pao hatchback coupe with gray cloth seats, a MA10S 51 bhp 1.0 liter/61 ci inline four, and a five-speed manual—$3,500
  • 1982 maroon/silver two-tone Chevrolet El Camino custom (engine, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a maroon cloth bench seat, a 355 ci V8, and an automatic—$10,000
  • 1981 diamond mist metallic/medium blue metallic two-tone Datsun 280ZX hatchback coupe with blue/gray cloth seats, an L28 145 bhp 2.8 liter/168 ci inline six with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, and a five-speed manual—$5,000 implies that the 280ZX is not yet getting the love from the market that the earlier Z cars get.
1981 Datsun 280ZX hatchback coupe interior, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1982 green Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler pickup truck with black seats, a 110 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with Carter BBD two-barrel carburetor, and a five-speed manual—$13,500
  • 1987 black Jaguar XJ-S coupe with tan leather seats, an HE 262 bhp 5.3 liter/326 ci V12 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$6,500
  • 1988 red/white two-tone Ford Bronco SUV with red seats, a Windsor 210 bhp 5.8 liter/351 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$12,500

Friday, December 7th:

  • 1986 midnight blue Chevrolet C10 Silverado pickup truck with a blue custom cloth bench seat, an LE9 160 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, and automatic, and 3,900 miles—at $34,000, the first vehicle in this auction to meet my criteria for serious 1980s collectability of mostly or entirely original cars or trucks: selling for equal to or above its original base list price. I’ll mark these vehicles in bold green.
  • 1989 dover gray metallic with woodgrain Jeep Grand Wagoneer SUV with cordovan seats, a 144 bhp 5.9 liter/360 ci V8 with Motorcraft two-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$20,000
  • 1989 white Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais coupe with blue cloth seats, an Iron Duke 110 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with fuel injection, an automatic, and 12,000 miles—$3,250 for perhaps the most unusual eighties vehicle at this auction. Who buys this car? What are their intentions for it? Should I do a blog entry on this car?
1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais coupe, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1988 red Dodge Ramcharger SUV with tan vinyl seats, an unknown V8 (could be the 5.2 liter/318 ci or the 5.9 liter/360 ci), and an automatic—$14,000
  • 1989 black Chevrolet Corvette convertible with a black top, black leather seats, an L98 240 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, a six-speed manual, and 74,000 miles—$11,000
  • 1985 white Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with red leather seats, an L98 230 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$5,000
  • 1987 black Buick Grand National coupe with black/gray cloth seats, a 245 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with fuel injection and turbocharger, an automatic, and 24,000 miles—$30,000
  • 1989 red Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe with red leather seats, an L98 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, a six-speed manual, and 61,000 miles—$6,000
  • 1987 red Ford Bronco II SUV with brown cloth seats, a Cologne 140 bhp 2.9 liter/179 ci V6 with fuel injection, and an automatic—$4,000
  • 1980 white Pontiac Firebird Turbo Trans Am Pace Car coupe with oyster seats, a 210 bhp 4.9 liter/301 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor and turbocharger, an automatic, and 8,600 miles—$17,500
  • 1987 black Chevrolet Corvette custom (Greenwood body kit, wheels/tires) convertible with a black top, black leather seats, an L98 240 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection, an automatic, and 19,000 miles—$13,500

Saturday, December 8th:

  • 1980 red Chevrolet K10 pickup truck with an unknown V8 and an unknown manual transmission—$13,500
  • 1986 blue GMC Sierra custom (engine, interior, exterior, wheels/tires) pickup truck with a blue/white bench seat, a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8, and an automatic—$17,000
  • 1983 stainless steel DeLorean DMC-12 coupe with a gray interior, a ZMJ-159 130 bhp 2.8 liter/174 ci V6 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, a five-speed manual, and 2,100 miles—$25,000
  • 1980 red Chevrolet Corvette coupe with red leather seats, an L48 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, and an automatic—$13,000
  • 1980 dark claret metallic Chevrolet Corvette coupe with claret leather seats, an L48 190 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 74,000 miles—$13,000 for this handsome late shark.
1980 Chevrolet Corvette coupe, linked from Mecum’s website.
  • 1980 beige Toyota FJ-43 Land Cruiser SUV with gray seats, a 2F 135 bhp 4.2 liter inline six, and a four-speed manual—$40,000 made this the highest eighties vehicle sale of the auction.

Among eighties vehicles, Chevrolets dominated this auction, with 39% of the sold lots from that decade. Jeep, Ford, and Datsun/Nissan also had notable representation. What do you think of these results?

1986 Buick Century sedan

For the last few weeks, there’s been a white Buick Century sedan parked outside one of my local supermarkets. Followers of Eighties Cars know that is likely to generate a blog entry.

“… truly satisfying motoring in the European tradition.”

For 1986, Buick’s Century gained a new slanted grille along with lower profile headlamps. The other major news was the T Type coupe had been discontinued, though the sedan version remained alive. Both the sedan and the coupe were available in Custom (base) and Limited trim, while the wagon was available in Custom (base) and Estate versions. We’ll concentrate on the sedan in this post.

Standard power on the Century remained the Iron Duke 92 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci inline four with throttle-body fuel injection. Two different V6 engines were available: a $435 112 bhp 2.8 liter/181 ci V6 with a two-barrel carburetor and a $695 150 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with sequential fuel injection. A three-speed automatic transmission was standard with the 2.5 liter inline four and 2.8 liter V6, but buyers could add a four-speed automatic for an additional $175.

With these three engines, two transmissions, and curb weights in the 2,750 to 2,850-pound range, there was a wide variance in performance. 0-60 mph with the inline four/three-speed automatic combination was about 13.5 seconds, while 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 owners with the four-speed automatic could expect to get from 0-60 in about 10 seconds.

Mileage with the base four and three-speed automatic was 22 city/32 highway (19/29 by today’s standards) while owners of the top-of-the-line V6/four-speed automatic combination could expect 19 city/29 highway (17/26 by 2018 standards). With a 15.7-gallon fuel tank, Century V6 drivers could expect a range of between 305 and 340 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard equipment on the $10,228 Century Custom (about $23,800 in 2018 dollars—just slightly under what a 2019 Regal Sportback goes for) included front-wheel drive, power rack-and-pinion steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes, and 185/75R14 tires (a size still available from Hankook) on 14-inch wheels. Inside, a cloth notchback front bench seat and a Delco AM radio with dual front speakers and a fixed antenna were included.

Moving up to the $10,729 Limited (about $25,000 in today’s dollars) added 55/45 notchback velour seats and a hood ornament.

The relatively rare $13,714 T Type (about $31,900 in 2018 dollars) included the 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 and four-speed automatic combination, along with a Gran Touring suspension and 215/60R14 tires on 14-inch aluminum wheels. Inside, a sport leather-wrapped steering wheel, a full length storage console, and reclining cloth bucket seats were included.

Century buyers had many choices to personalize their sedan. Optional exterior and mechanical equipment included aluminum wheels ($199), tinted glass ($115), and engine block heater ($18). Inside, air conditioning ($750), cruise control ($175), Twilight Sentinel ($57), power windows ($270), and six-way power driver’s seat ($225) were available.

Century page from the 1986 Buick full-line brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures pages.

The 1986 Buick Century sedan sold rather well—sales inched up slightly from 1985 as Buick moved about 232,000, with 5,286 being the T Type version.

I think of these A-body cars as basic and honest. Centurys sometimes show up for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds or on eBay Motors. Make mine dark blue metallic.

Other A-bodies I’ve written about in this blog (I guess I owe the Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera some attention):

1983 Pontiac 6000 STE sedan

1989 Chevrolet Celebrity sedan