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Sports and Sporty Cars of the '80s

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Comments

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,168
    If I interpreted your comment correctly, the value of a few of these cars, in #2 condition, might be as high as $6,000-$7,000, but that's about where it tops out.

    One of the most disappointing cars is the Reatta. I thought it could make the list, but no. Asking prices exceed $4,000, of course, but not average transaction prices. As a budget, comfortable touring car, devoid of sports car pretensions, of course, I think a Reatta is an excellent value. I'm prepared to get flamed, but I think that at this stage of the car's life cycle the Reatta could serve as a low cost alternative to the 380 or 450 Benz two-seater. A comparison with the Allante would be more appropriate, but remember, we're talking old iron here, and time serves as a leveler.

    In terms of the Z28, the second from last generation Camaros are my personal favorites. I happen to like the styling better than the '69, but that's just personal preference. Trouble is, there aren't many unmolested ones of that generation around.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,422
    The Reatta might be an alternative to a 450 or 560SL but only an alternative, not a substitute. It simply doesn't have the chassis or build quality, and the interiors are pretty cheesy for what you paid for the car. Ditto the Allante, which has a very poor interior. A 560SL might be a tank, but it's also a pretty darn good performer and handler for its size and weight. It would humiliate a Reatta or Allante on the road unless one were limited to taking the kids for ice cream on Sunday. In that case, sure, the Reatta or Allante is a pleasant comfortable car for not too much money.

    I think you could find a #2 Reatta for $7,000 and a #2 Allante for $12,000 if you shopped aggressively. Which is about 450SL money as well. But you won't find a decent #2 560SL for that...not yet anyway. They are still depreciating however.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,852
    I think just about any K-car derivative equipped with a 2.2 turbo could be a fun, cheap, sporty car. Provided it's been taken care of. I had an '88 LeBaron turbo coupe for awhile, and it was a pretty fun car to drive. It did turn into a piece of junk later in its life, but I don't totally blame the car. It had been stolen and taken on joy-rides a few times, and when I divorced I let the ex-wife have it, and it really went downhill from there.

    Personally, I think an '80's New Yorker with the turbo could be kinda fun. Thick padded vinyl roof and all. Most people just wouldn't expect a car like that to have a turbo. I don't think those turbos are all that fast by today's standards. Most of the smaller ones saw 0-60 in about 9.5 seconds with an automatic and a bit quicker with the stick, while the NYer/Dodge 600 was probably more like 10. For the mid 80's though, that was competent, at least. That was the Turbo I, which had 146 hp. Now there was a Turbo II a bit later on that put out 174 hp, and a Turbo III, which had something like 225 hp. I think was only offered in the Dodge Spirit R/T in the 90's, but it was pretty brutal. 0-60 in something like 5.9 seconds.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,168
    I purposely mentioned only the 380 and 450, since the 560 is truly in another league, performance wise, as well as the other areas you mentioned, chassis and interior. As for build quality, I thought the GMers were pretty good.

    If it weren't for the fact that the Dodge Spirit R/T was a four door, it probably would qualify for our list.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,422
    Well okay, a Reatta against a 450SLC is much closer, even though the SLC will wear a lot better as the years go on.

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  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,704
    You could probably find a comparable E36 coupe for $6K-$8K... Unless you want something different...

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    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    Any sports cars/sporty cars from the '80s that have enough reliability and refinement to drive as a daily driver now?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,422
    Oh sure. Any 911 Porsche is dead-reliable as a daily driver, and I think any well-cared for RX-7 or MR2 or any "sporty" Japanese coupe would do fine. Anything British, any VW or any Audi --I wouldn't bet on it myself. Join AAA and carry water and food. The German two-seaters get better as they get newer, so I'd say a 560SL is your best bet for an everyday car. BMW 325 convertibles are certainly capable of everyday use but the top will drive you nuts. by jamming up all the time and they are a bit cramped for larger drivers. I couldn't drive one everyday, I'd die of muscle spasms.

    As for the American two-seaters, they are iffy IMO on reliability but trainable--you just need to de-bug them and attend to the endemic problems that are well-known,and not push them beyond their limits. A Corvette C4 could easily be a daily driver and you can drive those fairly hard. A 5.0 Mustang is cheap reliable fun but lacks refinement to say the least. Rock 'n Roll! Ditto Camaro--bring your duct tape.

    Nothing from Sweden comes to mind as "sporty" and French cars, well, nuff said. As for the Italians, the post 1981 Alfa Spiders are pretty reliable--I drove them as dailies for many years with only minor mishaps, and they are more refined than anything British or than Fiats.

    I don't consider barge-like American coupes "sporty" myself so didn't include any of them.

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  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    My daily driver is currently a '98 323ic. I'd much prefer the coupe. The car is really solid, but the top makes all kinds of noises and the rubber seals for the pillarless windows sqeak like a stuck pig every time I hit the smallest bump. I already spent $900 fixing the convertible top motor. Other than that, mechanically the car is as solid as a rock and decently fun to drive. I fit into it well enough for my 8 mile commute to work.

    In sum, I like the car, hate that it is a convertible. My wife only likes it because it is a convertible.

    I've been looking at all kinds of '80s and early '90s sports cars, but they are hard to come by in decent shape around here.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,422
    You have to be poised with check in hand and ready to pull the trigger when that one sweet beloved used sportscar comes up for sale! :P

    I live in a temperate climate, right on the coast and except for 10-20 days a year, convertibles don't work so well in the San Fran Bay Area. The only state that I think God designed specifically for convertibles was Colorado.

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  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Third-gen Prelude Si? The 4WS ones can be finicky, but there were Si's without it and with reasonable care they'll last until Doomsday.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    I didn't really find the '80s Preludes all that interesting. I'd take a contemporary CRX over a Prelude.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    An E36 coupe is a possibility, but probably not anything older. BMWs are better than Audis, but they rack up their share of problems. It seems a lot easier to find gently used convertibles. Mine only has 74K and is all original (i.e. no bling).
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    I'd take the CRX, too, being 800 pounds lighter. It's a lot easier to find a clean late-80s Prelude than a clean late-80s CRX, though, as there's no easy engine swap for the 'lude while most every CRX you'll find now has been beaten on by some high school kid who bolted on an untuned turbo while dreaming of a B18C swap.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    While looking for my '80s sports car, I am seeing a lot of people selling cars with an engine transplant - cars that would be worth about $1500 before the transplant. This would be fine except for that people seem to think these cars are worth every penny they put into the engines. Hypothetical examples:

    1989 Supra in below average condition with replacement JDM turbo engine with lots of go fast junk on it - $7,500.

    1986 RX-7 in below average condition with Chevy 350 conversion. These always seem to be described as 90% complete and they still want $5000 or so.

    1986 944 NA in bleow average condition with NA engine replaced with a turbocharged 944 engine. I never understand this. Did they just happened to have a blown engined 944 and a 944 Turbo with a demolished body around? This seems to happen a lot with Supras and MR2s also. 944s also seem to regularly get the SBC treatment. Why not buy a 928 if you can't live without V8 power in your Porsche?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,422
    I could see the Supra transplant, but not in a below average car.

    The RX-7 transplant with a Chevy 350 is plain "bad idea".

    The 944 to 944 transplant can really transform the car into a supercar, but again, not with a below average automobile.

    In the case of the Supra and 944, if these transplants were done on a nice looking car, it would have improved the value, a rare case of a modified Porsche being worth more than an original one (other cases might be tossing out the dreaded 2.7 engine for a nice Euro 3.0 or an SC 3.2 motor). Also putting a 6 cylinder into a 914 Porsche, but that's a bear of a job.

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  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    I really like this car but I'm not sure it is worth the dough.
    Gen II RX-7
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,422
    I'd have to drive it but I think it probably is worth it. Lots of $$$ dumped into this car, and it should be a lot of fun to drive. Not sure if the mods have made it unpleasant or not, is the only question.

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  • texasestexases Posts: 5,511
    Asides from looks, how do they differ from Gen I? Gen 1s alway looked good to me, gen IIs ok, but not as distictive.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    The second generation became more technologically advanced and a bit faster. The Gen I cars had a crude rear suspension and steering and had a smaller, carbureted engine (excluding the GSL-SE).
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