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Sports and Sporty Cars of the '80s



  • 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: 2,687
    I didn't really find the '80s Preludes all that interesting. I'd take a contemporary CRX over a Prelude.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,687
    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: 2,687
    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 Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    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: 2,687
    I really like this car but I'm not sure it is worth the dough.
    Gen II RX-7
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    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: 7,773
    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: 2,687
    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).
  • gussguss Posts: 1,181
    They also had a turbo available with a funky hood scoop. Also a convertible version that was pretty slow with the additional weight .

    I always liked the simplicity of the '79 to '85 models over the '86 to '91. The last generation was sweet , but nobody over 6 feet could fit in them. The price also had climbed into Corvette territory.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    "This seems to happen a lot with Supras and MR2s also"

    '86-92 Supras and S/C MR2s had head gasket problems acknowledged by Toyota in a silent replacement campaign and extended warranty...unfortunately, those remedies happened too late for many of the cars out there, which is why so many have new engines in them. Me, I try to avoid any car where someone has replaced the engine with a "low-mileage used one from Japan".

    Of the 80s sporty cars that I ever owned, and even though I am a big Toy/Hon fan, my favorite ever by a goodly margin was my '88 RX-7 GSL. God, I love the way that rotary spins up, and back then those cars were real light too, with great handling.

    But geez, does that rotary ever require a lot of attention and a lot of GAS. Not a practical car to own, that's for sure, but kicked butt over the Supras (MkII and III), Celicas, and CRX/Civic SIs I have owned. I dream all the time about getting myself an RX-8, but the 18 mpg I am sure I would get stops me every time. Not to mention the cockpit is almost no bigger than the 90s RX-7s, ie impossible for anyone who is not jockey-size to be comfortable in.

    With the advent of drifting, there is now a market for any leftover RWD coupes that remain from the 80s, before the marketwide rush to FWD ran its course. This has led to some ridiculous listings I have seen recently, like beaten-up, junked-out AE86 Corollas (from around '85) listing at $4000 or more.

    More tempting to me (but at half the price) was a pristine '85 Supra I saw listed recently with around 60K miles IIRC, listing at $13K or something? This thing was a multiple show winner and it was plausible that the car was in as good a condition as the ad stated ("right off the showroom floor, blah blah blah"), but as much as I love MkII Supras I would never pay that much, and neither I think would anyone else...

    With 161 hp, pretty low weight, 4-wheel independent suspension, and a fairly short wheelbase, the last of the MkII Supras ('82-'85-1/2) were pretty fun to throw around. I had one I kept for many years, it was so fun. I wouldn't mind picking up one of the last series from the mid-90s, but people ask CRAZY money for those.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    You can buy '84-'89 generation Nissan 300 ZXs for little money these days. While Nissan doesn't enjoy the quality reputation of Toyota and Honda, the 300 ZX has quality components and good build quality. It's in comparably better than the '80s Sentra and Stanza, in terms of quality. My '88 has 176,000 miles, and it's been very low maintenance. I think this generation 300 ZX series is somewhat undervalued.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,880
    Didn't the MkII Supras have inline six-cylinders? Gotta like that...

    I used to think my friend's '84 was a screamer... But, he got married in the later '80s, and told me his wife's Saab 900 turbo convertible with a slushbox was faster.. :surprise:

    That was my all time favorite Supra..

    On another note, I spotted an early '90s Supra Turbo with the big wing the other day... Only see about one of those per year..


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    Those Supra Turbos suffer many indignities, that's true.

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Yeah, all the Supras had inline-6s, and in fact the last Supra we saw in America used an evolved version of the engine from the generation before it that also ended up in the first IS300 we got here. It finally got retired when the model turnover occurred for the IS, because it was too smoggy to meet new emissions standards by that time. I think that was the last inline-6 used anywhere in the Toy/Lex line.

    I didn't get really turned on to the 300ZX until the new model came out in 1990, but by the time I could afford one they weren't making them any more.

    And used ones don't fare well - the seats are always in tatters, and that metal-look center stack always has half the markings faded or rubbed off, along with the silver paint. I have never liked the design of the center stacks in the Z cars, from about 1980 on. Garish, might be the word I would use. Now my '75 Z car had a cool stack, what there was of it, it being 1975 and all (very little in the way of available in-car entertainment, very basic HVAC setup).

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Interesting comments from a current article in a publication which I probably shouldn't mention on Edmunds...

    "Cheaper than the 911, cooler than the 924, less Middle Age Crazy than the 928, Porsche's 944 was the ticket for upwardly mobile enthusiasts in the '80s. When it debuted here in 1983, folks put down $1,000 deposits to get on the waiting list.

    Porsche traditionalists criticized the 944's 924 origins, its water-cooled/front-engine configuration and Volkswagen-derived architecture. But the 944 outsold the 911 nearly two to one from 1983 through 1989. The car was well received by the enthusiast press, and it is acknowledged today as a valuable piece of Porsche's history."
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    Tell you take a well-sorted 944 Turbo out on the track, with the right tires and right driver, and you'll give a modern 911 fits.

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Do you fall into the camp of those who feel that while the 924 (not such a great car), 944 and 968, and the 928 were good cars, but not true Porsches, or do you agree with Porsche's decision to focus on rear engine architecture for its sports cars?

    Porsche seems to be cash rich now, but I'm wondering whether dropping the 900- series sports cars, rather than continuing front and rear engine architectures wasn't more of a financial resources decision than a marketing one.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    I don't see why they can't pursue cars of many configurations, if they wish to. The only company I can think of that survived on "purists" was Morgan. Even Ferrari has tried just about one of everything except of course FWD.

    Personally, my favorite Porsches are the 993 (last of the air cooled), the 928 GTS (awesome car, even today), and 356SC (best of the bathtubs) and the lowly 914 (great fun for cheap).

    So that rear engine, front engine and mid-engine. :)

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Dodge Daytonas and Chrysler Lasers are all but forgotten these days, and for good reason, many would say.

    Why am I resurrecting the memory of this badge-engineered duo? Because I met one that fell at the extreme of the bell shaped curve, and that always fascinates me. To be specific, the car behind my '88 Nissan 300 ZX on a recent visit to the state emissions test station was a '85 Dodge Daytona (naturally aspirated with 5-speed). The owner of this Daytona and I struck up a conversation while we anxiously waited to see whether our old cars would pass. He told me that his wife had been badgering him for years to trade his Daytona for something newer. He's the original owner, incidentally. Anyhow, he was about to yield to his wife's wishes a few years ago, when he proposed to her that if his car failed to pass the emission test he'd get rid of it. Confident that the old clunker would soon fail the test, she agreed to her husband's proposal. Well, you guessed the ending; the Daytona passed the smog test, and the happy owner drove away smiling. I imagine his wife was much less happy when she heard the news, especially since this was about the third test the Daytona passed since she agreed to her husband's proposal.

    The Z also passed, and its owner depressed the clutch, slipped it into first, and drove off happily too.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    " '80s dream-car bargains: The AutoWeek list:

    1989 Corvette'84-'89 C4 Corvette

    High: $44,000

    Low: $2,500

    Average: $10,018

    Our take: Arguably the best buy on this list

    '85-'89 Volkswagen GTI

    High: $5,995

    Low: $4,100

    Average: $4,865

    Our take: The iconic pocket rocket

    '85-'89 Ford Mustang 5.0

    High: $48,995

    Low: $1,900

    Average: $7,924

    Our take: Pony car + V8 = tons of fun

    '87-'89 Pontiac Firebird Formula

    High: $22,900

    Low: $4,000

    Average: $10,293

    Our take: One day, you might be able to show it at an Orphan Car Show

    '84-'87 Buick Grand National

    High: $31,700

    Low: $9,000

    Average: $17,442

    Our take: If you can find a clean one for less than $20,000, buy it

    '81-'82 DeLorean DMC-12

    High: $26,900

    Low: $15,998

    Average: $22,572

    Our take: Only on the market for a couple years; might always be a collectible

    '81-'89 Lotus Esprit

    High: $41,998

    Low: $16,495

    Average: $23,535

    Our take: One of the fastest cars in its day

    '88-'89 BMW M3

    High: $65,000

    Low: $14,500

    Average: $24,417

    Our take: A lot of thrills for the money

    '83-'85 Ferrari 308 GTS

    High: $44,950

    Low: $32,900

    Average: $37,878

    Our take: A Ferrari for less than 40 grand? Believe it

    '81-'89 Porsche 911 Turbo

    High: $78,500

    Low: $24,900

    Average: $40,669

    Our take: Be careful, these monsters are a handful!"
  • texasestexases Posts: 7,773
    Good list. Some of those 'high' prices are wacky - $65k for a M3? Doubt it. And why not the gen 1 GTI? That's what I'd get (if a decent one could be found).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    Yes excellent list; however I'd just delete the Delorean as hopeless, as well as the Lotus Esprit. I mean, at least the other cars you could USE and hope to get somewhere.

    It's also good to consider those cars for which there is a strong aftermarket. Not all on this list qualify in that regard but most do.

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  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,687
    No sense buying a mid '80s C4 when you can get a '90s model for a couple bills more.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    Well C4s are REAL cheap right now....used Daewoo money.

    But you'll have to put up with mechanical issues and parts falling off---it's part of the deal. I agree, I'd much rather have a C5, even with its big butt.

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  • garv214garv214 Posts: 162
    Very true. My 85 had only 19K original miles (purchased in 2004) but all of the build quality you would expect from a mid-80s GM product. Lots of bang for the buck though.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 41,931
    I am pretty sure quite a few interior bits on those were lifted from the Celebrity, just as many of the C5 interior bits looked like something from a rental grade Malibu.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    Oh BETTER bang for the buck anywhere right now on the market, the C4. As long as you don't need any "special" parts that are fitted only to C4 (pricey) you can buy off the shelf at Autozone. The only thing I could buy for my Porsche 928 at Autozone was tail light bulbs and windshield washer fluid.

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  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    You don't mean that you failed to use the Porsche factory authorized cyan washer fluid, available only through your dealer at 53.37 per liter?! :)
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