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Thread: Best '80s-era muscle car?

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Best '80s-era muscle car?

    The '80s were my high school/college days, so I have strong memories of the cars of that era - and a fondness for many of them. I especially liked the following models:

    * Monte Carlo SS -- It looked like a Winston Cup stocker and with its Z28-sourced 5 liter V-8, could bark the tires impressively on the 1-2 upshift. By today's standards, its 190 hp seems pretty weak - but in the Reagan Era, the Monte SS was a hot ride indeed!

    * Mustang SVO -- The V--8 GT and LX 5.0 took the spotlight (and sales) but this car showed that a turbo four could hang - and it had a wild off-center scoop and twin rear spoiler to set it apart some more.

    * Ford Fairmont "HO" -- A plain Jane sedan, with the Mustang GT's drivetrain. Run fast, but with a low profile. I haven't seen one of these in 20 years or more...

    * Omni GLHS - One of the first really quick econo-boxes; one beat my stroker (383) Camaro and surprised the hell out of me back in 1987!

    * Taurus SHO -- "executive express" and a helluva machine - that Ford sadly dropped the ball on.

    * Mitsubishi Starion -- Remember this one? It had HUGE wheels and really "sat right." Apparently relibaility was not a strong suit, though.

    * Hurst Olds/442 -- Last gasp of Oldsmobile; and the 307 V-8 tried hard. The Lightning Rod shifters were pretty cool.

    * GMC Syclone/Typhoon -- Anyone who thinks furriners invented fast AWD cars hasn't got a good memory!

    Your picks - and pans?

  2. #2
    mrblanche
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    Re: Best '80s-era muscle car?

    In the late '80's and early '90's, you could get fantastic Firebirds and Camaros, new, for less than $25,000, and they would embarass most of the cars on your list. Not only that, but you can pick them up today for less than 1/5 of that, and have a decent used car to boot.

  3. #3
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    Re: Best '80s-era muscle car?

    * Ford Fairmont "HO" -- A plain Jane sedan, with the Mustang GT's drivetrain. Run fast, but with a low profile. I haven't seen one of these in 20 years or more...
    I had the Mercury equivalent as a college car (the "Zephyr" -- which is interesting that it's now a Lincoln), and I recall in the Haynes manual that one of the engines you could get was the 351W. I had the 200 cid in-line six, which was really smooth, but tended to carbon-up.

    Big difference between the stock photo and mine: I had the 4-door. Small differences: I had a hood ornament, and the turbine-style wheel covers (not the psuedo-spokes). But the color is correct.

    Chip H.


    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  4. #4
    DonTom
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    Re: Best '80s-era muscle car?

    Your picks


    If you want muscle, buy a motorcycle as your car!

    If I wanted muscle in the 1980's, I would buy a Yamaha V-Max! But since I am a low RPM type of guy, I bought a new 1984 Venture, which was the fastest touring bike at the time.

    -Don-

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Best '80s-era muscle car?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    In the late '80's and early '90's, you could get fantastic Firebirds and Camaros, new, for less than $25,000, and they would embarass most of the cars on your list. Not only that, but you can pick them up today for less than 1/5 of that, and have a decent used car to boot.
    Yes - that's true. But have you noticed how scarce nice third gen F-cars have become? I see the occasional beater - but decent ones are rarities around my part of the country...

    The Formula 350 TPI Firebird was one of the great ones... also the "1LE" Camaros, which were competition prepped and had specific equipment that standard models did not get, etc.

  6. #6
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Best '80s-era muscle car?

    I LOVE the V-Max!

    It's a hairy beast... rude and mean. They handle like dump trucks, but in a straight line....

  7. #7
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Best '80s-era muscle car?

    Memories!

    I think (if memory serves) the ones with the GT drivetrain also got monochromatic black paint and some other cosmetic upgrades as well.

  8. #8
    mrblanche
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    Re: Best '80s-era muscle car?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Yes - that's true. But have you noticed how scarce nice third gen F-cars have become? I see the occasional beater - but decent ones are rarities around my part of the country...
    I saw a nice Firebird Convertible for less than $6000 last week.

  9. #9
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Best '80s-era muscle car?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Yes - that's true. But have you noticed how scarce nice third gen F-cars have become? I see the occasional beater - but decent ones are rarities around my part of the country...
    I saw a nice Firebird Convertible for less than $6000 last week.
    Sounds like a deal; I forget whether the third gen. cars were offered as convertibles from the factory; my recollection is that they were not - at least not initially (just T-roofs) and that many of those convertibles are aftermarket conversions...

  10. #10
    DonTom
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    Re: Best '80s-era muscle car?

    I LOVE the V-Max!

    Any speed freak would.

    -Don-

  11. #11
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Best '80s-era muscle car?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    I LOVE the V-Max!

    Any speed freak would.

    -Don-
    It's a brute... .

    Main trick is launching the thing; which of course is the "trick" on any high-powered sport bike.

    My ZRX is capable of 10-second quarter miles - but actually running that fast is no easy thing.

  12. #12
    rc74racer
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    Re: Best '80s-era muscle car?

    How about buick? Grand National, Turbo Regal or GNX. You could add on a few bolt ons and have these things running low 12s on street tires. The 89 turbo Trans Am is another car I've always wanted to own and hop up.

  13. #13
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Best '80s-era muscle car?

    Quote Originally Posted by rc74racer
    How about buick? Grand National, Turbo Regal or GNX. You could add on a few bolt ons and have these things running low 12s on street tires. The 89 turbo Trans Am is another car I've always wanted to own and hop up.
    Those were great cars, too - definitely!

    I remember racing a GN on I-66 one night in my '78 Camaro (which had a hopped-up 350). That thing smoked me; wasn't even close. And it made this wild turbine-whoosing sound - which I can still recall as if that race happened yesterday!

  14. #14
    mrblanche
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    Re: Best '80s-era muscle car?

    Here's a really nice 95 Firebird convertible. $7000 takes it, with an extra set of wheels! An Arizona car, and 70K miles.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1995-...QQcmdZViewItem


  15. #15
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Best '80s-era muscle car?

    That seems like a sweet deal; it'd be interesting to give the car an actual look-see. I haven't kept up with the price/value trends of 4th Gen F-cars, so my immediate reaction is that either their value is approaching its nadir or this particular one has problems not immediately apparent from the photo.

    For some perspective: mid-late '70s Camaros and Firebirds (long considered "second tier" because of their relatively low power in stock form and also because they were built in very large quantities) will set you back more than that for a so-so "driver" that needs a lot of attention. And that is for a non-Z28 or Trans-Am. Those models - in good shape - are typically priced in the low-to-mid-teens (or higher) depending on the particular car.

  16. #16
    mrblanche
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    Re: Best '80s-era muscle car?

    I did a quick look through from about 1982 to the late 90's, and that price is right in there with what I've seen. As you mentioned, a lot of go for not much dough.

  17. #17
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Best '80s-era muscle car?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    I did a quick look through from about 1982 to the late 90's, and that price is right in there with what I've seen. As you mentioned, a lot of go for not much dough.
    It'll be interesting to see whether the values uptick - as they have with the older models. There are several Third Generation (1982-1993) models I like, esp. the '82 Pace Car Z28 and the '83 Daytona Trans-Am. Not fast, by today's standards - but they looked great and I have high school-era memories of those cars...

  18. #18
    DonTom
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    Re: Best '80s-era muscle car?

    Here's a really nice 95 Firebird convertible.

    Our 1999 Mustang Convertible was purchased from E-Bay (the largest seller in the world of used cars).

    We will never do that again, but the car is fine. It was one paperwork hassle after an other. The first problem is we were given no clue when it was to be delivered. We got a cell phone call from the delievery truck 20 miles away after hearing nothing for about a month. If we were not home, the car would have been left at a storage place and we would have to pay that bill, as well as pick up the car from there, which could be 100 miles away (we asked the driver what would have happened if nobody was home when he called)).

    The car was delivered at 2200 hrs on a Sunday night, when I should be at work. I had to get a guy to work for me for a few hours. Tom & I (no way one person can drive two cars) had to drive ten miles to pick it up from where the truck could stop overnight. From there, we had to deal with the out of state plates (Texas) and the mistakes that were made on the registration papers which were first noticed by the CA DMV, which means we had to deal with the seller. After all the hassles and $550.00 in shipping costs, we discovered we could get a better deal locally, with less hassles, on the same type of car in the same condition.

    Has anybody else here purchased a used car on E-Bay? We don't advise it, based on our experience.

    -Don-

  19. #19
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Best '80s-era muscle car?

    I'd be reluctant to buy a car on Ebay - though I often buy small parts for my cars and bikes.

    I'd go see the car in person before handing over a dime! Too many hard luck stories...

  20. #20
    DonTom
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    Re: Best '80s-era muscle car?

    I'd go see the car in person before handing over a dime! Too many hard luck stories...

    Our 1999 Mustang was purchased on E-Bay from a car rental place in Texas. It seems to be okay, but this is the car that had the water in the electric air pump and right after I fixed that, the fan stayed on because the control module crapped out. I got a new control module on E-Bay but also repaired the old one.

    -Don-

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