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1980’s Muscle Cars

1980’s Muscle Cars

February 15, 2018

With gasoline shortages driving prices up, the days of the big, gas-guzzling muscle cars were pretty much over by 1980. Emissions regulations were also coming in to play by then, forcing automakers to create more eco-friendly, fuel-efficient vehicles. Fortunately, car manufacturers figured out a way to produce some mighty muscle cars for the ’80’s. In spite of the new restrictions. They weren’t quite the big, beefy, rumbling beasts that their predecessors were, but they were still impressive and surprisingly powerful. Here are the answers to some of your questions on a handful of the more memorable muscle cars of the 1980’s.


Was the Corvette a good 1980's muscle car?


The fourth generation Chevrolet Corvette hit dealerships in 1984 without the radical changes that everybody was expecting. Chevy didn’t even change the engine. The 1984 Corvette still came equipped with the same small-block 205-hp V-8 that Chevy put in the third generation models.

Five years later, however, Chevy powered the Corvette with a 245-hp 5.7-L V8 engine to finish out the decade. The 1989 Corvette was also available with a new removable hard top that fit over the soft top. The new fiberglass shell protected the soft top during bad-weather seasons. The original price for this late-’80’s muscle car was just over $40,000. A 1989 Corvette convertible in excellent condition is worth about $8,500 today.


Was the Buick Grand National a popular muscle car in the 1980's?


The Buick Grand National was a beefed-up version of a Regal coupe. It was created to replace the heavy muscle cars from the ’60’s and ’70’s. The Grand National usually came dressed in black with a powerful, turbocharged, 235-hp V6 under the hood in 1986. That engine was modified to put out 245-hp in 1987.

The crème de la crème of the 1980’s Grand National is the GNX. This high-performance Grand National came with a 276-hp 3.8-L engine under the hood. The GNX isn’t much to look at, with it’s understated, almost sinister appearance. Don’t blink if you see one on the track, though, or you might miss it. The GNX can go from 0 to 60 in 4.5 to 4.6 seconds.

Buick only made 547 GNX’s in 1987. Many of them were bought to preserve in collections from the start. A 1987 Grand National sold for $16,617 new. If you buy one now that’s in excellent condition, you will pay $25,000 to $26,000.


Were the 1980's a good year for the Chevrolet Camaro?


The IROC-Z was a trendy ’80’s muscle car. If you had an IROC-Z, you had a very cool car. It’s not surprising that thirty years later the third-generation Camaro IROC-Z’s are beginning to be considered classic muscle cars. This Camaro is currently considered by many muscle-car aficionados to be one of the best investments out there.

The Camaro IROC-Z came with either a 155-hp, 190-hp or 215-hp 8-cylinder engine. If you are looking to invest, a 1985 or 1986 model with a 215-hp engine and manual transmission is your best bet. The IROC-Z only came with an automatic transmission after 1986. They originally sold for right around $10,000. Now, over 30 years later, a 1985 Camaro IROC-Z with a 215-hp engine is valued at $12,200. Get in on this now, if you’re going to. The prices will only go up.


Was the Mustang still considered a good muscle car in the 1980's?


The Mustang entered its third generation in 1979, which lasted until 1993. This was the era of the Fox-body Mustang. The fox-body style attracted its own subset of Mustang enthusiasts who were particularly enamored with this more aerodynamic look. One of the biggest changes that Mustang-lovers notice right away on the early ’80’s Mustangs is the four headlights. These models are often referred to as “Four Eyes.” The headlights were restyled in the mid-80’s, giving them a single-assembly configuration. Mustangs were also equipped with electronic fuel injection from 1986 on.

The Mustang SVO was the high-performance fox-body Mustang. The letters SVO stand for Special Vehicle Operations. By the mid-’80’s, it was equipped with a 205-hp turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that was every bit as powerful as the V8 found in the Mustang GT. This little 4-cylinder was actually the early ancestor of the modern-day Ford EcoBoost engine. A few of the aesthetics that set the SVO apart from the regular fox-body Mustangs included its flush-face front and 3-door hatchback style. It also had an unusual, offset air-intake scoop on the hood designed especially for that particular engine’s intercooler. The SVO came with 16″ x 7″ all-aluminum wheels with a five-lug configuration that set it apart from other Mustangs, too.

The 1986 Mustang SVO was almost the end of the Mustang era altogether. Rumor had it that Ford was going to discontinue the Mustang by 1987 and replace it with the Probe so they could satisfy Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirements. The SVO was discontinued at the end of 1986. Ford went back to producing the Mustang GT.

A 1986 Mustang SVO would have cost you a little over $15,000 new. The price on one of these Mustangs now runs from $4,175 to $8,500, depending on the car’s condition.

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