By on May 9, 2011

TTAC reader Tiburon Guy writes:

Hey Sajeev,

Long time I know: I still have the Hyundai, fixed up and kicking butt. I ditched my 2000 Ford Mustang v6 and bought a 2010 Ranger XLT. No regrets at all: 24 MPG city…come on!

The real reason why i’m responding is I have a question: I always wanted a car from my birth year. (1982) Thing is, the early 80′s weren’t too kind aesthetically on domestics. With a budget of 8-10k, what would you guys suggest that I should get from 82 that looks good, rides better, and won’t leave me broke from maintenance and repairs?

Sajeev answers:

Oh yes!  I have the exact same problem with 1983, because three cars I (sorta) claim as my own come from this awesome year. That said, every car from 1982 totally sucks: when compared to a modern Toyota Camry SE in almost every dynamic measure. But I digress…

Problem is, we need more information for a relevant answer.  Case in point: I love crappy American iron from this era.  Hence a recommendation of my personal favorite: the Fox Body 5.0 Lincoln Continental, trim and lightweight, retro styled and all-new for ’82.

Insane, I know. So, with that in mind, tell us what you’d like in this vehicle: performance, comfort, etc???

William answers:

As a previous owner of a 1988 Crown Vic, I definitely (Panther) Love the 302/5.0. I’d prefer something sporty looking. Fuel economy doesn’t mean much since it’ll be a weekend cruiser. Comfort would be ideal since my wife will be cruising with me. I’d love to keep with the V8 unless there was a turbocharged solution: after riding in my friend’s toyota all-trac celica, i’m addicted to boost. I love the look of classic cars, and the Vette always caught my eye from that year, but I wasn’t fully aware of all the vehicles from that year to choose from.

I definitely want a domestic car. Oh, and an auto is mandatory since the wife will be driving it too.

The kicker, it’s gotta fit in my garage. The garage is just long enough to fit a challenger, so anything longer than that won’t work. Any ideas?

Sajeev Concludes:

I’m still thinking that a Ford Fox Body is the right move. But then again, 1982 was the first year of the 4th Gen F-body, the Camaro and Firebird. I do love me some original K.I.T.T. from the famous TV show of this era. The G-bodies are a good Fox alternative, as the aftermarket fixes many of the problems not obvious in the surprisingly agile and fun Ford.  Plus, I grew to not hate the G-body HVAC rattle when you switch from “vent” to A/C.  Wait, no I didn’t, I always considered them poor competition to the somewhat better crafted Foxes.

Back to my plan: both the Fox and F-body are domestic, automatic and small compared to modern metal larger than a Honda Fit. And with an overabundance of cheap replacement parts, your garage is set for life. The Corvette isn’t a bad choice, so those three are where I’d stop searching.

Which isn’t exactly an end: it’s time to dig deeper into the Fox and see which body gets your blood boiling.  If none, the F-body and Corvette are what’s up.  Stick with V8s, anything turbocharged in 1982 will be a serious letdown in stock form.

Bonus!  A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:

Any car from 1982 that doesn’t have yards of service receipts and regular exercise will be a money pit.  Rubber, gaskets, hoses, gummed up (i.e. oxidized, un-soldered, etc) electronics, weathered plastics, etc. will come together to ruin your plan.

Be okay with that, and don’t be afraid to resto-mod to make it your personal expression from this awesome era. I have a thing for these cars looking completely stock, but with modern levels of engine compression/airflow and period correct suspension/wheel upgrades.

Send your queries to mehta@ttac.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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85 Comments on “Piston Slap: For the Love of…1982?...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I say Vette cause there are so many possible engine trans combos from GM’s parts bin that you could easily “resto-mod” to your hearts content. I know that Corvette body shell has become sort of “hokey” in the mind of popular culture but I honestly love it’s schlocky-ness.

    If you want luxury how bout looking for a rare Continental Mark VI? Very unpopular, pretty cheap to pick up a used example, easy to replace the engine and trans with either a Fuel Injected Mustang 302 and beefier automatic or go totally modern and order a new 4.6V8 and matching four speed auto over the Ford parts counter. Heck you could likely even get a dashboard from a newish Panther to fit and get the tachometer (like you need it) that Ford added at the end of production.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The trick with the Mark VI that I’ve though about and was actually cruising Craigslist last night for would be to just drop the body on a 2nd, 3rd, or preferably 4th gen chassis. For the most part it should be a bolt on affair since the body mounting points are the only thing that didn’t change between the 4 different frames.

    • 0 avatar
      twotone

      1982 Mercedes Benz — 380SL, 380 SEL, or 380 SEC.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Both my parents and I owned 1982 G-body Oldsmobiles and B-bodies such as the Cutlass Supreme and Olds 88 with the tried and true Olds V8 and they were both good looking, nice riding cars with very comfortable interiors and they were very reliable cars overall. ANother choice would be the 82 T-Bird and Cougar if you can take there styling. Time of course will be unkind to any cars rubber gaskets, carburetors and other electrical items so close examination of that stuff is critical. Cars like the Mustang, F-bodies and Vette are likely to have been used and abused to the point that no amount of money will ever get them right. For 8-10K I have seen some really mint low mileage Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs and Mercurys on Ebay that look like they came off the showroom floor, some with as little as 14K miles. Another nice car that I recently saw that made me drool- a 34K mile light blue Chevy Caprice Classic coupe with dark blue luxury interior that looked like it was never sat in. It had a 305 with 4 speed automatic and it sold for a mere $4500. That was literally a whale of a buy and should prove to make someone a reliable nice riding sharp looking car.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      Olds was the first thing that came to mind. That or a Monte Carlo.

      And resto-mod all the way. Hell will have frozen over, global warmed, and then refroze before anyone cares about a car from this era not being in its original condition. You will not see the commentators on the Barrett Jackson show on Speed saying, “Unfortunately he replaced the smog-choked 105hp LF9 diesel with a crate SBC making 400 hp and getting twice the MPG. If he had left it stock it would have sold for three times as much.”

      • 0 avatar

        +2 on a B-Body Olds Delta 88 (although I like the dash of European with the Amber Signal Lights that came for 83-85). I just saw a really lovely 1983 one, in a shade that could be best described as “Dijon Mustard” with the 307 and pillow tuft interior:

        http://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/cto/2361294095.html

        My Uncle still has his 1984 Ninety Eight Coupe as a Sunday car. Hasn’t crack 100K miles yet. But they seem to run forever.

        Otherwise I actually went for a W123 Benz, although I got a 1981 280E and my birth year is 1982 also (it’s my train station commute car).

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Interesting piston slap this one. Being a fellow ’82er, I have been thinking of doing the exact same thing (except get some ‘classic’ plates on the car to lower the insurance premiums). Not sure I’d be willing to spend 8-10k on a car that old though…

  • avatar
    geozinger

    My personal favorite from 1982 would be the Mustang GT in it’s monochromatic glory. But, in the fall of 1982 I fell in love with a blonde from North Olmstead (Cleveland) and the 3rd Gen Trans Am. I had both briefly, the Trans Am was only slightly easier on my wallet and psyche. The Vettes would be ahead of the Fox bodies in terms of mod-ability and parts support. Whichever way you go, with these choices at least you have lots of stuff to play with. It’s not like you’re looking at a 1982 Renault Fuego or something…

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I have to disagree with the Vette being ahead of the Fox body ‘Stang in terms of parts availability, since there are now companies that produce parts for “late model Mustang” restoration and the SBF replaced the SBC as the hot rodder’s choice in that era due to the Fox body ‘Stang.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        I haven’t looked in a while, it could be that the Fox body caught up with the 3rd gen Vette for parts and accessories. Either way, I think he’d be hard pressed to go way wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        For go fast goodies the Fox ‘Stang eclipsed the Vette of that era long ago. Not having gone through part by part it’s hard to tell if the availability of the other things are better or worse for either but the sheer volume of Fox ‘Stang production and the fact that it was/is a low rent car means that those mostly cosmetic parts will be cheaper as you won’t have to pay that Vette premium.

  • avatar

    Mustangs from that era are a dime a dozen. If it were me I think I would choose the 5.0 Capri

    • 0 avatar
      jerseydevil

      Yes,me too! I thought they were classier lookin then the Mustang, with all the same parts. It would be an excellent conversation piece. Ha! Good luck finding one!

  • avatar
    Turbo G

    Perhaps Porsche Carrera SC with the 3.0? Maybe a bit outside of your budget but tell me a better looking car from that era…..

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Mustang GT all the way, since there are now companies that offer parts for “late model Mustang” restoration so the worry of those misc plastic and rubber bit needed to be replaced isn’t that big of a worry after all. The Holley 4bbl means the electronics are at a minimum, and it is easy to up the HP if you so desire. Speaking of upping the HP because so little changed on the basic Fox platform dropping in a FI 5.0 or even a “Cobra” 4v 4.6 is an easy affair as is the better brakes ect of the later versions. If a soft ride is a main concern swapping in the 4 corner air suspension from a Mark VII is also pretty much a bolt in affair though you are stuck with the shorter wheelbase. You also get the choice of a drop top or T-tops if either of those body styles are of interest. $8-10K will certainly cover the price of finding a decent example and the parts needed to bring it up to quite nice condition.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      The 82 Mustang GT came with a Holley 2 bbl carb. It only made (only!) 160 HP net that year. The 83 came with a 4bbl, the easy way to get the 15 HP increase for that year.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        The top FI V8 in the Camaro and Firebird for that year only had 165 hp out of 5.0L displacement, too. Don’t expect stunning performance out of any of these options given that their curb weights were 3500+ lbs (in spite of lacking many mod cons and safety equipment compared to today’s cars).

        All that said, if you really gotta have an ’82 domestic, the fuel-injected Z28 would be the one I’d lean toward.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        You are correct, but an aftermarket 4bbl manifold and universal Holley 4bbl is a quick and easy swap.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        th009 have fun with that crossfire injection system. I’ll take a carb over that system any day.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        Yes, the crossfire injection was no picnic. It was one of the many reasons why the Trans Am was replaced early with a 1985 5.0L Mercury Capri RS. My soon-to-be-wife was so happy with the car, she took it over from me and I bought a 1986 Capri 5.0L Sport Coupe (with fuel injection) for my self.

        OTOH, the OP sounds like he may want to mod the car anyway, and either one of these platforms has excellent support for those purposes. I’d be way happy to have a Fox body or 3rd Gen F-body with today’s upgrades.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        A four-barrel carburator may indeed be less trouble (I don’t claim to ever have owned one of these beasts) … maybe it’ll even bring up the power to the level of a modern four-cylinder engine.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Wasn’t the 302 actually 157 hp in 1982?

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @CJ: I seem to remember several different ratings applied to that motor. I ‘ballparked’ it at 160HP, but what’s 3HP between friends? I know, a small Briggs and Stratton lawn mower…

        FWIW, I still marvel at the fact that 25 years after I bought my 165 HP Trans Am, my 2009 G6 with a four cylinder and roughly half the displacement makes the same HP but better torque and has a 6 speed trans, too! We are living in good times, IMO.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        With any of the F-(ox) cars or the Vette of that era the way to go is to swap in a latter model engine like a 95 to avoid the added complexity of OBDII. Increased HP and likely increased MPG too,if you don’t always drive it foot to the floor.

  • avatar
    mtr2car1

    The best from that year has to be either the Celica GTS or Supra. Rock solid, well equipped and RWD – How could you go wrong with that smooth Supra inline 6?

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      For weekend cruising, the Supra would indeed be a good (non-domestic) choice. But if it’s low-mileage weekend cruising the OP (and his wife) are looking for, a BMW 633 CSi should be the ultimate cruiser. Classic BMW design, comfort and decent performance, even.

      Just make sure to buy a well-maintained (and documented) example, and budget for regular maintenance at BMW prices.

  • avatar

    Obviously you aren’t a Domestic Only sort, the prev. poster beat me to my personal favorite from the era but there are a boatload of interesting imports from ’82 that might be a whole lot more worthy of attention. Mazda RX-7, Toyota Celica Supra, Z, Porsche 944/911 all quickly come to mind, most could probably be had for half your budget w/ room to upgrade.

    Just $0.02

  • avatar
    ajla

    1. Rampage/Scamp
    2. Buick Grand National/ Regal Sport Coupe Turbo
    3. EXP/LN7
    4. Toronado
    5. Onmi 024/Horizon TC3

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      6. AMC Spirit/Eagle
      7. Delorean DMC12 (might be out of your price range though. Also it’s not a domestic car)

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        None of the 1982 cars I’d be interested in meet his criteria, but definitely the Charger 2.2, Alfa Romeo GTV6, BMW 320i, and Porsche 944 were the cars to own in 1982, with the disappointing new Scirocco a decent alternative.

  • avatar
    carve

    ’82 was the first year of the new Supra. That car’s styling has aged better than just about anything from that era, it handeled better than anything in it’s range, and was reliable. The I6 sounded straight out of the future. The Z might also be an option. A 917 would be fun, too. I doubt you’d be able to find a nice 911.

    American cars pretty much were all ugly and sucked except for the Corvette, which was the least reliable car on the market at the time. An F-body might be fun to mess around with. It’d be fun to go cheesy 80′s style with one, but make it look new. The Mustang was fugly- looked like an Escort. Probably more solid though.

    Something that would still be relevent today though might be a truck. Get a CJ-7 or a Wagoneer, or maybe a Bronco or International Harvester.

    • 0 avatar

      Truck or SUV is the way to go, in ’82 trucks were still trucks, bench seats, solid axles, and clean lines.

      I’d look for a k5 Blazer, Bronco, or even a Ramcharger that hasn’t been modified to death. They are simple, easy to work on and easy on the eyes compared to much of what was available in ’82.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      I’ll second the truck suggestion. In 1982 you could still get a full size Cherokee based on the same platform as the Wagoneer. Depending on the trim level and grille treatment, these can be quite “sporty” looking. Go for one with the factory wide axle package as they came with the metal fender flares that help improve the look of the vehicle.

      If not a Cherokee, then I’d suggest a Ramcharger or Blazer since they also have solid axles. The TTB (Twin-Traction Beam) system on the Ford has a lot of design issues that aggravate tire wear, handling and front end wear. Of course, you could always fab up a solid axle conversion for the front of the Bronco…

  • avatar
    LectroByte

    1982 was the first year for the Datsun/Nissan Maxima, if there are any left, it would be something different.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Kluttz

      1982 280ZX Turbo. Hands down. Drove a friend’s that year. It pointed toward the sky when you would take off (make that TAKE OFF) briskly, which was the only way you could. Being an automatic guy at the time, I didn’t (well, friend wouldn’t let me) even punch it in 1st gear…scary torque and power in that car. The 2-seater’s body lines are just gorgeous and far superior to the 2+2.
      That ’82 Supra would be a close runner up, but make sure the camshafts have been replaced. Strange it was twin-cam, but 12 valves. But the Datsun sported an extra 40 horses. Made those V-8 Mustangs of the time look silly. And anything else on the road, for that matter. Do it. If one can be found. The only older Zs and ZXs I see have been beat to death, for some reason. What a car NOT to take immaculate care of. Idiots. And, anyone remember the nice lady in the dash? “Lights are on.” “Right door is open.” “Fuel level is low.” Just a totally awesome car. Oh, shit! I forgot about the 200SX! That’s another story. Groundbreaker in its own right, and a Celica eater! That’s my $0.02.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    Best 1982 domestic car with an automatic and V8? Probably could do worse going with a Chevrolet Impala/Caprice (or equivalent B-body). Tons of parts, great looking, smooth. Here’s your next ride for $6K and 70K miles: http://www.autotrader.com/fyc/vdp.jsp?ct=u&car_id=277633662&dealer_id=1081389&car_year=1982&systime=&doors=&search_lang=en&start_year=1982&body_style=SEDAN&keywordsfyc=&keywordsrep=&highlightFirstMakeModel=&search_type=both&distance=0&min_price=&rdm=1304962305644&drive=&marketZipError=false&advanced=y&fuel=&keywords_display=&sownerid=564561&lastBeginningStartYear=1981&end_year=1982&showZipError=n&certified=&engine=8+Cylinder&page_location=findacar%3A%3Aispsearchform&body_code=8&transmission=&default_sort=mileageASC&max_mileage=&color=&address=32259&sort_type=mileageASC&max_price=&awsp=false&make=&seller_type=b&num_records=25&cardist=798&standard=false&rdpage=thumb

    • 0 avatar
      FromaBuick6

      I’ve always been a big fan of that car. Although, I’d have to break the birth year rule because ’83 had the more powerful DOHC 5M-GE and vastly improved suspension and brakes.

      A buddy of mine had an ’84, and even though it looked like an ugly brown granny car, it was a lot of fun. And very comfortable.

  • avatar
    jj99

    Easy.

    1St … 82 Nissan 280 ZX with Manual

    2ND … 81 Camaro Z28 with 4 Speed ( Forget 82 … uglyness )

    3Rd … 82 Toyota Supra … Cool

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Kluttz

      That’s what I’m talking about. At least 2 out of 3.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Kluttz

        Don’t get me wrong; the 1982s were the most huge pieces of shit to ever roam the plain. I endured a 1982 Trans (sh)Am(e) for almost 2 years; bought it new. I don’t have time or room to go over its problems. They were from one end of the car to the other. And the 81s had, what, 130hp with the V-8? I meant 2 out of 3 choices were good. And the Datsun must be a turbo. Still, the naturally aspirated version had 160hp, not too shabby for the time and for 2.8 litres and 12 valves.
        I believe 1983 is when they renamed themselves Nissan, the parent company.

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    I think there is nothing to be added to what Sanjeev said. Fox V8 Mustang or Capri (Mercury Capri I think is a bit cooler as it is less common, and Mercury is dead, but parts would be easy to find). An F-body Camaro/Firebird (more partial to the Firebird) with again, tons of available parts in endless combination. Not very fond of the ’82 Corvette as it was an ill-handling sled during this era, not until ’84 did the C4 come along and start to restore the Corvette name.

    The Thunderbird was butt ugly during this era, Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth wasn’t making anything interested RWD, V8 and automatic that wasn’t a truck.

    Not a car, but a Ford Bronco (not the Bronco II) could be very interesting also, tons of them around, lots of parts also.

    If you would CONSIDER deviation from your requirements the Celica/Supra is a great car, as is the RX7 from that era.

    I think the most unique option of the period would be a Mercury LN7. Under powered, looks that only a mother could love, under steer defined, in a somewhat ill-concieved two seater coupe from Ford. The LN7 Mecury version definitely looks better. Oh I know, I just ripped it high and low, but they are absolutely unique, and if you do a resto-mod to a 1.9L Erica engine, turbo charge it, give it a 5-speed manual and tweak the suspension, it becomes a rather fun go-kart to drive. Baby it you can still get 45 MPG all day long.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Or find an Early SHO engine and a V6 Tempaz 5sp transaxle and make a LN7 SHO.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @Holden & Scoutdude: I just saw the only LN7 I have seen in probably 20 years the other day in an iron lot here in SWMI. I had to look twice to make sure it was what I thought it was. The last time I saw an EXP was in 1995 when I lived in Atlanta. And between the two of those, the EXP’s far outsold the LN7s. IF you could find one (either one) it would probably be an uphill battle to get it in running condition much less mod it. They were considered disposable cars.

        It’s a similar situation with Mercury Capris. They were vastly outsold by Mustangs. I would love to have any of my old Capris back (yes, even the turbo one), but there weren’t that many to begin with.

        A Mustang, Camaro or Corvette would be much more doable than getting esoteric with a gussied up Escort. I’d vote for the Stang.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Yeah a LN7 would be pretty much the definition of project car hell. The mechanicals wouldn’t be too bad cause that was the same as the regular Escort/Lynx but any of the unique body stuff would be impossible. I actually saw one for the first time in many years a couple of months ago I was quite surprised though at least rolling down the road it looked to be well kept.

    • 0 avatar
      scottcom36

      How about a Mirada or Cordoba?

  • avatar
    Joss

    Well if we have a foxy thing for bustle back trunks how about the Chrysler Imperial Frank Sinatra Signature Edition? Complete with bernie’s fav tapes and sig on the dash…

    Or a Daimler DS 420 – resplendent with British Leyland’s tacky late edition rubber capped bumpers. You could always source for revenue thru hire out for weddings…or porn shoots in the rear.

    • 0 avatar
      jpcavanaugh

      Joss, he would be wise to avoid the 82 Imperial. Those things were ungodly money pits. BUT – nobody has suggested the 82 Chrysler Cordoba or the even better looking Dodge Mirada. Engines were the slant 6, the 318 or the 360 V8s, each of which was pretty bulletproof, and each coupled to the good old Torqueflite. These are pretty rare cars due to poor sales when new. But this was the second-to-last year of these cars, and they were pretty decent cars by that time.
      The only real problems that these had were the Lean Burn systems, but Allpar or other Mopar sites are there to help with modern fixes (who knew it was bad to mount a computer over the exhaust manifold?). Or better, a Mopar 360 from an earlier (or later) era would be a fine drop-in modification.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        JP – You took the words right out of my mouth. After mulling over my somewhat facetious first post, I started thinking a little more about this and came up with the Chrysler Imperial – they were incredibly beautiful. I liked the Dodge Mirada, too.

        If those aren’t do-able, my suggestion would be a GM B-body coupe – Impala, preferably, but any model will do. Or how about a Lincoln or Caddy bustle-back?

        My experience is that if you’re going to do something like this, go with something unique or something that has a common platform that has parts still available.

      • 0 avatar
        scottcom36

        Many of the troublesome fuel injection systems in the Imperials have long since been replaced by carburetors, not sure if there are other problem areas.

    • 0 avatar
      Joe

      I was also going to suggest the 1982 Imperial. Nice ones can be had dirt cheap. Here’s a nice one that could be had for around $3,000.
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/8490341@N04/4858081570/

      As jpcavanaugh has mentioned, these cars do have some issues. One major concern is the fuel injection system which has been replaced with a carb on most suriviors.

      I was a junior in high school in 1982 and among my peers the most desireable new cars were the Datsun 280ZX and the Mazda RX-7.
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/8490341@N04/5029712840/
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/8490341@N04/4688736624/

  • avatar
    pdieten

    The first car I ever owned was a 1982 Buick Century Limited. Four doors, two-tone paint, pillowtop seats and the 3.0-liter V6. Go get one of those.

    Just kidding. When I was growing up the GM G-body coupes were still the cars to have in ’82, people who had them were really happy with them. I don’t know about the F bodies though, those were redneck cars that always felt cramped and crude to me.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    Since it’s gotta be a domestic, you’ve gotta go with the Mustang GT. ’82 was the year the “High Output” 5.0 came back with a vengeance and helped reignite the performance market.

    A Grand National would be a great choice, but the ’82 was pretty rare and GNs aren’t cheap anymore. But a standard Regal, Monte Carlo or Cutlass Supreme are good cruisers. Maybe a Riviera (but not the Eldorado with its crap engines).

    Unless you want a Panther or B-body, that’s about it. Everything domestic was still pretty abysmal in ’82.

    As for me, I was born in ’86, so I’d go with the Mustang GT (first year for fuel injection) or a Thunderbird Turbo Coupe. Or a Nissan 300ZX Turbo. Or if I was being practical, a Volvo 760 Turbo wagon.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    For $8-10k you can probably find a garage queen 82 Mustang GT in mint condition… or get a typical beat one for like $2k and resto-mod it into your perfect vehicle.

  • avatar
    PVDave

    For me, 1982 equals the return of the Mustang GT. While previous Fox bodied Mustangs included V-8 power, 1982 was the first year Ford offered the 5.0 “H.O.” option. This option increased V-8 output from 120 to 157 horses, and many feel it re-launched the pony car horsepower wars.

    This was also the only year Ford offered the H.O. package with a 2 bbl carb. Not something that wins respect in the locker room, but it is a single year feature that ties into Tiburon Guy’s birth date.

    A seminal car for TG’s seminal event.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    You guys are all wrong. 1982 Plymouth Reliant coupe. No contest.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    From a strictly, “that’s an awesome car that I’ve heard a lot and know nothing about, beyond what I’ve heard, and don’t know if it was around in 1982″ sense I’d go for a Buick Grand National. I saw one of these while watching the Barrett-Jackson auctions in January and wanted one, but then I have no money for extra cars and wouldn’t want to feed it.

  • avatar
    gessvt

    If it were my $8-10K, I would get on the SSP Mustang board and start asking about a nice California Highway Patrol ’82 Mustang. The first of their kind! They’re out there.

    http://www.sspmustang.org/features/82_CHP_Mustang.htm

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    I vote the Fox Body. I recently picked up a 1984 Continental Turbo Diesel and have dumped way too much time and money in it. The more I drive that lincoln, the more I love it. Make sure to get one with the air suspension as the coil replacements just kill the ride.

    • 0 avatar
      Porsche986

      If properly maintained, the 2.4L TD in that car is essentially indestructible. It’s a BMW engine, I had it in a 1985 524TD… I got over 300k miles before selling it off.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Good to know. My odo is dead, but from receipts and service records, I think it has 150k on the clock. I really want to find a donor car for the powertrain as the heads on the Ford version of the M21 are different. Unfortunately, you can’t machine a M21 to a Ford spec.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    So funny, my 15yo dau happened to send me this link she found on Craigslist, asked if she can get this for her first car:

    http://tampa.craigslist.org/hil/cto/2371004630.html

    I know its not an 82, but still… pretty mint for $3500. But no, shes not getting one! I still like it though…

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Certainly looks and sounds good from the ad. It’s good to see a 15yo asking for a car like that, you’ve obviously done well raising her to have such good taste in vehicles.

  • avatar

    During the malaise era one of the best car ever made, not only one of the greatest GM-cars, was the GM B-body 1977-1996.
    A Chevvy Caprice have it all, or even better a Buick Roadmaster. Grace, relability, easy to wrench, dirt cheap spare parts. The answer is a 1982 Chevrolet Caprice!

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    The Fox Stang is definitely a great suggestion. As is a Cutlass Supreme, perfect for cruising…get a 307 Rocket.

    Why not bookend the Ranger lineage and get an 83 model, production actually started in early 82 and hit dealers in the spring.

  • avatar
    dancote

    Oldsmobile Toronado Brougham if you want to stand out from the crowd.

  • avatar
    thats one fast cat

    One word: TBird.

    Check this bad puppy out — now that is what I call “ridin’ in style” (and love the Landau roof!)

    And no, I am not selling this but could very easily see myself buying it

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Beautiful-1982-Ford-Thunderbird-Always-Garaged-/160584062559?pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item25638e565f#ht_500wt_1182

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Yep, the Mustang GT plus a rearend swap from an ’87 or ’88 T-Bird TurboCoupe as they have disc brakes, limited slip and 3.73s. That’s the perfect time to install aftermarket upper & lower control arms with urethane bushings. Just those things make a world of difference. The T-Coupe’s rearend is wider (disc to disc) but just enough to fill the wheelwells if you stick with 225/60s on 15x7s from a later GT/LX. The stock drum rearend was too narrow for the body anyway.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    Ah the Mustang. My 85 was such an astonishing piece of shit it turned me away form american cars to this day. Barely made it- limping and falling apart – to 85,000 miles in spite of regular and execllent maintenance. The floor fell out. Twice. The clutch was made of silly putty. It leaked. It smoked. Everything rubberized failed. Ha, it was cool lookin tho!

    I’m not sure if the 82 was the same underpinnings, but good god man, hell has no wrath like a mustang falling apart in spite of everything. It would require a biblical act of faith for me to even consider one of those rustbuckets today.

  • avatar
    npbheights

    Cadillac Eldorado. With the 4.1 liter V6.

  • avatar
    zeus01

    The ’82 5-spd manual BMW 320i would be a good choice for a combination of fun-to-drive/good handling/ practical daily driver. And it was built back when Beemers were reliable.

    For bang-for-buck reliable sports cars I second the nominations for the RX7, 280ZX and Supra. The Celica and first-gen Honda Prelude are also good choices.

    If you want something rare and attractive yet simple you might want to consider the Puma sportscar from Brazil, which was imported stateside in ’82. Looks kinda like a Porsche 911, but engine and power train is pure VW Beetle.

  • avatar
    shiney2

    I took a quick glance though the responses, but did not see the cars that would be my unquestioned first choices: BMW 633i 5 speed, or even better a grey market 5 series (1982 was a changeover year from the E12 to the E28, but I think the E28 535m was available in Europe!) One in good shape is as nice to drive as a car gets. good looking, nice ride, great steering feel, well balanced, and enough torque to accelerate hard and toss the tail out in turns.

    I’m a big MB fan, but I just don’t think 1982 was a good year for them. The 3.8 was a mediocre S-class engine, the W123 long in the tooth, and the 190 new and immature.

  • avatar

    There was a number of a TR8s sold as 1982 models. British, V8 and drop top!

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Kluttz

      And that great British Leyland and Lucas dependability. I was familiar with a Stag…I believe that’s BL and definitely Lucas electrics. I have a really BAD impression of anything British. Automotive-wise, of course. (Beatles and Stones were their best exports, though.)

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    But for the garage length issue, I would recommend a Buick Electra Estate Wagon. Solid drivetrain with an amazing combination of luxury and utility. Kind of like having a Fleetwood Brougham with a really big trunk.

    Sadly, an actual Fleetwood Brougham, or any other ’82 Cadillac, would be a bad choice. All ’82 Cadillacs except the Cimarron came with the horrible HT4100 V8 that was bog-slow until it blew up. And surely you aren’t considering a Cimarron!

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    From 1982

    GM E-Body Toronado, Riviera or Eldorado even though they are luxury cars with lots of electrical stuff, they are quite reliable.

    GM B-Body 2 drs Delta 88, 98 Regency, Buick LeSabre, Pk Ave

    GM G-Body Monte, GP, Regal, Cutlass

    BMW 320i

    Ford Panther LTD-Crown Vic, Grand Marquis


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