TTAC reader Tiburon Guy writes:
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?
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???
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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.