By on September 25, 2013

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The Thanksgiving leftovers are still on the table when the Christmas tree goes up at the Kreutzer house. Wherever we go in the world I am determined that some traditions will survive and Christmas is one of the constants that my children can count upon no matter how hard it might be for Santa to find us some years. We have a fair amount of decorations, mostly indoor stuff, and when the season has ended I usually spend New Year’s Day pulling everything down and carefully wrapping each piece in its own individual piece of newspaper. The newspaper wrapping is just as important to me as the decorations themselves because I know that in the years to come, those crumpled bits of newsprint will become little time capsules that will show where we were and what we thought was important. One thing I am always sure to include are the car ads.

I love looking at old car ads. Armed with 20/20 hindsight, I get to see the best cars of the era in their prime and I get to marvel at the obscenely low costs of some great old iron while I conveniently forget the fact that I was making a minimum wage of just $3.35 an hour at the time. Since I started writing for TTAC a few months ago, I’ve spent more time than ever thinking about old cars and have rediscovered the joy of looking through the old ads and while I enjoy the full color glory shots from the slick pages of old buff books as much as the next guy, I think the real flavor of those times is best captured in newspaper ads. Getting those ads outside of my Christmas boxes, however, has proven to be a challenge.

In 2008, Google announced an ambitious newspaper scanning project. Although they abandoned the effort in 2011, they did manage to scan in quite a number of papers before terminating the project and those papers are still available on-line if you can find them. I like to think I am a fairly web savvy guy, I mean, I was around when internet 1.0 was born and, even if I am not totally fluent in – or for that matter really even understand the point of – Web 2.0, I can click around with the best of them. Even so, I had a hard time tracking down Google’s on-line archive. I’m not sure why that is exactly but I suspect that it is because many papers are looking to monetize their back issues and have hidden them behind a pay wall.

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Fortunately for us all, I was researching another article I stumbled across the portal to Google’s newspapers and, even better, actual scans of a large, big-city paper, “The Miami News,” that just happened to have been printed within living memory. The following link is from the Saturday, October 10, 1987 edition of the Miami News “Weekender.” The car ads start on Page 18. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to go through the paper and find the best deal you can. New and used cars in the Dealer ads or even something listed as a private sale in the Classifieds are fair game. Think that brand new 88 Mustang LX for just $8995 is a steal? How about the ’87 Jeep Grand Wagoneer at $16,666 – a whopping $7240 under list price? Let the games begin!

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112 Comments on “Time Machine Challenge: What Would You Buy?...”


  • avatar
    Sam P

    I’ll take the RX-7 SE. Always enjoyed that body style.

    • 0 avatar
      onyxtape

      As a 12-year-old, my first sports car experience was in that vintage of RX7. I couldn’t see the road from my seating position, but I did see the speedometer go to 105 on the interstate and that was thrilling enough.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    240SX or RX-7. I wouldn’t have money to buy either, but if we’re fantasizing, might as well pretend I have tons of money!

    • 0 avatar
      Crabspirits

      The 240sx didn’t drop till 1989.

      Perhaps I can interest you in placing an order for a 1988 300zx SS “Shiro” edition?

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        I don’t care what year 240sx was… I would get it again. Mine was ’89 240sx-se. When I was selling it in 2005, guy didn’t care if it was running or not. He just wanted that car. I was tired of it at that time. But now, looking back, I realize that today you not going to find a car like that

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    I find the pricing tiers interesting. 2 grand above an Escort would land you a Mustang, but it was another $3,000 from there to get into a stripper Taurus. Over on the Mazda side, $250 would bump you from a 323 to a pickup, and both were more expensive than the Moose.

  • avatar

    I love stuff like this. A little over a year ago, I posted a similar blog which I asked “what could you have bought when you started driving”. For me, that was July of 1970. Have a look at some of the bargains you could have had back then!

    http://caughtatthecurb.blogspot.com/2012/08/what-could-you-have-bought-when-you.html

  • avatar
    afflo

    WHat stands out to me is the sheer variety of vehicle categories:

    compact Japanese soft-top SUV (dead category)
    Compact pickup (mostly-dead category)
    RWD Personal Luxury car (dead category)
    FWD Personal Luxury Car (dead category)
    convertible rotary-engined sports car. (dead category)
    FWD compact sedan
    FWD compact hatchback
    FWD midsize sedan
    Ponycar coupe
    Ponycar convertible

    Doubtless each was offered with several automatic transmission options and a standard manual transmission.

    Our current spread seems so boring.

    • 0 avatar
      DeeDub

      But now we have CUVs! CUVS!!! CUVs for everyone!!

      • 0 avatar
        afflo

        The more I think about it: GM was producing a mid-engine budget-proced sports car. Ford had everything from heavy-duty body on frame Panthers to Explorers to FWD probes to mass-market Tauruses. You could get big SUVs, small SUVs, wagons, coupes… it all just seems so much more… interesting.

        So many cars are on so few platforms today, everything seems like a variation of FWD 4-door sedans or 5 door hatchbacks. Look at the cars listed above, and think of the modern equivalents, and the sedan or 5-door that is the basis.

        compact Japanese soft-top SUV (dead category)
        (CUV with a sunroof)

        Compact pickup (mostly-dead category)
        (CUV with fold-down seats)

        RWD Personal Luxury car (dead category)
        (FWD large sedan)

        FWD Personal Luxury Car (dead category)
        (FWD large sedan)

        convertible rotary-engined sports car. (dead category)
        (RWD Pony-car)

        FWD compact sedan
        FWD compact hatchback
        FWD midsize sedan
        Ponycar coupe
        Ponycar convertible

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Do they make anything with a Rotary anymore? But you’re right, todays options may have touch screens and IMic features galore but that doesn’t change the current list so far:

      Huge MANLY Truck

      An Sports Car (don’t tell me an FRS or a new Mustang is anymore exciting than a turbocharged RX 7)

      Big CUV

      CUV

      Little CUV

      FF Sedan

      Medium FF sedan

      Compact FF sedan (in some cases hatchback, but thats dying too)

      And if you’re shopping at VW you can bet that your next purchase will have the same parts on it as your neibors grey VW Gold, or the grey CUV up the street.

      Our variety in colors has dwindled as well.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Here is the most interesting part of the article: its listing the total price of the cars in the ads. Since this was only 25 years ago, its interesting to see how things have changed because IMO they know they can’t list the total price because its ridiculously high for any model.

    Take the Samurai for example because despite their cult following they weren’t the best cars. For lets say 7,000 for sake of math, you buy yourself basic wheels and a 5spd with a convertible like ride with the top down (cousin had base model new). So since now and then inflation is probably close to 100%, so again for the sake of math we’ll call it 100% and if you could buy it today it would cost at least $14,000. Mid 80s tech vs now aside for what the vehicle provides its not a terrible proposition, but even today I think it would be a hard sell to anyone outside of the “I just need wheels” or “subprime” markets. Why? People will see the $14K price tag in the add and think, “That’s alot of money for *that*, I can do better”. But flash $99 down and $99/month and people line up for garbage.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      It’s roughly 50% a decade. That samurai is close to 20 large in 2013 dollars. Mustang: 25K. Taurus: 33K. T-bird: 34K. These numbers are surprisingly spot on with the current market transaction prices except for mid size sedans, I believe they’re still under 30K….but I haven’t seen the most recent numbers.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        $20K seems a little high to me. Dot gov claims 7K in 1987 buys $14,411.43 in 2013, but granted I don’t fully believe them. I’d say somewhere in between my figure and yours.

        In any event, I couldn’t see people spending $14K let alone $20K for a Samurai today, but I could see them fly at $99/month. I’d say the Kia Soul is close to what the Samurai represented in 1987 (minus the “convertible” feature).

        http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          I never accounted for the depression in 2008 which curved the numbers and I think the inflation index takes some general liberties. I base my numbers off 3% inflation which is considered normal but the last few years we’ve been at negative or around 1.5%. I wasn’t doubting your numbers just throwing out my own. Sorry if it seemed otherwise.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            No problem Xeranar. Generally speaking I start with the official figures and then try to estimate how inaccurate they as a percentage.

      • 0 avatar
        deanst

        Actually the US CPI Urban Consumer index (ex food and energy) has more or less doubled since 1987.

    • 0 avatar
      afflo

      Samurais are everywhere in Europe (under the name Jimny)

      http://www.topgear.com/uk/suzuki/jimny

      Note the price – £12K – £13.3K puts it in the low Honda Jazz/Fit range (£11.6K – £17.6K).

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Nice.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I do believe the Jimny was sold here for a very short time, as well as the Dihatsu Rocky (related?)

        • 0 avatar

          Daihatsu is actually Toyota’s small car brand in Japan. Jimny is Suzuki and was actually a little bit bigger than the Rocky as I recall.

          The Mazda B2600 4X4 for right at 10K is a pretty good buy, I think. I chose this particular year and month because it was about the time I decided to order my Turbo Shadow and I paid just right at $10K for that. It’s eye opening to see what else I might have had for similar money, especially now we can look back and see which cars stood the test of time and which ones didn’t.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I didn’t know that about Diahatsu. It’s like a pre-Scion experiment in the US!

            I know in the UK they get the Copen, which looked too small to be safe, or driven by a man.

            Dude you coulda had a GTI for 7 grand less!! The Shadow was MORE expensive than a Legend?!!

            *shock and awe*

          • 0 avatar
            FuzzyPlushroom

            I was thinking that, of the options here, I’d definitely opt for that B2600. Everything I want, nothing I don’t… do a good undercoating job (not from the dealership, of course!) and enjoy.

            I’d shop the other Japanese competition too, of course, but in the late ’80s I’d certainly end up with a new Far Eastern 4wd/manual pickup… or a one-owner Volvo 242, but that wasn’t the question.

          • 0 avatar

            No no, sorry. I’m not really stupid I just have fat fingers. I meant $10K not $19K!

            If I had 19 large to spend back in the day I would have been crazy rich.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Phew, good.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            The Rocky is actually based on a Toyota platform if I remember correctly. I even think the Feroza is related to the Rocky, but it has a different suspension (not sure).

            We had the Daihatsu F60 in Australia in the 80s. This was a Suzuki Sierra/Jimny etc competitor.

            It came with a 1.6/2.0 litre diesel. They had the reputation as unstoppable.

            But they were agricultural like the Suzuki.

            Here’s a link.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daihatsu_Taft

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Sorry, I blew that one I was thinking of the newer Rocky, which was larger.

            It was based on a Toyota Bunderra/Landcruiser.

          • 0 avatar

            It’s all good man, I’m just thrilled to be sharing the internet with someone from down under.

  • avatar
    old fart

    How about expanding on this idea and go with being able to have any car in the past but for a daily driver only , no investment or toy use ?

  • avatar
    RayH

    I want the advertised $9999 1987 Buick Century (picture is of a 2 door). Below that, they advertise $2000 minimum trade toward NEW cars! Assuming I was my current age in 1987, I’d trade in some rusty but trusty 1979 DatToyHon.

    Later there was an ad for ‘The Princess Bride’ at the movies. After picking up my Century, I’d drive straight there to watch it.

  • avatar
    Tim_Turbo

    I had a 1987 Mazda 626 GT 5 speed in college in the late 90′s, so by the time I had it, it was 11 years old and had 120K on it. That car was quick for its day, kind of a sleeper really, and mine was completely loaded, at least compared to my previous car (also my first car) which was a 87 Nissan Sentra 2 door 5 speed with plastic seats, no a/c, armstrong steering, and no passenger side mirror.
    Anyway, the 626 still ranks as one of my favorite cars, probably more because of the stage of my life I owned it in rather than actual driving dynamics, lots of road trips and good times were had in that car. So don’t know if I would be able to pass up the chance to have a brand new one, although there are much “cooler” options out there.

  • avatar
    JimR

    30 large for an E30 BMW convertible
    20 large for a Sterling 825
    10 large for a Celica ST

    From a quality-value standpoint, we see where Toyota earned its name. Of all the cars printed in that paper, I’d vote the low-options Celica ST as “most likely to still be in reliable service.”

    Honestly, everyone in 1988 thought we’d have hovercars by the year 2013. No one would fathom their no-frills ’88 Hondas and Toyotas still sitting behind America’s dorm rooms and restaurant kitchens, revered and happily plugging along.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Miami, 1987. What is this GTA Vice City :)

    Regarding which car to choose from the ad, its tough. I’m not a Saab “guy” but I do know they are solid (but slow) cars in the pre-GM period so there’s that to consider for $16K. The Rivs and Toros are nice for roughly 13K, but I’d want money off since a fricking Saab of the period is only 3K more (also MGMs are running $14 and change, again SAAB for $16K). A Volvo 240 Wagon will run you $14,200 “on sale” which is probably the value proposition of the bunch. There’s a Sterling listed for $18,900 [!] which is hilarious given how terrible those were. I can’t quite make out the prices in the Miami Acura ad, but Legend looks like $18,900.

    So if I’m budget minded:
    Volvo 240 Wagon (pref sedan) at sale price $14,200
    Honda Accord/Prelude for $14K (pref Prelude)
    Merc Cougar for $12ish.
    Olds Toro with chain eating 3.8 for $13ish (depending on options)

    If money is no object:
    Lincoln Mark VII (not listed, 5.0 Fox FTW)
    Acura Legend Coupe for $19K (will take sedan but pref coupe)
    Volvo 740 Turbo for $19K (on sale)

  • avatar
    Tim_Turbo

    The employment ads were interesting as well. My favorite: “Must be female, under 30, attractive, dependable, non-smoker”. I don’t see that flying in todays world, and I’m actually surprised it flew in 1987.

  • avatar
    JimR

    The Miami area van/bus-based video production industry still has a pretty strict hiring policy along those lines.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I’m digging that ’88 Thunderbird in the ad.

    I definitely believe new cars have risen in price past inflation, buying a new car every few years was much more common. People didn’t put hundreds of thousands of miles on cars back then like they do today.

    Cars were just sort of known to wear out and you bought a new one, that’s why the odometers turned over at 100k miles. Buying a new car was something the middle class did.

    These days, I think it’s financially irresponsible for most people to buy brand new cars every few years.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not sure I thought about how long I was going to own a car when I boght my Shadow in 1988 but I didn’t purchase it with the expectation that I would be trading it in in just three or four years, I was buying it for the long haul and I think I actually got about 7 years of hard, high milage use out of the car before I finally sold it to my brother.

      I chose to buy a new car because some of the other cars I liked, like a 1984 Supra, cost just as much used as entry level performance cars did at the time. When I look back, I feel like there were a LOT more options that appealed to me back in the day. Want a small, sporty two door? Every manufacturer had at least a couple and some of them were really good cars that didn’t bust your budget. Today, there are only a few to choose from – true there are more to choose from if you like small sporty four doors, but truth is I would only shop those if I had to.

      • 0 avatar
        readallover

        If you really want to cry, go to the old newspapers classified ads. Many of the big libraries have it on microfiche or online. Cars that you cannot sniff nowadays were available for next to nothing. Example: mid-60`s GTO`s for $995 (in the late 1970`s) tons of them.

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    When Reedman was selling Superbirds in 1971 for $2399 because nobody wanted the ugly beasts. I cant spend $150,000 for one now. $23,000 for a 68 Dart last month was enough.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Pfft, 87 GTI, $12k for the win.

  • avatar
    Tim_Turbo

    I saw a 87 Grand National-but it was a “call for price”.
    Tried to call, number is no longer in service. Shame.

  • avatar
    Waterview

    This is slam dunk easy. Back then there were two cars I would have loved to have:

    1) Acura Legend (the newer “luxury” kid on the block)

    2) the Honda Prelude (insanely expensive, but I would have loved to own one during that period.

    Love the old ads and was neat to find both cars easily.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    The Legends and Preludes look nice, and an S12 Silvia could be good (didn’t see an ad for one though), but the ad that caught my eye was the $3600 for an AE86 Corolla. Unmodified, undrifted and today, just about unobtainable…

  • avatar
    mgs3bes

    I don’t want to kill the buzz, but adjusted for inflation, that Mustang is about $16k in 2012 dollars and the RX-7 is about $32k. Are they still great deals?

    I was digging an old Old Cars Guide from about 1979 and saw a Yenko Camaro for about $7k which today would be about $21k. Now THAT would be a smoking deal! But who knew Yenko from Shinola in those days?

    • 0 avatar

      The RX7 was never a budget priced car. I believe that I read somewhere that the FD version of the RX7 was priced to sell against Porsches. The RX7, the Prelude and the Supra were never anywhere close to my budget – and probably still aren’t for that matter. It’s only looking back that allows us to think about how “affordable” these cars were – but of course the money isn’t the same, is it?

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        When I bought my RX-7 in December of ’79, it cost me $7500. The Porsche 924 was in the $14K range. The RX was about $1500-2000 cheaper than the 280ZX as well. Unfortunately, the dealers were overcharging for RXs, a practice that ended around the time I bought mine as supply had caught up with demand.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I love way too many vehicles that were available in this era to pick just one.

  • avatar
    SteelyMoose

    The cars may have changed, but the sleazy dealer ads remain the same.

  • avatar

    I’ll take the $12999 Ford Bronco II, please. Because I like two-door, truck-based suv’s

    I

  • avatar
    RatherhaveaBuick

    Grand Marquis for $14,488.

    Value!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Whats interesting about that price is the Town Car was quoted for $19,995 (or thereabouts) which is only 25% more. In the early 2000s I recall Town Cars going low 40s and the MGMs anywhere between 20 and high 20s

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        And later models were cheapened out a bit as well as a bit stylistically similar, what gives?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          A touch of Alzheimers among its constituency I suppose.

          Wife: “Honey what do we always buy”
          Husband: “Lincolns dear”
          Wife: “This Mercury looks alot like it”
          Husband: “No dear I said Lincoln, not Mercury”
          Salesman: “Sir we have this Lincoln available with the Congressional package with included landau roof”
          Husband: “We’ll take it”

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Bad eyes or are there no Isuzu dealers?

  • avatar
    kmoney

    I’d go for an original 1989 LS400 at the loss leader price of ~$35,000. Pricy, but huge value given how long you could roll that thing — especially with the privelege of being responsible for maintenance from day 1.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree, although you’d have similar longevity with the Volvos and possibly the Saab. With the Lexus you get more power and a little more panache vs the Swedish choices.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      I was bored one day, so I looked up the specs and transaction costs on the 1989 Celsior (what we got as the LS400 was in between the mid- and high-grade Celsiors), looked up the exchange rate in 1989, did the math, and got right around $35,000.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    I’m cheating. I’m now in the back of the paper, scouring not the new car ads, but the USED CAR CLASSIFIEDS!

    Since I’ll be time-machining these cars back to the future, using my current checking account (and not the one I had in 1987, since I was in college and it was probably overdrawn anyway), here goes (NOTE: I’m only picking cars with asking prices shown — there’s a slew of Porsche, Ferrari, etc with no $ indicated, so I must pass on those):

    I’ll take the 1968 2dr Nova with headers and V8 for $2200.

    Next, the 74 Datsun 260Z for $1800.

    Fiat 79 Spyder for $2500.

    65 Mustang, $2500.

    66 Mustang, $1950.

    69 Pontiac Firebird convertible, $3950.

    Now to teleport my used car purchases back to now and see just how used and abused these machines had become by October, 1987. Expecting a bit of restoration work. Or, I can leave them original, fix the mechanicals, and sell them as survivors (albeit having skipped 26 years of time and use).

    Who am I kidding. I’m going to have to build a bigger garage and keep them all.

    • 0 avatar
      Geekcarlover

      I can’t read the old used car ads, too many missed opportunities. Around 85/86 I passed on a 71 GTO convertible. Interior and engine were in great shape. But an ex-girlfriend of the owner had redecorated thebody with nail polishes, remover, and had a slash fest with the roof. I didn’t want to pay for a new paint job and roof. Besides, they were common enough and fairly cheap. At the time it would have cost about two paychecks. Now (repaired and repainted ), that car would require a second mortgage.

  • avatar
    old5.0

    I’d have to go for the Mustang coupe pictured, but delete all the gingerbread and add the 5.0/5-speed/3.08 TC drivetrain. Delete the radio, too. 13 second quarter miles for chump change.

    Or, to put it another way, the absolute fastest thing to be found on a Ford (or GM or Chrysler) lot in 1988, for a bit over nine grand.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      That’s exactly the car I bought. Right down to the ‘radio delete’. I was 19 and got a job at the dealer washing cars and running parts, to get it at “cost”. I had to wait 90 days to get the discount, but then Ford announced the ’88 was last RWD V8. Hoax BTW. It created a mad buying frenzy, so color and trans selection was slim. So I ended up ordering an ’89 just way I wanted. I don’t want to brag, but I was making $6 an hr. Living at home, plus crazy overtime, I managed to pay cash, Sept 20, 1988.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    About that time I was getting a lot of miles on first new car a 1985.5 Mustang SVO. I bought a 1989 Mitsubishi Mighty Max and that little truck was great. I was happy with those purchases and would do it all again.

  • avatar
    Slab

    Super-easy for me – the Acura Legend. I was already driving one at the time (1985 model) and it was my all-time favorite car. The only reason I traded it was the lack of anti-lock brakes and airbags (which were available by 1988).

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Those cars would cost more than twice as much today but our salaries are not twice what they were then right?

  • avatar
    JK43123

    I’d get the Hyundai Excel for $4995 and see how long it holds up!

    BTW I actually pulled up behind one at a red light the other day, still running.

    John

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    With my small budget I’d be scouting the used car ads for a 1960′s Dart or Valiant sedan for a daily driver, preferably with a stick and slant 6, or I’d be digging through for a used Volvo 100-something.

    If money were not an issue I’d grab a used Superbird or a Roadrunner, impractical but I’m willing to deal with it, and I probably wouldn’t sell it in the future with todays prices for them…probably.

  • avatar
    matador

    Can I get the 1973 Torino for $88. Seriously, I’d probably go with the 1984 Chrysler New Yorker for $6495 as a daily driver,the 1983 AMC Concord wagon for $2900 as my weekend car, and being a contractor, I’d take the 1979 Ford lariat pickup for $2000 (Page 17). Now, do I have to live in Miami to do this???

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Maybe not quite old enough to fit the rules of the game, but I’ve always regretted not buying a Dodge Magnum Wagon SRT8. Not sure the exact year, but they didn’t build them for long.

    My wife and I sat in one, drove it, loved it, but were ultimately put off by the weird way the tailgate opened into the roof, making it difficult to open when you have things on the roof rack. Which we do, a lot.

    But in hindsight, I still wish I’d bought it!

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Well, they may have been quirky as Hell, but the late 80′s Saab 900 was the golden era for the car. A 900S for under $16K.

    Yes please.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I can’t find it, but I would definitely buy a 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon.

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    I’ll take the rather handsome two-tone F150 with the “handling package” for $11,412. Hopefully it has the newly fuel injected 4.9 I6 and 5 speed manual!

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    Back then, people complained about paying over $10K for a new car. But then gas was only $1.25 or less.

    The new car prices in the ads don’t show extra fees. Laws have been passed requiring the *’s for ‘”plus tax, blah, blah…”

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    Back in the real world 1987-88 I seriously considered buying a Samarai or if not that , a Subaru Justy with 4- wheel drive as I was living in Denver and planned on staying there forever , luckily I never followed thru as I was fired a year later and left Denver for good . IIRC , even before I left Denver in the late eighties there were complaints about the Samarai . As mentioned above , Suzuki was guiltier than most of some low- ball advertised price for a Samarai but the base – model price didn’t include anything – everything was extra , even the soft top / doors .

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The base model 88 T-Bird in the ad for $12,500. My uncle bought a 87 T-Bird base model not the LX with the 3.8 and some options, lighting pkg, alloys etc for just over $15k. In 94 I bought it with 80k on it. Paid the book value of $3200. Drove it with normal maintenance till 2007 with 187k when the head gasket blew and sold it to a wrecking yard for $200.

  • avatar
    LALoser

    I bought the Mazda P/U, single cab,4X4,5M in San Jose and drove it to Anchorage. Beat that truck in horrible conditions for 3 years before selling it. That thing was bullet-proof. Simpleist is bestest.

  • avatar

    Page 20 “The future is here” ad

    How’d they know?!?!

    • 0 avatar

      I wonder what they might think if they knew we were watching them now…

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        You mean like those people in 2038 who are reading these old posts and wondering what it was like to drive cars instead of using the transporters that replaced them?

        • 0 avatar

          Chances are, I am one of those people. Take your pills Thomas! Sorry I didn’t take better care of your body when I was younger. I thought I’d be dead now!

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I’ll probably be one too, I’ll be getting kind of old, but I’ll be excited to use the transporters. TTAC will still be here reviewing the latest transporters from Germany that can get you from New York to Paris in 8 seconds. Then someone will say that a GM transporter (now owned by Chrysler, don’t ask) can do it in 7.5 seconds. Then someone else will remind them that although the GM transporters were faster, people were showing up in Paris minus a few fingers so there were quality issues…

            … Then someone will blame the unions and, well, the chicken tax, etc.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I found it…

    ” ’68 GTO Convert. Completely restored $6500 OBO”

    Today’s value $38,000

    *sigh*

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      I’m always reading stories in car mags about guys who bought a ’69 Camaro or ’70 Cuda or some other desirable muscle/pony car for like 1500 bucks in 1978, when those cars are 40k cars now.

      • 0 avatar
        izzy

        I started driving (buying used cars) during the early 80′s in Los Angeles. That sounds about right. There were plenty of used muscle cars for sale in that price range.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Sounds cheap of course but two things to take into account (1) $1500 in 1978 is probably close to triple that in today’s money (also it doesn’t include deferred maint costs og buying a ten year old car in 1978) and (2) those 40K desirable cars have much more than the $5,000 purchase price in them to be $40K cars. I seldom hear about $500 barn finds that unrestored/untouched are all the sudden worth five figures.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    I think I would have wanted the Trofeo with the $5000.00 off (wow that is big $$ in 88) and I’d put that money towards a hardtop Samurai..not sure why but I would!

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    of course, most of those cars were for that particular stock number only, usually ONE car and there were all kinds of silly markups/add ons, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I remember responding to such an ad, of course when I got there the car was sold. So I told them to order one just like it for the same price because I didn’t mind waiting. At first they were reluctant, but when the owner of the dealership overheard me questioning their ethics in the middle of a crowded showroom they were more then happy to order me one

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I’ll wait to 1989 and have a Caprice Classic sedan with the newly TBI 305. Don’t give me any options but AC, a tape deck, and the towing package if I can get it. Don’t need a vinyl roof to crack and fade or any other frivolity. Big quiet conservatively styled American sedan with V8 power and torque. Mmmmmmmmmmmm

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      There’s one for sale down the street from my house right now! It’s white, non-landau, wire wheel covers (similar to the Parisienne). Blue interior, perfect condition!

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    I was super excited about the ’87 Fiero for $9,649 until I saw that it was automatic. Probably the Samurai. RWD convertible with stick for $6,787? Not too bad.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    I don’t know about what car I would get in the ad, but if I could go back to 1987 I would get a VW Quantum Syncro Wagon for about 17k. I had an 84 sedan but always wanted the 4wd wagon. Audi Quattro drivetrain for half price. Or I would get a Toyota Land Cruiser. Price of the Land Cruiser wouldn’t matter, would still be worth the same today.

  • avatar
    EspritdeFacelVega

    In Sept 1988 I was in Denver on business and stopped (in my new Buick Regal coupe rental, complete with digital dash) at a multi-make dealership to look at the Daihatsus, just out of curiosity. The Rocky was indeed sold in the US…

    I agree with those who have commented about the sheer variety of body types, styles and colours we could get back then. When did we all get so boring?

    God help me, but if I’d had the $$$ back then (I was 23 in 1987, and most assuredly did not) I would’ve bought a new Citroen CX. This was the big grey market era, and there were two firms – CX Auto in NJ and Trend Imports in CA – who brought them into North America. Failing that, an Alfa GTV. As it happens, living in the UK at the time I joined forces with 2 friends and co-owned a 1981 Citroen Dyane, which was funky enough (wish I still had it!)…

    My Dad, a far more practical gent than myself, bought a new Hyundai Stellar GLS in Sept 1987, from Lansdowne Hyundai, the “Home of the Pony” in Richmond, BC (Vancouver area). Hyundai launched in Canada with the horribly crude, RWD but nicely-styled (Giugiaro) Pony in the fall of 1982. I recall feeling sorry for the little Hyundai stand at the 1983 Vancouver Auto Show at the old PNE….Little did we know…

  • avatar
    blautens

    @Thomas -

    Since you seem to have a penchant for Florida history, I have found that this digital preservation project is a treasure trove of Florida newspapers, and is searchable, too:

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Florida_Digital_Collections


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