By on March 30, 2010

I always have an eye out for two-fers, especially when they share such a close range of age and manufacturer. We’ll do both of these significant cars justice in future Curbside Classics, so consider this a preview of coming attractions. Oh, but its not just the late eighties on this side of the street!

I’ll let you name and date them; I’m afraid a couple of them are not quite from 1987, but close enough.

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36 Comments on “Curbside Classic Outtake: Suddenly It’s 1987...”


  • avatar

    Unfortunately none of these cars with the exception of maybe that old Toyota is from 1987, the wheels are a dead giveaway that the stang is a 91 because that was the first year they offered those wheels and the last year they had the black moldings, the Sable is from the mild refresh they did around 89-90. The Accord is either a 1990 or a 91 due to the pre-92 refresh taillights. The Civic is of the 92-95 vintage, the Plymouth Acclaim is from the mild refresh around 92-93 and the Escort couldn’t be any older than a 97, so lets call this around 1992 or 1993 just as an average….. And now y’all know I have no life b/c I know this crap lol

  • avatar
    r129

    1987-92 Ford Mustang, 1986-91 Mercury Sable, 1992-95 Honda Civic, 1997-99 Ford Escort (possibly Mercury Tracer), 1990-93 Honda Accord, 1985-89 Toyota truck, 1992-95 Plymouth Acclaim.

    • 0 avatar

      The Accord is a 1990 or 1991; the tail lights were changed in ’92-’93, with the amber turn signal on the bottom. Looks like they’re on the top on this one.

    • 0 avatar
      r129

      I tried to at least narrow my answers down to the year range of a particular generation. I figured there would be plenty of experts who could further narrow down a particular model more than I could without looking it up.

    • 0 avatar
      chrisgreencar

      The 1992-93 Accord taillights also differed in that they weren’t as wide (didn’t go all the way to the license plate as these do): so yes, this is a 1990-91.

    • 0 avatar

      @chrisgreencar: You’re right, on the 92-93 4-doors the tail lights were blocked off from the license plate area by a body-color plastic surround. The lights did extend to the plate on the 2-doors.

      To paraphrase Sajeev, I know way too much about Accord tail lights! A 1992 LX 2-door was the first car I ever bought by myself, in 1995.

    • 0 avatar
      chrisgreencar

      Yeah, I always noticed the smaller shape of the taillight more than the reversal of the yellow part. I seem to know too much about a lot of Hondas too! There were (and are) just so many of them around, through the years! That 1990-93 version of the Accord aged EXTREMELY well, too — still looks good.

    • 0 avatar

      Indeed! Both the 90-93 and 98-02 Accords have aged the best, IMHO. Both are relatively simple three-box designs, with a minimum of exterior and interior fuss. The current generation makes me ill by comparison.

      In much the same way my Dad is nostalgic about 1959-1963 Bonnevilles, I am about Accords. (That said, I highly doubt I’ll fawn over a pristine 1991 EX at a car show 40 years from now!) I got my license in a 1990 4-door LX, and I later bought the ’92 2-door… so I got to know the subtle differences between model years.

      Curiously (or not) both of our Accords had the exact same trim issues:

      -Broken power antennas, a VERY common malady of this generation;
      -Broken temperature control knobs, requiring either a new $35 replacement part… or super-gluing the broken attach point back together;
      -Cracked driver-side interior door handle surrounds, thanks to stress from holding the handle open and hitting the power lock switch to lock the doors — a workaround to defeat the key-in-ignition deterrent that otherwise required you to lock the doors with the key from the outside.

      …And that was it. Those were the days…

      (Sorry to hijack the thread with my trip down memory lane, everybody.)

    • 0 avatar
      KGrGunMan

      that toyota truck was produced from 1984 – 1988

  • avatar

    Uh-oh, I’m gonna be a stinker and nitpick: the Sable is a 1989-1991, as it has the redesigned front light bar. And I am pretty sure that exterior color came out when the Sable got its new dashboard and driver’s side airbag in 1990.

    The Mustang is a little easier to spot, if someone didn’t do a wheel swap: the 16″ Pony wheels were a 1991-1992 feature, and the black moulding means it’s a 1991.

    • 0 avatar

      Sajeev, you are a well versed Sable man. I was going to say the same thing about the light bar. The color though, I’m not that good. Oh well, something to aspire to.

    • 0 avatar
      Ion

      I thought you could get the Pony wheels in 93 too.

    • 0 avatar

      I know too much about Sables. Course I was enamored with their styling as a kid, so I have an excuse.

      Ion: thanks for the correction, luckily (for me) that’s still a 1991 because the mouldings aren’t body color.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      I rushed this one (Stephanie was waiting at my door with that look), threw in a wild guess, and knew you all would get it right. Thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Me too Sajeev… my parents had 2 Sables (1 87 sedan, 1 90 wagon), and 3 Tauruses (1 86 MT-5, 1 89 SHO, 1 93 SHO). I always liked the Sables, in fact it’s ironic that my wife grew up in Sables as well. I still am delighted when I see one in nice shape (which is rare). Headgaskets did both of ours in, as they were 3.8l models…the 90 wagon was my first car and I didn’t mind having a wagon at all, maybe that’s why I drive an Outback now!

      And my dad moved onto the Explorers as company cars when we moved to the Rockies, but has been lingering at the Ford dealer lately checking out the new SHO (and trading in my mom’s 02 E430 4matic).

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      Sajeev I’m not much a fan of the Sable, mostly because of its butt (the rear windows look neat and still fresh, however) but I really like the style of the Taurus of the same vintage. Even if we didn’t get them here.

      The facelifted version looks better and the wagons rock.

      Also fan of the 1st gen FWD Impala. I think an LS1 can be swapped there. The cartuning turbo kit would be cool also.

  • avatar
    210delray

    Wow, that Mercury Sable looks a lot like my former ’90 GS, with the same currant red exterior, gray interior, and “lace” alloy wheels. But it is hard to pin down the exact model year. Same for the Ford Mustang 5.0.

    I kind of doubt that my Sable made it to Eugene, considering I sold it almost 10 years ago with 135K miles on the odo.

  • avatar
    Boff

    Maybe they were shooting a Molly Ringwald biopic that day.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    there’s a red Porsche 944 just out of frame

  • avatar
    obbop

    The Toyota pick-up has a lip around the bottom edge of the TOP of the bed.

    I forget if that’s the style termed the “Jap” bed or the “USA” bed.

    The one not shown was smooth-sided at the top.

    The more you know…………

    the less you likely care.

    • 0 avatar
      nikita

      Its the Japanese one. I had an ’84, in that same blue with the smooth-side Long Beach built bed. It also had a different tailgate latch system. The Japanese one had a simple latch on each side, while the Long Beach one had a center handle, just like Ford and GM.

  • avatar

    Growing up my father had a 1987 Mustang 5.0 LX in gray.

    I have many memories from the back seat of that car (nothing dirty here folks I was way too young for that at the time). I distinctly remember the rear speakers being right beside the seats. My mom loved blasting her Taylor Dayne, but it wasn’t much fun for me back there. My ears!

  • avatar

    Paul, you’ve got to quit flying around in that Delorean!

  • avatar
    majo8

    Best feature of the Fox Mustangs is the fact that you could rest your arm on the window sill without having your elbow higher than your shoulder as in today’s cars.

    Actually, most cars on that street look like they’d fit the bill……

  • avatar

    I also see a 2001-2007 Chrysler Town & Country and 1998-2007 Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra on the waaay back.

  • avatar
    geo

    The time around 1987 seems to be the last time in the sunshine for American cars. The transmissions were still low-tech and reliable, the cars themselves were simple, comfortable, and somewhat reliable (with some notable exceptions). The Fox-bodied Mustang and Thuderbird were very cool, the Taurus was fresh, the K-car derivants were solid (if somewhat boring). GM had worked the most of bugs out of their 70s-designed vehicles and were just rolling out the first W-bodies, which I thought were pretty amazing for the time (I liked the Olds the best). Ford perpetually had top-selling cars in the Tempo, Escort, and Taurus and didn’t need trucks to fatten their margins.

    Then everything seemed to go so wrong, starting with the four-speed tranny. We had epic transmission troubles in high-profile vehicles like the Taurus, Caravan, and Windstar; then we had the dustbuster minivan design disaster (made worse when they tried to “fix” it!), Detroit’s refusal to redesign ancient cars, and an uglified Mustang, Camaro, Taurus, Thunderbird. Sorry, I can’t feel warm fuzzies over the Explorer — Detroit’s only real 90’s victory.

  • avatar
    1169hp

    Ah, the 91′ LX 5.0. I had one in laser red (auto). Like so many, I got the “modification bug” within minutes of the purchase. It was a blast to drive even if the auto sucked some of the fun out of it. The shift kit cured that ill.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Wow, there’s a street of people minimizing what they spend on cars. And the cars all look to be in nice shape also. Who really needs anything better?

    Dodge Spirits and Plymouth Acclaims were made from 1989 to 1995. While the grille, taillights, rear bumper and hubcaps for the Spirit were changed for the 1993-1995’s, only the grille was changed for the 1993-1995 Acclaim. So far as I know, anyway.

    There were interior differences, and drivetrain choices that changed during the production runs also. Basically though, unless someone knows more about it than I do, you can’t tell the year of an Acclaim from the back end.

  • avatar
    gimmeamanual

    When this whole China assignment is done and I return to the US, I’m seriously considering going “back to basics” with a Fox-bodied Mustang.

  • avatar

    I’m pretty sure the Acclaim is an early 90s model. The full wheelcovers look to be the older type, similar to those available on 90-92 Voyagers… and I don’t recall any Acclaims (or Spirits) with the trunk-mounted luggage racks in later years.

    The 5.0 looks identical to a 1991 model a friend of mine had in high school.

    And… I’ll guess the red Civic is a 1992 DX. Hard to tell from the distance whether the side moulding is black, or body color.

    • 0 avatar
      r129

      Yes, I think you’re right. Based on the wheelcovers, it’s probably a 1990-92 Acclaim. If I recall correctly, the wheelcover design changed in 1993, but some of the official photos of the car still showed the previous design. I know I have a 1993 Acclaim brochure in my collection somewhere.

      In 1993-95, there was a special edition option package for both the Spirit and Acclaim. It included alloy wheels with gold accents, gold trim, and yes, a gold luggage rack. I seem to recall that the package cost close to nothing, and most of the Spirits and Acclaims at dealerships were equipped with it, at least around here.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    That red Civic looks like a late 90’s model.. say 96-98.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    It’s the iteration prior…92-96, a bit more rounded.

  • avatar
    bevo

    Regardless of the year, I wish I could find one of those Toyota trucks.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    The alloy wheels for the ’89-’92 Acclaims were the diamond spoke design. On the back of the Haynes service manual for the Spirit and Acclaim, there’s a picture of an Acclaim with those rims. It has a trunk rack, so the rack must have been available for the full model run.

    The ’93-’95 Spirit and Acclaim had different hubcaps and alloy wheels. The hubcaps were really cheap looking things for the Spirit. The alloys, as r129 said, came with gold paint in the cutouts. The Spirit alloys were different from the Acclaim’s. The Spirit alloys had sort of swoosh cutouts, while the Acclaim’s were symetrical.

    Both rims also came with grey paint in the cutouts, for alloy-equipped models that did not have the “gold” package. Why do I know this sort of useless information? When shopping for used alloys for our’90 Spirit, I lucked into a set of the grey-trimmed Acclaim alloys, which look fine on the Spirit, while the gold ones would not.

    Actually, if anyone’s REALLY into this, http://www.hubcaps.com has pictures of all the hubcaps and rims used on Spirits and Acclaims, sorted by model years. The Acclaim in the picture, whatever year it is, has the ’89-’92 hubcaps.

    Regarding the gold-colored trunk rack, I’ve never seen one. I’ve also never seen anything attached to one of these racks.

    The update for ’93 cheapened the Spirits and Acclaims. All sorts of parts were simplified. The excellent folding back seats went away. The badges etc. on the trunk lid were just stickers. The Spirit lost its amber rear turn signal lights, and got a huge fake amber plastic panel instead.

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