Mecum Houston 2024 – 8 Cars from the 80s

80s Cars at Mecum Houston 2024

After the lull that followed Mecum‘s massive Kissimmee auction – aside from their Vegas Motorcycle sale and Glendale auction that brought in more than $54 million in sales, so calling that a lull might be a bit misleading – the 2024 auction calendar is getting back underway in Houston starting April 4. We previously looked at some exciting cars set to be sold in Houston by Mecum, but we’re going to take a look at 8 particular cars from the 1980s as the auction kicks off.

The 1980 Datsun 280ZX 10th Anniversary Edition was a special release to celebrate a decade of the Z-car series, which began with the Datsun 240Z. This limited edition was distinctive for its unique and eye-catching color combinations. 2,500 units were produced in gold and black, and 500 in red and black. Each vehicle was numbered and featured a commemorative dash plaque.

These cars were well-equipped, boasting features such as a tinted glass T-top roof, leather seating, and a high-fidelity stereo system. The 10th Anniversary Edition also included luxury touches like automatic climate control and power windows, which were a nod to the upscale shift in the Z-car’s market positioning.

These days the 280ZX 10th Anniversary Edition are quite desirable in the collector car market. Mecum sold one for $231,000 in Monterey last year, definitely a record price for the car. Although the one being offered at their Houston 2024 sale has seen more use than the one from Monterey, this should still see a strong result. We’d call this well-bought if it comes in under $30,000.

This 1981 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 was built in the final year of production for the second-generation Camaro. It featured a distinctive, aggressive body with an aerodynamic front and rear spoiler, and came with a variety of V8 engine options, including a 5.7-liter V8 in some models.

The ’81 Z28 was also equipped with a four-speed manual or a three-speed automatic transmission. This model year is particularly notable for its improved handling and suspension, as well as for offering a more comfortable and refined interior compared to earlier years.

While later model-year second-generation Camaros aren’t huge money cars, the one being offered by Mecum at their Houston 2024 auction is a bit of an outlier. It shows just 11,780 miles since new and was kept by its second owner for 40 years. It’s a matching-numbers car and is equipped with power brakes, power steering, and air conditioning. It includes original build sheets and the original owner’s manual.

These haven’t been shooting up in value recently, rather they’ve been holding steady but with a car this original with such low mileage a price approaching $40,000 doesn’t seem out of line.

This is a very clean, frame-off restoration of the classic Toyota FJ-series Land Cruiser. We’ve had the pleasure of driving an equally well-restored example in the past and these are massively fun trucks.

The blue and white exterior works really well on this car and the manual transmission makes it a blast to drive both on and off-road. That off-roading is aided by the two-speed transfer case.

The FJ-43 featured a somewhat longer wheelbase than the standard FJ-40 making for a more spacious interior, as easily seen when looking at the bench seat in the back of one of these.

These have been strong at auction in the past few years so it wouldn’t surprise us to see this bring a final price approaching $50,000.

The 1982 Datsun 280ZX Turbo 2+2 Coupe represents the peak of Japanese automotive engineering from its day. It featured a robust 2.8L inline six-cylinder engine, which, when turbocharged, produced 180 horsepower and 202 ft-lbs of torque. This engine was paired with either a 5-speed manual or a 3-speed automatic transmission, catering to different driving preferences, though in the case of the one being offered at Mecum Houston 2024 it’s sporting an automatic.

This example is equipped with Turbo Edition alloy wheels and air conditioning, plus power windows and four-wheel power disc brakes. The T-Tops really complete the look for this extremely collectible Datsun. In the past year we’ve seen prices for extremely high quality cars jump up significantly and some of that trend has carried down to the level of car that Mecum is offering. Anything around $20,000 should be considered well-sold.

Being offered from the Plendl Brothers Bowtie Classics collection, this 1984 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 is in remarkable condition. It’s covered just 277 since it left the factory, making this a new car in all but name.

A copy of the build sheet is included in the sale and it shows the car left the factory exactly as it stands today. Powered by a 5.0L V8 that’s paired with a four-speed automatic transmission, while not peak muscle car as back in the late 1960s, this was as good as it got for Camaros in 1984.

This generation of Camaro hasn’t been a major player in the collector car market so it’s difficult to find a true comp for this, considering the originality, quality, and extremely low mileage. That said, we wouldn’t be shocked to see this approach $30,000 including fees.

1987 was the final year of the Buick Grand National and collectors have absolutely picked up on that. Powered by the 3.8L turbocharged V6 that produces 245 horsepower, the Grand National could run from 0 to 60 mph in a bit over 6 seconds – a pretty decent number for a brand new car today.

The example set to be offered by Mecum at their Houston 2024 auction is equipped with factory air conditioning, though it’s had some new A/C components installed. It also features a new exhaust, radiator, and wheels along with an upgraded fuel pump. It features power steering and power brakes and, most of all it features a sunroof – an extremely rare option on this model.

It’s not a concours car, due to the upgrades, but this should have no problem impressing a local or even regional car show, not to mention it should be a ton of fun on the road. The seller ought to be able to walk away happy with a final price in the neighborhood of $70,000.

This 1987 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z Coupe is a very rare car considering its low mileage and very clean condition. It’s covered just 923 miles new and includes a window sticker, its owner’s manual, records of GM financing, and tons of other documentation that the next owner will certainly love to have.

The IROC-Z package was available on the Z28 Camaro and featured upgraded styling, decals, and an improved suspension. It also upgraded the engine from the base 5.0L to the L69 5.7L V8 that produced 225 horsepower. Chevrolet did their best to make this car live up to the IROC name and were fairly successful with a reported top speed approaching 130 mph and 0 to 60 time a bit north of 6 seconds.

These have held fairly steady in the market the past couple of years, but it’s rare to see one in this condition with this little usage up for sale. The seller should be happy if bidding crosses the $40,000 line.

The 1987 Ford Mustang ASC McLaren Convertible is the product of a collaboration between Ford and American Speciality Cars – ASC – along with McLaren. The beginnings of the project go back to 1984 when Ford worked with ASC to create a small run of the Mercury Capri.

Around 1,800 Ford Mustangs were converted to ASC McLaren versions from 1987 to 1990 and received performance improvements as well as enhanced aesthetics. The convertibles featured a more sharply raked windshield and a two-seater configuration due to the removal of the back seat.

These cars were powered by a 5.0L Ford High Output V8 that generated around 225 horsepower. Although the engine was similar to the one equipped in the Mustang GT, the ASC McLaren cars were priced significantly higher.

The one being offered by Mecum at their 2024 Houston auction is one of only 22 known to have been finished in red with a red interior and is equipped with an automatic transmission.

We aren’t expecting this to go through the roof as these haven’t quite caught on in the collector community just yet, but that may mean this is the time to buy. It’s not a low mileage example so it shouldn’t bring something in the range of $20,000 as we’ve seen for cars with mileage in the four-digit range. At some point, with that many miles and a car from 1987, do we need to wonder if we’re just talking about a used car?