Have a rare or desirable car? Share it. | Column

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Dec 19, 2022 | Radwood, Column, The Amelia | Posted in Columns | From the May 2022 issue | Never miss an article

The ’80s were fun. I remember them fondly. We had the best cars, the best music, the best times. We beat the Russians both on and off the ice.

Who cares if we didn’t have the internet or iPhones? We had three networks plus MTV. And really, we were out exploring all of creation on our BMX bikes. 

Tim and Margie launched this magazine during that decade, with the first issue carrying a date of November/December 1984. Performance had returned, with the malaise era finally giving rise to 5.0 Mustangs, turbo Buicks and hot hatches. 

A Rabbit GTI might have made only 90 horsepower, but it could still deliver world-class performance. And for those who wanted more, the burgeoning performance scene offered Callaway turbos, sticky Yokohamas and sport-tuned Konis. 

1984 also gave us a wisecracking Detroit detective let loose in Beverly Hills, three Ghostbusters set to save New York City, and a cyborg assassin who didn’t feel pity or remorse or fear. Then add in legendary releases from the likes of Prince, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and Iron Maiden.

Into that year, I would return.

Time machine?

No, Radwood. 

After watching from the sidelines, I finally did my first Radwood earlier this year. When show officials added one for The Amelia weekend–walking distance from the famed Florida showfield–I announced my plans: in. 

For more than 25 years, The Amelia has been the place to see some of the world’s most storied cars. If it’s there, it has a tale to tell, whether it’s a Le Mans-winning Ferrari, a factory prototype or a custom one-off from the world’s most legendary builders. Instead of just one Ferrari 250 GTO–now worth tens of millions–how about a whole class of them? We’re talking about sharing the world’s most valuable cars with an eager public–all with no ropes, no special connection required. 

Which car would I bring to Radwood? That was easy: our 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera wearing era-appropriate Yokohama A008 tires. To complete the vibe, it also sported some period-correct SCCA and IMSA GT stickers–thank you, Decal Shop, for the hookup.

On the dash sat a recent eBay score, a mint Cobra radar detector picked up for the princely sum of $15.50. The shipping cost nearly as much, but the sting faded the moment I saw the copyright date on the owner’s manual: 1984.

Now, to literally top it all off: a BMX bike from the era, a reissued Skyway frame I had built up several years ago to resemble a skate park bike from, coincidentally, 1984. Craigslist and an open-box special provided the necessary Thule hardware to mount the bike to the Porsche’s gutters. 

[Rad car, rad bike, Radwood | Project Porsche 911 Carrera]

The Thursday evening before shoving off for Amelia Island, I felt like it all needed one more detail: the proper license plates. So I dug through the stack in my garage and, miraculously, came across a pair of New York plates from the first half of the ’80s. I’d be carrying a piece of home with me. 

But what to wear? Not all of us were into neon, popped collars and Members Only jackets. I’d be the day’s minor note. Agent Orange provided our skate punk soundtrack, so I wore one of their caps along with a T-shirt representing Curb Dogs, the San Francisco BMX freestyle team that blew up the scene during the summer of ’84. On my feet were my usual Vans high-tops. 

At 4:45 the morning of the event, I headed north for Amelia Island. By 7:30 a.m., show officials had me parked on the field, the rig was clean, and I could (finally) relax and welcome guests.

I saw a lot of people that day–GRM forum regulars, fellow BMXers and even John Oates, a guy who contributed much to the ’80s soundtrack. (Hall & Oates’ 1984 release “Big Bam Boom” spent an astonishing 51 weeks on the Billboard 200.)

Since the event–and the announcement that Hagerty had purchased Radwood–I’ve heard more than a few people lament that they’ll never get to enjoy the cars of the ’80s. It’s all going mainstream, they say, with prices to follow suit. Cars will be locked away. 

Yes, true, values for perfect examples of significant cars have gone up. Credit supply, demand and a sad lack of time machines. Hopefully, however, those cars are going to owners willing to share with the rest of the class. I could have skipped Radwood and left my car, bike and extras back home, but what’s the fun in that?

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Dwight New Reader
4/29/22 8:18 a.m.

I own a 1982 Porsche.

I have   owned for almost 20 years. I have had problems getting it back on the road. Finally, it runs well. I have tried to sell it over and over. As I have several other collector cars. The last offer was for $8K .

A  guy came with his 16 year old son. Looked the car over and left. Soon sent me a text and offered $1200.00!  And since I have well over $6K in the car, I turned down.  

Why is this?

Simple. It is a despised car. It is  924 turbo.  FRONT ENGINE , REAR TRANSAXLE AND IS WATER COOLED.  SOME WILL SAY, IT'S NOT A REAL PORSCHE. It was designed for VW. Yet it has the same brakes and suspension as a 911! It has 150 HP. which was good  for a 2 litre engine in 1982. 

So what to do?  

hybridmomentspass HalfDork
4/29/22 9:08 a.m.

I think my car is desirable - 91 turbo MR2

Get lots of comments and such about it regularly and it looks rough (needs paint). 

I love that thing

adam525i GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/29/22 10:48 a.m.

In reply to Dwight :

I think your car is cool. I'd hold onto it and hopefully enjoy it, pretty much every other Porsche has gone up like crazy so maybe your 924 Turbo is next. I'm sure there are a decent amount of people out there that unloaded an old Porsche and now look at what they are worth and wish they had held on. 

ian sane
ian sane GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/29/22 10:49 a.m.

Rare? 1500ish made that year.

Desirable? Eh. Kind of?

My '91 trans am convertible is in that weird spot where it's really an 80s relic but had that GM "refresh" to bring it's style into the 90s. Don't get your mullet caught in your fanny pack kind of thing. But I've had it for just under 20 years so I'm definitely sticking with it.

Captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/29/22 11:33 a.m.

Rare? Not at all when new

Desirable? To about a few dozen crazies in the lower 48. 

Share with class? Who wants to take an autocross fun run in a 93 Escort GT, think of it as a 2 door protege LX of the same vintage with a much cooler grill and hatchback sensibilities. 

Tom1200 UltraDork
4/29/22 11:43 a.m.

Mine is more of a rarely seen model (Datsun 1200); while it is a 70s car we bought it in 1984. We were broke 20 soemthings and the car could be had for $270.

Did a few road trips to things like Oingo Boingo's New Years Eve show in Long Beach.

This grainy pic is from back in the day.

4/29/22 11:47 a.m.

First post --

I own a 1995 Nissan Skyline GTR VSpec, a 1991 Toyota MR2 with a 3VZFE V6 swap, and a 1982 Saab 900s.

None of these were particularly rare when new, but would be considered as such from my neck of the woods today. I would say each is desirable to the groups of people to which they appeal.

Tom1200 UltraDork
4/29/22 11:54 a.m.

We also have a Radwood Era race car, a 1987 Novakar F500.

Formula 500 started in the early 80s as F440 using snowmobile engines and went to 500cc engines in the early to mid 90s.

This is the car number 3 of the original 6 that Ford engineer Jay Novak built.  Anything that's the size of a golf cart and goes 140 mph has to be rad.

Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/29/22 11:57 a.m.

Not exactly what you are looking for, but the only car I have that is desirable is probably the Samurai. It draws a lot of comments and thumbs-ups. 


BA5 GRM+ Memberand Reader
4/29/22 11:59 a.m.

1999 Honda Prelude Type SH.  Maybe not too unusual, but the Type SH version is relatively rare.  And people seem to like it.

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