Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 13, 2022
Maybe not the world’s most exciting car, but definitely one of the most recognizable. John DeLorean’s DeLorean Motor Company built about 9,000 of the “DMC DeLorean” (commonly called the DeLorean DMC-12, despite what DeLorean zealots will scream at your face) in Northern Ireland, of all places, before the whole thing blew up. Model years 1981, ’82, and ’83 were covered.
It has stainless steel bodywork, gullwing doors, and a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. Power is provided by a 2.85-liter V6 produced by PRV – Peugeot/Renault/Volvo, three companies really known for their reliable engines. Output was rated at 130 horsepower, which was not enough to make this exotic two-door really move that fast. It hit 60 mph in 10.5 seconds.
The other thing about these is that none actually have any miles on them. I mean, they might, but they all mysteriously have only a few thousand miles. This one shows 5,900 miles. Which is more believable than most. They’re funky, and people will always want them. And rightfully so: it is one of the coolest cars of the ’80s. Click here for more info.
Offered by Mecum | Chicago, Illinois | October 15, 2022
Larry Schneider and Gene Davis built about 20 Ocelot race cars out of the Madison, Wisconsin, area from about 1968 through 1981. The cars were built to target the SCCA D Sports Racing (DSR) class. The car featured here is utilizes a tube-frame chassis and fiberglass bodywork.
This is the only Mk-8A built, sort of at the end of the road for new Ocelot cars. It’s powered by a 2.0-liter Ford inline-four mounted behind the driver. It’s got a Hewland four-speed gearbox and comes with a bunch of spares.
This car has been active all over the Midwest, having been last on track about a year ago. You can read more about it here.
The 924 is not the most-loved Porsche of all time. It was the entry-level replacement for the 914, a car that was co-marketed by Volkswagen. The 944 replaced the 924 in the U.S. market beginning with the 1983 model year, however, the 924 remained on sale elsewhere in the world through 1988.
There was a 924 Turbo and a sporty 924S, but the real halo car in this range is the homologation Carrera GT (and GTS). Based on the 924 Turbo, the CGT featured an increased compression ratio and an intercooler for the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four that pushed output to 210 horsepower. More modified race versions (Carrera GTR) made up to 375 horsepower.
Just 400 road-going examples of the Carrera GT were built, and they are visually differentiated from standard road cars with their fender flares and hood scoop. As of this writing, bidding is already at $54,000, enough to buy a few really nice 924s. Click here for more info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 13-14, 2021
Ferrari has had historical success with prototype racing cars (though none in a while), but their success with taking their road cars and turning them into race cars has been pretty spotty. Sure, the 550/575 had GT racing versions, and they’ve been a little more serious since the 458, but nothing really mind-blowing. Or that famous. Well, until you get back to this car.
Ferrari’s 512 BB went on sale in 1976, and the fuel-injected 512 BBi replaced it in 1981. Luigi Chinetti (the famed American Ferrari importer and founder of NART, the North American Racing Team), had been running home-grown 365 GT/4 BB-based race cars in the late 1970s. When they finally ran out of steam, Chinetti convinced Ferrari to develop a racing variant of the 512. Ferrari built four Series 1 cars in 1978. In 1980, they introduced the Series 3 512 BB LM. Sixteen examples were built, and this is number 10.
Ferrari didn’t run the cars themselves but sold them to various independent racing teams to operate. The S3 LM was powered by a 5.0-liter flat-12 making 480 horsepower. This car was the last Ferrari sold to or raced by Chinetti’s team, and its competition history includes:
1981 24 Hours of Le Mans – 23rd, DNF (with Alain Cudini, Philippe Gurdjian, and John Morton)
1982 24 Hours of Le Mans – 9th (with Cudini, Morton, and John Paul Jr.)
It was supposed to appear at Le Mans in 1983, but the team folded before that could happen. Instead, the car bounced between a series of collections and has been active in historic racing. No pre-sale estimate is yet available, but you can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | May 22, 2021
March Engineering debuted on the Formula One grid in 1970. Their best years were their early years, and they left after a points-less 1977. March reappeared in 1981, and then packed up their ball again and went home after 1982. They reappeared yet again in 1987 and raced as Leyton House Racing in 1990 and 1991 before a final season as March in 1992.
The 811 was their car for the 1981 season. It featured a 3.0-liter Ford-Cosworth DFV V8, which on this example was recently rebuilt. The competition history for this chassis, 811-05, includes:
1981 Spanish Grand Prix – 16th (with Derek Daly)
1981 French Grand Prix – 19th, DNF (with Daly)
1981 German Grand Prix – 21st, DNF (with Daly)
1981 Austrian Grand Prix – 11th (with Daly)
1981 Dutch Grand Prix – 20th, DNF (with Daly)
1981 Italian Grand Prix – 12th, DNF (with Daly)
1981 Canadian Grand Prix – 8th (with Daly)
It was later campaigned in the 1982 British Formula One championship and in the final few races of the 1982 Can-Am season, during which it was modified to look more like a sports car. It was restored to its 1981 F1 glory in 1988 and has been active on the historic circuit. It is expected to bring between $300,000-$400,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
The Lancia Beta was a front-engine, front-wheel-drive coupe introduced in 1972. Lancia really switched things up in 1974 with the Beta Montecarlo, a rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive coupe or targa. It shared very little with other Betas, and by 1980 they dropped the “Beta” part of the name, and it was thereafter known as just the Montecarlo. The targa model was sold as the Scorpion in the U.S. in 1976 and 1977.
The Montecarlo Turbo was a racing variant built to compete in the FIA’s Group 5 class. This silhouette race car shared the road car’s center body section and engine block, and that’s about it. Power is from an Abarth-sourced turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four that was good for 460 horsepower.
The specific competition history for this chassis is not clear, but the program was a success overall, leading Lancia to continue on with the LC1 and LC2 prototype racers. You can read more about this car here.
Offered by BH Auction | Tokyo, Japan | January 12, 2020
Back when you were allowed to be innovative when designing racing cars, Formula One went through an era where ground effects were all the rage. It started in the late 1960s and peaked in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Things were getting pretty wild, and eventually, F1 cracked down, banning moveable aerodynamic devices.
Colin Chapman’s Lotus first started the wave, and they sort of ended it with this car, which was designed for the 1981 season. It features a twin-chassis layout that allows the standard chassis to hunker down at speed, while the second chassis works on mechanical grip. The other F1 teams were not amused and protested this car at every event. It practiced at the first two events, and later at the British Grand Prix (in 88B form), but it never raced.
Finished in John Player livery, the cars were used by drivers Nigel Mansell and Elio de Angelis in practice. Only two examples were built, and they’re powered by Ford-Cosworth 3.0-liter V8s. It is eligible for pretty much any historic F1 event and is being offered from a private Japanese collection. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by H&H Classics | Buxton, U.K. | November 28, 2018
Photo – H&H Classics
The M Series was a line of cars produced by TVR in the 1970s, specifically between 1972 and 1979. Models included the 1600M, 3000S, and this, the Taimar. But this car is listed as a 1981, you say. Yes, we’ll get to that.
The Taimar was a hatchback powered by a 3.0-liter V6 that made 142 horsepower. It was the second-to-last M Series car to be introduced, going on sale in late 1976. Only 395 examples were built through 1979.
This car is listed as a 1981 because it was the final Taimar registered in the U.K. – and likely wasn’t first registered until 1981. At any rate, it’s described as being in good condition and should sell for between $9,000-$12,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Osenat | Fontainebleau, France | October 20, 2018
Photo – Osenat
The Bagheera was a 2-door sports car produced by Matra (technically Matra-Simca, then Talbot-Matra once Chrysler Europe sold out to PSA). The successor to that car was this, the Murena, which was technically marketed as the Talbot-Matra Murena but is often referred to simply as the Matra Murena. It was available from 1980-1983.
Different specifications were available, and this example is a base trim car with a 1.6-liter straight-four capable of 88 horsepower. Top speed was 113 mph, so consider it more of a hot hatch than a die-hard sports car.
It’s an interesting little car from a dying manufacturer. There was no successor to the Murena, as it was Matra’s final original road car. Only 5,640 of the 10,680 units produced had the 1.6-liter engine. This is a cheap way to buy an unusual classic sports car and get into the car collector world. It should bring between $9,000-$11,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Silverstone, England | July 29-30, 2017
Photo – Silverstone Auctions
The Renault 5 was a hatchback built by the French company in two different series, the first lasting from 1972 through 1985 (though the early cars don’t resemble this one at all). A second generation was built between 1984 and 1996. There was nothing particularly sporty about the 5 – some used engines as small as 782cc.
Rallying was the place to be seen in 1980s Europe, and Renault wanted a part of the action. They developed the 5 Turbo as a rally car. It was essentially nothing like the front-engined, front-wheel drive 5 hatchback, as these are mid-engined, rear-wheel drive cars. The engine is a 1.4-liter turbocharged straight-four that made 158 horsepower. It was a serious hot hatch – one of the first such factory specials.
In order to take it rallying, Renault built some road-going models as well. This is one of 3,576 of the original 5 Turbos. This car was delivered new to Switzerland and sports a brilliant two-tone blue paint scheme (which is a respray) and awesome 1980s-style “Turbo” graphics. This 40,000 mile example should bring between $92,225-$105,400. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.