Escort RS Turbo

1988 Ford Escort RS Turbo Series 2

Offered by Historics Auctioneers | Ascot Racecourse, U.K. | December 12, 2020

Photo – Historics Auctioneers

In America, there is nothing remotely sexy about the name “Ford Escort.” There are no glorious images of the car on African rallies. No clips of RS-branded hatchbacks racing through the streets. We just got the crappy sedans and hatchbacks.

Not so in the U.K., where cool Escorts appeared as early as the 1960s. The fourth-generation Escort went on sale in 1986 and was produced through 1992. The RS Turbo actually debuted during the previous generation (thus why this is called a Series 2) and continued in production for the duration of the fourth-generation model run.

It is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four rated at 132 horsepower. It was fuel injected, intercooled, and capable of 125 mph and 60 in 8.3 seconds. Not super quick today, but fun and relatively cheap in 1988. This one has 36,000 miles and looks pretty good in black with a sly rear spoiler and driving lights up front. It is expected to sell for between $18,000-$24,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

EuroBrun ER188

1988 EuroBrun-Cosworth ER188

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Essen, Germany | TBD…

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

EuroBrun was a short-lived Formula One team that competed between 1988 and 1990. The team was formed by the joining of powers of Giampaolo Pavanello’s Euroracing team (that operated the factory Alfa Romeo F1 team in the early 1980s) and Walter Brun’s Brun Motorsport.

Based in Milan, the team used Cosworth engines in 1988 before switching to a Judd powerplant. This car retains its 3.5-liter Cosworth DFZ V8. It was driven by Stefano Modena during the 1988 season, but the specific history for this chassis is not provided.

Modena finished 11th at the 1988 Hungarian Grand Prix, the team’s biggest highlight. They did not pre-qualify for any races in 1989 and made only two starts in 1990 before it was all over. This orange-and-green F1 car (with an engine!) is now being offered at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $99,952.

Italdesign Aztec

1988 Italdesign Aztec

Offered Online by Bring a Trailer

Photo – Bring a Trailer

The Aztec was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro at Italdesign as a celebration of the company’s 20th anniversary. It was shown as a prototype at the 1988 Turin Motor Show. Then the company decided to actually build road-going examples. They wanted to make 50 of them, but probably only 18 were actually completed.

It’s an almost-mythical car. They never come up for sale (at least publicly) and this is the first one to hit the auction block in more than a decade (though a quick search will show you zero auction results for the model at all). This one was once in the Shanghai Auto Museum, which seems like a place cars don’t escape from. But it was brought stateside by the Blackhawk Collection (who has a magical way to get some other classics out of China).

The Aztec is powered by a turbocharged 2.2-liter Audi inline-five that made 250 horsepower (if the stickers on the car are to be believed). That’s not exactly supercar territory, power-wise. But, those looks. That’s why this qualifies as a supercar. It looks like it drove off of a Star Wars set. It has a dual-canopy cockpit with gullwing and side-hinged doors. It’s straight out of bizarro land.

And it. Is. Amazing. This is a car I’ve wanted to see come to market for a long time (since I started this site almost a decade ago). And it’s the first one to hit the open market. What’s it worth? That’s the fun part. No one knows… there isn’t a big list of past sales to give us a clue. But if it isn’t a big money car, it deserves to be. Chances are you won’t see another one change hands for quite a while (unless the selling price here knocks it out of the park… then we’ll see a few of them).

Think about all of the wild stuff that came out of the 90s supercar madness. This is like the genesis of that. It’s a bummer this wasn’t a bigger success, then maybe they would’ve put the Nazca C2 into production as well. That could’ve led to even more fun in the 90s (Alfa Romeo Scighera anyone?).

The Aztec is among the wildest designs ever put into production, and it is the precursor to all of the low-run, high-end stuff we are awash in today. Check out more about this car here. But hurry, the auction ends Monday.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $165,000.

Venturi Coupe 200

1988 Venturi Coupe 200

Offered by Historics at Brooklands | May 20, 2017

Photo – Historics at Brooklands

Venturi cars are so cool! I hope you like them, because there were quite a different number of models in the early days and I plan to feature each one of them as they come up for sale around Europe. These cars went on sale in 1987 and they were originally called the MVS Venturi before being renamed the Venturi Coupe.

The auction catalog lists this one as an MVS Venturi but I can’t find anywhere that lists the year the name switched over. It’s powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter V-6 making 200 horsepower. The car was luxurious and sporty for its day.

The Coupe 200 was replaced after the 1990 model year. Only 194 were built – 104 of those were from 1988 alone. This was the most common of all Venturi automobiles, so that should say something about their rarity. This nearly 24,000 mile car should bring between $15,500-$19,500. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Historics’ May catalog.

Update: Sold $20,376.

Lamborghini Jalpa

1988 Lamborghini Jalpa

Offered by Auctions America | Ft. Lauderdale, Florida | April 1, 2017

Photo – Auctions America

Lamborghini went bankrupt in 1978 and was acquired by the Mimran brothers in 1980. They updated the Countach, killed off the Urraco and the Silhouette, and introduced the Jalpa (and later the LM002) before selling the brand to Chrysler in 1988.

The Jalpa was based on the earlier Silhouette and was supposed to be Lambo’s “entry-level” model. It’s powered by a 3.5-liter V-8 making 255 horsepower. It was easier to drive than the full-on exotic Countach and the styling, which is by Bertone, is much more restrained. The V-8 was good for a six second sprint to 60 and top speed was 145 mph. All Jalpas were Targas.

This model was introduced in 1981 and 410 were produced before Chrysler killed it off in 1988. They’re around, but they aren’t plentiful – and they’re very 1980s (in a good way). This one should bring between $85,000-$100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Porsche’s First Supercar

1988 Porsche 959 Komfort

Offered by RM Auctions | Milan, Italy | November 25-27, 2016

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Porsche has been building sports cars since the tail end of the 1940s. In there, they’ve sprinkled in a variety of race cars and even an off-roader. But it wasn’t until the mid-1980s that they decided they’d get into the supercar game, which in fairness to Porsche, was really just beginning to kick off in earnest.

The 959 went on sale for the 1986 model year and was sold through 1988 (though a handful were built in 1992 and 1993 as well). It was a technological wonder upon it’s introduction. Conceived to help Porsche crush it in Group B rallying, the 959 has a traditional-for-Porsche rear-engined layout but all four wheels are powered via a ground-breaking torque-distributing 4WD system. The engine is a 2.8-liter twin-turbo flat-6 making a serious 450 horsepower.

Sixty mph was achieved in less than four seconds (remember, this was the 1980s) and the top end was 195 mph. The body was made of a complex aluminium and Kevlar mix to keep weight at a trim 3,200 pounds. This car is being offered at a huge 850-lot single-collection liquidation sale and it is one of the higher-mileage 959s you can probably find, having covered nearly 30,000 km in its life. But hey, at least someone was using it. Only 329 959s of this type were built and you can find more about it here. Click here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,078,560.

Birchall McCoy

1988 Birchall McCoy

Offered by H&H Classics | Donington Park, U.K. | February 24, 2016

Photo - H&H Classics

Photo – H&H Classics

Well, have you seen one of these? The Birchall McCoy was built by Birchall Automotive Ltd. They specialized in both Aston Martin restoration and service as well as kit cars – hand in hand, right? The BMC Mini was a ripe kit car platform – there were hundreds of kit cars based around the original Mini.

This car is actually related to the Clan Crusader as it was styled by the same person. But while the Crusader was based on the rear-engined Hillman Imp, the McCoy was based on the front-engined Mini. That engine is a 1.1-liter straight-four.

Birchall got out of the car business in 1990 and sold the design and company to someone else who renamed it. In all (kit and turn-key form), about 100 McCoy coupes were built. This is a one-owner car with about 32,000 miles on it. If you want something unusual, look no further. And for $2,600-$3,100 why not? Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $2,222.

Jaguar XJR-9

1988 Jaguar XJR-9

Offered by RM Auctions | Amelia Island, Florida | March 14, 2015

Photo - RM Auctions

Photo – RM Auctions

We’ve featured other members of Jaguar’s legendary XJR race car line in previous posts. Here is yet another. It’s an XJR-9, the fifth in the line of awesome race cars that Jag produced in the late 1980s through the early 1990s. The XJR-9 was the first of the series that was intended for both the World Sportscar Championship (Group C) as well as IMSA GTP.

This car is powered by a 6.0-liter V-12 making an estimated 670 horsepower. This particular chassis is a successful one with its competition history including:

  • 1988 24 Hours of Daytona – 26th (with Jan Lammers, Danny Sullivan, and Davy Jones)
  • 1988 12 Hours of Sebring – 7th (with Lammers, Sullivan, Jones, and John Neilson)
  • 1989 24 Hours of Daytona – 2nd (with Lammers, Neilson, Price Cobb, and Andy Wallace)
  • 1989 12 Hours of Sebring – 2nd (with Neilson and Cobb)
  • 1990 24 Hours of Daytona – 1st (with Jones, Lammers, and Wallace)
  • 1990 12 Hours of Sebring – 3rd (with Jones, Lammers, and Wallace)

So there you have it – this is the winner of the 1990 24 Hours of Daytona. It was a successful Tom Walkinshaw Racing team car for its entire racing life. It remained in the TWR museum until 2003 and was restored in 2006. The Castrol livery is a really good racing livery. Read more here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $2,145,000.

Callaway Sledgehammer

1988 Chevrolet Corvette Callaway Sledgehammer

Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 24, 2013

1988 Chevrolet Corvette Callaway Sledgehammer

Super cars aren’t always high-end exotics. In the late 1980s, super cars as we know them began springing up rather rapidly. The Porsche 959, the Ferrari F40 – and the Lamborghini Diablo and Jaguar XJ220 (just to name a few) were right around the corner. What do all of those cars have in common? They are slower than this Corvette.

Reeves Callaway drove a Twin Turbo Corvette to 231 mph. He wanted to take it to 250. So he hired Paul Deutschman to design a stable, aerodynamic body kit for the C4 Corvette. Then they inserted a handbuilt Callaway 5.7-liter V-8 and strapped two turbochargers on for a total of 898 horsepower.

Legendary Corvetter John Lingenfelter drove the car to a record 254 mph. The car was entirely street legal and still had power windows, locks and A/C (but it did have a roll cage added). It remained the fastest street-legal car until 1999. Callaway wanted a world-beater – so he built it.

This remains the only Sledgehammer Corvette ever built and it is a very famous car. It was the fastest Corvette built and it was constructed in 1988. This should bring an interesting amount of money. You can read more here and check out more from Mecum here.

Update: Not Sold, High bid of $600,000.

Corvette Challenge

1988 Chevrolet Corvette Challenge

Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 25, 2014

1988 Chevrolet Corvette Challenge

The Corvette Challenge was a one-make racing series that lasted two seasons – 1988 and 1989. The SCCA was the sanctioning body and some major racing stars turned out to compete, including Boris Said, Tommy Kendall, Andy Pilgrim, and Jimmy Vasser.

The cars cost $33,043 with an additional $15,000 payable to Protofab Engineering for race prepping. The cars were street-legal and all spec’d the same (Z51 performance handling package, roll cage, fire suppression system, etc.). The engine was a stock 250 horsepower 5.7-liter V-8.

In total, 56 Challenge cars were built for 1988 and only 46 of them ever started a race. This one was the series champion, having been driven by Stuart Hayner. It won a single race (Mosport) and had a total of four podium finishes. Consistency wins championships.

The car has covered what Mecum is calling “3,892 Sunday Driven” miles – aka race distance. These are rare cars and most Corvette people know what they are when they see them. They’re interesting and come from a time when Corvette motorsport presence was kind of thin. It would be an interesting addition to any collection. Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum.

Update: Did not sell, high bid of $8,500.