The ad for today’s Nice Price or No Dice Plymouth claims that it has to be the “nicest on the planet.” Let’s see if it’s also the nicest value on the globe.
The vote on yesterday’s 1986 Toyota Van was a nail-biter throughout most of the day. Opinion on the van’s $6,500 asking price kept vacillating between a skin-of-its-teeth win and an equally narrow loss. In the end, it was the skinny teeth that ruled the day, giving the Toyota a 52 percent Nice Price win.
I think it’s safe to say that, to a certain extent, the ’80s represent the onset of today’s modern era. After all, that was the decade that saw the rise of the personal computer and the mobile phone, as well as the debut of both the McRib sandwich and Hammer pants. What a time to be alive.
The ’80s also saw an auto industry fully on the rebound. The ’70s had proven cruel to car lovers what with gas price spikes and the demands of emissions reductions cutting the metaphorical nuts off of most engines. By the ’80s, the industry had gotten its act together and figured out how to make cars both clean and compelling. That, of course, meant they could be fun again too.
One fun car from the ’80s was the Plymouth Sapporo, which was really a Mitsubishi but was sold in nearly identical form under both Dodge and Plymouth brands since, at the time, Mitsubishi wasn’t selling their own wares here in the U.S.
First introduced in 1976, the Sapporo took its name from the Japanese city on the island of Hokkaido, famous for being nestled amidst snow-capped peaks and for producing some dang-tasty beer. Mitsubishi built the two-door personal coupe on its Galant (Colt in the U.S.) platform and powered it with a series of small to medium-sized four cylinder engines.
Despite being sold through two separate brands and lasting through two generations, the Sapporo never made it as big in the U.S. as did the Toyota Celica or Ford Mustang. Sales stopped in 1983 with the debut of Diamond-Star Motors, a Chrysler/Mitsubishi joint venture which finally saw Mitsubishi selling its products in the U.S. under its own name. The Sapporo would live on, after a fashion, as the platform served as the basis for the later and much better remembered Starion.
This 1983 Plymouth Sapporo comes from that final year of production. Or maybe it comes from a museum. It’s hard to tell because its condition and remarkably low 13,504 odometer reading certainly don’t speak of years of normal use and abuse.
It’s hard to fathom why people hold on to certain things. The Sapporo is really not a car that you would ever imagine would be wildly collectable in the future, and yet, here we are.
The car presents in nearly as-new condition, with shiny metallic bronze paint and a cloth and vinyl interior that is jaw-dropping in its utter ’80s-ness. The coupe’s styling is not particularly remarkable although it’s eerily reminiscent of that of the same-era Mustang. Everything, from the glass to the badging looks to be in, dare I say it, perfect condition.
Two sets of wheels and tires come with the car — the original steel wheels and covers combo and a nice set of gold basket alloys. Motivation is by way of a 100 horsepower 2.6 liter SOHC four, and that’s matched with a five-speed manual transmission. The car comes with working A/C and power assist for both steering and brakes. The seller claims the car to have had a single family owner its whole existence and a recent service to ensure it keeps on ticking. Per the ad, the title is as clean as the car.
Finding a Sapporo in this nice of shape is somewhat baffling. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just surprising. Should anyone be interested in living the ’80s lifestyle this certainly is a unique opportunity to do so. At $21,900, it’s also a fairly pricey opportunity. The fact is, however, you are unlikely to find many cars of this era in this nice of shape without having to, say, sneak into the Petersen Museum and break one out of the basement. Reflecting on that idea, I’m pretty sure the Petersen doesn’t even have one of these. Maybe the museum should buy it?
Failing that avenue, we now need to decide if this time capsule is worth its asking. What do you think, should anyone plunk down $21,900 for this truly unique and old —but not in anyway really old — Plymouth? Or, is that way too much for a ticket down memory lane for a car that most have long forgotten?
H/T to Stephen Rivers for the hookup!
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