87 Coupe GT

Fisher, Scott Scott_Fisher at intuit.com
Mon Jan 14 14:38:41 EST 2002

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Steve Kramer <skramer at mac.com> asks:

> I know a place where they have an '87 gt for $1900.  is this
> a good car for the money

Almost certainly, though the car's condition will tell you more.  Look for
rust, evidence of crash damage, and the like.

My '83 CGT is unquestionably the best automotive value I've ever owned.  I
paid a bit less than that in 1998 when I was still recovering financially
from working for some failed Internet startups (ahead of the curve!), and
haven't been able to bring myself to part with it even after I started
getting regular paychecks again.  I continue to use the CGT for my monthly
trips from Oregon to California -- and that isn't Ashland to Yreka, it's
Portland to San Francisco: over 650 miles each way.  It's comfortable,
solid, handles incredibly well even with worn shocks (gotta get those
replaced soon!), and returns very good gas mileage, over 25 mpg on last
week's trip (and I spent most of the trip between 70 and 75 mph).  I used
about half a quart of oil on the 1400-1500 mile trip.

Count on spending a couple hundred dollars after you get it for some basic
"pre-emptive" maintenance -- new spark plugs, all new fluids and filters,
possibly some new hoses and belts.  Not only will this take care of anything
that might be likely to go out in the immediate future, it will also give
you a good idea of the condition of the rest of the car.

> and does it share anything from my
> '89 200 turbo.

Mainly the logo, and the 5-cylinder bore spacing.  I don't know what the
exhaust note of your 200t is like, but I *love* the sound of my CGT -- the
I-5 really doesn't sound like anything else.  Considering it also appears to
be one of the world's most durable engines, the CGT has become a personal
favorite of mine, and of many people who own them.

The on-paper performance of the CGT is moderate, and you can't easily boost
performance -- no chipping or wastegate spring replacement as you can do
with the turbos.  But the engine's performance is very German: not designed
for peeling out from a stop sign, but if you need to go from 70 to 90 mph
without strain or difficulty such as when passing slower traffic, the engine
is more than happy to do that, all day if need be.

Something else: the CGT is the best rain car we own, including my wife's '93
100CS quattro, and we live in Portland, Oregon, so having a good rain car is
a necessity of life.  Yes, quattro is wonderful stuff, but don't count the
CGT out in bad-weather handling.  (Having the rear wiper and sensible
defrosters -- not the sometimes maddening automatic climate control in my
wife's '93 -- gives it a real advantage in being able to see out of the car,
always a critical element in my opinion.)

> it has 100,000 miles

Or it did before the odometer broke.  I always find it very interesting that
the odometers are arguably the weakest part of these cars...

The "worst" thing about a CGT is that you'll probably have it forever at
this point, as the prices are so low that it's sort of pointless to think
about selling it; I figure I could probably sell mine for about the cost of
a really cool set of wheels and tires for one of my other cars, and it's
just not worth getting rid of such a good car for so little.  Fortunately,
Oregon registration is cheap, and the car is old enough that the incremental
insurance cost is marginal (well, for a house hold that has four cars and
two drivers, neither of whom commutes), so it's been well worth keeping it.
And then of course, the inevitable is growing nearer for me: my oldest
daughter is 14, and in another year she can legally start learning to drive.
Let's see, do I want her to use the '74 Alfa Romeo Spider, the '61 Porsche
356B coupe, or the '83 Audi?

Reminds me of the old line from Calvin and Hobbes: "Hey, Dad, remember our


--Scott Fisher
  Tualatin, Oregon


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