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      Car History: Car History Year 1987
    Posted on Monday, September 27 @ 13:33:54 UTC by Cars
      Cars In March it was revealed that Chrysler were definitely going to buy American Motors Corporation. The news broke at about the same time that Renault launched their new Medallion model. The arrival of an unremarkable imported compact car was understandably overshadowed by the Chrysler takeover and the Renault quietly disappeared without trace. The stockmarket was not impressed by the deal either and, despite Lee lacocca's assurances that the merger would strengthen both companies, some observers reckoned he was making a huge mistake. The total purchase price worked out at $1.1 billion but, as lacocca explained, the assets acquired - the high-margin Jeep brand, an AMC dealership network of 1,400 showrooms and the modern Bramalea assembly plant that was gearing up to build the all-new Renault Premier intermediate model - represented excellent value for money.

    Another asset gained by Chrysler was the new 4.0-liter in-line six cylinder engine that had just been introduced by Jeep. Developed from the old AMC six cylinder, the 173 horsepower 4.0-liter was a real winner and soon became the favorite choice of Jeep buyers. It has remained so ever since. In the fall of '87, AMC was renamed as the Jeep/Eagle Division of Chrysler Corporation and all the cars that had previously sold under the AMC or Renault name were rebadged as Eagles. The final chapter on the last of the independent auto manufacturers came to a close on December 14 when production of the Eagle 4x4 station wagon (the last of the true AMC models) ended. Gasoline prices remained low in '87 and performance cars were making something of a comeback with the restyled Ford Thunderbird winning Motor Trend's Car of the Year title. The Ford Motor Company also enjoyed increased profits and higher market share, but mourned the passing of Henry Ford II on September 29. Although the Thunderbird's sleeker skin was new, the platform underneath remained as before. The top of the range Turbo Coupe Thunderbird was easily distinguishable from the base and luxury LX models because it had adopted the grille-less look. However, just to confuse things, the Sport model also had the same style of front end, but not the functional hood scoops, and was powered by the 5.0-liter V8. Turbo Coupe T-Birds came equipped with antilock disc brakes all round and Automatic Ride Control. The use of an intercooler boosted the output of the Turbo Coupe's 140 cu.in. four-cylinder engine to 190bhp, but this was reduced to 150 horsepower when automatic transmission was fitted. Otherwise, the 140bhp, 232 cu.in. V6 was standard on base and LX models, with the 150 horsepower, 302 cu.in. (5.0-liter) V8 available as an option. Prices ranged from $12,972 for a base model coupe up to $16,805 for the Turbo Coupe, with just over 128,000 Thunderbirds produced. Appearance-wise nothing had changed on the Corvette for '87, but there were 35 more horses on tap from the 350 cu.in. engine than in '84. This translated into a top speed of 150mph and a 0-60mph time of 6.5 seconds. On the other hand, the concealed headlamps of the Chrysler le Baron Turbo GTC were a definite departure from the styling trends in use elsewhere (and something of a retrograde step), although the 140 horsepower, 135 cu.in. turbocharged four cylinder was potent enough to push the coupe to 120mph. That such levels of performance could be achieved with relatively small V8 engines or turbocharged four cylinder units demonstrates how far automotive technology had come in two decades. And things would get even better. For the Reagan administration, however, things couldn't get very much worse. US oil tankers came under attack in the Persian Gulf, which was followed by the Irangate scandal in July. In October, the Wall Street stock market suffered its worst day ever, falling 508 points. President Reagan also imposed higher duties on Japanese electronic goods to try and stem the flood of imports coming from that country, but by this time automotive companies like Honda, Isuzu, Mazda and Mitsubishi were already opening factories in the Midwest. Specification FORD THUNDERBIRD V8 Engine V8 - cast iron block Displacement 302 cu. ins Bore and stroke 4.0x3.0 ins. Horsepower 150 Body styles Coupe No. of seats 5 Weight (lbs) 3,300 Ibs Price $15,000 Produced 128,135 (all models)     Specification CHEVROLET CORVETTE Engine V8 - cast iron block Displacement 350 cu. ins Bore and stroke 4.00x3.48 ins. Horsepower 240 Body styles Coupe; Convertible coupe No. of seats 2 Weight (lbs) 3,216 Ibs-3,279 Ibs Price $29,999-$33,172 Produced 30,600     Specification LINCOLN TOWN CAR Engine V8 - cast iron block Displacement 302 cu. ins Bore and stroke 4.0x3.0 ins. Horsepower 150 Body styles 4 door sedan No. of seats 5 Weight (lbs) 4,100 Price $22,549 - $26,868 Produced 76,500  
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