Special Report

Iconic Car Prices Then and Now

Sam Stebbins

1. Land Cruiser
> Make: Toyota
> 1980-2014 price difference (non-inflation adj.):
$72,242
> 1980 price: $8,288
> 2014 price: $80,530

The Toyota Land Cruiser exemplifies how much can change in one industry in three and a half decades. What was a smaller all-terrain off-road vehicle in 1980 is now a high-end luxury SUV weighing roughly one ton more than the original. Not surprisingly, the price has gone up dramatically since the vehicle’s early days. A 1980 edition of the Land Cruiser cost just $8,288, while a 2014 version of the car had a price tag of more than $80,000. With a price roughly 10 times the 1980 price, and with an entirely different target market, perhaps the only thing that has not changed in the Toyota Land Cruiser is its name.

ALSO READ: 13 Cars That Cost More Than They Used To

2. S-Class
> Make: Mercedes-Benz
> 1980-2014 price difference (non-inflation adj.):
$63,032
> 1980 price: $30,793
> 2014 price: $93,825

The S-Class is Mercedes-Benz’s flagship full-size sedan. In 1980, a comparable S-Class sold for $30,793. In 2014, a new, fifth-generation S-Class cost $93,825. Like most other cars reviewed, inflation contributed the most to the relatively large price difference of $63,032. The 1980 $30,793 price tag would have cost $88,468 when adjusting for inflation.

3. 911
> Make: Porsche
> 1980-2014 price difference (non-inflation adj.):
$57,595
> 1980 price: $27,700
> 2014 price: $85,295

The Porsche 911 was an icon almost immediately after its release in 1964. It has remained popular as a powerful sports car and racing vehicle. In 1980, the same year the German automaker pulled its Turbo edition 911 in the United States, a new fifth-generation 911 cost $27,700. In 2014, the Porsche 911 was in its 11th generation and cost $85,295. Even after adjusting for inflation, a Porsche 911 cost nearly $6,000 more last year than it did in 1980.

ALSO READ: America’s Most Peaceful States

4. XJ
> Make: Jaguar
> 1980-2014 price difference (non-inflation adj.):
$50,095
> 1980 price: $25,000
> 2014 price: $75,095

The Jaguar XJ is the only British vehicle that was sold in the U.S. market in both 1980 and 2014. In 1980, the luxury sedan sold for $25,000. In 2014, the XJ had a price tag of $75,095. Along with the price, the aesthetics of the car changed significantly during those 34 years. The 2014 model was the first generation that abandoned the antiquated style in favor of a sleeker, more modern look.

5. SL-Class
> Make: Mercedes-Benz
> 1980-2014 price difference (non-inflation adj.):
$48,795
> 1980 price: $36,130
> 2014 price: $84,925

First introduced to the American market in 1954, the SL-Class is one of the oldest continuously produced models in the auto industry. While the SL-Class’s price tag was nearly $50,000 lower in 1980 than in 2014, the inflation-adjusted price was actually $18,876 higher in 1980 than in 2014. This significant drop in price may be the result of the German automaker’s attempt to make its luxury vehicles available to a wider market.