By on December 14, 2012

We’ve seen an ’81 Citation and an ’82 Citation in this series, so let’s continue down GM’s Bad Memory Lane with a 1983 version of the car that damaged The General’s image even more than the Vega. Somehow, this car stayed on the street— or at least out of the wrecking yard— for 29 years, but now it awaits crushing in a Denver self-serve wrecking yard.
The Citation hung on until the 1985 model year, and… wait a minute, is that a choke warning light on the dash of a 1983 car?
This one has the same 2.8 V6 that went into the Fiero.
Yep, those are molded-in stitches in the maroon vinyl seat upholstery.

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106 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1983 Chevrolet Citation...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I saw an Oldsmobile version of the 4-door hatch a couple weeks ago, probably more rare? It was almond-appliance white.

    • 0 avatar
      CobraJet

      I had a 1980 Olds version, but they were not hatchbacks. I ordered mine the the “brogham” package and waited about 10 weeks to get it. I was so proud. Nobody in my town had an Olds version (Omega). It had the 2.8 carbureted engine, but I don’t remember a choke warning light.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        What was the hatchback 4-door Olds model then? It was from around this time period for sure.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Ah, the Cutlass Salon. I thought it was Citation-based.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Oldsmobile_Cutlass_Salon_front.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        A writeup on a ’79 Salon:

        http://www.carlustblog.com/2008/10/1979-oldsmobile.html

        GM stylists in those days would stumble into a suite of styling cues that looked halfway decent, the slather it onto half a dozen other cars in different segments. This culminated in the infamous Lincoln “CadiOldsBuiPontChevy” ads.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Funny the Salon pic in the writeup is the same car as in the Wikipedia ad, from a different angle.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        The only hatchback Car Oldsmobile offered was the “H” Special Starfire/Firenza. Olds and buick did not offer hatchback X cars. Only Chevrolet and Pontiac did.

        The Cutlass Salon RWD G body looked as if it should have a hatch, but it did not. It had conventional trunk.

        I was a District Service Manager for Oldsmobile Detroit Zone at the time the salon came out and recall my Sales counterpart telling the regional manager the Salon slant back was just ugly! He got chewed up by the Regional Manager, but we all knew he was right! Abysmal sales performance of that body style, though Cutlass Supreme G Body and Cutlass Ciera A body were very succesful. Cutlass Supreme was the best selling car in America for many years, and the Ciera and 88 all were in the top ten best selling cars of the time.

    • 0 avatar
      chicagoland

      Maybe you saw a Pontiac Phoenix hatch? Only other brand that had a hatch.

  • avatar
    west-coaster

    I’m actually amazed to still see Citations in service around SoCal. Never X11s, mind you, and usually driven by someone in their 70s or 80s, but they’re out there. I usually notice one about once a month.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Just like one in ever ten thousand Corollas was a lemon, one in every ten thousand Citations (or Aspen/Volares) somehow ends up being a really good car.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      There’s a good reason you never see the X11 rolling around. Like its later syblings such as the Cavalier RS and Lumina SS, they were sold to people who didn’t shop much, wanted a sporty car, and didn’t have much money. These cars suffered through their secondary owners, generally mullet sporting teenagers with MegaDeath stickers plastering the rear windows holding on the molding, who ran them into the junk yards by racing them through the streets to get your Domino’s delivered in 30 mins or less.

  • avatar
    V8

    Leave the car, take the boat.

  • avatar
    stephenjmcn

    Looks like a nice car – were there many problems with it when it was new?

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      Were there ever…I can picture about 85 replies to this post before the day is over.

      This was the car that began the destruction of my faith in GM.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      The Citation set a record for the number of recalls back in the day. And recalls in those days were for stuff like “rear brakes lock up and the car spins out of control”.

    • 0 avatar
      Geekcarlover

      I can’t tell if the question was serious or sarcasm. If it was the first, let me tell you about this things stable mate I owned, an Olds Omega. First let me check if TTAC has a 5,000 word limit in the comments section.

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      Have a glance at Paul Niedermeyer’s Deadly Sins article from 2010, it should give you a good idea of why this just might be the worst thing on four wheels ever inflicted on the American public.

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/curbside-classic-1980-chevrolet-citation-gms-deadliest-sin-ever/

      The sales figures don’t lie, over 811,000 Citations sold in 1980 (just in one model year, and that doesn’t count the hundreds of thousands of additonal Pontiac, Oldsmobile,and Buick models on the same platform), falling to a paltry 63,000 in its 6th and final year. This car did more to put customers in Toyota and Honda showrooms than Toyota or Honda’s own advertising.

      The thing is, given GM’s massive resources and dominant market share, if this car had actually been engineered and assembled competantly, the entire Japanese auto industry could have been basically annihilated in the US. Instead, this really marked the beginning of GM’s decline.

      • 0 avatar
        chicagoland

        Only older people traded an X car in for another GM car, they went back to RWD BOF G/B bodies. Hence their sales surge in 82-84, but GM dropped most of them for unproven designs, and then Ford’s Panthers got some of the same buyers.

      • 0 avatar
        Moparman426W

        While I agree that if there ever was a car that deserves the title “deady sin” it’s the X car, The fact is that Neidermeyer thinks just about everything made was a deadly sin. I’m surprised there isn’t a Model T, Baker Electric and Pope on his list.

    • 0 avatar

      Back in the day, I recall reading that the only car that beat the Citation in number of first-year-of-ownership warranty problems was the Phoenix… which was a Citation clone. That includes such gems as the Fiat Strada and Plymouth Arrow.

    • 0 avatar
      Geekcarlover

      Think of everything GM did wrong in the 70s & 80s, real or imagined. Then distil it down to one series of cars. You’re looking at it.

  • avatar
    CarolinaGreg

    Sadly the commercial was far better than the car.

    • 0 avatar
      YotaCarFan

      Somehow, seeing a car sans rear wheels driving down a highway to emphasize it’s FWD does not evoke images of quality in my mind. It makes me think, “that car looks defective”. It appears the owner of the junkyard car may have been attempting a mythbusters style verification that the car can be driven without rear wheels while pulling a boat trailer, as it’s only got front wheels on it ;)

  • avatar
    mcarr

    Wow, this brings back memories. My dad bought an ’83 Citation sedan brand new and I remember riding in the back seat on many trips looking at the fake molded stitching. Dad installed an aftermarket tape player, all it came with was an AM radio with mechanical dial. I remember the choke warning light and wondering what that was. We lived in New Mexico at the time and a few years on the dirt back roads and the car rattled like a coffee can full of marbles. A family friend had an X11 hatch and it rattled even worse. These cars had the structural integrity of a pop can.

    This was the first car I learned to drive in. First sitting on dads lap steering, and later, after we moved to Minnesota, I got my learners permit in it. It was 1989, I was 15 and had just gotten my permit. I was driving with my mom on a icy farm road, lost control in a corner and hit a tree at about 15-20 mph. It was telling that dad scrapped the car, even though the damage wasn’t too bad, and it probably could’ve been fixed. I think he just wanted it to be gone.

    Edit: Just watched the video ad, I forgot it was the first front wheel drive car dad had ever had, and he was extolling the virtues of that feature, just like the ad.

    • 0 avatar
      Moparman426W

      The choke light was actually supposed to be a warning light to alert the driver if the choke malfunctioned, like if it stuck closed or failed to close when the engine was cold. It would come on for a couple of seconds at startup to let you know that the bulb was fine, like the oil and alternator lights. I’m surprised no one that drove a GM car then remembers them.

  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    This exact car must have started its life in the Avis rental fleet in New Orleans, because my mom rented it when she visited me in college in 1983. Why I so clearly remember that car is mystifying and scary.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Quote: The Citation hung on until the 1985 model year, and… wait a minute, is that a choke warning light on the dash of a 1983 car?

    Yup the 1983 Citation had an optional carbureted 2.8 liter V6 in addition to the std fuel injected 4 cylinder. Meanwhile the 1985 Honda Civic and Accord made due with carburetors only complete with 500 vacuum lines…

    • 0 avatar

      Oh, lots of cars into the mid-80s had carburetors (and I’ve ranted at length about the nightmare of Honda CVCC carbs in the past), but the choke light went out of style in, what, 1967?

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Heh. I’ve owned a ’62 LeSabre, a ’62 Mercedes 220, a ’63 Chrysler Newport, a ’63 Rambler Classic, a ’63 Dodge Dart wagon, and a ’65 impala. None of them had a choke light, though they were all automatics except for the MB, and that had a manual choke. Just what does a choke light DO?

      • 0 avatar

        In the old days, cars that had choke lights (not many) used the light to indicate when you had the choke lever pulled out. I suspect that the choke/oil light in the Citation is just a low-temperature warning, i.e, “don’t redline the engine yet.”

      • 0 avatar
        Moparman426W

        All carbureted GM products in the 80′s that I recall used a choke light, they started using it when they went to electronic carbs in 81. Even the chevette had a choke warning light starting that year.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        Choke warning lights were used on carbureted engines with electric choke heaters. Most carbureted cars of the day used intake manifold crossover heat to warm a choke and make it come open as the engine warmed up. Electrically heated chokes would not open if the wire became disconnected. The Choke warning light was to inform the driver if the wire was disconnected or the circuit otherwise open, iirc.

      • 0 avatar
        Moparman426W

        Thank you, Dr. Olds. I had forgotten about the grid style choke heaters GM started using in the 80′s, if I’m not mistaken they started using them in 81 when the carbs went electronic?

      • 0 avatar
        AthensSlim

        Can’t believe nobody else pointed out the brilliance in the execution of the GM choke (actually choke heater) warning light.

        It was combined with the oil light. Let me repeat that. A warning that virtually nobody else even bothered to include by this time was multiplexed with arguably the most critical warning you can receive.

        So when it comes on, does that mean the choke heater malfuntioned, or you just lost all oil pressure? Meh, who knows. If the engine seizes, it was probably the latter. Though I suppose this is probably still better than FoMoCo’s brilliant one-size-fits-all “Engine” light.

  • avatar
    econobiker

    A friend of the family bought one of these new in the early 1980s and love it – because it was his first brand new car and, if something broke, he took it to the dealership.

    Of course,his frame of reference was skewed since his prior cars were two seat Triumphs which he worked on himself to keep on the road. And these cars typically had duct tape used in massive quantities to hold the body panels together due to the cars having been subject to NJ winter road salt and being located near the coast…

    This was after my family had owned a couple of 1970s Volvo 4 doors, a late 1970s Honda Civic, and had just purchased an 1981 Subaru GL station wagon so even I knew as a youth that the Citation was less than desirable.

    Something like any food is good for a starving man…

  • avatar

    Citation was my first car. It was a hand me down from my older brother. Maybe 1989. Don’t remember the exact model year, but maybe a 1982. Sparkly pale blue color. Things I remember most were the vertical radio, the “Body by Fisher” emblem in the door sill, the MASSIVE front bench seat (good for dates in high school…) and last but not least… Greg: the mechanic that kept it running for the better part of 4 years.

  • avatar
    YotaCarFan

    Seeing this Citation brings back memories of when I went on a high school shop class field trip to a GM factory somewhere in the Delaware/NJ area in the early 1980s and saw Citations being built. The factory was filled with signs proclaiming how every Japanese car purchase cost X American jobs, complete with some sort of digital numerical display tallying related statistics, which was the most high tech thing I saw in the factory. There were no posters or fixtures designed to make the place look like a nice place to work or increase morale or pride. Although young, I was shocked at how informal the facility and workers looked and how casual and inconsistent their efforts appeared. A worker would pick up something, say a brake booster, meander over to the car, thrust it into a hole, smack it a few times with his fist to set it in place, look around as if bored, and then wait for the next car. The workers appeared unhappy and annoyed. Before the car bodies went into a paint booth, the conveyer belt moved them through a pair of vertical bungee cords wrapped with what looked to be small, tattered gym mats held on with duct tape, that bumped the doors partially shut so they’d clear the edge of the booth. The place looked low-tech, even for the day. I remember thinking, “There’s no way I’d want to buy one of these cars”, and craning my neck to read the “Citation” badge and making a note of what to avoid in the future.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Linden? Built in the late ’30s, it last built S-10s and Blazers before GM shut it down about a decade ago.

    • 0 avatar
      crtfour

      Ha….that’s funny that you told this story and your username is “YotaCarFan”

    • 0 avatar
      V8

      “The factory was filled with signs proclaiming how every Japanese car purchase cost X American jobs”

      Actually the sign should have proclaimed “for every Citation sold X future American jobs will be lost as well as Car Company.”

    • 0 avatar
      cfclark

      By contrast, I remember touring the Nissan facility in Smyrna, TN around the same time, and thinking how immaculate and efficient it was (granted, it was about three years old at the time). To some extent, that’s where some of those lost jobs went.

    • 0 avatar
      supremebrougham

      I think these were built in Tarrytown, New York. The Skylarks and Omegas were built in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

    • 0 avatar
      THE ARS

      What a clown.

      This story is obviously untrue, as they were not manufactured there.

      How sad is your life to make something like that up?

      Tom

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      New Castle, DE? They had a GM plant until it closed and was supposed to be building Fiskers by now..

      Newark, DE? Chrysler plant that built tanks, but ended up closing after building Durangos and Aspens, bought by the University.

      Take a guess as to which party and attitude on right-to-work prevails in Delaware?

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Ms. Martin is quite brave for taking that picture of the trunk. The hatch struts are notorious for randomly collapsing a second after you stick your head under the raised hatch.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Before we were married, my wife bought a new 1980 Citation as her first new car. Her neighbor was a Chevy salesman, and she ordered it throgh him.
    After a few free warranty repairs, this car was quite reliable for the next eight years and 88K miles. We replaced it with a used Celebrity wagon business car that my sister’s company leased.
    From my experience, the X cars were far better than the A models. I had two A bodies and both followed the same trajectory. There were good for 50K miles. After that you joined what I called the repair of the month club.
    It was the A cars and not the X bodies that cured me of any desire to buy GM products for the next 16 years.

    • 0 avatar
      mcarr

      Funny you say that, we had 2 A cars as follow up’s to the Citation. Dad is a GM guy. The ’87 Celebrity Wagon was better than the Citation, but still a smoking pile of poo. Why do CV joints go out so much? The second A body was a 1993 Buick Century, and that car was actually screwed together quite well. Felt solid compared to the previous versions, never developed rattles, rode nice, it was quiet, and had a smooth 160hp 3.3L V6 that got 30 mpg.

  • avatar
    Adamatari

    You know, there are some things that seem to have changed permanently in cars. One of them is interior materials – everything is either normal cloth or leather. Back in the day there was also vinyl and velour…

    And I have to say, vinyl is disgusting, and should never have been used to make interiors. All the drawbacks of leather plus at least a dozen of its own. Flaming hot in the sun, icky to touch, just nasty.

    I do miss velour, though, it was kinda nice.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      Well, BMW and Mercedes-Benz still seem to think that vinyl is the best thing since sliced bread. Hint: many Bimmers and Mercs you see out there, do not necessarily have a leather interior…

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      That picture seems to be misidentified. I believe that is a molded door panel rather than a seat, since there are other photos of the seats and they’re cloth.

    • 0 avatar
      russty1

      We held on to an 80′s Dodge Caravan for 13 years (OK, we went through 2 engines & 3 transmissions during that period)… but even on its sad and final journey to the wreckers, the light blue velour seating upholstery looked fantastic. That stuff was tough!

  • avatar
    Zackman

    This IS the car that drove the final nail in the GM coffin for me. That coffin wasn’t opened ’til 2004.

  • avatar
    Jeffer

    I had the misfortune of owning a 1981 Citation with the Iron Duke; actually the motor was the best part. I won’t repeat the long list of problems I had with this craptastic machine, but I will say that it made my old 1975 Vega seem well-built and reliable by comparison.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I remember these ;

    Fleets bought them in HUGE batches , I’d just begun work @ LAX and they had them , seemed nice to I went out and bought a lease turn in one with low miles ~ what a POS ! the rear brakes had never been fixed so if you braked hard on the freeway , it wanted to spin like a top .

    All the rest of the failures rapidly followed so I dumped it in a fleet auction loosing my bum but ridding the headache .

    The wifey – poo , she loved it until it died in dense LA gridlock traffic , then not so much .

    Nate

  • avatar
    SLLTTAC

    Because I wanted to “buy American,” I ordered a 1983 Chevrolet Citation X-11, which turned out to be destined by design for the scrapyard. Equipped with a 125 hp transverse v-6 and a manual four-speed transmission, it was unreliable, cheaply made, and value-engineered. The transmission failed at 35,000 miles. I replaced it with a Chevrolet Celebrity wagon and two Pontiac 6000 STE sedans, all of which were the same platform and better than the X-11, but none were good enough to keep me as a customer of GM. I haven’t bought a GM product in almost three decades.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Hopefully there’s a VP at GM who’s the caretaker of “car names we’ll never use again”. Citation would be high on the list. Sadly for GM there are several names on that list.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      See, I’ll never understand why they used the Citation name to begin with. First, Citation was an Edsel model and the Edsel had been gone barely twenty years. Second, I don’t know about you guys, but I relate the word citation with something you get from the cops after you’ve misbehaved. Neither association is cool, IMHO.

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      Almost every name GM ever used on anything smaller than an intermediate is going to be on that list. For such a big company with such a long, 50+ year history of competing in the small car segment, the list of decent products is pathetically small and the list of duds pathetically long. It’s why they have to keep introducing new model names almost with each generation.

  • avatar
    mwebb

    My grandmother had one of these. I think that it was a 1980 or so. Anyways, the brakes were so Terrible, that she drove it under a truck. Luckily the car was low enough that it just scratched the roof. Sure enough though, these things were death traps.

  • avatar
    theshiftpattern

    I still have a soft spot for them, my parents bought a brand new ’80 shortly after I was born, kept it through about ’87. It was a 4-speed stick. Inspired both sets of grandparents to go with X Cars.

    A pic of me with it as a young lad: http://theshiftpattern.com/about/

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I wouldn’t mind driving one of these myself, just to experience the craftsmanship and the torque-steer.

    As for owning one, I take it off of someones angered hands cheap but thats about it.

  • avatar
    autojim

    Of course, “Citation” was available for use by GM because Ford had decided to never touch it again after the Edsel and abandoned all claims to the name (and Pacer, which of course AMC later used. Ford did keep Ranger active as first a trim level on its pickup trucks and then Sajeev’s favorite small truck).

    This car looks like it must’ve belonged to someone’s grandmother who didn’t drive much in the winter (bags of play sand ballast in the trunk notwithstanding). Usually, they rotted out around the wheel arches and rocker panels, and this one looks fairly solid except for the rear bumper.

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      Ford also reused Corsair and Villager in 1963 and 1993, for Ford UK and Mercury, respectively. That’s three Edsel model names that lived on at Ford, plus two more at other manufacturers.

      Roundup and Bermuda were the only two that died completely with Edsel. Actually a shame, because I think Bermuda is a rather classy sounding name, maybe for a stylish little convertible, and Roundup might work on a pickup or SUV.

  • avatar
    racerjim

    Anyone catch that the guy in the commercial is John McElroy of Autoline Detroit (sort of) fame?

    • 0 avatar
      msquare

      I’ve noticed something about the problems people cite with GM cars of this era.

      Most if not all of them involve parts provided by outside suppliers. A power-steering hose failing then spewing fluid on hot exhaust manifolds? Why weren’t they crapping out on other cars and why wasn’t the supplier called on the carpet if they were?

      Hatchback struts fading out over time? Again, supplier problem and not unique to GM. Rear brakes locking up and causing a spin? THAT is GM’s fault.

      It could also be GM’s fault for speccing out parts that were not up to their appointed tasks, like undersized hatch struts. Or maybe you don’t bother with them at all and go back to spring-loaded folding arms. My 2001 BMW’s hood struts work fine and my dad’s 2000 Chrysler struts don’t. Neither company makes them in-house. Why the difference?

      GM did make the X and A bodies into pretty solid cars later in their lifecycle. You can already tell a significant difference between the 1980 and 1983 Citations. Their problem is that these details should have been sweated before the cars were introduced, not three years after.

      An even more telling ad campaign came out around the time this 1983 model was sold. The slogan was “It works.”

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Suppliers will build a part to your design and price specifications; you want it cheap, they will build it cheap. If you want it designed to last and work well over a long life cycle they can build it that way too BUT the customer/automaker will have to pay more. GM preferred cheap for a long enough time to lose half of their market share.

        Suppliers to the automakers have many very talented engineers that can design and build excellent parts. They can also cost engineer and build parts that meet absolute minimal standards. It just depends what the automaker wants to pay for.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        GM was long notorious for cutting their suppliers off at the knees. They would spec bottom-dollar parts, wait for the supplier to put in the development work, then come back and offer 5 or 10% less than the original price. The only recourse the suppliers had was to throw any remaining QC out the window.

  • avatar
    George B

    I remember riding in the back of a Citation X-11 in a short road trip to Oklahoma City. The driver had the stupid 85 mph speedometer pegged past 85 mph on I-35 back when Washington set national speed limits and rural citizens ignored them. They must have been everywhere, but I can’t remember the base Citations.

  • avatar
    RatherhaveaBuick

    There’s still one puttering around where I live, and I live in the northeast, rust central…

    The other day in Wal Mart I bought a Johnny LIghtning toy of one of these…strange how they’ve become diecast worthy. The toy is nicer than the car.

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    @GeekCarLover,
    Don’t waste your time, I had one too and have already posted on the forum the horrid experiences I had with this car.
    Life’s too short.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I was pumping gas in a full-serve Gulf when these came out in 1980. I burned my arms and hands many times checking the power steering fluid on hot engines, since the reservoir was buried down low behind the engine. Or was it the transmission dipstick? Or both?

    Either way, these cars were not designed for serviceability.

    My neighbor had a V-6 Citation that could really move, but he did have a lot of brake problems.

    Although I’m not a GM fan, I always admired the X-cars for their utility. They were certainly revolutionary at the time; consider that Ford was still building Fairmonts then – yuk.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    When these came out, I was a kid working at the local GM store. One of our salesman went on a test drive and told the customer that with front-wheel-drive you could floor it in corners and it wouldn’t slide. So, the customer floors it entering a corner, understeers off into a ditch and rolls it. I almost bought an X-11 version, but fortunately a Malibu coupe with 305 and 4-speed caught my eye. That one I owned for 17 years.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    If only GM had gotten this right, they would have dominated the car market to this day. First year sales were astronomical.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      That first year was about 18 months long. The Citation was supposed to be a ’79 MY, but it was late so it got billed as an early ’80 when it came out in April 1979.

  • avatar
    markholli

    “Yep, those are molded-in stitches in the maroon vinyl seat upholstery.”

    I drove a 2011 or 2012 model Camry SE at the auction yesterday, and Toyota is trying to pass off the dash on that car as stitched leather. It’s just rubber/vinyl formed to look like leather seams. From what I could tell, however, the stitching is real.

    Still looked cheap to me…and I’m a Toyota guy.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    The reason GM sold so many of these cars is that the basic package was perfect. It was a compact with a spacious interior, just the right family size after the monster full size cars of the ’70s. They needed two more years of engineering development, some better materials, and some serious assembly crew training to, as ranwhenparked noted, repel the Japanese invasion. They would also have killed off AMC and later Chrysler, and seriously damaged Ford, so maybe it was a blessing in disguise for the domestic car industry?

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      I should know, I waited 6 mos for delivery of my Skylark and was pleased until I had to start fixing stuff after the 3 yr warranty expired.

    • 0 avatar
      Geekcarlover

      And here lies the tragedy of the X cars. With another year of testing and higher quality parts, they could have been pretty good cars. Yes, it would have added $200-400 to the cost of each vehicle, and cost GM some sales. But it’s nothing compared to what it cost their reputation and future sales.
      To paraphrase a movie “It coulda been a contender.”

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        Concur with that statement, my cousins bought an X-car derived A body Pontiac sedan and also a wagon and both turned out to be much better cars than my Skylark ever was. GM got all that was wrong with the X-cars and fixed them, too late for millions of disgruntled buyers.

  • avatar
    stevelyon

    I had a 1980 Citation – one of the first made. Mine was bought new by my uncle in Phoenix, and except for A/C, was bare-bones. 4 cylinder, 4 on the floor, AM radio. It sure wasn’t a fun car, but I got it with 120k on the clock and put another 60k trouble-free miles on it. I sold it for $600 in 1993.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    If memory serves, the 1983 was called “Citation II” to try to convince buyers the bugs were gone.

    But, lost cause. The X body Chevy was supposed to last into 1986 and then the new “1987 Citation” was to be the P body. But instead, the new product was called Corsica/Beretta.

  • avatar
    Kevin Jaeger

    A 1980 Citation was the last GM car I ever bought. The number of customers they drove away with these must truly be staggering.

    Oddly enough I saw a nearly mint condition one of these up here in Quebec a couple of months ago. I have no idea how it would be possible to keep one of these on the road through 30 Canadian winters. Or why anyone would be inclined to.

  • avatar
    NewsLynne

    In 1992 my driving school had a dark green Pontiac Phoenix coupe. You couldn’t open the passenger door from the outside. At the time when I was desperate to have my first set of wheels, even the Phoenix stood out as something completely ugly.

    Then a mean landlady had one in burnt umber-ish poop brown. Ugh. Looked like a Chevette someone stepped on.

    How appropriate the end of the commercial screws up.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    No pic of the vertically-mounted AM radio? Or were those gone by ’83?

  • avatar
    Sooke

    I believe the vertical radios were just on the Chevy version, and they switched to horizontal around 83. I know, because I’m looking for one to fill the hole in the dash of my 82. I bought it for $200 last year, just for a laugh. I love the look of the Citation hatchback – I think they’re handsome looking cars. The ones that are still around are little old lady cars with automatics and low miles. I bought some replacement hatchback struts off Amazon for less than $20.

    Call me crazy, but I think some day they might be collectible.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Turd!

  • avatar
    and003

    I wonder if the Citation has room for a V-8.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      Not unles it was a tiny V-8 ! .

      Our Undercover X Car was that fancy – schmancy Chevy model I no longer remember the designation of , it came with alloy wheels and one newbie Narco – Cop who must have watched Starsky & Hutch , smacked a curb with it and broke a wheel , Chevy wanted $850 (!) fir a new wheel on that POS $200 car….

      -Nate


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