The Truth About Cars » Chevrolet Citation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 29 Sep 2014 21:20:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Chevrolet Citation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1982 Chevrolet Citation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/junkyard-find-1982-chevrolet-citation-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/junkyard-find-1982-chevrolet-citation-2/#comments Wed, 14 May 2014 13:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=820114 The Chevy Citation (and X-body Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Buick siblings) was built in large quantities during its 1980-1985 run, but disappeared from American streets fairly quickly; by the middle 1990s, an X-body in running condition was a rare sight. Still, I run across them in junkyards now and then. In this series, we’ve seen this […]

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19 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Chevy Citation (and X-body Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Buick siblings) was built in large quantities during its 1980-1985 run, but disappeared from American streets fairly quickly; by the middle 1990s, an X-body in running condition was a rare sight. Still, I run across them in junkyards now and then. In this series, we’ve seen this ’80 Skylark, this ’81 Citation, this ’82 Citation, and this ’83 Citation, and I’ve declined to photograph many more. I spotted today’s find in a Northern California wrecking yard back in March, and it’s a loaded hatchback with V6, automatic, and refrigerator-white paint.
17 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Citation’s real and perceived quality issues did plenty of damage to GM’s reputation, helping to push ever more car shoppers into the nearest Toyota or Datsun showroom.
01 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe replacement for the Nova had to be a light front-wheel-drive car, due to CAFE standards coupled with the need to compete with the spacious-inside Accord, and at first the Citation seemed to get the job done.
10 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one has the created-for-the-X-body 60-degree V6 engine instead of the base Iron Duke. The descendents of this engine family are still with us today, now making over 300 horsepower.
04 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Citation’s interior was roomier than the rear-wheel-drive Nova, and the car got much better fuel economy. Unfortunately, it held together more like a Fiat than like the kind of car Chevy shoppers had come to expect.

Ever heard of the superhero Single Person?

The weird superhero theme continued with Perfect Couple.

The first Chevy of the 80s!

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Question: Notoriously Unreliable Cars That Were Bulletproof For You? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/question-notoriously-unreliable-cars-that-were-bulletproof-for-you/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/question-notoriously-unreliable-cars-that-were-bulletproof-for-you/#comments Fri, 14 Dec 2012 17:45:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=470175 For every Junkyard Find of, say, a Malaise Era bomb that fired several torpedoes into the already leaky hull of a once-great car company, there will be at least one reader who writes a comment that goes something like “I bought one of these cars new, and it went 300,000 trouble-free miles on logging roads […]

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For every Junkyard Find of, say, a Malaise Era bomb that fired several torpedoes into the already leaky hull of a once-great car company, there will be at least one reader who writes a comment that goes something like “I bought one of these cars new, and it went 300,000 trouble-free miles on logging roads in Trinity County. This car’s bad image was undeserved, folks!” Just as it’s possible to have fun with a rented Corolla (just kidding, there is no way to have fun of any sort in a rented Corolla), it’s possible for a first-gen Excel or Sterling 827 to survive like a Slant-Six Valiant sedan.
The Volkwsagen Type 4. The Chevy Vega. Just about any Mitsubishi product built between the A6M Zero and, like, five years ago. Many of us have had such an odds-beating car (I’d like to say that my Peugeot 504 held together like an Accord, but such was nowhere near the case).
So, let’s hear those stories! Set the record straight! Feel free to add tirades about what a bad rap the (Mazda RX-2, Ford EXP, Fiat 128, Jaguar XJ-S) got.

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Junkyard Find: 1983 Chevrolet Citation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/junkyard-find-1983-chevrolet-citation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/junkyard-find-1983-chevrolet-citation/#comments Fri, 14 Dec 2012 14:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=470051 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, […]

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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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Junkyard Find: 1980 Buick Skylark Limited http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/junkyard-find-1980-buick-skylark-limited/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/junkyard-find-1980-buick-skylark-limited/#comments Tue, 31 Jul 2012 13:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=454779 It took just eight years for the Buick Skylark to go from a big, rear-drive, credibly luxurious and status-enhancing machine to front-wheel-drive compact based on the unspeakably terrible Chevy Citation. Nearly all of the X-Platform cars are gone now, but the pimposity of this first-year Buick’s whorehouse-red interior must have kept it away from The […]

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It took just eight years for the Buick Skylark to go from a big, rear-drive, credibly luxurious and status-enhancing machine to front-wheel-drive compact based on the unspeakably terrible Chevy Citation. Nearly all of the X-Platform cars are gone now, but the pimposity of this first-year Buick’s whorehouse-red interior must have kept it away from The Crusher for more than three decades.
I think the Citation/Phoenix/Omega/Skylark fiasco of the first half of the 1980s did more to damage The General’s long-term fortunes than any other vehicle they have ever built, and that includes the Vega. Millions switched to imports and refused to consider buying a GM car ever again, after getting burned by an X-Platform purchase. If my memory is correct, the only reason the Citation didn’t set the all-time American record for most warranty problems in a single year was that its Phoenix sibling somehow managed to be even less reliable.
The one positive legacy of the X-Platform nightmare is the GM 60-degree pushrod V6 engine, which continues to be produced today. I don’t remember seeing this “Saver V6″ emblem back in this day, but it looks like a factory-issue piece.

Here we see Bill Shoemaker and Magic Johnson pitching the allegedly luxurious ’80 Skylark and the allegedly fuel-efficient ’80 Electra. I know which one I’d have bought!
Finding a Weird Al cassette in the dirt next to this car helped alleviate my depression about GM’s X-Platform-induced downward spiral, by reminding me of how much I enjoyed listening to Dr. Demento during the darkest years of the Malaise Era.

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1984 Chevy Citation Immortalized By Modelmaker With Eye For Hooptie-Correctness http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/1984-chevy-citation-immortalized-by-modelmaker-with-eye-for-hooptie-correctness/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/1984-chevy-citation-immortalized-by-modelmaker-with-eye-for-hooptie-correctness/#comments Thu, 24 May 2012 17:30:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=445890 Plenty of builders of plastic car models do a pretty good job doing “weathered” kits, but most focus on romantic images of Route 66-drivin’ classics rusting beautifully behind a wholesome-looking 1951 service station. I think what we really need is more super-accurate models of iconic American hoopties, and I don’t just talk the talk! So, […]

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Plenty of builders of plastic car models do a pretty good job doing “weathered” kits, but most focus on romantic images of Route 66-drivin’ classics rusting beautifully behind a wholesome-looking 1951 service station. I think what we really need is more super-accurate models of iconic American hoopties, and I don’t just talk the talk! So, it brings joy to my heart to see that a professional modelmaker truly understands proper hooptieness.
Etsy seller Classic Wrecks has quite a selection of 1:24-scale wretched beaters, hoopties, and the aforementioned Route-66-drivin’-classics in his online store. He also does custom work to order, which means I’m going to start scouring eBay for a Ford Tempo kit to be used as the centerpiece of a Shake-N-Bake meth lab diorama, set in a Muncie, Indiana vacant lot.
I may need to hand over the 65 bucks that will make the Hooptie Citation mine. After all, the Citation is a cherished piece of American automotive history.

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Chevrolet Citation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/junkyard-find-1982-chevrolet-citation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/junkyard-find-1982-chevrolet-citation/#comments Thu, 29 Dec 2011 14:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=423708 By the end of the 1970s, it was clear that GM needed a front-wheel-drive compact that would fit as many passengers as a Nova but sip gas like a Rabbit. The General’s forces labored mightily, and they produced the Citation. The Citation did indeed have the interior space of the old rear-drive compacts, but buyers […]

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By the end of the 1970s, it was clear that GM needed a front-wheel-drive compact that would fit as many passengers as a Nova but sip gas like a Rabbit. The General’s forces labored mightily, and they produced the Citation.
The Citation did indeed have the interior space of the old rear-drive compacts, but buyers soon discovered its cost-cutting design compromises and bad-even-by-Malaise-Era-GM-standards build quality and soured on GM forever. Meanwhile, Chrysler’s (arguably) far superior K cars won over the big chunk of ex-GM loyalists that didn’t defect to Datsun and Toyota.
For that reason, this Citation I’ve found in a Denver self-service yard is an important, vanishing piece of history. Citations once roamed the land in huge numbers, but most were long gone by the early 1990s. The Iron Duke engine under the hood, though reliable (GM always did have a gift for engines, even in its darkest Malaise days), was primitive, noisy, and weak.

Feel the optimism!
Why is there an idiot light labeled “CHOKE” on an EFI-equipped car? And what does it have to do with oil? Is this a light that comes on to indicate that the engine is too cold for full-on valve-floating revs? Another indicator of a once-omnipotent corporation turned into a blundering, crippled giant whose lunch would soon be eaten by ravenous Japanese salarymen.

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Chevrolet Citation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/junkyard-find-1981-chevrolet-citation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/junkyard-find-1981-chevrolet-citation/#comments Thu, 14 Jul 2011 13:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=402619 When GM finally decided to muster its vast resources and engineering talent and build a front-wheel-drive compact car… well, things didn’t go so well. The sclerotic GM bureaucracy described a few years earlier by John DeLorean in On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors produced a car that looked like a fat Chevette, […]

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When GM finally decided to muster its vast resources and engineering talent and build a front-wheel-drive compact car… well, things didn’t go so well. The sclerotic GM bureaucracy described a few years earlier by John DeLorean in On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors produced a car that looked like a fat Chevette, got its power— if that’s the word for it— from the rough-as-a-crab’s-backside Iron Duke pushrod four, and suffered from very public reliability problems from day one. GM sold quite a few Citations, but the “First Chevy of the 80s” is a rare find indeed today. Here’s one that I spotted in a Denver yard a few days ago.

Can you feel the optimism?

Bob Lutz, in his recent book, goes on a lengthy tirade about GM’s frantic rush into front-wheel-drive during the Malaise Era, making the case that a bunch of tree-huggers put a gun to The General’s head and forced him to build half-baked front-wheel-drive designs. Maybe so, but was the Iron Duke (and the later 60-degree pushrod V6 family) the best that the company that (barely 20 years before) R&D’d their way to the groundbreaking small-block Chevy V8 could do?

The Citation did fit as many passengers as the old Nova and got much better fuel economy, and it wasn’t unpleasant to drive (when it was running). It would probably be remembered fondly today, if not for the terrible reliability and build-quality record.
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