The Truth About Cars » citation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 06 Aug 2014 16:25:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 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 » 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!

01 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1982 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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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.

15 - 1983 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1983 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1983 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1983 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1983 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1983 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1983 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1983 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1983 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1983 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1983 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1983 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1983 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1983 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1983 Chevrolet Citation Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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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.

DOTJ-82Citation-22 DOTJ-82Citation-01 DOTJ-82Citation-02 DOTJ-82Citation-03 DOTJ-82Citation-04 DOTJ-82Citation-07 DOTJ-82Citation-08 DOTJ-82Citation-09 DOTJ-82Citation-10 DOTJ-82Citation-11 DOTJ-82Citation-12 DOTJ-82Citation-13 DOTJ-82Citation-15 DOTJ-82Citation-16 DOTJ-82Citation-17 DOTJ-82Citation-18 DOTJ-82Citation-19 DOTJ-82Citation-20 DOTJ-82Citation-21 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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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.
DOTJ-81CitationBlue-11 DOTJ-81CitationBlue-01 DOTJ-81CitationBlue-02 DOTJ-81CitationBlue-03 DOTJ-81CitationBlue-04 DOTJ-81CitationBlue-05 DOTJ-81CitationBlue-06 DOTJ-81CitationBlue-07 DOTJ-81CitationBlue-08 DOTJ-81CitationBlue-09 DOTJ-81CitationBlue-10 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Curbside Classic: 1980 Chevrolet Citation – GM’s Deadliest Sin Ever http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/curbside-classic-1980-chevrolet-citation-gms-deadliest-sin-ever/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/curbside-classic-1980-chevrolet-citation-gms-deadliest-sin-ever/#comments Tue, 21 Dec 2010 18:01:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=378038 The greatest crime in ancient Greece was hubris. And the perpetrator that carried out the sins as a result of their hubris inevitably faced great shame and retribution, most often fatal. So for the sake of this CC, we’re going to drop the Citation’s X-Car moniker, and call them the H-Cars. And just in case […]

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The greatest crime in ancient Greece was hubris. And the perpetrator that carried out the sins as a result of their hubris inevitably faced great shame and retribution, most often fatal. So for the sake of this CC, we’re going to drop the Citation’s X-Car moniker, and call them the H-Cars. And just in case you’re not convinced that the Citation truly was GM’s greatest sin rather than the Vega (coincidentally numbered GM’s DS #2), let me cite you the incontrovertible evidence:

Of course numbers don’t tell the whole story, but I challenge you to find another newly introduced car that did so well in its first year and whose sales collapsed so spectacularly thereafter. And that 811k in 1980 doesn’t tell the whole story: the Citation was so popular, supply couldn’t keep up with demand. Folks waited months for their deadly sins to be delivered, and Chevy might well have been able to sell a million in 1980 if they could have made them fast enough. But they were so poorly built, the drop-off was almost instantaneous. By its fourth year, the Citation had dropped some 90%. And in 1985, it was all over.

Having jumped ahead to the final outcome of GM’s hubris-mobile, let’s step back a bit and consider the setting for this tragedy. For the third time at the beginning of a new decade, GM was determined to take on the import competition. In 1960, it was the VW Beetle, and GM countered with the conceptionally similar (rear engine) but bigger Corvair. It failed at its intended mission for a number of reasons, but there were no egregious issues with its quality or durability (for the standards of the time). But GM cut corners, and had make a series of improvements to its suspension to save face, including a substantially redesigned second generation, even though the Corvair was by then already doomed.

In 1970, it was Toyota and Datsun, as well as a few fading European imports that GM countered with the Vega. Despite them all being highly conventional rwd cars, Chevrolet bungled the Vega’s engine and rust-resistance. And although build quality was certainly not up to the Japanese competition’s level, it was not atrocious, in terms of what was yet to come.

For 1980, GM had the revolutionary Honda Accord in its visor, as well as the goal of redefining the compact American car in an all-new fwd package. The Citation and its H-Body brethren from Pontiac, Olds and Buick (we’ll get to them in more detail in another CC) were the closing number of GM’s overly-ambitious downsizing drama in three acts, which had begun three years earlier.

Make no mistake: this mammoth undertaking that would result in the 1977 Caprice and the rest of the full-sized line up, the 1978 Malibu and the other midsized cars, and the 1980 Citation and friends was no less than the biggest single corporate industrial re-investment ever up to that time. GM was betting its whole future here, and we all know how it turned out: the eighties were GM’s worst decade ever in terms of market share loss, and the Citation not only kicked it off, it also set the template for almost all of its sins from then on.

GM’s biggest act of hubris was in even thinking it could execute such an undertaking, given its history. And clearly, the results got worse with each act. The fact that the Citation would be GM’s first ever-front wheel drive mass-market car didn’t help. As well as GM’s perpetual obsession with the next quarter’s profit. The mega-billions GM committed to its downsizing was taking its toll on the bottom line, and the Citation was behind schedule. Switching production facilities and suppliers over to a completely new generation of cars was taking its toll.

Typical for GM, the Citation looked best on paper, or to the automotive writers who were suckered when they drive the most un-production-like “ringers” ever hand assembled and wrote breathless reports on the Citation’s spectacular “better than a BMW” abilities.  The current issue of C/D has a brief mea-culpa by Patrick Bedard about how they fell for GM’s bait.

The Citation’s basic body package was highly modern for the times, with a very roomy interior, a practical hatchback (a notch-back coupe was available but never popular), lightweight (2500 lbs), and featuring a new transverse engine/transaxle arrangement. Unfortunately, GM’s greatest industrial re-investment didn’t include a new four cylinder engine. The noisy, crude and rude “Iron Duke” 2.5 L OHV four was adapted for its new east-west orientation, and shook 90 hp from its crankshaft.

But GM was a bit more ambitious with the optional engine: the immortal 60-degree V6, still being built in China, and only just recently departed from the US GM line-up. In its first incarnation here, it had 2.8 L and 115 hp (110 beginning in 1981). And in 1981, the sporty X-11 Citation was graced with a bumped-up HO version, which churned out 135 hp. Just the ticket to fully display the Citation’s truly prodigious torque steer and other entertaining characteristics, some of them quite genuine, especially in later model years.

Since quietness was always disproportionately high on the list of criteria for GM cars, and because neither of the Citation’s engines were intrinsically quiet and smooth, extreme measures were taken to isolate them from the passenger compartment. The front subframe that carried the drive train and front suspension was attached to the body with very soft rubber mounts. This led to a remarkable sensation during acceleration.

It felt as if your favorite H-mobile was composed of two separate components (which it sort of was), or to take the analogy further, it felt like the body was a semi-trailer hooked to the back of a semi-truck. Floor it, and the truck started heading one direction (left, if I remember correctly) while the trailer both followed as well as tried to keep the truck from running off the roadway. Amusing, sort of. I had the chance to do it several times a day, in my Skylark company car. And I got quite good at it: kind of like crabbing an airplane. I did used to wonder if one day my car’s front sub frame would just fully detach and head off into to the median by itself; it sure seemed to want to very badly.

One might eventually get used to that, and if you had a good running V6, these cars could feel pretty lively given their light weight. But what goes fast must slow down, eventually, especially in LA traffic. And that’s where the fun disappeared, in a cloud of burning rubber. GM made almost the same penny-ante mistake with Citation as with the Corvair. Then, they left off a $14 camber-compensating spring. Now it was a $14 (?) rear brake proportioning valve. Drivers complained, NHTSA sued GM, which GM ended up winning in 1987, way too late: the perception/sales battle was then long lost. My Skylark with wider tires and wheels wasn’t too bad that way, but I once drove a four cylinder Citation that was highly prone. Let’s just say that my old Peugeot 404 had a very effective ride-height sensing rear proportioning valve even though it was rwd, and the Citation didn’t, with 60% of its weight on the front.

That was just for starters (and stoppers). In between, a seemingly endless rash of maladies made these cars recall kings and queens. Transmission hoses that leaked and cause fires. Various driveability issues: fuel injection was deemed too expensive; meanwhile the two-barrel carb on the V6 was the most complicated and expensive fuel mixing device Rube Goldberg was ever commissioned to design. (A replacement cost  over $1000 in today’s money, as I well know).  Shifting the manual transmission was like sending messages to a distant cohort in secret code via carrier pigeon.

The Citation interiors were hard and cheap. Sundry pieces of trim were prone to suddenly disassociating themselves from the rest of the car, in shame perhaps. Starting on day one. General build quality varied greatly, somewhere between miserable and mediocre. Cost cutting resulted in skin cutting from rough edges. Within one model year, the word was out and the jig was up: the Citation was a lemon.

In a truly cynical move, GM found the pennies to add a “II” suffix to the Citation in 1984, even though anyone would be hard pressed to see any difference. Enough fools fell for the Citation II to bump sales by 5k units that year, before they realized that it was just a Citation Too.

What really must have burned GM with the Citation’s flame out was that Toyota was dealing with the exact same challenge: to convert its rwd Carina/Corona lines to fwd. The all-new Camry appeared in 1983, just as the Citation was crashing. Ironically, the Camry had a distinctly Citation-ish look to it too, especially the hatchback. But looks can be deceiving. First year Camrys are considered as utterly solid and fool-proof as this year’s, if not more so. I can think of no better example of the contrasting state of affairs that predicted their makers’ respective trajectories in 1983 than these two similar and yet so different cars. GM’s Death Warrant Exhibit A.

Perhaps we should just leave it there, but there is a relevant postscript to the Citation: it became essentially immortal, in new garb. The Chevy Celebrity and its A-Body kin were nothing more than a Citation inner body and platform with a new exterior suit. The magic of a restyle and a little attention to working out the most blatant kinks resulted in a long-lived career (through 1996), at least for the Olds and Buick versions. And eventually they got fairly reliable…just too late.

But the A-Bodies are just the most obvious genetic offshoot. Let’s face it; just about every fwd GM car built since the first Citation torque-steered its way off the assembly line has X-chromosomes in it, to one degree or another. The Citation was GM’s starting point with the fwd car, as well as the true beginning of its end.

More New Curbside Classics Here

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