Junkyard Find: 1982 Chevrolet Citation

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1982 chevrolet citation

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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  • Jrocco001 Jrocco001 on Jan 02, 2012

    My parents had one of these. I remember riding with my Mom (in her AMC Gremlin, no less) leading my Dad down the road as he drove it in reverse for 5 miles to the service station - I think the shifter linkage broke and reverse was the only gear he could get it in.

    • Joeaverage Joeaverage on May 27, 2012

      Tow truck??? I know - my Dad had an S-10 with a defective B/W five speed and he was stubborn enough to drive it across the city in 2nd gear b/c he was mad at Chevrolet and I think the dealer who wouldn't send a free tow truck after they rebuilt it already once a few days prior. I wonder if he wasn't hoping the transmission would grenade along the way necessitating a whole new transmission. They finally fixed it the right way and they kept it another decade. It was perfect the day they sold it and the guy that bought it spun it around and centered a pole or tree in the tailgate - wrinkled the roof, the floor and everything else. Off it went to the junkyard I suspect. Again the truck had alot of years on it, and around 115K miles but no resale value according to Kelly Blue book.

  • 1981X-11 1981X-11 on Apr 03, 2015

    GM X-Body and Citation X-11 Facebook page. Almost 500 members, over 1000 pics, tons of vintage pics, and every-year X-car dealer brochures in the Photo Albums section. Ha! https://www.facebook.com/groups/chevycitations/

  • Pig_Iron ASTC 3.0 AM radio was successfully demonstrated at CES. It is a common standard shared with terrestrial television, so the audio equipment is commonized for broadcasters. And no royalty fees to pay, unlike HDRadio which has been a less than stellar success. 📻
  • Art Vandelay Crimes that are punished with fines encourage abuse by those enforcing them. If it is truly dangerous to the public, maybe jail or give the offenders community service. People’s time tends to be very valuable to them and a weeks lost work would certainly make a high earner think twice. If it isn’t a big danger why are police enforcing it (outside of raising money of course). Combine it with a points system. When your points are gone you do a week imitating Cool Hand Luke.
  • Cha65697928 High earners should pay less for tickets because they provide the tax revenue that funds the police. 2-3 free speeding tix per year should be fair.
  • Art Vandelay So the likely way to determine one’s income would be via the tax return. You guys are going to be real disappointed when some of the richest folks pay no speeding fine the same way they minimize their taxes
  • Teddyc73 A resounding NO. This has "Democrat" "Socialism" "liberalism" "Progressivism" and "Communism" written all over it.