Junkyard Find: 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier RS

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1990 chevrolet cavalier rs

The early 1990s was an interesting period for cheap small cars from Detroit with front-wheel-drive and enough power to edge into fun territory. You could get a Geo Storm GSi, or a Ford Escort GT, or even a Plymouth Sundance Duster. Or you could just give up completely and buy the vaguely sporty-looking Cavalier RS. These cars are surprisingly rare nowadays, considering how ubiquitous they once were, though they’re still easier to find than the somewhat quick Z24 Cavalier. Here’s an example I spotted a few days ago in a Denver self-service yard.

GM was hoping that memories of the Chevrolet “Rally Sport” cars of the late 1960s and early 1970s would help move this iron off the showroom floor. Look, it’s downtown Denver in the background!

95 horsepower from this 2.2 liter, Opel-designed pushrod four. Hey, at least it isn’t an Iron Duke!

The RS package was always just a bunch of appearance and convenience options, but imagine an alternative universe in which GM dropped the 180-horse Quad 4 in this car. It would have been quicker than the Beretta GTZ, and more sleeper-ish.

These plastic door-panel badges really don’t age well. Next stop: Crusher!

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  • Mikey Mikey on May 30, 2012

    Last fall I bought a 2009 Cobalt coupe for my wife. Three weeks later, her licence was revoked for medical reasons. {Nuff said} I could of sold that car ten times over. However, I kind of like its simpliciy. I've turned down some good offers. Its great in the urban area I live. Gas is 4.80 a US gallon around here. I also own an Impala and a Mustang. My adult children,and my friends think I'm nuts. "What have ya gotta have three car for". {Well, its only two and half,because the Mustang sleeps all winter}. I tell them all, "I just like my Cobalt" "geozinger" has nailed it "different strokes" eh?

  • BangForYourBuck BangForYourBuck on May 31, 2012

    I love the shot with the skyline!!