Junkyard Find: 1982 Chevrolet Citation

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1982 chevrolet citation

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 ’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.

The 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.

The 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.

This 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.

The 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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  • Jrocco001 Jrocco001 on May 21, 2014

    We had one of these as a kid. I remember my dad, for reasons I could not at all understand at the time, having to drive it in reverse several miles to the shop for service (with my Mom and my brother and I "leading" the way in our AMC Hornet. I guess the shifter cable broke but who knows. I was only 5 but learned a lot of bad words that day.

  • 1981X-11 1981X-11 on Apr 03, 2015

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

  • Lorenzo They should have put a more upright windshield on it, and kept the V trim on the hood. Dump the sliding passenger door and put the twin hinged doors back. Dump the batteries and put the 1.4 turbo into it, and put the original 16 inch wheels back, with metal hubcaps. VW did to the Buzz what they did to the new Bug, went with the generic shape and took out all the details people liked.
  • Azfelix This inspires so much confidence in the knowledge that government employees also have oversight over the proposed emergency braking rules. Ancient Athenians utilized the process of banishment. Perhaps we should consider implementing it for every government agency at every level.
  • MrIcky Its going to sell really well for a little bit, then everyone who wanted one will have one and it will sell almost nothing ever again-primarily well to do flower shop delivery vehicles after that first wave.
  • MaintenanceCosts It will have an initial period of, well, buzz because of the Type 2 nostalgia.Whether it has legs beyond that period will depend on whether VW can get competitive on two things: (1) electric powertrain efficiency, where their products have been laggards so far (hurting range badly), and (2) software. The packaging looks good and will help, but they need to get those other things right too.
  • Oberkanone Priced too high though not by much.