Junkyard Find: 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity CL Station Wagon

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1989 chevrolet celebrity cl station wagon
During the late 20th century, General Motors managed to get at least a couple of decades out of most of their platforms, but GM sold the Chevrolet Celebrity for just the 1982 through 1990 model years. Its A-body platform held on just through the 1996 model year. Celebrities sold very well, but broke often, depreciated in fall-off-a-cliff fashion, and few made it into the current century.Here’s a rare Celebrity wagon I found yesterday in a Denver self-service yard.
This is one of the rare GM cars of this era with a six-digit odometer (I don’t bother to photograph 5-digit ones), so we can see that this car made it just over the magical 100,000-mile mark.
The interior is your standard Detroit blue velour of the 1980s and 1990s. This stuff holds up pretty well under harsh sunlight.
A 1988 Celebrity Eurosport sedan with Iron Duke engine was the horrifically miserable and unreliable car that convinced my patriotic Midwestern parents — who had stuck with Detroit cars through the darkness of the Malaise Era, because that’s just what you did — that they would never, ever, no matter what, buy an American car again; today, they are on their third Camry and their first Mazda6. Millions like them switched to imports during the 1980s and never looked back. Here’s that Celebrity with my 1965 Impala sedan.
At least this car has the way-better-than-the-Iron Duke 2.8 V6.
It appears this household light switch controls the headlights.
The last time I did a Celebrity Junkyard Find, many of you objected to my characterization of this car as a turd that chased away many of the once-loyal Chevy buyers who hadn’t even felt sufficiently betrayed by the Citation and early Cavalier to give up completely on the marque. Perhaps there is a parallel mirror-world universe in which the Celebrity stood tall atop Quality Mountain, bald eagles circling proudly while an endless line of Camrys and Tauruses burned in a garbage heap below. I have not been to that universe, unfortunately.
Moving into more car doesn’t have to be expensive or boring!
Requires less than 12 horsepower to cruise at 50 mph.[Images: © 2016 Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars]
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  • Zoomzoomfan Zoomzoomfan on May 18, 2016

    I was supposed to have an '88 Celebrity Eurosport sedan. My grandfather bought it from an auction in 2004 with 28,000 miles. It was a nice car. Had every option. He detailed it, had some paint work done, and of course refreshed/replaced hoses, tires, and other parts worn out by sitting over the years. It was a nice car. He sold it shortly before I got my license, though. I still see it around town occasionally.

  • Deafvet Deafvet on May 18, 2016

    I currently own a 'fleet' of original survivor 1987 Celebrity v6 sedans, all under 100k. Light blue 2.8 w/ 4 speeed and gauge pkg & trunk release button, w/crank windows, an 87 light brown Eurosport 2.8 w/3 speed--power windows, both are running and registered here in Hawaii. Also a light green 2.8 w/3 speed--crank windows, currently being used as a functional yard vehicle for spare parts/assemblies. I much prefer the manual crank windows. Very little rust on these, the blue one spent most of its life in a garage so the paint is (mostly) excellent, seats and headliner are fine and not faded. See: https://www.hagerty.com/yourstories/2014/11/18/Survivor-Brothers20141118013658 , these are mine. 86-89 Celebrity taillights are the best!! These cars have nice size and styling, comfortable, steel chrome bumpers, disk brakes, fuel injection, and distributorless electronic ignition, which sets them above earlier classics with drum brakes, carbs, and points/distributors. Parts are cheap and available.

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