QOTD: Can You Make Something From Nothing?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Silk purse from a sow’s ear. Lemonade from lemons. The hackneyed clichés are as endless as the bluster from talking heads on television. On occasion, though, these old phrases hold a bit of water (sometimes that water’s in the cylinder head, but whatever).

There are plenty of terrible cars littering America’s past, but a few of them did have interesting variants. I’ll point to a silver lining in one of The General’s darkest clouds: the Chevrolet Citation X-11.

For 1980, the X-11 was upgraded with front and rear stabilizer bars after GM handling boffins fiddled with the suspension tuning. A high-output version of the carbureted 2.8-liter six V6 arrived in 1981, boasting a less restrictive exhaust and a working hood scoop. It made a heady 135 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque. Different final-drive ratios and transmission gearing helped distance the X-11 from its mundane brothers.

Yes, one could get the thing with a manual transmission, but — because ’80s — it was a four-speed. Still, buff books of the day reported the X-11 would scamper to 60 mph just 0.4 seconds adrift of the same model year Corvette.

It even went racing in SCCA Showroom Stock, taking the championship in ’82 before repeating the feat two years later.

What’s your favorite polished turd? Sentra SE-R? MX-3 1.8L V6? Colt Turbo? Fire away below.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • JREwing JREwing on Apr 24, 2018

    The X-body, as a car, was not a horrible design. It was quite intelligently designed, and was the basis for the A-body and other descendants. The biggest issue, by far, with them was the horrible quality control. The '88 Fiero with the V6, 5-speed, and the redesigned suspension should get more love. But it had the crummy '84-87 models for its reputation, and GM mothballed it. It would've been a great platform for their Quad 4 and/or the DOHC 3.4 V6. It screams for a 3.6L V6 swap out of the new Impalas.

  • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Apr 24, 2018

    Excuse me but rather than a QOTD wasn't this the job description for any AMC designers/engineers?

  • Bobmaxed Bobmaxed on Apr 24, 2018

    Late 70's Turbo Saab and its baby brother the Saab 99 EMS

  • Forty2 Forty2 on Apr 24, 2018

    I'll never not feel a little guilty about talking my mom into trading her dull-as-dust 1977 Toyota Corona for a 1980 X11. It cornered fast and flat and would light up the front tires but had a column shift 3-spd auto. It was a terrible car that spent 25% time at the shop. She unloaded it as soon as the warranty was up for a 1985 Camry.