Junkyard Find: 1985 Cadillac Cimarron
Way back in 2007, I kicked off the Down On the Street series (which was supposed to be a one-time reference to the title of a Stooges song beloved by me and the late Davey J. Johnson) with the first of what would turn out to be hundreds of interesting street-parked cars: a 1984 Cadillac Cimarron d’Oro. That led to something of a Cimarron obsession, and I’ve spent the past 15 years documenting every semi– intact Cadillac J-Body I find during my junkyard adventures. You’d think they’d all have been crushed by now, but such is not the case; I found this loaded Brown Overload Edition ’85 in a yard near Pikes Peak earlier this year.
Junkyard Find: 1987 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Sport Coupe
Junkyard Find: 1985 Chevrolet Cavalier Wagon
Chevrolet built Cavaliers for close to a quarter-century, selling something like five million units. If you count the all the other J-body siblings sold around the world (including some really weird stuff), the extended Cavalier family is one of the largest in automotive history. Somehow, though, the once-ubiquitous 1982-1987 first-generation Cavaliers have all but disappeared from North American car graveyards; I’ve documented plenty of later Cavaliers during my junkyard travels, sure, but the early ones seem to have been crushed decades ago. Finally, here’s a reasonably straight ’85 wagon in a northeastern Colorado yard.
Rare Rides: The 1987 Chevrolet Cavalier RS Convertible, Last of First
The Rare Rides series is a friend to the General Motors J-body. In 2018 we featured a 2000 Sunbird from ’83, in 2020 there was the ’84 Oldsmobile Firenza Cruiser, and earlier this year a ’91 Cavalier wagon.
But we’ve never featured the OG J-body main event, a first-gen Cavalier. Let’s go.
Buy/Drive/Burn: Basic American Compact Coupes From 1998
The Buy/Drive/Burn series has taken on a late Nineties theme lately: Our last two entries represented midsize sedans from 1997. Based upon a suggestion in the comments, we return once more to the period. On offer today are three very basic American compact coupes from 1998.
Rare Rides: An Utterly Pristine 1991 Chevrolet Cavalier Wagon
We featured the predecessor to General Motors’ J-body last week in the Pontiac Sunbird, which was replaced by the J-body J2000 in 1982. But the Cavalier was always the star of the J-body show; the one everyone thought to buy.
Today we feature an immaculate wagon from Cavalier’s second generation.
2005 Chevrolet Cavalier, Last Gasp of the J Platform Edition
Rare Rides: An Ultra Brown 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza Cruiser
In the Eighties, did you seek a compact car with the highest possible number of lamps at the front? If so, the choice was clear in ’84: Oldsmobile Firenza.
Junkyard Find: 1988 Chevrolet Cavalier Coupe
GM may have produced the W-Body for a few more years than the J-Body (W-based Impala Limited production continued until 2016), but Chevy Cavalier sales continued like money-printing clockwork via the increasingly antiquated J platform from 1981 all the way through 2005.
More than five million Cavaliers rolled off assembly lines in the United States and Mexico, so we still see the later ones on the street. 1980s Cavaliers — particularly Cavalier coupes — have all but disappeared from the street, so I keep my eyes open for interesting examples as I tread the oil-saturated soil of American junkyards. Here’s an ’88 coupe still showing the personality of its final owner, found in the shadow of Pikes Peak a few months ago.
Buy/Drive/Burn: Economical, Basic American Sedans for 1985
It’s the mid-1980s, so having a gas-guzzling, rear-drive Malaise box from the late ’70s is unthinkable. No, you’re a modern consumer, and you demand something front-drive and economical, but still with Malaise build quality.
Today we pick a compact Ace of Base from 1985.
GM's Keeping That Hot Cavalier Nameplate Alive
Ask this writer how he feels about the oft-derided Chevrolet Cavalier, and he’ll tell you it was only worth owning when offered with GM’s 60-degree V6 family (a second-gen coupe with a 3.1-liter is essentially the model’s zenith), though the 2002MY decision to plunk the decently powerful, low-maintenance 2.2-liter Ecotec beneath the hood wasn’t a bad one.
Besides those attributes, as well as, um, excellent secondhand affordability, there’s little praise that can be mustered for the model that bowed out of the Chevy lineup in 2005. Still, General Motors continues to see value in the Cavalier name. The model is still sold in China and Mexico, where it looks much like a smaller Cruze. And, in the U.S., GM just filed a trademark application for the nameplate.
Junkyard Find: 1989 Pontiac Sunbird GT Turbo
Since The General built cars on the J Platform from the 1982 through 2005 model years, I still see numerous examples of the J during my junkyard travels. Most of those are late-production Cavaliers and Sunfires — not so interesting — but today we’ve got a genuine high-performance Sunbird bearing one of the most important words of the 1980s: TURBO!
Rare Rides: The 1983 Pontiac 2000 Sunbird Nobody Remembers
Today’s Rare Ride is an oft-forgotten little J-body, designed and built right at the end of the unfortunate Malaise Era. This excellent condition example also comes from a confused time in GM’s naming of Pontiac small cars.
Come along and explore 2000 Sunbird.
Junkyard Find: 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Convertible
GM sold 191 octillion Cavalier s, more or less, during the Chevrolet-badged J-Body‘s 1982-2005 production run, and so I walk by many discarded examples without feeling any urge to grab my camera.
A late-1990s Z24 convertible is a rarity, though, and so I photographed this ’98 in a Phoenix self-service yard back in July.
China Resurrects a Great Nameplate for a New Chevy: 'Cavalier'
No matter who you are or what status you hold in society, at some point in the past 34 years you did something in a Chevrolet Cavalier, and it was probably a lackluster experience (barring anything in the backseat, though even then…).
For reasons unknown, the nameplate that once summed up everything that was wrong with domestic compacts will return to the automotive landscape on a China-only Chevrolet model, GMInsideNews reports.