By on May 10, 2021

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.

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By on February 8, 2021

2005 Chevrolet Cavalier in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe General built cars on the J Platform for a quarter-century, and J-based machines could be bought new with badges from just about every marque in the far-flung GM Empire. Yes, South Koreans drove Daewoo Esperos, Brits drove Vauxhall Cavaliers, Aussies drove Holden Camiras, and even the Japanese could buy Isuzu Askas and Toyota Cavaliers. In North America, nearly every marque offered J-Bodies at some point… and in the end, the very final Js were Chevy Cavaliers and Pontiac Sunfires. Here’s one of those end-of-the-line cars, found in a Denver yard a few months ago. (Read More…)

By on September 25, 2020

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.

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By on July 27, 2020

1988 Chevrolet Cavalier in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsGM 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. (Read More…)

By on May 6, 2020

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.

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By on April 3, 2019

1998 Chevrolet Cavalier in Phoenix wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

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. (Read More…)

By on February 18, 2019

1989 Pontiac Sunbird Turbo in Colorado wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsSince 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! (Read More…)

By on May 15, 2018

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.

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By on December 4, 2017

1998 Chevrolet Cavalier in Phoenix wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
GM sold 191 octillion Cavaliers, 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. (Read More…)

By on April 27, 2016

Chevrolet 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. (Read More…)

By on September 23, 2015

00 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 in Colorado wrecking yard - photo by Murilee Martin

We saw a 1990 Cavalier Z24 just a few months ago, but lately I’ve developed a sick fascination with the allegedly high-performance versions of the very popular Chevrolet Cavalier. Maybe it’s the wretchedness of the breed in the 24 Hours of LeMons, or maybe it’s the vivid purple paint job. Whatever the reason, here’s another ’90 that I found in a Denver-area yard not long ago. (Read More…)

By on April 17, 2015

04 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Chevy Cavalier sold in enormous quantities during its 23-year production run, and so most of them stay in the background for me at wrecking yards, much like Chrysler Sebrings and Ford Tempos. But the Cavalier Z24, on the other hand— that’s an interesting Junkyard Find! (Read More…)

By on October 23, 2013

13 - 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinGM made many, many Cavaliers during the model’s 23-year production run, and these days the mid-to-late-90s models are most common in high-turnover wrecking yards. Mostly I don’t photograph Cavaliers for this series, though I did shoot this ’90 Cavalier RS last year. However, I do think that cars powered by the Oldsmobile Quad 4 engine are worthy of Junkyard Find status— we’ve seen this ’90 Cutlass Calais International Series and this ’93 Achieva SCX so far— and the Cavalier Z24 was the last GM car to get the Quad 4, so let’s take a look at this ’98 that I spotted in Denver last week. (Read More…)

Recent Comments

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