Tag Archives: chevy

The car that nearly killed GM, the 2nd time

And has virtually no value beyond sentimental

Chevy citation, citation, promotional model cars, dealer promotional cars
Courtesy General Motors

I remember when the Chevy Citation was introduced by General Motors in 1980. This X-body car was Chevy‘s front wheel drive car. Because of the transverse mounted engine, no transmission hump, it had tons of interior space. My experience comes from working at two TV stations where the news department bought entire fleets of Citations. Those entire fleets sometimes spent more time in the shop than gathering the news. I was on a trip from Green Bay to Indianapolis to cover the 500, and on our way back, the clutch gave out just south of Chicago. So it was rush hour, on a Friday, a tow truck comes along, cha-ching, a chevy citation, citation, bad cars, 80's cars, promotional model cars, dealer promo modelscouple hundred bucks, then tows us to a transmission shop, cha-ching,  more hundred bucks. Luckily the shop had a hotel right across from it because we were going to have to stay overnight. So when I get back, this is good, you’ll like this, I hand in my expense account in and the bean counter questions the towing charge, ah, hello, you don’t make deals with tow trucks on the Illinois Tollway at rush hour, and then about the bill for the new clutch. So again, hello, no clutch, no car, so were my photographer and I supposed to push the car from shop to shop? Jeez, these guys. Don’t they know that sometimes you’re in a situation where there is no cheap?

chevy citation, chevrolet citation, crappy cars of the 80's, promotional model cars, dealer promo models
General Motors Archives

Kind of got off topic there, back to the Citation. It was built to try to fight back the Japanese cars like the Honda Accord, still alive and kicking, and the Volkswagen Dasher, not around anymore. The Citation had through the roof sales its first year and the production lines were unable to keep up with the demand, causing huge delays in delivery to customers, some waiting nine months to receive their vehicle. Can you believe waiting nine months for a car? Well maybe a special one but not this one. First-year sales were more than 800,000, good enough for No. 1 among cars sold in the United States.

The automotive press loved it…but then didn’t

Car and Driver magazine named the Citation their 1980 Car of the Year but there was skullduggery a foot. Turns out that GM provided the writers with specially modified versions of the X-body vehicles in which the often noted torque steer (famous for) had been engineered out. Patrick Bedard of Car and Driver later admitted that they were completely surprised when they later drove a production version. In an article in 2009, the magazine put the Citation on their 10 Most Embarrassing Award Winners in Automotive History list. What a surprise, the 1983 AMC/Renault Alliance was also on the take back list. Go figure.

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General Motors Archives

The reason it made the list was, because like so many other cars of that era (including AMC), were built crappy. Citation owners were having trim bits fall off in their hands, hearing their transmissions groan and seize, and the cars started rusting in a very short time. At times it seemed the suspension in some X-cars wasn’t even bolted in correctly. Because of an on-center dead spot in the steering, the ride motions grew funkier and funkier. GM tried to save the train wreck by introducing the Citation II along with the performance-enhanced Citation X-11. Chevrolet wanted to remind the car buying public that this front wheel drive newcomer was made by the same people as the Corvette and Camaro. It actually won at SCCA events running in the Showroom Stock B class. Bob McConnell drove a 1981 X-11 to SSB National Championships in 1982 and 1984. Of the 1.64 million Citation models built between 1979 and 1985, only 20,574 were in X-11 trim, meaning that surviving examples are a rare sight today.

And we’re done

GM dropped the Citation, and it’s other X-body siblings, after the 1985 model year, ultimately replaced by the L-body Beretta coupe and Corsica sedan in 1987. Better, sort of. This is a familiar car story from the 80’s, a ground-breaking car that never lived up to its billing. You have to wonder had the cars, GM’s or the other manufacturers, displayed both the initial build quality and lasting reliability of the Japanese competition, the automotive world might be very different today.

And they made a promo model

chevy citation, chevrolet citation, crappy cars of the 80's, promotional model cars, dealer promo models, general motorschevy citation, chevrolet citation, crappy cars of the 80's, promotional model cars, dealer promo modelschevy citation, chevrolet citation, crappy cars of the 80's, promotional model cars, dealer promo models, general motorsSo I found this black one, an ’82, which is pretty good shape for being over 30 years old. Some minor scratches but otherwise everything was good but has little value, around 20 bucks. I suppose somebody might buy it to remind them of their time waiting in the shop. Then I found this Citation, probably a kit, and got a laugh. This guy probably hung around at the junk yards a lot. I know, I know, I’m an AMC guy so shouldn’t be throwing stones.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51 1LT

Fast & furious new Stingray sets a new standard 

The company parking lot was alive with color, as was the driveway at home. People stared, gave a thumbs up and admired what for 60 years has been America’s Sports Car.1LT, 2014 Corvette Stingray, auto reviews, Chevrolet, chevy, Corvette, heads-up display, savageonwheels.com, sexy cars, Stingray, Vette, Z51

This was a Torch Red Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51, fresh off the assembly line in Bowling Green, Ky., and raring to have its legs stretched, its engine thrummed, its giant near slick ZR-rated tires warmed and spun. The Corvette remains a two-seater, but by the late 1960s had transitioned from sports car to muscle car.

Oh, these babies are raced to be sure, but on the highway, on our city streets, it’s their muscle that most folks admire. They are low, so low I found myself looking up to a Mini Cooper that I was passing on the freeway. Vettes are fast. Chevy claims 3.8 seconds from 0-60 mph and even it if it’s 4.0 or a touch more, it’ll haul butt.

Top speed? It’s rated at 190 mph and there’s no good place to test that out, legally. Suffice it to say I got within 90 mph of that. Highway entry ramps are too short in a Corvette, which for its seventh generation that debuts as a 2014, brings back the much loved Stingray name.

1LT, 2014 Corvette Stingray, auto reviews, Chevrolet, chevy, Corvette, heads-up display, savageonwheels.com, sexy cars, Stingray, Vette, Z51For the record Chevy has revamped its giant 6.2-liter V8 to add direct injection and variable valve timing. That translates into 460 horses and a torque rating of 465. Consider that a Porsche 911 Carrera S manages 400 horses, albeit from a flat-6, and costs almost twice as much. Continue reading 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51 1LT

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab

New Silverado quieter, more refined and plenty strong

A pickup is a pickup, there’s no two ways about it.chevy

Pickup trucks are tall and boxy and, well, originally intended for work, primarily in farm fields and on construction sites. That’s why they ride higher and even the new – nose to tail – Chevrolet Silverado has an impressive 8.7 inches of ground clearance.

But you and I know that somehow over the last two decades pickups have gone from being affordable work trucks to expensive everyday vehicles, although still plenty capable of work. Pickups aren’t simple in any sense of the word anymore and their price tags prove it.

A base 2-wheel-drive standard cab starts at $23,590, but the tested Crew Cab, which is more popular because you can carry the whole family to the mall or to town if you’re still a rural dweller, started at $35,855, about $4 grand higher than an average new car. A base Silverado Crew Cab with standard bed lists at $32,200, plus a $995 destination charge. Want 4-wheel drive? That’s just $300 more. Continue reading 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab

Chasing Classic Cars: A barn full of Chevys

A Chevy lover’s dream come true

Lambrecht-Chevrolet-auction-Impala--sedanIf you’re into collecting Chevys then you need to start planning a trip Pierce Neb. located in the northeast portion of the state. If you’re coming from the east or north, you’re in luck, from the west, not so much. I’ve driven Nebraska a couple of times and it is flat with nothing to see but corn fields. Ah but you’d be going there for the cars. This will have around 500 cars mostly from what the owners of a Chevy dealer kept over the years. Super collection some with low miles. If you can’t make the trip on September 28-29, here is a list of the cars and what they are going for in the online auction.

2014 Chevrolet Impala 2LT

New Chevy Impala brings GM all the way back

Originally I thought Chevrolet’s Cruze signaled that the giant automaker was back, back to its 1960s world of innovative, high-value, handsomely styled vehicles. Cruze may have been the beginning, but Impala really says that Chevy has arrived.

Sleek and modern, the new Impala is a looker!
Sleek and modern, the new Impala is a looker!

Since 1958 Impala has told folks that their neighbors have arrived, financially. It was pretty much the top of the line Chevy for a family. Oh sure, there was the Corvette, but that was for single guys or mid-life crisis guys. Impala was a loaded family sedan with a bit of styling flair, and sometimes even a sporty edge.
The 2014 Impala is all that in today’s crowded large sedan marketplace, but unlike many previous attempts to catch the competition, this Impala is top-shelf and maybe even a step or two ahead of some competitors.

Styling is crisp and attractive with a fastback style rear window and C pillar to give the car’s profile a swept back look. Folks noticed, and that’s not something Chevy has heard often in the past four decades. People weren’t sure what it was, asking if it were a Lexus and one suggested a Jaguar. Well, it does look inviting and muscular in profile with a clean nose and tail.

SavageOnWheels.com, car reviews, Subaru, Subaru ForesterUnder the hood? The tested 2LT model packs a 3.6-liter, direct-injection V6 that provides 305 horsepower and is linked to a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic. Torque is strong and the car will dance up to highway speeds quickly and efficiently. There is a tad of engine noise, just enough to let you know Impala means business. Continue reading 2014 Chevrolet Impala 2LT