Today’s Hemming Daily blog included an entry on their Find of the Day—a Dark Blue Metallic 1980 Chevrolet Citation hatchback sedan with 70,000 miles available for $7,000. This officially fits it in my “Who Saves These Cars” category.
“The first Chevy of the ’80s”
For 1980, the Chevrolet Citation was truly all new. It may have been the “most thoroughly tested new car in Chevy history,” but the Citation quickly became the most recalled car in history, with an absolutely astounding nine recalls in an era when manufacturers did not readily initiate recalls.
The standard powertrain on the 2,491-pound sedan was the GM’s Iron Duke 90 bhp 2.5 liter/151 ci four with a Rochester Varajet two-barrel carburetor, paired with a four-speed manual transmission. Fuel economy was 24 city/38 highway by the standards of the day (21/34 by today’s standards). 0-60 times for the Iron Duke are hard to find, but were likely over 12 seconds for the four-speed manual transmission and probably almost 16 seconds (oog) with the optional ($337) three-speed automatic transmission.
Spending $225 to upgrade to the LE2 2.8 liter/173 ci V6 (also with a Varajet two-barrel carburetor) got you 115 bhp and a 0-60 time of a little over 10 seconds. Fuel economy dropped, but not by that much: to 20 city/34 highway with the four-speed manual transmission. Moving to the profligate three-speed automatic transmission dropped highway mileage to 30 mpg.
Standard mechanical equipment on the $5,153 sedan (about $17,300 in 2018 dollars) included the heavily advertised front-wheel drive, rack-and-pinion steering, front disc brakes, glass-belted P185/80R13 radial tires (now a trailer size), and a Delco Freedom battery. Inside, sliding door locks, a lockable glove box, and an AM radio were considered worth mentioning as standard features. Chevrolet also shamelessly stated that the sedan’s .417 drag coefficient was a sign of “Efficient Aerodynamics.”
Exterior and mechanical options were many, including cruise control ($105), an electric rear window defogger ($101), intermittent wipers ($39), power brakes, power steering, sport mirrors (both manual and power), and tinted glass ($70). Inside, a custom interior, a gauge package ($70), bucket seats, air conditioning ($564), a reclining front passenger seat, power door locks ($123), power windows ($189), a tilt wheel ($75), and an AM/FM stereo radio with cassette ($188) were all available.
As Hemmings showed today, Citations do sometimes come up for sale, though I see few in the condition of the one they highlighted. Other X-bodies I’ve written about in this blog included the 1981 Chevrolet Citation X-11 hatchback coupe, the 1983 Buick Skylark T TYPE coupe, and the 1985 Chevrolet Citation II hatchback sedan. Perhaps the Oldsmobile Omega and Pontiac Phoenix deserve some attention.
Updated in December 2018.