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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

1988 Chevrolet Celebrity CL: Nicest one left?

If you grew up in the '80s, you will remember the Chevrolet Celebrity. The General's most affordable A-body was seemingly everywhere, in every flavor: sedan, wagon, woody wagon, Eurosport. And then, one day, they were all gone. I still see Cutlass Cieras and Centurys on occasion here in the heartland.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/klockau-classics/1988-chevrolet-celebrity-cl-nicest-one-left/
8 REPLIES 8
hyperv6
Racer

Funny how I still see these. They are not pretty and fade into the background but they are around. Same for the Beretta.

Now I see few other cars from this era. The Taurus first gen is rare and few K cars.

Not even a Honda or Toyota of this era.

I did see a 4 door Sunbird turbo in new condition that I found odd ad there were few of them new back then.
olde_blue
Pit Crew

I learned to drive in an 86 Eurosport wagon, whick was spacious and fuel efficient. It died an early death, barely 10 years old, due to a minor engine electronics issue on the 2.8L MPI V6 which snowballed after a mechanic fried the ECM, which could never be replaced with the right part, and it barely ran afterwards. Perhaps this is what killed most of them? I've looked on craigslist for a wagon for a number of years, and have only seen one basket case.
SJ
Technician

The same can be said of all the cars of that era, with a few notable exceptions. FWD was coming in full bore,quality was nothing to brag about, RIP for them. Now a Lincoln MK VII LSC with the Mustang GT engine, blacked out edition, miss it.
BMD4800
Gearhead

I just can’t get excited about the A-bodies.   Or the GM-10 cars either.    As a Midwest kid, the faithful G-body was replaced with  an A-body so mom had a better car in snow.  Then a GM-10, finally the first of many LeSabres (whatever that platform was).    

With the exception of the LeSabres, the other cars were pure trash.   Unreliable, rusted, ill-handing, garbage.  The 2.8/3.1 V6s were junk.   Both suffered multiple failures due to poor fuel (GM’s words) and while on paper they were good cars, in practice they were gone in 4 years each.  

CitationMan
Gearhead

I just saw a Celebrity 2 door sedan a few weeks ago. I initially thought it was a Lumina because I had totally forgotten the Celebrity nameplate.
hyperv6
Racer

You say what you like on these cars. No they were not great but they were better than a K car. But they generally could run 300k miles and they were easy and cheap to repair. 

That is why in the mid west most school parking lots were full of GM cars like this and the Cavalier.

 

The imports just rusted out and often were not cheap or easy to repair for the average kid. 

These were plentiful, cheap and easy to keep on the road. 

My dad bought two Eurosport’s in 85. The first was a carb version with steel rally wheels. Silver over black. 

Mom needed a car later and I got to spec it out. It was black over silver with aluminum wheels and the MPI 2.8.  I picked every option but a sun roof that dad vetoed. 

He bought these as I told him on any FWD car get the handling suspension so it would hold up. He later bought a FWD Cutlass with out and regretted it. 

He later got the Le Sabre  with the Grand Touring package and just loved that car. 

Not an era of many fond memories of most cars. 

Snailish
Engineer

Demographics of who owned it would determine the survival rate difference between Chev-Olds-Buick in the like-built models I would guess. Not like they were appreciably built any better than each other?

The Chevs were driven by high school kids as hand-me-downs long before the grandparents stopped taking the Buick to Florida for the winter.

Where I live most of this era of car rotted out from the pickled brine they put on the winter roads long before they needed a new engine. You still occasionally see swiss-cheese with rust Olds from this era (or slightly newer, intrigue & aurora) refusing to die even today.
drm101
Detailer

If anyone needs a rust free deck lid in MI for a Celebrity, I have one sitting on my woodpile in the back 40.
I love the 2.8L. It's an excellent engine that makes great torque and is fuel efficient. The Iron Duke was also a great engine. Dad had the 2.5L in his '84 6000 and it knocked down 32 mpg. My friends and I drove it from MI to Daytona Beach my senior year and I remember setting the cruise at 95 mph and letting it eat. When we got back the tires all had separated belts. I will agree that the handling was not good. I remember going a bit too fast around a corner and the rear end swinging wildly back and forth several times before landing me in the ditch. I'm sure the 6000 SE or Eurosport handled much better than Dad's base 6000.