Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Cite To Behold: 1982 Chevrolet Citation X-11

 If you don't remember the Citation, let me say that you didn't miss much, and if you do remember the Citation...then I'm sorry about that.  When GM renames its compact offerings (like it does every 5 years or so) it is a feeble attempt to wash the taste from the last pile of junk out of your mouth...and the Citation was no different...but the X-11 version just might have offered a hint of sweetness to offset the taste of bile.  Find this 1982 Chevrolet Citation X-11here on eBay bidding for $6,999 with a few hours to go, located in Cumberland, MD.

My mom always said to me: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at...!*@## did the door handle just break on the Citation again?...#&%%@@ piece of ##%@!..where is your father." I know, I know...some X-11 owner is going to chime into the comments and talk about how long he/she has owned daily driven a Citation and its been the best thing since the polio vaccine was developed...but let's not pull punches, these cars are terrible...maybe not as bad as polio...but close.

Pop the hood and admire the "High output" V6 under the hood.  The 2-bbl carburetor fed 2.8 liter LH7 puts out 135 horsepower and 145 ft-lbs of torque and will absolutely crush 0-60mph in 9.2 seconds....which isn't bad for economy cars from the 80s, but that is with the 4-speed manual, and this one has the dreaded 3-speed auto, bringing acceleration into city bus territory.

I have to admit, however, that this is probably the nicest slushbox fitted Citation X-11 you can find for sale around the web...so it does have that going for it.

See another example of the best of the worst? tips@dailyturismo.com


  1. (puts on rose-colored glasses and begins to type...)

    I love this. Everything about this car is perfect. This is a museum piece that needs to be taken out for occasional short runs to keep it in this preserved condition.

    The first car I had the pleasure of driving on a daily basis was a hand-me-down 1980 Citation 5-door hatchback. I took my driving exam in that car and proceeded to use it daily in high school and college. It was bright red with a tan interior, just like a Ferrari, except not at all like a Ferrari.

    Yes it was an inexpensive car, and yes, it had its share of mechanical troubles, but it was solid as a steel turd (uh...what?). The interior plastics were cheap and faded, but everything else was durable.

    It survived all sorts of mishaps, irresponsibility, and errors in judgement associated with 16-year-olds granted a license and untethered freedom.

    Most importantly, my "city bus slow" example was able to beat my buddy's '66 Mustang in a stoplight drag contest. My V-6 automatic went head-to-head with his vintage muscle car. For the sake of this story and my pride as a non-threatening teenage hooligan, it's irrelevant that his Mustang was a 6-cylinder with a 3-speed and he may have bogged the 1-2 shift a little. I crossed the line first... and refused a rematch or any subsequent races. One and done. My hotrod Citation was retired from racing, undefeated, forever a champion.

    So I hereby go on record giving praise to the almighty Citation. As the Chevrolet promotional advertisements should have claimed, "The new Chevrolet Citation. It's better than Polio!"

    (removes rose-colored glasses and continues typing...)

    Best of the worst is right. But still, it's a pristine X-11. Wouldn't you just want to try it once? Maybe when your friends aren't watching.

    Greatest part to the story of this particular X-11... The original owner traded in a 1980 Citation towards its purchase. Check out the hand-typed invoice. If I'm reading it right, he got $5747.91 for the old one. We all know who walked away the winner.

  2. I remember when these came out, and Car and Driver tested a pre-production example provided by GM. It returned amazing performance and handling. C&D sang its praises. However, other publications could not get anywhere near the results. C&D figured out they had been "had". When they contacted GM, the brass produced a cock and bull story about "oh, it was due to the tires. The car you got had tires that were really well worked-in". Yeah, sure it did, GM......

  3. In college I came soo close to buying a silver one with a bright red interior, 4 speed. The dealer let me take it out alone, with my friend so of course I hooned it hard. Never having driven a front drive car before while blasting down a straight I reach a 90 degree left all too quickly. The front end plowed so hard I don't know how I didn't end up in the curb. We trundled back slowly, butt cheeks clenched.

  4. My grandparents had a beige Citation when I was in the very nascent stages of cognitive development. As a result, the notion of a car being a lemon may have been the first concept I learned.

  5. Oh my gosh, I've owned 2 of these X-11's. They were pretty cool little cars. Functional fiberglass cowl hoods, and some kind of trick carburetor that were supposedly well known enough that we were warned that the car might be stolen for. My Dad bought one for my Mom, just as I was turning 16, so I got to drive it quite a bit before getting my own car. White with blue interior, automatic trans and a dual port pop up sunroof. Later on I bought myself one in the exact color combination as this one pictured with a horribly shifitng 4 speed manual and a clutch that chattered like hell. I ended up trading the maroon in on a brand new VW Golf when I got my first "real" job. A year later when I lost said job, my super hero Mom took over the payments on my Golf and I took what little savings I had and bought the old white X-11 from her. Just after buying it from her, I took it to a mechanic to see if he could diagnose a chronic misfire. He discovered that in all the years we had owned it, and all the times it had been to this shop or that shop, for tune-ups, no mechanic had ever felt it was worth his time to replace the hardest to reach spark plug on that transverse mounted 2.8 V6. It had always only gotten 5 new plugs. It ran like a champ after that until the transmission began to act up and I traded it for a 1972 VW Super Beetle. Turned out the Beetle was completely rotten underneath and then the engine seized completely as I was coming home from school. Meanwhile, the X-11 had a rear wheel bearing seize, dig into the rear spindle and sheared the back wheel right off the car, sending the guy I traded it to into a ditch. So we both came out pretty much even on the trade. Good times.

  6. It's funny how terrible cars will bring out the best stories and comments!

    1. Maybe we should just post stuff like this and rename the site Daily Turd-ismo.

  7. Fleetwood T. BroughamJuly 27, 2016 at 9:14 AM

    The price for this seems optimistic, especially given the start contrast here on page 1 with a 2004 CLK55 for $1500 less.

    1. Although even with the crack-pipe pricing on the Citation, it may end up costing more to buy and own the Mercedes for one year. Depends on how well the POs kept up with maintenance, but I'd be a bit worried about the cost of repairs on a $5000 AMG. At least the parts for a Citation are cheap...

    2. 15 bidders and it closed above reserve at $7,685. That's not optimism of the seller, that's desire of the buyer. However, without the condition or mileage of this particular car, it would be impossible to reach this price with another X-11. This was likely the best X-11 in existence today and the buyer probably shares a kinship with some of the storytellers who posted above. Nostalgia will open a wallet faster than anything else.

  8. The 1981 X-11 was spun up by John Heinricy as a Showroom Stock A racer. The 135HP engine and some subframe/steering cradle stiffening and the chassis and the fiberglas hood...there was a lot more to it than just the stickers.

    And the little V6 was a pretty sweet engine for its time, and not slow even in slushbox form.

    That said...paying seven grand for one of these means you have childhood memories to relive.


    1. These cars had the same quality issues of any other GM car on the road in that era. But at least these were still fun to drive. I won my fair share of stop light battles with my X-11's. Once you learned to manage the torque steer, that actually had the effect of making the car feel more powerful, and keep the car out of the weeds, they would come off the line pretty good in that day and age.
      The vertical stereos meant you had to tilt your head a little to read any aftermarket unit you decided to install.

  9. My uncle had one of these, silver I think, with the four speed. And I drove one in drivers ed, four door, auto, almost certainly a four cylinder. But the teacher was fun and we had a good time driving around the Houston suburbs.

    As to this particular car, buy it and crush it. Seriously, are we going to be preserving Chevy Corsica's next?? Some cars just suck.


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