Chevrolet Citation Has Nearly Vanished, But Here’s a Sporty X-11

American, Classics, Featured  /   /  By Bradley Berman

The Chevy Citation has more or less disappeared from America’s highways. GM built them between 1980 and 1985.

The Citation was the result of a General Motors program to develop a competitive compact car. They limped along with 1970s-era holdover designs in years prior.

The Chevrolet Citation would debut a fuel-efficient front-wheel-drive platform for GM.

It was also known as the X-car due to its internal name. The Buick Skylark and the Oldsmobile Omega joined it in Chevrolet showrooms.

They’re not all gone, as the 1982 Chevrolet Citation X-11 in this auction listing proves.

In fact, the Citation sold in huge numbers on its initial launch. GM sold 800,000 in the first year alone.

People praised the car for forward-thinking ideas that saw the General abandoning some aspects of malaise-era concepts that had ruled the previous five years of car sales.

Still, many issues came up during the Citation’s initial run. The issues ruined its chances to last on the US market.

The Citation won the title of “Motor Trend Car of The Year” right out of the gate.

But, a series of recalls would spell doom for the Chevy Citation. These included:

  • Brake problems
  • Corrosion
  • Suspension system not properly attached to its chassis

Reliability problems also plagued the Chevrolet. That meant these hatchbacks and notchbacks hit the scrap yard early.

Sales fell from about 500k in 1980 to 63,000 five years later.

The engine and other parts under the hood of a Chevy Citation X-11

The X-11 model in this auction was the sportiest version of the Chevy Citation. It’s important not to get too excited about so-called lively driving in an affordable early-1980s car.

The X-11 got a 2.8-liter V6 outfitted with a two-barrel carburetor. That engine replaced the 2.5-liter “Iron Duke” four-cylinder engine.

The result was 135 horsepower—45 more than the four-cylinder—and a 0-60 time of fewer than nine seconds. That wasn’t all that bad for the time.

Also, GM upgraded the suspension. A four-speed manual transmission stirred the pot. But the model for sale here features an automatic.

You also got the sticker package seen in the auction photos.

Sticker package for Chevy Citation X-11 listing on eBay

The key attraction of this listing is the X-11 in question shows only 10,458 miles on its odometer. It’s more or less a one-owner car since new.

The second owner picked it up after the death of the original buyer after 30 years. Yet, they haven’t driven the car a ton.

The seller claims this may be the lowest-mileage X-11 on Earth. That could be right.

By all indications, nobody has taken up the task of saving these cars for the future. Will you answer the call?

Tell your friends:

See Corner Lights for Chevrolet Citation for sale on eBay.

About the Author

Bradley Berman is a leading writer and researcher about electric cars and green transportation. He regularly contributes driving reviews and technology articles to The New York Times, Fortune, MIT Technology Review, Popular Mechanics, and other publications.