people seem to think of these cars as trash. i have owned two of them and i can personally attest that is not true. they run forever, can be repaired at home deliver reasonable mileage, are reliable, economical to insure, came loaded or bare bones. it's a shame they are so under-rated. will these cars ever be restored or seen at car shows in 20 years or are they just going to fade into history. will there ever be ANY aftermarket support from companies like classic industries. they really should do a GM small car catalog that would cover cars like the cavalier and Beretta. my car gets me both laughs and complements. i do get plenty of good remarks from some people. its a 91 RS convertable 3.1 white car white leather interior.
which brings me to more questions.
the climate i live in is not friendly to cars that are driven in the winter. my car has never seen a winter so its very clean. the problem lies in the fact that these cars are no longer in the junk yards around here. i need some parts, nothing major just little things. today i bought a NOS bug bra on ebay, which is one thing i wanted as the bugs are beating up the front of the hood.
parts i need:
-rear quarter window, i already bought the passenger side but i need the drivers side. the metal trim is bad so the windows need to be replace
-drivers side marker light is aged and has all of the tiny little cracks
-instrument cluster with oil pressure, spedo, tach, and oil pressure gauges. spedo and tach stick. its annoying.
i was also wondering how difficult it would be to give this car a little more performance without swapping engines. did they have chips for these cars? will a little free flowing exhuast help? i dont really want to go through an engine swap because that little 3.1 just purs. 70 psi oil pressure on a cold engine and 55-60 on a warm engine at highway speeds. the engine is probably good for another 100k.
Here is my parts thread/request for parts! I know it is in the 1st gen but,I do get 2nd gen items too.First I am really tired long 13hr day trucking.So here is the thoughts on well the jbody being popular or remembered.First so many companies focus on the muscle cars and or special models and parts and restoration items for most 1st/2nd gens is non existant because the demand for it does not support reproduction parts like new metal,seals (not the typical ones) we need for the doors (outside window sweep OR technical name window belt ).As for the general crowd showing a genuine respect for a jbody it really is 50/50 for real appreciation and it really is considered a econo box to most.I will say the line did have a great choice of models,features,style and use for pretty much any age group and served the need well.I seriously doubt at this point classic industries or many gm parts direct product lines will ever revisit the idea of reproduction parts on any level from the body,trim,interior,and most of the dire need wear and tear items.I will keep this short for tonight I am just wiped out.I do want to continue and I myself own a 85 type 10 coupe,factory alloy whls,factory sunroof with a storage bag,upgraded interior and my favorite part 2.0 tbi mated to a Muncie 4 speed manual.My car is yellow gold a Very specific color only done in 1985! Trust me I get the just of what you are getting at that so many do not give the props for a da-n well made car that is easy to work on,easy to maintain and as for mileage they go,go,go for many miles.My car averages 25 city or so and best hwy was 34mpg and for a almost 30yr old car that laughs at todays cars for mpg imo.I want remember your parts you need now,but just post up your need on my thread so I will NOT forget to check when I go to the junkyards here in NC where the 2nd gens are fairly easy to find parts for and the 1st are getting mighty thin.I got carried away but I am def worn out.I love my jbody and will not sell it as it is classic to me!!!!!
im not saying i dont like muscle cars but in a world of $4 per gallon gas they are no longer practical to own. it costs $20 just to take it a 15 mile drive if you are getting less then 6 miles per gallon. the reality is you really cannot daily drive a 1980 camaro with a built 350 V8 with gas prices like they are now. you can buy and drive a 2nd or 3rd generation cavalier and while it might now get the same mileage as a new car, its not too far off. you buy a 2nd or 3rd generation cavalier and mileage isnt that far removed from a brand new car, AND most importantly NO debt, repairs done at home for the price of the parts only, liability insurance only. muscle cars have extremely poor fuel economy, a high cost of entry, and are just not practical to own. they are good for a nostalgic standpoint and nothing more. i personally had a 89 camaro with a 350 swap. it was a fun car, a great car but when it started costing me $20 per day just to drive to work i started to re-think the situation, i ended up selling the car but i have kept my cavalier from the same vintage. a car that is nothing more then a garage queen has little use to me. i have always bought cars to drive, BUT i dont drive a car like my RS convertible in the winter, i dont want to destroy it. it's a very solid car, when i took it for inspection, they commented on clean it was, a very much rust free car. i plan on putting a ton of summer miles on my cavalier and when it gets tired i will rebuild it and run it some more.
i was just hoping that the appreciation for these cars will increase in the coming years and the survivors hopefully might come out of the wood-work. they made a ton of these cars, i remember seeing them everywhere even up to a couple of years ago. these cars were still fairly commonplace when most other models from the same vintage were just about gone. i also had a 91 VL 2.2, i bought that car for $1,500 and drove it for 6 full years. i probably put an additional 100K on a car that had 130K on it when i bought it. granted i had to replace a head gasket but the repair was cheap and the car was still runing years later. i sold that car for $400 after 6 great years of service. i even pulled a utility trailer with it and hauled all kinds of crap around with that car. the made a ton of these cars i wish there would be SOME aftermarket support for them.
i think in some respects these cars look better then allot of junk that is built today. i dont care much for complexity in a vehicle, high repair costs, or car payments.
i do actually get quite a few complements on my car and how incredibly clean it is for a 91. people are used to seeing cars 10-15 years newer that are rotted to death and on their last legs. a car built in 91 that has zero rust, especially a cavalier that typically was treated poorly by the average owner is just unusual. i like to think it actually gets noticed in a positive way.
I do get the thoughts you have as I am holding onto my old first gen.I however do not drive mine much as I am doing resto work on it and just with the age and keeping it in a garage 24/7 has kept it nice for it's age.I don't think we will get the real support from the aftermarket as so many people just drove them until they quite or ragged them out.I find the jbody stuff while large in production just did not get the same appreciation such as a civic,integra as the imports showed more money from owners tuning,upgrades and shear numbers made were high as well.The bottom line is owners keeping them,restoring them,or updating just is not enough today to justify remanufacturing of from outside companies.I certainly do not care or a lot of new stuff it is so cookie cutter and plastic trash imo.I will say I did buy a new civic in 11 BUT this was replacing my original 1987 mazda truck as a daily I bought brand NEW! It stays covered and in sorts of restoration when I have time.I after owning the civic missed having a truck as daily to cart bigger items and back in oct traded my civic for a 14 Tacoma access cab which better suits my needs,and just missed a truck as a daily.I do not drive either much as the yo yo s on the road present a real problem and need something current for daily wear and tear over my classics at this point.I wish to gm would just sell the rights for all the jbody stuff in the 1st/2nd area for a company to sell reman items of all sorts but that takes machining,dies, and the consumers who would buy this would have to justify a company to make that leap to support it and make a good buck doing it.The demand has to be there for a company to make and or market car stuff and were just too small in numbers to support it in my opinion.
i dont worry about wear and tear, if something is broke, worn out, or leaking i generally fix it. these cars were made to be daily drivers and that's how i use it. they are economical even with today's aweful gas prices, they are cheap and easy to maintain and quite reliable. my one stipulation with my car, it has NOT and will NOT see road salt., as i result the body has NO rust, the floor is clean enough to eat off (just kidding i wouldnt eat off of it), the gas tank fuel lines brake lines, ect are all original and still like factory fresh/ from late march/early April until late October early November it is my daily driver. a couple weeks ago i put 1,000 miles on it in about a week and a half. i had to work a 9 day stretch. last summer i took my cavalier on a 1,500 mile road trip. took the car from NY to Wisconsin, this little 23 year old gem just purred like a kitten. no complaints from the car and no complaints from me.
try that with a car produced today when its 23 years old. i do not see too many of todays cars lasting that long. the electronics will probably break down and it will end up in a junk yard because they will be too expensive or complex to be worth fixing. planned obsolescence
Of course you wouldn't eat off it you'd get the carpet dirty!
I have thought the same thing with my 3rd gen as well. My sunfire was bought new by a family friend then owned by two other family members before I got it and hasn't needed anything other than maintenance in its 12 years. That's a pretty good track record. I saw somewhere else someone saying how they had a cobalt that had tons of electrical problems everything from the head lights to engine electrical to the gauges and radio plus the recalls and everything else but that it was still a huge improvement over the cavalier/sunfire. Why? Because they said the ride in the j body was terrible. I tell you what though if I spent half the money they spent on repairs in their cobalt I could have a killer suspension on my sunfire. So you can have the cobalt I'll take my sunfire any day.
The other issue with these cars I think is the owners, probably 80% of sunfire/cavalier owners use them for beaters or daily drivers and do little to to maintenance whatsoever. Then get angry when they break but you treat any car how most people do a j body and it will be just as bad. Perhaps even worse. Sure they may not be much to look at or the best performing car around but they aren't that bad they just suffer from ECS (economy car syndrome) cars that no one likes, expect to be terrible, and refuse to care for them properly. So what do you expect to happen?
2002 Pontiac Sunfire SE Sedan 2.2l Ecotec 4 Speed Auto.
i daily summer drive my car but the maintenance gets done, the 24 year car runs fantastic as a result. today it was replace leaking valve cover gasket, grease front suspension, and change the oil. while the 3.1 isnt the most powerful V6 in the world its equate and they will run literally forever with maintenance. i know its not related to our cars but another good example is the GM 3800, what a fantastic engine, absolutely awesome, smooth, fuel efficient and reliable, but they have their problems, the series II leaking intake isnt that big of a deal if you pay attention to it, if it leaks replace it. a 3 hour job done at home will save your engine. also get rid of that orange junk that GM put in those engines in the factory. allot of vehicle problems in older cars are caused by people not maintaining their cars. seems like what is going on now is that allot of new cars today have problems because they are over-engineered pieces of junk. look at all of the ignition system defects GM is having problems with, or the toyota un-intended acceleration problems. over-engineered junk. i will stick with my 3800 series II (i have two cars this with engine, one is the L67 supercharged engine) and my 3.1. i know these engines and cars were built fairly well.
I do all the automotive work here on the rides.I have my 14 Tacoma(new) 85cav,87 mazda and the wifes 04 accord(which is a great car) and problem free.Now my 2 nephews cars I completely went thru both before either received them and everything was cleaned,fixed,updated or improved to make them problem free.The short is the 98 accord nephew 1 has 226k and still going issue here or there but mostly just age/wear.Nephew 2 02 civic fixed and or update with about 2100.00 before he got it.Granted this may sound like a lot but,after parts,some dealer work(time/tooling) for me not to bother it has only had one issue bad window regulator.The key for really any car is good general maintenance and keeping it clean and I keep records of everything I do for each ride.Btw the cav has 205k on it and the mazda has 198k and both are very solid.These two see NO rain driving and stay covered or garaged just my appreciation for the many years of ownership and care and my thanks to them!