CC Capsule: 1980 Chevrolet Citation – It’s the First Chevy of the 80s

Since I’ve been writing for Curbside Classic I can count on one hand the number of Chevy Citations I’ve seen. This is the first one I’ve seen parked. But every time I do see a Citation, the jingle from the commercials that introduced them immediately fills my head. After all, it’s the first Chevy of the 80s!

Doesn’t this one look like the one driving around in that commercial?

The Citation was certainly GM’s deadliest sin (as we covered here), with its mechanicals not fully sorted at launch. After the first couple years, buyers shunned this car – and took with them any hope GM had of getting ahead of the Japanese.

But one thing GM got right, so right: the looks. For readers whose heads just exploded, stay with me for a minute: In an age when the heartland of America was still hinky as hell about the little cars coming our way from foreign lands, GM was spot on when it brought its (downsized) bigger cars’ design language to their new compact. It made all of the X bodies seem familiar, comfortable, approachable. Safe, even.

This one is not as pristine as its previous views show; the passenger side has some dents and dings.

And though it’s hard to see in this photo, which I took several months after the ones above, someone whanged into its rear door and left a nasty dent. Poor thing.