If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this one is going to save me a whole lot of keyboarding. Posted at the Cohort by Triborough.
How the mighty fell…
I suppose that’s what happens when your entire business model at the time hinged on “you’ll buy what we sell you.”
This picture does kind of summarize the downward arc of “normal” GM. That 65 Pontiac was really a very ordinary GM car in its day. All of them were.
Yes, children: once upon a time, most normal GM cars were both good and good looking.
I think those new tires are worth more than the entire Citation. 🙂
A full size, intermediate and a compact. Looks like someone got all of the use out of that Citation.
Yes, the newer they are, the worse they look, both in condition and design.
I know a handful of Vettes in a Kentucky museum that look just like that Citation does.
(wallpaper-size image of Corvette Museum sinkhole. Feb. 12, 2014):
That’s almost too painful to look at
Wow, that’s crazy! Your post is the first I read about it. It looks like only one vintage Vette was lost, but there were some pretty valuable ones that got sucked in. I wonder which (if any) will get restored? The ZR1 Blue devil looks relatively unscathed.
This page has a bunch of info and the full list:
All of them will be restored, because now they have the unique quality of being the “sinkhole cars”, which to collectors can only add to the value. It’s like having race provenance. Plus, even if the 6 owned by the museum never see the auction block, the Peter Max debacle a few years back put people on notice that ‘Vette fans won’t tolerate the destruction of valuable cars lightly when they can be fixed. You have to keep your fans happy. Chances are some of them will offer to restore them for free.
So sad (but I suppose it could have been so much worse).
The 1993 ZR1 Spyder and 2009 Blue Devil were both one-of-a-kind show cars. Hopefully they’re repairable.
Water soluble bedrock will get you every time.
Very much true, that part of Kentucky is undercut by extensive underground caverns, caused by erosion of the limestone bedrock. The Mammoth Cave National Park is not far from Bowling Green. As long as the caverns are deep underground there is no real issue; it is when they are closer to the surface that the sinkholes appear. It is fortunate that the museum was not open when this happened.
Wow, I was standing in that very spot and taking photos about 17 months ago.
Slouching toward bankruptcy…
I painted an AMT model of a 1965 Bonneville hardtop that same burgundy color…still have it too!
I painted mine metallic green…long gone.
Mrs. Perrelli’s Bonneville was that color. Of all of my friends’ Moms, she was the one with the classiest ride. Still one of the best looking cars on the road.
the good (Pontiac)
the bad (Citation)
the ugly (Chevelle, I like it but I seem to be in the minority)
I’d agree with you on that assessment, and I like the Chevelle too, even though the stacked lights weren’t its best look.
I freely admit my 77 Chevelle is ugly, and I can use that front bumper off that wagon to cover my poverty-spec all-chrome bumper. When I enter that big ole disco-barge in car shows, people love seeing it though since they haven’t seen one like it in years.
I actually think the 76-77 Chevelles are nicely styled car other than the front end. The lines were pretty nice for that era, especially on the coupe, but the wagons and sedans weren’t bad too. Cleaner than some of the BOP designs. I thought the Chevelle coupes had a really nice side profile, and a great roofline. I just though the stacked light front end wasn’t it’s best feature. Even the 1973-75 Chevelles round light front end wasn’t too pretty either. I think having the lights higher than the grille just looked a little off, say compared to a Nova of the same era where it was all at the same level. My father drove his 1976 coupe until 2007 as his daily driver. It was super reliable and overall excellent car. So don’t get me wrong I appreciate the Colonnade cars (or “G3s”) very much. My brother has the car now as his weekend/hobby car.
Here is current picture of my dad’s old car showing the side profile.
Yeah, the front end is a bit busy.. the performance of those quad lights at night is terrific, but its not its best look, I actually want to put a 73 Laguna nose on my car which totally transforms the look of the car. It’s also the cheapest Chevelle you can buy. I paid $300 for my sedan and drove it home. you can’t touch an earlier one for the same price and drive it anywhere. I’m also not afraid to drive it, as I’ve put about 50,000 miles on it since I got it and made it reliable.
Heck its pulled DD duty while my real DD is down, and suffered through driving on ice and snow here in N. Texas.
I might be the only person who actually likes the Citation. Not this clapped-out old beater, mind you, but the car. The cars that I can remember from my early childhood were a Subaru 1600, which was not a particularly good family car though it is still remembered fondly by my mother, followed by a Mercury Marquis that was about a block long and was much despised both for the fuel consumption and its massive size, followed by a brand-new Citation. Given what we had been in before the Citation was a revelation. I don’t remember any problems until about 4 years into ownership when the clutch had to be replaced (while we were at Mystic Seaport, quite a trip that turned out to be).
I still have fond memories of that car and my dog staking his position on the package shelf on every trip we took.
I’m sure I’d have a different opinion if I got one now, but my memories of the car are quite favorable and I’d like to get one if only to affirm or reject them.
Imagine what an impact the Citation would have made if it had been a well-built car. I remember when these hit the showroom – not that I was in the market for one, but front-wheel drive really did give them very large interiors relative to their overall size, and the rear door windows actually rolled down! – unlike those of the intermediates that sold alongside them.
That’s likely an original (faded) Pontiac color on the ’65; I remember seeing them new in that color. Our two ’65 Bonnevilles were white (the wagon) and blue-grey (the convertible). I’ll try to find a photo of them in the driveway and post it next time a relevant topic turns up.
“Imagine what an impact the Citation would have made if it had been a well-built car.”
You’re describing the first-generation Camry. The rest is history.
I feel like a healthy GM would’ve put more passion into theirs.
Our ’80 Phoenix hatchback had its virtues. Lots of interior room for a compact. Comfortable front buckets. The Iron Duke I4 supplied sufficient power and recorded decent gas mileage. It handled pretty nimbly for a car of that era.
But then the electrical gremlins took over. From early on, if the radio and the cruise control were both on, using left turn signal would blow out a fuse. Then one day I was pulled over by Johnny Law to inform me my brake lights weren’t working. Once Dad learned that, he decided the car was a deathtrap. He traded it in and splurged on an ’82 Cressida. Not a fair comparison, since it was a different class of car, but the Toyota was light years ahead of the Pontiac in every respect.
But I agree with Airman’s main point. The FWD X Bodies were big sellers initially. If the General hadn’t cut corners, my Dad, a GM man since childhood, would never have set foot in a Toyota dealership.
I like it, or at least I like the idea, if not the execution. It really was a well-concieved package, form and function were great for the time in my opinion. They just bean-counted their way out of making it a good car.
I had a co-worker who drove one in the 90’s, and while it wasn’t a great car, it wasn’t terrible either.
Very true. The space utilization in these is phenomenal and they’re good-looking cars too IMO. I like they way they drive when they are operating correcty.
The last year X-11 with the multi-port 2.8 would be a blast to own & drive.
Check out those matching blue wall tires on that 80′ Citation!
I have driven an ex girlfriends citation and it was awful. The marquis is great though. The by chevy from the 70s is ok but not as nice as fords midsize ltd and Pontiac pretty nice.
Mom had a 80 Citation. We all hated that car, barely ran (once stalled 3 times crossing a street) and was rusting away after 8 years. It’s amazing how much difference fuel injection made on the Iron Duke though, night and day from the carbureted versions. Sister had a 76 or so Monte Carlo. She’s about 5 feet even, so the Monte looked massive compared to her, it was almost comical. Closest I came to the Pontiac was a 67 Delta 88 that I used to play in at my grandpa’s as a kid. Not sure what motor it had, but it fired up after sitting for about a decade when he sold it. Was sad to see it go, but it was pretty well rusted by that point.
Funny that this pic captures both the first and second eras of stacked headlights all in one.
Sometimes with the bad you just got to look at the good… Keeps you balanced
If I remember right, the Citation was highly praised at the time. Compared to other domestic small cars off the time, probably OK. But by then the Japanese and Germans had this segment nailed.
I knew several people that had X Cars and to a person they were all steaming piles of fail. One time while driving my brother’s girlfriend’s ’82 Citation I had the hood latch fail at speed. Nothing quite gets your heart pumping like having a hood wrap itself over the windshield…
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