AGuyInVancouver posted this shot that…um…well….ah….would be better left to a true die-hard GM fan to write about. Are there any still around? Well, let’s just say that the Cavalier in its latter days was capable of giving its owners cheap and reasonably reliable transport. To me, with a spoiler on the back and ground-effect body work, it looks a wee bit over-wrought and not quite convincing. But that’s just me.
The Cobalt, Bob Lutz’s great compact savior sent to relieve the J-Cars after a quarter century of service? I think I could actually find more nice things to say about the Cavalier; there was something redeeming just in its persistence. Was there anything redeeming about the Cobalt? I’m the wrong one to ask. But rarely has a car from the recent past become so forgettable, so quickly. I’m guessing GM would like to forget about it too.
I always thought the Cobalt got a raw deal. The cars drive surprisingly well. I was working at GM when they were introduced. Unfortunately, the high sticker prices on the first cars made it a difficult go for the Cobalt in Canada, at least at the beginning.
They are really not that bad given what you’d expect. Lightyears ahead of the Cavalier in every way. Honda Civic level? Hardly. But much closer than the J-bodies. Drive a 2005 Cavalier and a 2005 Cobalt back to back and I dare anyone to say “I think I could actually find more nice things to say about the Cavalier”.
Subjective, but I’ve always liked the styling of the 2-door, and they are surprisingly easy to find with a stick shift compared to other compacts. Don’t think I would’ve ever bought one new, but they’d make a great used value for as a basic car now that resale values are in the toilet.
I agree about the Cobalt getting a raw deal. I rented one about four years ago. My previous American-made small-car rental before that was a Cavalier, around 2005, that was a complete piece of crap. So I was pleasantly surprised by the Cobalt. Decent pep and handling, solid feel on the highway, good mileage, and seemed to be decently put together. I don’t remember much else about the car, except that it may have been a little on the noisy side. All in all, it impressed me in that it seemed to be a decent, practical small car, something that GM has always had trouble manufacturing. Even though I’ve never owned an American car, I would have looked at the Cobalt if I’d been in the market for a new car at the time.
Unfortunately, the ignition-switch recalls have me thinking that maybe things haven’t changed much at GM after all.
I don’t know how the Cobalt would have stacked up against a similar-year Honda Civic, but I’ve always considered Hondas vastly overrated, so take that as you will.
A 2006 Civic is light years better than a 2006 Cobalt. The problem GM always had was bench-marking certain models and then GMifying them. At the product presentation seminar I attended on the Cobalt, the Zone Rep (He From Way Above) proudly told us the were using the 2001 Civic as their benchmark, and adding more power. We kind of looked at each other in stunned silence when we heard this. We knew a radical new Civic was coming out for 2006, and GM was competing with the last generation, sans the IRS.
The first cars we had were all loaded, no incentives and really expensive. Not surprisingly, they didn’t move, so soon after we got a raft of strippers with manuals and no a/c, both two and four doors. Even these ran $14,000 or more, well into Civic territory at the time. Panic set in, and by late 2006 they were being advertised at $11,500 with low interest financing. Then they sold but I doubt GM made anything on them, since the dealers made like $300 a car.
They are a reasonably good used car now, though.
Redeeming factors: The Cobalt SS Supercharged (and the later turbocharged version) was a hot little number, very competitive performance-wise with its contemporaries. Also, price.
^ This. The fact that it had the balls to deserve the SS moniker, and as a 2 door with standard trans only it would appear that GM didn’t pull their punches here. And these sold pretty well too in SS trim. Its pretty much everything I wish the SRT-4 would’ve been. But while Im a die hard Mopar fanatic, a sport compact as a 4 door sedan only….FAIL.
That’s a shockingly well-preserved Z24 Cavy.
Agreed, most Z24s led a hard life. This one seems to have been lovingly cared for. And while the spoiler is maybe a bit much, I actually like the air dam/sills on these. Looks good with the grille-less nose and the red accents.
The Cobalt may not be a bad car, and I’m sure it’s way ahead of the immediate predecessor Cavalier. The problem is just that it was so far behind the Civic, Focus, 3, Corolla, Golf…basically just about everyone else save for the Caliber and Spectra.
Well the Cobalt Coupe’s afterburner-like taillights are somewhat cool in a cheesy way. When I visited the Southern Tier for Christmas I saw a few rusty Cobalts and that sure was a reality check which made me realize that yes indeed the Cavalier has been out of production longer than I thought. A few years ago I took a look around a Cobalt sedan at Horseheads Pick-A-Part, but I did not sit in the driver’s seat. The rest of the interior was immaculate, but the driver’s area had an aura of filth and wear to it that can only develop after 250K miles. The rear bench was a bit cramped, the front seat better, the window cranks were easy to use, but the doors sounded pathetic when you slammed them shut. I hear the Cobalt’s engines are Toyota in origin, but I think the Cobalt’s longest lasting legacy will be as a car that was part of the GM ignition recall blow up.
I used to own a 95 Voyager when I still lived in the Southern Tier and would go sometimes days without positively identifying a vehicle older than it. However, 1st gen Cavaliers stopped being made in 1994 so if I saw one of those then I knew mine was not the oldest vehicle on the road that day. I saw a Cavalier Hatchback on the move in Portland, OR yesterday and that is more practical than any Cobalt. It is funny in a pathetic way that Chevy built such mediocre cars that they kept having to change model names. Perhaps the Cruze nameplate will be around a while.
Cobalt engines are Ecotecs, all GM. As you can tell by the 250K miles on the junkyard find they are good little powerplants.
I haven’t seen any rusty Cobalts in New England yet. I haven’t looked all that hard either.
The SS models have a little bit of a cult following. Great performance and handling.
Good info to know and I figured the SS would have a cult following. I bet the coupe is more popular than the sedan.
They made a SS turbo Sedan one year, and it is very rare. A real sleeper.
I have no idea what the breakdown of coupe vs. sedan is for overall production.
Don’t quote me on this, but I remember reading ‘somewhere’ that in SS form the coupe had a manual trans only, as well as a lot higher level of boost than the sedan…which was automatic only.
From where I sit, that’s the right way to option them out.
You’re close. The turbo 4 door was also manual only. The HHR SS was also available with the same engine in automatic form and that one was given a little less boost. I’m not sure if you could get the HHR SS turbo with a manual, I “think” you could…
The Ecotec motors came straight out of Russelheim and were classically Opel in their character, a bit gruff but a tough engine. When I was at GM, they rarely, if ever, came in with any trouble. They worked really well with the four speed automatic.
The SS was the deal of the century, and even the later one with the 2.4 Ecotec labeled as SS was a fine car for the money.
I don’t know about the USA, but it seems GM didn’t promote the Cobalt that much here in Canada.
I have an 08 g5 sedan. The crappy materials the seats and door panels are made from get very dirty very quickly. I’m a tow truck driver and not a total grease monkey ad mine was destroyed the first week I got it. The plastics and rubbers are smoken easy to clean but get crud out of the crappy cloth. Also the drivers seat is very uncomfortable mine only has 115k km and is worn out. Its also very hard to get comfortable behind the wheel. I’m 6′ and 210lbs with a 30″ inseam and because the wheel doesn’t tilt much or telescope and the seat does not have the right position for me. I don’t know why but I hate the car because of having to drive it. Any more than an hour is painful.
I drove a base model Cobalt when they first came out and thought it was a pretty good car. Drove much better than the Cavalier, seemed to be put together well enough and the interior was a huge improvement. It kind of reminded me of the old Saturn S-series in that it wasn’t really quite as refined or pleasant as most Japanese/European compacts, but it was pretty close, not bad to drive and a good value.
Only a few years later, I ended up with a G5 coupe as a rental and it seemed like they were right back to being chintzy bargain basement crap. Maybe that was just a particularly beaten-up car, but it seemed like time had passed the Cobalt by very quickly. Most of the other big manufacturers had 4-5 year old designs out when the Cobalt launched and cars like the 2006 Honda Civic and increasingly popular Mazda3 made it seem ancient.
I didn’t really care for the styling either. The coupe still looked like a (less attractive) 1995 Cavalier despite having nothing in common with it and the sedan looked like it had been modified from some other car that was never intended to be a sedan (which may or may not be true, I’m not sure).
So basically it was typical mid-’00s GM; a notable improvement, but still too little too late.
You do realize that this very same crap fake cloth material is in just about every car now. It is a nightmare cleaning the cloth seats in just about any car from about 2005 on up unless it’s an Impala, Buick or Dodge Caravan which all use more traditional softer cloth. Certain Mitsubishi, Scion and other foreign models have what feels like sandpaper seat cloth. When you try and rinse it down the water/cleaning solution just seems to soak in and no amount of scrubbing will get the stains out.
I grew up in that area! Horseheads Pick-A-Part was always a stop for me when I used to try to keep my beaters alive.
Rob Finfrock, it rarely snows in these parts, so there is very little, if any, road salt. It is cloudy a lot, too, so UV doesn’t burn old cars up. Finally, this photo was taken in Steveston Village, which is a retirement area. Lots of old American iron there.
I remember the earlier versions, along with the Pontiac Grand am, being very popular…they were in competition with the Honda Prelude and Acura Integra, I think.
I would love to find a Z24 notchback like that one.
I remember these from back in the day. When I was in highschool the ‘square’ J-cars were around 3 years + old. I always liked the looks of these notchback Z24s. They seemed to convey the idea that its a car for someone who wants a Camaro, but doesn’t quite have the money. No worries, the Z24 is a good place to start so in 3-5 years, a few pay raises…then it’ll be time to upgrade.
They had a nice little progression going in the late 80’s early 90’s…Cavalier Z24, Beretta Z26, Camaro Z28. Each one a step up from the previous. Then, once you have kids and have to get rid of the Camaro, time for a Lumina Z32.
I think the early Z24s look really cool, and the hatchback is even cooler… but they got progressively sillier looking as the years went on. The blue car seen here was the absolute worst, IMO. The 3rd generation Z24 was a return to sanity (looks-wise, anyway).
I like both the Cobalt and Cavalier, in the 2 door bodystyle. The main reasons are they are decent looking, affordable, 2 door cars, something which does not exist anymore. I would no have a problem buying either brand new right now. I’m not happy that I no longer have the choice. GM’s bottom 3 models, the Spark, Sonic, and Cruze, are only available as 4 doors. So are the upscale Malibu and Impala. It really sucks being a 2 door guy living in a 4 door world.
I guess not enough of us “2 door guys” stepped up to the plate when we had that choice. That and the “chick car” stigma some attach to them. I miss 2 door cars, too.
add me to the list of missing 2 door cars. I’ll take mine in mid-size or full size please. A 2 door Regal or Impala would be a hard thing to not like.
Add me too, 2-door cars to be different of these SUV (and to think SUV when I referred them as “4×4” was once available in 2-doors) and CUV.
Well, there is still the Civic and Kia also has a two door sub-compact.
I think you can still get a 2door Honda Accord.
A two door with a V-6 and a manual too boot. The take rate is tiny, too!
and only available in dk gray or black with the manual transmission.
The 4 door sport with the manual is a nice package and a good value, but is only available in gray or black also. booo
I would consider a Civic, but ugh, that dashboard! I’m not crazy about the Kia, or the Scion tC, but I liked the now discontinued Elantra coupe.
Yeah, how did that happen anyway? Why did a 2door become a girl-car? Kids these days!
When they quit being big personal luxury numbers or sports cars and became little “cute” jobs like Neons and new Bugs.
Theyre only girl cars when they’re ‘cute’ and offer no performance.
The Toyobaru twins are true sports cars.
Scion tC still works for anyone and theyre upgradeable.
The ‘new’ New Beetle is squarely aimed at men with the redesign. You can still get pale yellow or powder blue base models that say ‘girl car’ yet the turbo versions in black, red, or blue clearly are meant to appeal to a guy also.
Do I even need to mention the 3 pony cars? Granted when you make a car that has a macho flavor youll bring the ladies with that too. But base on what I observe base v6 versions of these are about 50/50 with men to women, but V8 versions are like 5-1 owned by men.
There must be regional variations then. Where I am, Men drive trucks, large SUVs, and sometimes well used sensible 4door cars for a commute-to-work vehicle. 2door cars are mostly driven by single females, regardless if they are high performance or not(the car not the woman). So this includes mustangs etc. The exception I can think of is older retired males drive corvettes.
I’d like to see new personal luxury coupes, but honestly, I probably wouldn’t buy one so I don’t hold my breath on seeing them again any time soon.
There is still a 2-door version of the Chevy Spark. I’m certain of it as someone I work with (female) bought one last year. She says she’s happy with it as it’s both affordable and economical. And a size that’s easy to maneuver and park. So just right for her. Oh, and hers is green in color.
You are mistaken, likely because of the “hidden” rear door handles.
Yes, I came back after trying to research my (inaccurate) claim and acknowledge that I was wrong. I find that car is only made and sold as a 5-door. And, you’re right, the hidden rear door handles give the illusion of it being a 2-door. This lady works a different shift than me, and sometimes she is gone before I arrive. Only seen her car two or thee times.
Was the Cobalt really that bad? I rented one once, and was pleasantly surprised. Not enough to buy one, but it was respectable. However, any respectability in the North American market the Cobalt had vanished when the ignition switch issue came to light.
No, they weren’t that bad at all. Reliability wise, they are typical domestic, although in my opinion, better than the Focus of the era.
The real problem the Cobalt had in Canada anyway, was price. The Cav was always a really cheap car, and the first Cobalt’s at my store all stickered well north of $13,000, when a Cav the year before could be had for $8500.
I see a lot more older Foci on the road then Cobalts, but I don’t know if that is because Ford simply sold a lot more of them, or because they hold up better.
The first few years of the North American Focus were terrible, primarily due to inadequate testing of the changes made to the European Focus before production of the North American version started.
Ford did work to improve the car, and had it sorted out by 2004. Our 2005 Focus SE has gone 201,000 miles with only two major problems – the alternator died last February, and a rear wheel bearing needed replaced just before Christmas.
Which is a bit sad as the car was a good car for basic transport needs(which is what 99% of the driving population actually wants)
GM screwed the pouch with the ignition switch issue. It seems now the 2010-2014 Camaro is under recall for this.
Putting the ignition switch on the dash instead of the steering column was stupid to begin with(you did not hear about cars shutting off when your ignition switch was mated to the steering column)
Cobalts ignition is on the steering column. I don’t know about the camaro though.
While I was working for GM service, we replaced ignition locks all the time, at a good $350 a pop, too. The problem was all through the GM line. We also knew the later switch, with the different part number, was exactly the same part. In fact, it was only a problem when someone would hang a bunch of silly stuff off their key chain. The downward pressure would break the lock, making all the terrible stuff we have heard about happen.
And yes, the Cobalt had the same issue.
If it was only caused by heavy keychains, rather than a fundamental design flaw, why didn’t it happen with more manufacturers?
*I’ll readily admit that I’m only mad because I had to virtually tear apart the dashboard to replace the switch and cylinder on my wife’s (girlfriend’s at the time) Alero because we couldn’t afford the bill for the dealer to do it and the recall hadn’t happened yet.
Because other manufacturers used stronger locks. Mopar has a problem with their ignition locks. The freeze in the “off” position and you can’t get the key out. Much safer.
The biggest problem with the Cobalt is that it was a Chevrolet. If the car had been a Hyundai, Kia, even a Ford, it would have been acceptable. If it had been a Dodge, it would have gotten decent reviews. Being a GM product, and not a car that completely killed the Civic or Corolla guaranteed that the Internet would have a field day hammering it. Because it was GM, and, of course, GM can’t do anything right.
Good point and I agree, however, why didn’t buyers give the Cobalt a chance? Well, part of what is the mystery of GM is separating what is a good GM car from a nightmare GM car, of which there were plenty. I am the first to admit that the Cobalt was the first of a new GM generation of cars that really did try to compete with the big players in the segment.
By 2006, GM was terminal and everybody working in it knew it. It seemed like they didn’t even try to sell cars anymore; it was simply too frustrating. On one hand, buyers were asking for things, dealers were sending the messages upward and NOTHING happened. The point is, by this time, GM was so infamous for horrible for multiple experiences, buyers went with more trusted brands, which many not have been better cars.
I don’t have any experience with the Cobalt or it’s platform mates. My boss’s kid has a Turbo SS and it didn’t seem too bad.
The J body was a better car than it’s undeserved reputation lets on.
Got to agree that that is a pretty decent old Cavalier Z-24. Don’t think I’ve mentioned that back in the mid-’90’s, a number of times I delivered (just-in-time) parts to the GM plant in Lordstown, OH. For those not familiar, Lordstown is where the Chevy Cavalier and Pontiac Sunbird/Sunfire were built; also later the Cobalt – and now the greatly improved replacement, the Chevy Cruze. Lordstown is in the Youngstown area of NE Ohio.
The 2.8/3.1 really made the cars fun. I would love to have a RS wagon with a 5 speed and a V6.
“To me, with a spoiler on the back and ground-effect body work, it looks a wee bit over-wrought and not quite convincing. But that’s just me. ”
I assume that you are talking about the Cavi? The spoiler looks more like a luggage rack (which shows how odd GM was in those days, to offer a Z24 which is supposed to be the sporty version of the Cavi line with a luggage rack???)
Anyway the ground effects are justified on that car because it has 3.1L V6 in it(perhaps even a stick to) and in a light car that engine was very potent and felt more powerful then the 140hp it was listed at.
That 91-94 era Cavalier is in great shape for a car that last rolled off the line 21 years ago.
About 10 years ago, I picked up a Cobalt coupe as a rental in Portland for a drive up the coast to Astoria & on to Seattle.
On the two-lane coast road, every time a semi passed going the other way, you could hear the door panel press in from the air pressure.
Needless to say, that was my only drive in a Cobalt…
Both the Spark and the Sonic hatch are “disguised” 4 doors. I have looked at 2 door Cavaliers, Cobalts, and Monte Carlos. Seems all these cars were badly treated and pretty much driven into the ground. I have not found anything worth buying. The new generation Camaro and Challenger are still well out of my price range, but I have found several affordable decent condition V6 Mustangs ’05 and up. May have to go that way to get a 2 door car. Have also considered the Toyota Solara and Mazda Miata, though the Miata may be too small for daily use by someone my size. 6′ 240. I haven’t been interested in anything made by Honda since the original mid ’70s Civic. There is the Fiat 500, which I do fit in with the seat all the way back, but I am afraid of it’s (lack of) reliability. And then there’s the Toyota Yaris 2 door. It was not available with a factory cruise control, but aftermarket cruise controls are available.
I had both a 1977 Corvette and a 1987 Pontiac Fiero with luggage racks.
Seems to me Lexus was the last to make a standard 2door rear drive V8 powered car, not counting sports cars and factory hotrods of course. At some point the 2 door lexus turned into a sporty hotrod too though. Not sure what year that was.
Do you mean the 1992–2000 Lexus SC300/400 (a.k.a. Z30 Soarer)? The subsequent SC430/Z40 Soarer was the retractable hardtop model; it was V-8-powered and RWD, but I wouldn’t call it a hot rod, nor particularly sporty. (Really less so than the Z30, although the sportiest iterations of that had turbo sixes.)
Yeah, the SC400. After 2000, they appeared to have no back seat or one too small to be practical. I’ve ridden in the 90s SC400. Good cars with useable back seats. The Ford Thunderbired(1997) and the Lexus SC400(2000) were the last rear drive V8 powered standard 2door cars with useable back seats. This is my preferred type of vehicle(although I would prefer a big straight six over a small V8 and a 5speed stickshift) and I think Junkyard’s as well. That’s why I brought it up.
Well, there are still the Mercedes E-Class and S-Class coupes, the Audi S5, and BMW 6-Series. Those are admittedly not nearly as affordable as the old four-seater Thunderbird or the Z30 Lexus SC/Soarer, although the latter wasn’t cheap either.
Also the Mark VIII lasted one year longer than the T-bird, until 1998. It definitely had a useable back seat, though there was a curious deficiency in foot room due to the low front seats.
CTS-V coupe? Or are you considering that a “factory hotrod”?
obscene horsepower and obscene price tags and cartoonish styling is nothing I’m interested in.
Well if you’re looking for a car–any car–powered by a low-HP V8 you’re just SOL. They’re specialty engines now. When we have 200 HP I4s and 300 HP V6s, there is absolutely zero reason for a V8 unless you’re intending to make big power. The old-school V8, in cars at least, died with the Crown Vic.
Yeah, I know. And that is really depressing for me. I like torquey motors and I consider horsepower a secondary requirement after torque. The worst part is, what you call a “low-HP V8” is not even my preferred engine type. That is what I settle for when my preferred type is not available, which is a large in-line six designed for extremely low RPM torque. I do not like V6 motors and I do not care what kind of power a motor can make beyond 4000RPM.
Join the club John ;
If you build them carefully and tune them sharply , InLine 6 Bangers off much fun driving along with good fuel economy in real world driving plus Road Rallys when you want .
I build ’em low compression and they have most of the available power On Tap from 1,300 RPM’s until I think it’s spinning fast enough , rarely do I ever reach 4,500 RPM’s and yes , I run away from most others unless going in a straight line .
I like HP, but not in modern form. I have a first generation Chevy S10 pickup with a 383 V8 stuffed in it, it makes about 350 hp. Myself and a local speed shop built it and built it right. Top quality parts and assembly. I sacrificed some power for reliability. This is an old school engine, the only electronics on it is the HEI ignition. It is carbed, and has no emissions stuff. 5 speed manual, and will lay rubber at will. Even with 275/60R15s on the back it has a tendency to get sideways a bit leaving a stop at full throttle. It is loud, and anything but refined.
While I don’t currently own one, I have always loved inline sixes. I have a strong dislike for all V6s. My truck came with a 2.8 V6. It went straight to the scrap yard. I would like to trade my 265 Fairlane for a 1966 or older 1/2 ton pickup with a straight six and manual transmission.
I looked at that CTS-V Cadillac, and consider it a bit on the ugly side, but I also find it amazing that you can still buy a personal luxury coupe in 2015.
If I was going to put that motor in an S-10, I would’ve gone with a 2WD S-10 Blazer or GMC jimmy. But that’s just my opinion.
I drove a rental Cobalt from Maryland to Indiana and back. It was a perfectly functional car – handling was fine, acceleration was adequate, ect. But there were a bunch of details they missed – tiny cupholders, a power jack behind one of the cupholders, ect.
On the plus side, it had an aux jack, so I could plug in my Zune. Which you need when you are doing 20 hours of driving.
Part of me is so tempted to buy this, but then I remember I live in a city and don’t have a garage, or anywhere to drive faster than 40mph.
At work we only recently retired the remaining fleet of Cavaliers. And we’re nearing the end of the run for our Cobalts. Given the choice of the two, the Cobalt is immeasurably better than the Cavi. It’s a decent commuter car, mine is one of the few with an arm rest but it also doesn’t have an aux in. And while it’s a fine driver, it seems to constantly have issues. It goes through front turn signal bulbs at a rate of about 4 a year (~5000 miles). And so I have to take it to the shop to replace them each time since it requires full removal of the headlight assembly to do it. And then there’s the cabin fan ticking which is torture. The shift interlock short circuit which kills the battery randomly (and cannot be easily duplicated for the shop). And the front suspension deterioration. The Cavaliers were spiteful hateful boat anchors.
I should also note that I had a 1990 Pontiac Sunbird for about 8 years in high school and college. Mine went through 2 head gaskets (2.0) before it was scrapped. I loved that car, since I didn’t really know anything else.
Ummm, if reliability and convenience are your main factor in choosing a car, a Chevy may not be the best bet……..
” that…um…well….ah….would be better left to a true die-hard GM fan to write about. Are there any still around? ” .
Yes of Course Paul ~ Millions of us .
Of course , each one love and apologizes for their own favorite….. =8-) .
We got in a few hundred white , four door Cavaliers , I remember the GM Factory Tech showing us various common failure points in the ignition system , we were not impressed and they all died and went to Salvage in two or three years .
I assume this was not an overly successful Chevy ? .
Worst points for the Cobalt :
-Interior. Cheap, ugly and did I mention CHEAP
-Styling. Not because it’s ugly, but because it doesn’t look all that different than the Cavalier that preceded it, especially the coupes. If you had a bad experience with a Cavalier(which I’m going to say is probably) this will probably remind you pretty quickly that this is a close relative of it, even if it is only aesthetic. Guilt by association unfortunately for it
We sell quite a few of these. They are perfect for a second car or for the graduate going to college. Mileage is good and power better than the Civic and Corolla. I also prefer the dash to the Civic’s silly two tier Starship enterprise look and many models came with attractive two tone dashes, chrome trim on the gauges, which was in at the time and gave a more upscale look to them, and attractive alloy wheels on the LT versions. Other than the occasional check engine light or front end control arm bushing on high mileage examples they are pretty reliable too, ignition fiasco aside. We tell our customers to only use the key and not hang anything on them.
I owned a 1994 Caviler, best damn car I ever owned. Its quality was the reason I replaced it with a 2005 Cobalt after it was damaged beyond repair in an accident. The Cobalt’s quality is the reason I will never buy GM again.
I love stick shifts. I even like the old column mounted 3 speeds, other than their propensity for hanging up due to the linkage. I learned to drive in my dad’s ’63 Rambler station wagon with a three on the tree ans a straight 6. Unfortunately I have never owned a manual shift straight 6.
I have never liked 4 door sedans (though strangely enough I do have a soft spot for wagons) Any way you look at it, they are transportation appliances. Even the vintage ones. They were designed for one reason only. To carry people, and to be easy for back seat passengers to get in and out of, which must mean they were meant for the back seat to be used frequently. Yet most of them seem to occupied only by the driver. Having 4 doors makes any kind of style impossible. History has proven peoples disdain for four door cars. 99% of all collector cars are two door models, and that applies to all cars, not just sports and muscle cars. I own a ’64 Fairlane four door sedan (I just wanted an old car as a daily driver, and it had to be cheap, easy to work on, and emissions exempt) I have a lot of parts catalogs from places that sell reproduction parts for vintage Fords, but two door models only. Nothing four door specific. It’s that way with pretty much all vintage cars. A four door ’57 Chevy is worth about a third of what a two door is in the same condition
I admit I am in a rather small group that prefers form over function when it comes to cars, especially with such trivial matters as convenience. But that is because I see cars as mostly a hobby, where fun outweighs convenience
As far as GM goes, I have been a GM guy all my life. And I prefer any American car over an import. Back around 2000 seems the high point for American car reliability. There was a noticeable drop in quality after 2006, and it seems to be getting progressively worse. I still get some of the trade magazines I did back when I was a fleet services mechanic, and they are saying the same thing. It’s so bad that many fleets are starting to buy Japanese vehicles. I worked for a municipal fleet department, and their policy was to buy American brands only. That may change. Their biggest issue came when Ford dropped the Ranger. They had about 200 of them, and they are slowly being replaced by full sized pickups. The additional cost is, of course, coming out of taxpayers pockets.
I have 3 American “hobby cars” My next transportation appliance may very well be Japanese. Seriously looking at used late model Toyota Corollas.
Oh, BTW, my 2001 four door Malibu has an oem spoiler. Looks a bit ridiculous on a four door to me.
Ford seems to be making a lot of really stupid decisions in the last 10 years.
They discontinued the Taurus (so far beyond stupid there is no word)
when they brought back the taurus they ruined it
they discontinued the Ranger
They discontinued the Crown Vic
They screwed up the looks of the new mustang
they discontinued the full sized van
They stopped making heavy trucks(class 6 and higher)
they sold all their subsidiaries
they won’t offer the hot new Focus in 2 door
they eliminated stick shifts from their F-150
they wont offer anything smaller than the Fiesta in North America.
They won’t bring back the thunderbird
They must be doing something right. They are making record profits, because the CEO doesn’t listen to Gearheads who want him to produce cars that Gearheads won’t actually buy.
They are getting lucky. Their competition is screwing up worse.
I always thought that roof treatment on the Cavalier was a salute to the early 60’s Chev bubbletop.
Seeing the Cavalier and Cobalt parked next to each other, I don’t see that much resemblance. To me the Cavalier, which is a first generation, looks much better. It does not have that ovaloid styling so prevalent today.
We had hundreds of Cavaliers in our fleet, from the very first year through 2004. I liked the first generation 1981–1987 best because they still looked like cars.
All of these were base model 4 door sedans in white, with automatic, A/C, and an AM radio. I was a fleet mechanic/technician during this time, and I don’t recall having that many problems with them. For being FWD, they held up very well. And they were not treated well. Most were assigned to a city employee, who was supposed to check the oil and tire pressure. They got beat on pretty badly, and neglected. When they came in for service the tires were always nearly flat, but they didn’t seem to burn any oil.
So I just don’t really see these as being bad cars, for what they were. No, they were not as reliable as the ’77-’80 V8 powered RWD Caprice, but nothing else was either. As for the poor fit and finish, especially the interior, that was not an issue with fleet cars, and was due to the cars being low end low priced vehicles. These were transportation cars, and were sold at auction before they reached the point where they became unreliable.