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Monday, September 27, 2010

1949 Monarch


Now in its fourth year, the restyled 1949 Monarch weighed in at a hefty 1306 kilos (3,500 pounds). The Six-Passenger Coupe listed for $2,595 f.o.b. Windsor, Ontario.
If bigger was better, then Monarch was truly King of the Road. The marque had first bowed in 1946, the latest addition to Ford’s Canadian family. The very posh, badge-engineered brand initially shared a shell with Ford. Strategically positioned between the mid-priced Mercury and the luxurious flagship Lincoln, Monarch went a long way to filling Ford’s considerable product line gap. 

The creation of Monarch made it that much easier to be loyal to the blue oval as one moved from Ford to Mercury, then Monarch before purchasing the penultimate product that the Windsor, Ontario automaker could offer, the Lincoln. Monarch’s direct competitors were Chrysler, Hudson, Nash and Oldsmobile. Ford of Canada spared no pains to ensure that Monarch was every bit as upscale as the competition. 

The 1949 Monarch Sport Sedan topped the scales at 1336 kilos (3,580 pounds) and carried a list price of $2,635 before Ottawa and the provinces added their taxes.
The 1949 Monarch was introduced to the public May 1, 1948, kicking off one of the longest selling seasons that Ford of Canada’s dealer body would ever have. Every line in the beautiful automobile spoke of grace and speed. Advertising said bluntly, “The differences between Monarch designs and other cars are so obvious and definite that other cars instantly seem old fashioned.” New from the ground up, designers chose a “functional streamlined” look for the shell shared by the new baby Lincoln, the Mercury and Monarch. The resulting envelope was decidedly low to the ground. 

Visit my old car website at http://www.theoilspoteh.ca


The sizzling car came with its very own mock tabloid newspaper, The Monarch News. Designed to impress prospective buyers, the bold black headlines screamed, “New Monarch Makes Car News!” and “New through and through! Quality UP! Power UP! Size UP!” A drawing of a bright red Coupe filled the front page. New Beauty, New Body, New Chassis, New Engine, New Frame, New Springs was the news. 

The regal Monarch crest graced the hood, the front doors, wheel covers and the rear of Canada’s King of the Road.
Monarch’s silhouette hugged the road, reaching a scant five foot three inches at the highest point of the roofline. Stem-to-stern chrome body spears carried unique cat-eye reflectors at the leading edges of the front fenders. Touted as a safety feature, the reflectors let oncoming traffic know how wide the Monarch really was. The theme continued, wide openings in the massive grille permitted the radiator to take in more air.

A regal, leaping lion ornament graced the hood. Thoroughly modern, salesmen were instructed to tell prospective owners, “The idea of twisting door handles to open doors is out of date.” Monarch’s doors featured pushbutton handles; the Sport Sedan’s four doors opened from the centre post in a most sophisticated fashion. From the sleek Fadeaway front fenders to the graceful, tapered bustle of the rear deck, Monarch was a beautiful sight to behold 

Under the hood was a “new V-type Eight” with 49 noteworthy features. Among them was a higher 110-horsepower rating and a new automatic choke with automatic fast idle built into the dual concentric carburetor. This engineering advance eliminated the need for a hand choke. The engine was bolted to the frame at three points. The trio of engine mounts were made of special rubber, bonded to steel, in order to absorb engine vibrations and provide the quietest ride ever. 

The Monarch’s V-8 mill generated 110 horsepower and boasted two water pumps.
Sharing its body shell with Mercury and the new baby Lincoln, Monarch luxuriated on a 2997-millimetre (118-inch) wheelbased X-frame replete with additional K-type reinforcements. If that wasn’t enough, box section side rails—fore and aft--were part of the mix, too. All this was needed to accommodate the extra weight and the extra-wide body. The unusually low centre section permitted a lower interior floor. Passengers did not stumble over steps or trip on sills when embarking or alighting from a Monarch. 

Cavernous, luxuriously appointed interiors were a hallmark of the Monarch. In 1949, leather upholstery was an extra cost option.
The cabin was not only roomy but richly appointed. Six passengers travelled in “satisfying luxury.” Safety glass was featured throughout. The V-type, split windshield was rakish, blending effortlessly into the curve of the roofline. The three-piece rear window was simply elegant.  Measuring 1.5 metres, (five-foot) in width, the expansive seats were upholstered in a choice of Blue Striped Broadcloth, a Green Check Broadcloth or Tan Bedford Cord. Leather was an extra cost alternative. Oversized armrests were standard equipment, front and rear, as well as a very useful robe rail. Thoughtful touches included a glove compartment light and assist loops for rear seat passengers in the Six-Passenger Coupe. Monarch’s instrument panel brought round gauges and dials together in front of the driver in a raised cluster unit. 

The instrument cluster of the 1949 Monarch brought all dials and gauges directly in front of the driver.


Ottawa was still struggling to right its balance-of-debt payments to Washington. The problem was grave enough that there were restrictions on select consumer goods. Advertising for Monarch was careful to not--in the fine print--that extra-cost, optional equipment for Monarch would include fender skirts, white sidewall tires and chrome wheel trim rings--when they became available. 

A lack of optional equipment was a minor inconvenience for Ford compared to GM’s problems in Oshawa. The Federal Government had simply stopped manufacture and importation of Buick. None had been built or sold since the last McLaughlin-Buicks had rolled off the lines in 1942. Canadians would do without Buicks, and GM would do without the profits, until the1951 model year when the balance of payments had finally been redressed.

Offered only as a six-passenger Coupe and a Sport Sedan for the 1949 model year, records show that early plans called for the introduction of a Monarch Fordor Sedan. Those plans were advanced enough that opening serial number SN-0373H49-5001 was assigned. However, it appears that there was a change of heart; none of this model was built. 

Visit my old car website at http://www.theoilspoteh.ca

It was hard not to wax poetic about Monarch—indeed poetry was an integral part of the advertising campaign. In The Tale of the Restful Ride a ten-stanza poem sings Monarch’s praises, ending on this triumphal note—

So we’re six people, the happiest kind,
Who can drive in our car with peace of mind.
For we have found that Monarch provides
The best and smoothest of restful rides. 

The 1949 season was the best ever for Monarch. The marque finished out the model year with 11,317 units produced by Ford workers in Windsor, Ontario. It was the eighth best selling car in the Dominion, behind Chevrolet, Meteor, Pontiac, Ford, Plymouth, Dodge and Mercury. Studebaker was ninth in production and Oldsmobile took tenth place.

Cargo space grew by  nearly a cubic metre (25 square feet) in the 1949 Monarch. Loading was made easy with a counterbalanced trunk lid. A luggage compartment light was part of the standard equipment package.

 Copyright James C. Mays 2005 All rights reserved.

1961 Chevrolet

The 1961 Chevrolet Impala two-door was easily identified by the trio of taillights. The two-door sedan listed for $3,629 with the optional V-8 engine.
The first Chevrolet was assembled in this country in 1916. The McLaughlin Motor Car Company Limited acquired the rights from William (Billy) Durant. The durable and economical little Chevrolet was built in Oshawa, Ontario alongside the fancy McLaughlin. Sales were good for both. 

General Motors bought the McLaughlin concern in 1919 and transformed it into GM of Canada, Limited. The entire range of company’s products was phased into production in Oshawa—even Cadillac. The only GM car never built here was the Marquette, a short-lived, lower-priced companion to the Buick.

Chevrolet appealed to the public and quickly bested Ford as the most popularly purchased automobile in the Dominion. The rivalry between the Blue Oval and the Bowtie to be Number One in the hearts and driveways of Canadians would continue for decades to come. General Motors marked its Golden Jubilee in 1958 and boasted that more than half of all cars driven in this country were GM products. 

Despite the relentless onslaught of small, cheap European imports, in 1960 Chev alone accounted for 15.5 percent of all new car sales.  To sweeten the pot, the GM division introduced a rear-engined compact car series that model year to do battle with Volkswagen and Rambler. The Corvair enjoyed modest success with consumers. It all added up to a banner year for GM as the manufacturer produced 175,086 passenger cars—the best year on record since 1953. 

The 1961 Impala convertible was the only ragtop that year in the full-sized Chevrolet family. The price tag was $3,533 when equipped with the six-cylinder mill and $3,658 for the V-8 version.
The 1961 Chevrolet family included a full-sized stable made up of Impala, Bel Air and Biscayne models. These cars were new from stem to stern. The compact-sized Corvair continued with minor changes. The image building two-seater fibreglass Corvette with its new bobbed backside rounded out the bowtie kinfolk.  

The graceful roofline distinguished Sports Coupes from other Chevs in 1961. This Bel Air cost $3,062 with a six under the hood and $3,286 for the V-8 model.
The full-sized envelope was styled under the direction of design chief William “Billy” Mitchell. They lost a few pounds and a few inches off the length, though they continued on the 119-inch wheelbase. Much was made of the  “slim new size” that made Chev “easier than ever to drive, park and garage.”  

 The car carried headlights integrated into the ribbon grille, emphasized by a uni-brow that defined the leading edge of the hood. Between that defining mark and the grille itself were the turn signals spaced nicely by a half dozen open vents that lined up with vertical grille depressions.

Visit my old car website at http://www.theoilspoteh.ca

Heavily sculpted flanks gave the impression of flight with a fin-like look in the rear quarter panel. Circular tail lamps set in a flat panel were distinguished by a heavy indentation dipping into a sweet “V” at the centre of the rear. The greenhouse featured curved and canted front pillars. Slim C pillars created a unique roofline for the Sport Coupe and the Sport Sedan was given a wide rear pillar to “add a touch of town-car luxury.”  The result was a trio of rooflines giving acres of viewing area. 

Impala was the posh Chev. It sported such thoughtful touches as an electric clock, a parking brake warning light, back-up lights, deep-twist carpeting, fingertip door releases and custom-length arm rests as standard equipment. Consumers were told the would be “hard pressed to find a reason for wanting any more car than this.” Interiors were upholstered in soft leather-grain vinyl over foam-cushioned seats. There was a four-door Sport Sedan, a four-door sedan, a convertible and a two-door sedan to choose among.

 The 1961 Chevrolet Impala boasted a capacious but compactly designed Instrument Console with all controls conveniently located within easy reach of the driver.


Bel Air was the mid-range beauty in the full-sized family. Billed as being popularly priced, it offered a glove box light, a dome light, foam for cushions fore and aft, deluxe door handles, window cranks and steering wheel and ash trays in the rear compartment. Each item was described as a Chevy virtue at a “price that makes buying too easy to resist.” The Bel Air was available as a Sort Coupe, a Sport Sedan, a four-door sedan and a  two-door sedan. 

The least expensive full-sized Chevrolets in 1961 were found in the Biscayne Fleetmaster series. The two-door listed for $2,730 and the four-door was priced at $2,797 with the six-cylinder engine.
The least expensive Chevrolet was the Biscayne. Offered as a two- or four-door sedan, it boasted dual sun visors, front arm rests and a glove box lock. Interiors were simple and colour-keyed to a durable rubber floor mat. Even less expensive was the Biscayne Fleetmaster, designed for business. This hardworking pair was available in two- and four-door models. 

Station wagons were listed separately and could be ordered with six or eight-cylinder engines. The wagon tribe included a very elegantly appointed Nomad four-door, six- or nine-passenger model, a mid-priced Parkwood six- or nine-passenger, four-door model and an inexpensive Brookwood four-door, six- or nine-passenger wagon. Each offered 97.5-cubic feet of cargo space. To add icing to the cake, a new concealed compartment under the floor provided additional space and out-of-sight safety for precious items. 

Options? You bet! Owners could load up on goodies galore including power steering, power brakes, power windows, a 6-way power seat, a deluxe heater with or without the All Weather or cool-Pack air conditioning. The E-Z Eye tinted glass was required with the air conditioner. There was  dual exhaust, a two-speed electric windshield wiper and pushbutton windshield washer, For listening pleasure, Chevrolet offered a choice of radios. A four-speed manual transmission was available and for the shiftless, PowerGlide or TurboGlide automatic transmissions could be had, too.

Visit my old car website at http://www.theoilspoteh.ca

Colours for the 1961 Chevrolets were all Magic-Mirror acrylic lacquer. The deep-down lustre was protected by the plastic base that promised to resist road sins such as sun, salt, road tar and chipping. Tuxedo Black, Twilight Mist Metallic, Ermine White, Sateen Silver Metallic #2, Midnight Blue Metallic, Jewel Blue Metallic, Tradewind Blue, Arbour Green Metallic, Seafoam Green, Honduras Maroon Metallic #2, Coronna Cream, Cherrywood Bronze Metallic, Twilight Turquoise Metallic, Seamist Turquoise, Almond Beige, Dawnfire Mist Metallic, Fawn Beige Metallic, Roman Red and Shadow Grey Metallic were the hues of the season. They could be applied to the Body by Fisher envelope in solid colours or in striking two-tone combinations.

When the calendar year was over, Chevrolet had done well for itself, racking up 70,072 deliveries of its full-sized cars and an additional 8,777 Corvair sales. The small car was here to stay but consumers’ love affair with the full-sized Chev was far from over.

The priciest Chev in the 1961 lineup was the eight-cylinder, nine-passenger Nomad wagon with a price tag of $3,929.




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Visit my old car website at http://www.theoilspoteh.ca

Copyright 2006 to James C. Mays



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Sunday, September 26, 2010

1966 Renault 10 Major

The 1966 Renault 10 Major shared its 2066-millimetre ( 89-inch) wheelbase with the Renault 8 but the 10 was  30 centimetres longer overall.  Much of the new sheet metal went in front to create a more commodious trunk.
French automaker Renault had enjoyed success in Canada with its tiny Dauphine. Other products followed and for those consumers who enjoyed marching to the beat of a different drum, the Renault offerings were often right up their alley. People in Quebec and British Columbia were most fond of the little cars from France. 





Built on the same platform as the Renault 8 Major, the larger, longer, sleeker Renault 10 Major bowed in the fall of 1965. These cars were not imported from France, however. They were sourced from the new Canadian factory located in St. Bruno, Quebec. The luxury compact gave “a whole new standard in comfort with performance, safety and economy to match.”

Like its smaller brother, the 10 made use of the Sierra 1100 cc (68 cubic inch) 50-horsepower mill. With the engine mounted in the rear, like the Renault 8, the car was capable of speeds as fast as 136 kilometres (85 miles) per hour. Even if one drove at that speed all day, fuel consumption was a miserly 7.2 litres per 100/km (45 miles to the Imperial gallon) and the gas tank held 8.5 (38.6 litres) of them. A four-speed synchromesh stick shift was mated to the engine and delivered a smooth, silky getaway.  An interesting feature was a sealed cooling system, which meant there was no need to add anti-freeze in winter. 


The rear-engined 1966 Renault 10 Major weighed in at 793 kilos (1,750 pounds).
Handling was excellent. The car boasted rack and pinion steering and disc brakes all around. Anti roll bar, independent suspension and hydraulic telescopic shocks rounded out the handling package. The boys at Canada Track & Traffic could hardly keep to posted speed limits once they got behind the wheel of their test car. They practically babbled with enthusiasm. “The Renault 10 performs with excitement. The car has some sports car characteristics and anyone who enjoys zealous driving will easily be won by the Major.” 

Instrument panel for the 1966 Renault 10 Major was austere even when dressed up in faux burled walnut accents.
Styling was square and for a European automobile, featured fairly conservative looks. Because the luggage compartment was in front, the package was designed with a “controlled crush” front end. Though a foot longer than the Renault 8, the 10 had a tidy turning circle of 9.2 metres) 30 foot 4 inches. The larger dimensions were put to good use in giving 311 cubic litres (11 cubic feet) of trunk space. 

The cabin was capacious for such a compact car. High seats appeared a little odd to the look but that was completely forgotten once seated in exquisite comfort of reclining bucket seats. Tall people loved them, they did not need to hump over or slouch at all. The instrument panel was finished with faux burled walnut inserts and that classy touch extended to the steering wheel and the gear shift knob. Two glove boxes were most useful. The boys at Canada Track and Traffic did not like the instrumentation markings and took decidedly strong exception to the slanted needle used in the speedometer. “While this may not seem to be of a serious nature, it definitely becomes annoying in a car which has so many other good qualities,” they wrote.

Visit my old car website at http://www.theoilspoteh.ca

Standard equipment included a two-speed electric wiper, a heater and demister, a twin-jet windshield washer, emergency flashers, seat belts all around, backup lights, massive rubber bumper overriders, exterior rearview mirrors, a clever tool-roll and oh-so-useful mud flaps. 

In stoic Gaullic fashion, the options list was short but sweet. It included an optional pushbutton three-speed automatic transmission. A leather/cloth upholstery scheme over firm contoured foam rubber seats that were “better than most cars at any price,” was available as was an AM/FM push-button radio, a cigar lighter, a roof rack, a ski carrier, spot lights, fog lamps, whitewall tires, wheel rims, a tow bar, twin muffler, a tachometer, oil pressure gauge, a steering wheel “glove” and headrests.

The 10 Major was not only the biggest sedan the company offered, its $2,148 price tag made it the most expensive Renault sedan on the dealer’s showroom floor. The R4 station wagon listed for $$1,595 and the R-4 Super station wagon listed for $1,695. Both were both continued from last year, as was the Renault 8 with its $1,998 price tag. The stylish Caravelle was continued at $2,995. Gone this year were the familiar and friendly face of the super inexpensive Dauphine and that of the fast Gordini. All prices were F.O.B. Winnipeg.

The 1966 Renault 10 Major was featured on the cover of Canada Track and Traffic in February 1966. Tagline read “…now built in Canada.”


Canada Track and Traffic took a Renault 10 Major out for some serious testing. The editors wrote that this was “one car which may be accused of changing a driver’s personality.”  They called it “quite a little rear-engined machine” and speculated openly that folks who got behind the wheel would engage in “exuberant driving.”  The Renault 10 Major took top honours at the Shell 400 Rally. If that wasn’t honour enough, the editors of Canada Track and Traffic ultimately named the Renault 10 Car of the Year.  

Records show that 10 leftover 1965 Renault Dauphine and Gordini models were cleared out in calendar year 1966. The Caravelle found 133 owners. The Renault 4 accounted for 245 deliveries. The sales list shows that 880 Renault 8 sedans were purchased as well as two (!) Gordini versions. The new 10 Major turned out to be the big seller with 1,564 units delivered with manual transmission and another 1,145 equipped with automatic transmission. Sales for the year added up to 3,986 units and that was before the 1967 Renault 16 was introduced in the fall of 1966. Sales of that model added another 584 units, giving the Automobiles Renault Canada Limited a total of 4,570 sales for the calendar year.

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 Copyright James C. Mays 2007 All rights reserved.

Monday, September 6, 2010

1980 Chevrolet Citation

Billed as “the most thoroughly tested new car in Chevy history,” and “a whole new kind of compact car,” Citation certainly didn’t look anything like the venerable and much loved Nova it replaced. For starters, the new kid on Bowtie Boulevard topped the scales at 360 kilos less than the Nova and was a whopping 50 centimetres shorter. “You’ll like the space it doesn’t take up in your garage,” was a great line that prospective customers heard from salesmen.

Riding a 2664-millimetre wheelbase, Chevrolet launched the compact 1980 Citation in April 1979. It replaced the Nova, first  seen in 1962 as a model in the Chevy II series.

Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Buick salesmen used the same clever line because the Citation had siblings named Phoenix, Omega and Skylark, respectively. Chevrolet’s variant was originally intended carry the Condor name, but Citation won out. The X-Body programme cost GM a cool US$50 billion to develop; fortunately all of the new compacts were a big hit with the public, initially, anyway. Workers couldn’t keep up with demand and waiting lists for a new Citation grew to be nine months long.



Designed for the 1980s, this new breed of bowtie was sleek. In fact, Citation’s Slipstream Styling registered a .417 drag coefficient in wind tunnel testing and promised to delight driver and passengers with “impressive fuel economy, plus reduced wind turbulence and noise.”

  Visit my old car website at http://www.theoilspoteh.ca 


Not a popular model, the Chevrolet Citation Club Coupe carried a list price of $5,681 in 1980.

Citations could be ordered in Beige, Black, Dark Blue Metallic, Light Blue Metallic, Light Camel Metallic, Medium Camel Metallic, Cinnabar, Dark Claret Metallic, Grey, Dark Green Metallic, Red, Silver, White or Yellow. Any of these colours could be set off with attractive pinstripes, at extra cost, of course. The X-body envelope lent itself nicely to striking two-tone colour combinations and stylists whipped a baker’s dozen of them to delight and dazzle consumers. 


Chevrolet’s compact car arrived with front wheel-drive, a transverse-mounted engine, rack-and-pinion steering, front and rear stabilizer bars, unit body construction, and acoustical ceiling arches. While these features had appeared on many other vehicles, Chev’s designers and engineers brought them together for Citation in a package attractive enough that Motor Trend named it Car of the Year.

Interiors were finished in a Sport Cloth Weave, though optional Custom Knit Cloth or Custom Vinyl upholstery was also available. Colour choices for the cabins were Black, Blue Camel, Carmine, Green or Oyster. Colour-keyed safety belts were an extra cost item.   

Citation’s standard interior was attractive. Bucket seats with centre console were extra-cost equipment on the compact Chev. Power steering added $193 to the tab, power brakes another $90.

  Extremely functional, the Citation’s instrument panel was driver oriented. The speedometer maxed out at 130 kilometres per hour. Automatic transmission was a $399 option and air conditioning was $666 plus the Ottawa’s $100 luxury tax.

The instrument panel was straightforward and understated. All gauges were housed in front of the driver in a functional, rectangular pod. The turn signal stalk also did duty as the headlight dimmer, windshield wiper and washer switch, in the European style.



The standard power plant for Citation was the tried and true 2.5-litre four-cylinder mill, sourced from Pontiac. The Iron Duke sipped 11.6 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 6.7 litres per 100 kilometres on the highway when tested according to the rules laid down by Transport Canada. The optional 2.8-litre V6 generated 115 horsepower. Either engine was mated to a four-speed manual transmission but could be had with an extra cost automatic.

Options included air conditioning tinted glass, the Comfortilt steering wheel, speed control, colour-keyed safety belts and colour-keyed floor mats. Then there were the extra cost power goodies: power brakes, power steering, power windows and power locks.

Transversely mounted, the Chevrolet Citation’s 3.6-litre V6 engine was a $267 upgrade. It was sourced from GM’s factory in Tonawanda, New York.

One could order bumper guards, bumper rub strips, an electric clock, a centre console, bucket seats, an electric rear window defogger, Quiet Sound rear compartment d├ęcor, a gauge package, custom interiors, a day/night inside rearview mirror, a left-hand remote-control outside rearview mirror and a pair of sports mirrors with a left-side remote control switch.

 Visit my old car website at http://www.theoilspoteh.ca 


Then there was the removable sun roof, a reclining seat for the front passenger, the sport steering wheel, a roof rack, swing-out side windows for the rear, an intermittent windshield wiper, dual horns, a heavy duty battery, heavy-duty generator and heavy-duty cooling system.

Of course, there was entertainment. Although an AM radio was standard equipment, Citation could be optioned with AM/FM radios and stereo speakers, and add a cassette deck, 8-track player or a citizen’s band radio. The latter came complete with a power antenna.

Production of the 1980 Citation got underway in the spring of 1979. The first Citation to roll off the line came from GM’s Oklahoma City plant. The compact Chev was shipped to Canadian showrooms immediately as none were built in domestically. Compact bowties also rolled off the factory lines in Willow Run, Michigan and Tarrytown, New York. Demand was sufficient that there was a second shift at the Willow Run plant.

Citation sold well, Canadians had already registered 18,262 of them by the end of January 1980. Sales were nip and tuck with the Ford Fairmont and Plymouth Volare throughout the year, sometimes within 20 sales of each other at month’s end.

Citation's Legacy

Citation was a milestone achievement for Chevrolet and executives had high expectations for it. They certainly waited long enough for the innovative car to arrive. Most new models were created within three years. This one took nearly twice as long, having been in development since 1974. The first prototypes appeared in 1976. Despite the long gestation period, Citations were not trouble free.

  Within its first six months on the market, the car was recalled nine times for defects ranging from steering failure, suspension failure, problems with the structure and automatic transmission problems. Virtually every Citation built was affected by one of the recalls. Despite improvements and modifications, Citation’s second year on the market was little better; the car was red flagged with four more recalls. 

Originally planned as a five-passenger vehicle, Citation was intended to come only with bucket seats and have the parking brake centrally located between the seats. In a bid to attract more customers, a last minute decision was made to offer bench seats instead of buckets. That decision would be Citation’s downfall.

 The brake handle had to be moved. Now located under the instrument panel, the new position did not provide sufficient pressure to hold the car on a hill. Engineers quickly fitted the rear drums with beefier brake linings. The quick fix held the car but an undesirable side effect cropped up: now the brakes had a tendency to heat up at highway speed, then lock up unexpectedly, throwing the vehicle sideways. Drivers suddenly lost control of the vehicle.

The US National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration launched a lawsuit over the poor brake design. Although it did not win the case against GM, the litigation was hot news. Citation’s reputation was brought into question with the public and irreparable damage was done.

Sales slid precipitously. By the time production ended in 1985, the word “ill-fated” seemed to be part of the Citation’s name. The unfortunate compact took the dubious honour of being the most recalled automobile in history. The entire X-body programme was deemed a failure. Chevrolet did not field another car in the compact segment until 1987.

Today the Chevrolet Citation is a collectible vehicle and there are several clubs dedicated to the compact. 



 Visit my old car website at http://www.theoilspoteh.ca 

 Copyright James C. Mays 2005. All rights reserved.