Monday, June 22, 2009

1985 Chevy Citation X-11

There is a huge advantage to having a friend who is a master mechanic... You can call him in the middle of the night when something goes wrong with your car.

Which is exactly what I did to Jeff Friday night.

I won't go into the details (because I'll look like an ass), but my car wouldn't start when I went to leave a friend's place. I got in, turned the key... click, click, click. No sound, no picture. I jump started the car and called Jeff. Jeff agreed to meet me at his shop around 11:30 PM.

Jeff was hanging out with a another friend, John, who was back in Massachusetts for a few days. Jeff brought John with him.

Jeff diagnosed and repaired the problem in, oh, about 6 seconds. Then, being Jeff, he decided to check a few other things while the car was there. He put the scan tool on it.

While we were all standing around waiting for the computer to do its thing, we started talking about cars we once owned. John mentioned a Chevy Citation X-11 he owned and how much he missed it. John currently owns a Subaru WRX and a BMW 2002. A Citation X-11 was not a car I expected him to be fond of.

I never thought much of the X-11. It was a GM X-car. (The X-cars were sold under then names Chevrolet Citation, Buick Skylark, Oldsmobile Omega, and Pontiac Phoenix) As Car & Driver recently wrote, "As GM’s first front-drive compacts, the X-cars were significant vehicles: They slaughtered GM’s reputation for a whole generation." I couldn't agree more. The X-car was, in my opinion, the beginning of the end for GM.

GM wanted to do some SCCA racing with the Citation and the X-11 was created for that purpose. Built from 1981 - 1985, the X-11 could hit 60 MPH in less than 9 seconds and had an upgraded suspension that gave it better handling than the standard Citation.

I have to admit that I've never driven an X-11. I've never even thought about driving one. But, there seems to be a small hardcore group of devotees out there who love these cars (John, apparently, is among them). There is an enthusiast website just called Citation X-11 that gives a good history of the car. You can find it here.

John now lives in Ohio. This 1985 Citation X-11 is located in Ohio. Here ya go, John...

According to the seller this is a rare 1985 Citation X-11 H.O., one of only 1687 made. It's in good, but not perfect, shape. It needs some body (slight rust) and interior work. It is, for the most part, all original and unmodified.

I won't be bidding for this car, but John, if you buy it, let me take it for a drive. Maybe the X-11 really was a great car whose reputation was ruined by it's lesser siblings.

I talk a lot about every car being a piece of automotive history. The X-11 is that. It was GMs attempt to take on Saab, Audi and the Japanese. Who knows? If the X-car hadn't been such a public relations disaster, they may have succeeded.

Anyway, who am I to criticize? As Jeff and John learned that night, one of the cars I've owned and miss the most was made by Renault!

Click here to see the eBay listing for this 1985 Chevy X-11.

For more info on the Chevy Citation, including the X-11, check out


JayP said...

When GM got things right, no one gave them credit. But when it went crappy... it's on the news.

A pal had an X-11. I thought it was a great looking car. Monochrome and all, it wasn't -that- bad.

Sly said...

Hi there

I am the owner of the website I had a silver 1982 Chevrolet Citation X-11 and 2 Pontiac Phoenixes. I miss them all and I never should of sold them..

Just A Car Geek said...

Hi Sly -

That's a really good website you have. I've learned a lot from it.

Thanks for the comment!