Chevrolet Citation

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Chevrolet Citation
Chevrolet Citation II CL 5-door
Parent companyGeneral Motors
Also calledChevrolet Citation II
AssemblyOklahoma City, Oklahoma
PredecessorChevrolet Nova
SuccessorChevrolet Beretta
Chevrolet Corsica
Body style(s)2-door notchback
3-door hatchback
5-door hatchback
LayoutFF layout
Engine(s)2.5 L Iron Duke I4
2.8 L LE2 V6
Transmission(s)3-speed TH-125 automatic
4-speed manual
RelatedBuick Skylark
Oldsmobile Omega
Pontiac Phoenix
ManualsService Manual

The Chevrolet Citation was a compact car sold by the Chevrolet brand of American automaker General Motors from 1980 through 1985. The Citation (originally to be the "Condor") and its X-body siblings (the Buick Skylark, Oldsmobile Omega, and the Pontiac Phoenix), were among the first compact front wheel drive vehicles sold by GM. In anticipating consumer demand for smaller cars, GM switched from V8 engines to smaller, more economical V6 and 4-cylinder engines. The X-body cars were some 800 lb (363 kg) lighter than the rear-drive compacts they replaced. The Citation was Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year for 1980. 1980 model sales were brisk and the production lines were unable to keep up with the demand, causing significant delays in delivery to customers; some had to wait nine months to receive their vehicle. The Citation was also Chevrolet's first front-wheel drive car. The Citation was one of the first American front-wheel drive compact cars following the trends of front-drive compacts such as the Honda Accord and Volkswagen Dasher.


Planning for this family of vehicles started in April 1974. The first prototypes were created in mid-summer 1976, and the Citation was released in April 1979 as an early 1980 model. The Citation's initial retail price was under US$6,000. Three body styles were available, a 2-door coupe, 3-door hatchback and a 5-door hatchback. The front wheel drive design and hatchback bodies were a radical departure for the American industry, and GM was widely praised for the X-body's efficient packaging and smaller engines. Helped by an April 1979 release, the 1980 Citation sold around 800,000 units.

Sales decline

The X-body cars were the target of an unsuccessful lawsuit by NHTSA, which cited a tendency to lose control under heavy braking and power steering problems. The X-body cars were, however, recalled many times and the Citation's reputation took a beating, resulting in decreasing sales every year. The 1984 and 1985 models were badged Citation II in a halfhearted attempt to convince consumers that the vehicle's problems had been overcome to the extent that the car deserved a new name. The introduction of Chrysler's similarly packaged, but more conventionally styled K-cars (the Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant) for 1981, along with the GM J platform models (introduced in 1982) also ate into sales of the Citation.

The 2-door coupe was regarded by many as awkward looking, and after slow sales was dropped for 1981. However, it was reintroduced for 1982.

Design and replacements

In addition to the X platform, GM also created a new line of engines for the Citation and its sisters. The 2.8 L LE2 V6 was the first of the 60°Family of engines still in use today. The X platform was used in 1982 as the basis for the new front-wheel drive A-body cars. The X platform was also the basis for the future L-body and N-body cars.

Car and Driver and several other car magazines at the time were duped when GM lent them specially modified versions of the x-body vehicles in which the horrendous torque steer (for which they became famous) had been engineered out. Patrick Bedard of Car and Driver later admitted that they were completely surprised when they later drove a production version.

The Citation was dropped after the 1985 model year, ultimately replaced by the L-body Beretta coupe and Corsica sedan in 1988.

Chevrolet Citation X-11

In 1979, GM wanted to race the Citation in the SSB/SCCA class and a requirement of the SSB/SCCA rules was to produce a production model of the race car.

The 1980 Citation X-11 had front and back stabilizer bars, standard 4 speed overdrive manual or the optional 3 speed automatic, sport type suspension, Goodyear P205/70R-13 white lettered tires with rally wheel trim, a rear spoiler, side striping, black grill and body accents, sport steering wheel, body-color dual sport mirrors, Special full Instrumentation with a 6000 rpm tach, standard Pontiac 4 cyl 2.5 liter Iron duke or the optional Chevrolet 2-bbl LE2 2.8 V6 litre engine that produced 115 horsepower.The 1980 Citation X-11 transmissions had special gearing to allow 60 mph (97 km/h) in second and a move up of first to help fill the stretch. The 1980 Citation X-11 was available only on the 2-Door Hatchback Coupe and Claret Club Coupe (Notchback).

The 1981 to 1985 Citation X-11 models had legitimate performance upgrades such as a 2-bbl 2.8 V6 High Output engine, including F41 sport suspension, rear spoiler, special axle ratios, Special full instrumentation with a 7000 rpm tach, front and back stabilizer bars, 14" specific alloy wheels with the word "Citation" engraved, Goodyear Eagle GT P215/60 R14 radial tires, functional fiberglass cowl induction hood with High Output V6 Logo and also on the air filter housing on the 81-84 X-11 models, dual sport mirrors, "strobe" style X-11 graphics on the lower side doors and rear spoiler, standard 4-speed overdrive manual or the optional 3-speed automatic, both with special gearing. The 1985 Citation X-11 had a MPFI version of the 2.8L V6 LB6 and a nonfunctional fiberglass cowl induction with 2.8 F.I. Multiport Logo. The 4-speed manual overdrive was listed available on the 1985 Chevrolet Citation brochure, but it was mentioned that it wasn't available, and the 3-speed automatic was the only transmission available for 1985.

The 2.8 V6 H.O. LH7 engine was more powerful in the 1981 version of the X-11 and most desirable which produce 135 horsepower (101 kW) and 165 ft·lbf (224 N·m) of torque which it went from 0-60 in 8.5 sec. The 1982 through 1984 versions of the 2.8 V6 H.O. LH7 produced 135 horsepower (101 kW) and it was down to 145 ft·lbf (197 N·m) of torque due to emission regulation which it went from 0-60 in 9.2 sec. The Citation X-11 1985 had a multi-port fuel injected 2.8 V6 LB6 engine which produced 130 horsepower (97 kW) and 155 ft·lbf (210 N·m) of torque. The 1981 Citation X-11 is also faster than the 1985 Citation X-11.

X-11 Production Numbers by Year

1981: 11,631 1982: 3,864 1983: 1,934 1984: 1,458 1985: 1,687

External links