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Hess & Eisenhardt Heritage: 1984 Chevy Celebrity

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

Hobby cars reflect the owner’s interests and obsessions, even if it’s a lowly Chevy Celebrity. Interestingly, this drop-top conversion has an extra dose of history attached to it, as the convertible conversion was executed by a company called Hess & Eisenhardt, which today is a premier armored vehicle manufacturer for the Deptartment of Defense. Find this obscure Celebrity conversion here on eBay with an opening bid of $3,500 and no reserve. 

The Hess & Eisenhardt connection admittedly only goes so far in terms of proving value, but it is one of those companies that epitomized the American dream from the early 1900s through the end of WWII. As the economy and consumer tastes changed, the company had to evolve from working with luxury coachbuilders like Cadillac to taking on more ordinary assignments, such as converting run-of-the-mill economy cars into convertibles.

While we often think of ASC as the only provider of such services, this was actually a big market in the 1980s. Hess & Eisenhardt further built a name for themselves by performing electric sunroof conversions for any number of manufacturers, including Jaguar. The seller of this Celebrity has undertaken several major projects with the car, including reupholstering the interior, repainting the exterior and rebuilding the engine 15,000 miles ago.

We could do without the hood scoops, rear spoiler, aftermarket taillights and racing stripe down the hood, however. All of these are easily reversible but seem like strange add-ons for a car that has otherwise been so meticulously preserved. If you’re simply seeking an oddball with an interesting backstory, $3,500 isn’t huge money to spend on a car that’s been semi-restored – but you’re still driving a Celebrity at the end of the day. Would that stop you from bidding?

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  1. Pete R

    Mercury Comet taillights? Weird choice.

    • Ralph Terhune

      Also ’70/’71 Mercury Montego taillights.

      • CATHOUSE

        The Comet and Montego taillights are not all exactly the same. The Montego (and I think the early 70-1 Comets) lights had a larger back up light than the later Comet. If you look closely at the ebay listing most of the photos showing the taillights have the smaller back up light lenses. Then look at the photo just about at the end of the photo choices, in that photo the lights appear to have the larger Montego back up light lenses.

    • Moxman

      That was also my first thought. I had a 72 Comet at one time and the tail lights looked exactly like these. A strange choice, indeed!

      • DweezilAZ

        I don’t know, Moxman. Chevrolet used two [Bel-Air, Biscayne] and three [Impala] tail lights per side for many years.

        Seems consistent with Chevrolet, and sort of like something they should have done in the first place.

  2. Miguel

    Celebrity’s always drove well. No need to get down on them.

    • Brakeservo

      Yes Miguel , if we want to criticize there’s always the Cadillac Cimarron !!

    • DonK

      But about as exciting as grass.

      • Nova Scotian

        What kinda grass, dude?

    • RichS

      I bought my ’86 Celebrity wagon with 204K on it for $100. Sold it 5 years later with 370K on it for $300 to a guy who wanted the engine for his Fiero (car still ran great, transmission went.

      Definitely boring transportation but damn, that car owed me NOTHING at the end.

  3. grant

    It looks like a JC Whitney nightmare.

    • Tom Member

      I like the functional hood scoops. I mean, functional in that they stick to the hood. At least it has the spoiler to help it go faster.

      Music videos…..I sure would like to know which ones….pretty sure not Whitesnake or Bon Jovi !!?

      Love to know the HP of this red rocket.

      Hess & Eisenhardt……is that like Nickey & Yenko?

      Ok, I’m done. sorry. If you can’t laugh….life is not worth it !!!!!!

      • Jonnycrash

        I thought someone hacked my keyboard for a minute! LOL

  4. CCFisher

    That’s an 82-83 front fascia and an Olds steering wheel. No judgment – just pointing it out so the next buyer doesn’t get laughed off the show field at the Celebrity Nationals.

    • St. Ramone de V8

      Celebrity Nationals! That’s great! Thanks CC!

  5. Chevelle guy

    Just …… no

  6. Matt K

    The sad thing about this car is that it was one of less than 2900 Eurosports that were optioned with the Citation X-11’s HO 2.8. How many were converted into verts? Not many. Would be much better converted back to what it looked like when it was new.

  7. Rick Loera

    That is HILARIOUS that they used Mercury Comet tailight. Looks good. What doesn’t look good are the stripes and that horrible looking spoiler. Remember, this is still a grandma car. Let’s not forget the scoops either, just awful.

  8. Ralph Terhune

    Talk about the proverbial lipstick on a pig! I bought a wrecked 1984 Celebrity Eurosport 2 door coupe in ’84, black over silver, aluminum wheels, 2.8 liter and automatic. I thought it was a fairly attractive car at the time. Ended up putting a front clip on the car and a new transmission. It was hit so hard in the right front that it drove the right frame rail through the footwell and broke the trans in half.

    • DonK


  9. Don H

    The worst celebrity make over ever😗

  10. Dan

    The scoops make the car.

  11. rmward194

    What a mess they have made of this car. I wonder if the started life as a Eurosport? If it was the Eurosport model it should have a black grille and headlamp trim. The white bumper striping should be red as well. Either way, put it back the way it was originally. To each his own, but IMO it’s ugly as-is.

    Here’s an unmolested 1988 for $5,500

  12. Pat A

    I love that someone thought enough of this POS to add the yellow on black ’60’s style vanity plates. Instantly doubled the value. There are tons of cars like these in the greater Los Angeles area, customized by latino immigrants with parts from Pic A Part junkyards. No matter how hard you work on this with the turd buffer, you’ll only end up with a shiny turd.

  13. RC46

    Judging by the vanity plate, I think this owner is in on the joke, or just has woefully bad taste.

  14. Chebby

    The seller is “crud palace”, of which I could certainly see this parked in the driveway.

  15. S Ryan

    Sellers other items are old aluminum cans. Decisions , Decisions???

  16. MikeG

    If you were to put several different car parts into a bag, shake vigorously and dump out on to the garage floor, this would be the result.

  17. Coventrycat

    I think the vanity plate is in reference to medication time, which the owner clearly missed.

  18. kenzo

    If you check the link from ‘rmward194’ there is a nice one for a descent price if it checks out with bondo sniffer and under the mats etc. Looks way better in black and no scoops or spoiler. Would be fun on an evening or Sunday cruise.

  19. charlie

    I like it. Who knows what is “right” for a custom car? It is a convertible, it is probably pretty reliable, if the top fits, good in all weather, can be driven at 75 mph on the Interstates. Friend had an Olds Cutlass made into a convertible, sat a bit higher due to the additional frame underneath, and the price is right. Then again, I grew up cutting car pictures out of magazines and creating “customs”. Born too soon for photoshop.

  20. Carl

    Old school ricer, looks about as stupid, and worse than most

  21. Steve Visek

    “$3,500 and no reserve”
    Is that for the auction or was that from the original brochure for the conversion package?
    Clearly they had no reserve at all when putting this thing together. Oh dear.

  22. Steve Visek

    Probably would need a couple thousand pounds of their armor plating just to subdue the cowl shake.

  23. Joe Haska

    I am surprised that everyone finds this car so offensive, I must be loosing it because, I thought for the price and a few little changes, it could be a unique, fun driver. Maybe I believe too much in ” The top goes down the price goes up”.

  24. Oingo

    Say what you may about its current appearance but lose the scoops, stripe and tail lights and you have clean economical summer good driver quality convertible.

  25. Jonnycrash

    Hess & Eisenhardt Hemorrhage…

  26. DweezilAZ

    Despite the add-ons, the ad claims a rebuilt engine, MPFI conversion from carb, new paint and upholstery and NOS parts used. No rust CA car. Convertible. Seller says the tail lights can be replaced with the originals without cutting.

    Supposedly one of 60-65 convertibles H&E made that year.

    Look past the rice [too many badges, spoiler and hood scoops], there’s been a lot of expensive work put into this car that won’t have to be done after de-accessorizing.


    I had an 86 in the mid 90’s We used it because it was better on gas than our Suburban for our 27 mile commute to work. My son was attending youth group at our church, and said “Dad, don’t take me in the Celebrity!!” The fiber timing gear gave out…I think they were some kind of fiber.. We gave it to the Mechanic that diagnosed it… still feeling like he got ripped off

  28. Fritz T.

    Nope. Still hideous

  29. Leon

    Plate. Rat $hit !!!!????

  30. jaymes


  31. Steven

    I had a clean white Celebrity convertible with the Hess & Eisenhardt conversion. I loved that car. No cowl shake, good gas mileage, quick enough to help me get a speeding ticket once. It had a new burgundy convertible top when I sold it. It also had a nice maroon bucket seat interior (it was a eurosport with the mpfi 2.8). My car was very clean with just under 100,000 miles. I got $1,200 out of it because no one wanted it. I advertised it for 6 months. I couldn’t get rid of it, no matter what I did. I kept lowering the price & finally it sold. This car here is very rough compared to mine. $3,500? No thank you. I wouldn’t pay $350 for it.

  32. lawyer George

    I’m kinda with Joe H.& Dweezil and Charlie–I like it and am surprised that so many find it offensive. It would perfect for sending daughter off to college. Not the size of a pop can & therefore more safe, but still parkable, bright red paint nice interior, fast enough, economical and a long way south of $40K!


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