Live Auctions

$1,000 4-Speed: 1983 Oldsmobile Firenza Wagon

When was the last time that you saw a 1983 Oldsmobile Firenza Wagon? 10 years ago? 20 years ago? This one is on Craigslist with an asking price of $1,000, or best offer, or possible trade? If you’re in Minneapolis, Minnesota you’re in luck, no shipping charges!

As most of you know, the Olds Firenza was similar, very similar, to other GM cars: the Buick Skyhawk, Cadillac Cimarron, Chevrolet Cavalier, and Pontiac Sunbird. I think the Firenza name better suits Pontiac but that’s just me. This car is in decent condition but it’s basically a commuter or winter at this point. There is rust on the bottoms of the doors and there aren’t too many people on the globe who would restore a car like this one, unless it was exactly like one that they had or maybe like one that their parents had and they were nostalgic about it.

You can see the rust on the bottoms of the door, bummer. But, living in states that put down literally tons and tons of road salt every winter will do that to a vehicle. This car is incredible original right down to the wheel covers, so that’s a good sign that it’s at least been taken care of more than a lot of them were. The wagon body style is pretty unusual for sure, especially in the Oldsmobile version.

The interior looks great, and the best part? This is a 4-speed car! Again, pretty unusual for any Oldsmobile let alone a wagon, albeit a very, very small wagon… There are no engine photos, but in decoding the VIN this is a 2.0L inline-four cylinder LQ5 engine with 86 hp. The seller gives some incentive for the next owner to grab this one: “Endless play in the skinny plastic steering wheel and crazy body roll make for a good flashback to classic 80’s motoring every time you get in. That’s kinda why I bought it.” Ha! Have any of you owned a GM J-platform front-drive wagon from this era?



  1. Kevin

    One of us! One of us!

  2. Stang1968

    Never thought I’d see a J body here.

    • Frank Fick

      Unibody I had a Cavalier that had rotted rocker underbody.Anemic engine about 25 miles a gallon.Higher if manuel.Too small

  3. Dave Wright


  4. Randall

    Looks like some good fodder for the Gravedigger to crush.

  5. Andy

    My dad test drove a 1983 Cavalier wagon when new. He hated the ride quality. Bought a 1984 Dodge Aries wagon instead!

  6. Rob

    I bought a 1986 Cavalier wagon new. Had the RS package with a 4 or 5 spd. Don’t remember for sure. I liked it. It was a good little family hauler. Pretty fun little car.

    • Randall

      Oh yeah…lots of fun . Weeeeeee!

  7. Arve

    Endless play in steering and crazy body roll? Not so for the Opel Ascona, german J-platform.

  8. JamestownMike

    And this is on Barn Finds because?? I thought this was all about BARN FINDS!……..hello!

    • kenzo

      I believe there is only so many barn left to find stuff in also they can only post what they get. Give ‘m a brake

  9. Randall

    Oh..ok. buy this one and drive around and be cool. Whatever.

  10. Randall

    I dont think some people know what a barn find is. It’s a find. Not a piece of crap with rust galore.

    • Joe

      Someone has had too much eggnog.

      Brandy makes Me angry too.

    • Yellowjax Member

      If you don’t like what’s on the site today go to another one. Come back tomorrow. Not tri fives everyday. Just a little bit of this and that sometimes.

  11. Ron G

    The last time I remember seeing a Firenza was about 15 years ago in a junkyard when I lived in Ohio. Hatchback though, not a wagon. I remember it specifically because it was the only V-6 J-body car in the yard and I took its intake manifold, fan shroud and a few other things for my ’86 Z-24. Haven’t seen one since, though I haven’t been looking.

    • mars2878

      the last one that I saw was in the summer of ’96 @ Bills Auto Parts in Cumberland, RI. It was GT coupe. I personally liked the 1st gen j-body. I have owned the cavaliers, sunbirds & even a Skyhawk w/ flip down headlights. mostly in the hatchback version. i’d buy another @ the right price & condition.

  12. wuzjeepnowsaab

    The picture of it parked between the Escalade and the Avalanche…LOL

  13. Dave Suton

    Friend of mine growing up had bought a new 82 honda accord. Had so many problems with it, traded it on a hatchback version of one of these. Drove it for the next 15 years. All through college and getting married. Finally traded in on a new Olds Alero. He still has it with over 300k miles on it. So much for hondas.

    Like 1
    • Jeff Kiers

      One person had problems with a Honda and put 300000 miles on an American car and it’s “so much for Honda’s”?? You know the reverse is the norm 9 times out of ten, right??

  14. Bob S

    Just to be a nitwit, there was no Pontiac Sunbird in 83′. The Pontiac version was called the J2000. If there had been a Sunbird, it would have been as undesirable as any other Sunbird. Love that this is a 4 speed.

  15. Howard A Member

    While I’ll agree, this is kinda stretching the BF’s idea, although, keeping in mind, it’s not ” Ultra Rare Classics Found in Barns”, it’s simply “Barn Finds”, which, the creators wisely chose as a title, could include ANYTHING,( as evidenced, thank you, Scotty) and this could’ve been found in a barn. Ok, not a lot of love for the, what is it now, oh yeah, Olds Firenza, looks to me like a great winter beater, that would get good mileage, and you could haul things, and shift gears. What’s all the fuss? Cheap car, run it ’til it pukes, and throw it away. Seems like a great deal. It’s really hard to find cheap beaters in the North. Usually, there’s nothing left.

    • Howard A Member

      Matter of fact, I won’t let the guy I live with at his farm, see this, or I’ll be riding in it. Wait, maybe I WILL show it to him. :)

  16. BeeMoe

    I had a ’83 sedan, with a stick. Can’t recall if it was a 4 or 5 speed. My dad gave it to me in ’91 when the head gasket blew. Fixed it and drive or for another 7 years until the clutch went. I actually really liked that car. Good mileage and between the time of head and the clutch, it had no issues whatsoever. Like Howard says, this would be a good beater. Use it up and move on.
    As much as I liked that Firenza, back in ’91, my options were a free Firenza with a $600 repair bill or a $1500 ’65 Mustang coupe 6 cyl (with a quote for another $1500 to fix the quarters and paint it). I wonder how different my life would be if I had made a different choice. ;-)

  17. grant

    I’ve owned a few J bodies, and they were all boring as hell, except the 87 RS Cavalier. It was actually kind of fun to flog on but i was a teenager. But boring or not they were all good cars. I wasn’t sure why this was here either, but as someone said cheap commuters are nonexistent in the north. In oregon they are plentiful and cheap for now, but apparently ODOT is going to start using salt because people freak out up here at a snowflake….

  18. SLUGGO

    When I was growing up in Minnesota we would have cars that we’d buy and drive only for the winter. We called them “winter beaters” this is a classic example.

  19. Clinton

    No. Just say no.

  20. kenzo

    What else will the four speed fit up against. Surly a four speed trans with all the hook up and pedals is worth something.
    Just curious

  21. Saabist(UK)

    Had to double take on this on because the rear end is the same as British equivilent Vauxhall Cavalier Estate I had for a short while back in the early 80’s , the only thing I can remember about this feeble piece of kit was the 1600cc engine ( the only option at that time) and the skinny 155x 13 ” tyres ! ‘ oh and the lousy auto choke carburettor that never allowed the piece of junk to start at anything below 0c ! , come to think about it I haven’t seen one over here for many years either !

  22. John b

    Manuel trans! Must be rare as a hen’s tooth. Love it!

  23. Kris

    Good lord. Back in the day (I’m 36, so mid ’90s for me), we saw these things everywhere. I had a few Sunbirds myself, the first one was an ’88 with the hybrid Gen 1/Gen 2 styling – front clip was from the early models, only it had fog lights where the little half grilles would usually go, next to the headlights. Rear end was the newer taillights and bumper as used up till ‘94.13″ tires and no rear sway bar. Fun old car, lots of memories for me.

    But back to the J bodies. There were a fair amount of stick shift cars around but they were usually the 2 door cars with the odd sedan so equipped. Only ever saw two or three manual wagons. Oddly, most Firenzas I saw were wagons, though. Almost never saw a Sunbird wagon, but it seemed Sky Hawk wagons outnumbered Cavalier wagons around here, at least for a few years. There were two very different four cylinder engines used. Cavaliers and most Firenzas used the 1.8/2.0 OHV 4 banger while the Sunbirds and Skyhawks used the Brazilian built all aluminum 1.8/2.0 OHC design with a separate cam carrier. That engine, IMHO was far better than the Chevy iron lump (NOT the Iron Duke), except for head gasket issues (but it was the 80’s….). Pontiac turboed that engine too in some cars, you could get the Grand Am turbo with it. This car, being an ’83, should only have a 1.8L and with any luck it’s the OHC engine.

  24. Bjorn

    Funny thing this is my old car. I bought it from the original owner earlier this summer. You get some really funny looks. Traded it to this guy for a 77 civic. Glad it got famous.

  25. Neil

    I loved my white ’83 Firenza wagon! It was a 5-speed.

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