12K From New: 1986 Chevy Celebrity EuroSport

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Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

Ahh, this one brings back some memories. My grandmother had a white Chevy Celebrity wagon that mets it untimely demise after catching on fire (no injuries to the driver) but was actually a pretty solid rig for the years she owned it. I’ve heard similar stories from prior Celebrity owners (along with owners of it corporate twin from Oldsmobile), which makes this 1986 Chevy Celebrity EuroSport wagon here on eBay with only 12,613 original miles an interesting choice for a collector vehicle you can enjoy every day. 

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Now, put down your pitch forks: I realize the use of the term “collector vehicle” can cause blood pressure spikes when not used on a car you deem worthy of such a label. But think of it this way: this is a car that you would collect if you were a GM fanatic or loved iconic cars of the 80s. The Celebrity was well-known and I used to see lots on the road, but not so much anymore. They are damn near extinct, so to find one that’s practically new-in-the-wrapper may very well look like a good investment to hobbyists that march to the beat of their own drummer.

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The interior and engine bay present as new. The EuroSport badging really didn’t add much to the Celebrity platform aside from different wheels, firmer suspension and blacked-out window trim. With power steering, power brakes, A/C, an automatic and front-wheel drive, it’s not hard to figure out why the Celebrity was the hauler of choice for many American families. Even today, it’s a cheap car to live with and you won’t have to look too far to find a junkyard carcass to pillage parts from.

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In addition to the wheels, EuroSports also got unique red trim in the bumpers and along the door panels. Factor in the large cargo area and roof rack and you have an easy-to-park commuter car with tons of room for bringing home swap meet finds or hauling athletic gear. The seller says this Celebrity is ready for collector plates, but some of you may disagree. No one has entered a bid yet, with the auction opening at $4,200 and no reserve to clear. That’s close to the selling price of the minty Cavalier wagon we featured not too long ago, so perhaps lighting will strike twice.

 

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Comments

  1. Blyndgesser

    With the f41 suspension these are actually pretty nice to drive.

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  2. Keith

    Add that and a manual, and I’d be seriously tempted… at half the price.

    I wonder if any of these actually went out the door with a V6 and a 5-speed. Always thought such a rig would be an interesting find.

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    • Patrick

      Remember the Eurosport VR? That was the HOT one…..5 speed with a 125hp 2.8L V6. HOT is a relative term but in 1987 that was pretty impressive. I remember the magazines saying that “VR” = “very red” on the models so equipped. Jalopnik did a story in December on a guy who has one for sale for only (ahem) $12,000.00 which makes this one seem like a bargain!

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  3. Chris in Nashville

    WTF??? $4200? Not likely!

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  4. St. Ramone de V8

    That name was so wrong. Nothing Euro or Sport about it. The dash has no tach or gauges, bench seat with column shift auto. Rear drum brakes, solid axle, etc. This one is very nice, and I’m sure it drives like a decent American wagon. Nice to see anything this well taken care of, just never thought that name was appropriate.

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    • Greg

      That’s why these are so cool. They had to use names to make up for what they weren’t!

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  5. Roseland Pete

    My mother had a 87 Olds Ciera wagon and she loved that car.

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  6. mtshootist1

    my wife got one of these from her dad, it was a four door sedan with the Eurosport trim package, we racked up 238,000 miles without a rebuild on the engine and driveline, and until the granddaughters hit a boulder with it, when the brakes quit, it was pretty durable. I was going for 300000 miles, but didn’t quite make it. It is still sitting out in the front yard, if somebody is interested.

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  7. angliagt

    I hate it when they put a high starting bid like this one.
    There’s a good chance that nobody will bid on it.

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  8. Fred

    The non Eurosport versions are all over our town as daily drivers for the not so fortunate.

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  9. Cassidy

    They might have come up with the Euro name since there is a distinct likeness to a Volvo. One comment on the write-up, Jeff, that had me confused: the other folks you talked to about driving one in the past, did their burn up too, or were they just as happy as your grandma to own one?

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  10. bob

    Compared to the Volare, this is a steal. There was a guy in the Toronto autocross scene who beat many a Porsche with his modded 3.1 Celebrity wagon about 20 years ago

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  11. jim s

    looks like a daily driver. a SW with less then 13k miles and a $4200 starting bid seems like a deal to me if the bidding does not go much higher. great find.

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  12. Rob

    Car is in Canada and the speedo is in Kilometers.

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  13. hearsetrax

    I had a 1984 celebrity 4dr once and to this day I still miss the critter

    had 260k on it b4 it was sold to then friend of mine in seriously rough and barely running shape

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  14. JohnD

    I agree with the “high starting bid” comments. It’s going to attract the right bidders, so why not start low w/no reserve? Makes things more interesting. And yes, I think it will sell for at least $4,200. What else can you buy for that price? And in what condition?

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  15. Nessy

    Always start the bidding at 100 and let the bidders tell you what they think your car is worth. You can always keep a high reserve and lower it later if you wish. It’s a turn off with any Ebay listing when you see a higher starting bid price. When I see that, I don’t even bother to read the ad…. This is one sharp little wagon however you look at it….

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  16. Poppy

    There is a weird bidding psychology I’ve noticed: I’ve seen rare parts on ebay with high but reasonable starting bid of,say, $400 and get no bids at all. Then the next week they relist at $350. It gets the first bid and then bidding goes crazy and goes all the way to $900!

    On the other hand, a reserve can be a turn off too. I almost didn’t bid on a car assuming the reserve was too high. One email to the seller and I learned that reserve was such that the car would definitely sell. That meant I had to bid to win and I did. If I hadn’t checked with the seller I would have sat it out assuming it wouldn’t meet reserve. Some other guy would have gotten an even better deal than I did, and the seller would have left money on the table. Bottom line is both a reserve and high opening bids can cause folks to sit on the sidelines thinking it won’t sell and they’ll have a chance to get it even cheaper the next time through.

    I usually list no reserve with an opening bid of about half what I think an item is worth and let the market decide.

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    • Nessy

      That is interesting Poppy but what if you list your item with your reserve at only half it’s value as you just said and the bidding stops at only half the value? Your reserve was then met and now you have to let it go at half the value. That does not sound like a safe bet.

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      • Poppy

        Yes, that’s basically what could have happened with that part example. I meant to bid at $400 at the last minute and I lost track of the action. I could have gotten a $900 part for $400 had I been paying attention and nobody else was. If I had bid earlier, in the week, people would then know it would sell and it would have been bid up. Everyone (including me) was sitting on the sidelines waiting for that first bid. All I’m saying is a) you need a starting price low enough to attract bidders early and b) let them know it WILL sell (i.e. NO reserve) so that you get the most interest. If it’s an oddball thing with very limited appeal (like this wagon) I think $100 auctions are risky, too. My guess is the seller’s opening bid is his asking price and isn’t expecting more than one or two bids if he gets any at all.

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  17. Ed P

    I traded my 78 Dodge Aspen to buy a new 84 Celebrity. The Celebrity had the v6 and all the goodies. Compared to the Aspen it was a wonderful car. The quality was so much improved. The v6 got a bad rap over the years. I blame the folks that never read their owners manual. The v6 required the use of 5w30 (recommended) or 10w30 motor oil. 10w40 would void the GM warranty. A friend had an 86 and used 10w40 and his motor did not last past 60k miles. He rebuilt the engine several time and continued using 10w40 because, “that is what I always use”. I could not convince him to change. He declared the engine was just no good.

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  18. Jubjub

    A friend inherited one like this, not a Eurosport, but a 3.1. 65K miles in the gun metal that was usually pealing or faded months after purchase. Not this one, a shiny, clean, strong running one owner unit. He ran it into the ground for another 60K or so miles until he wore through the rotors! Funny thing, he had the brakes done and even kept the receipts not that long before that.

    Beverly Sutphin’s ride of choice!

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  19. 71 MKIV

    I’ve owned a string of these things for over 20 years. My first one was identical to this, even similar mileage. The transmission dumped it’s guts out on the road at 158000. They are reliable, relatively cheap to own and fairly easy to repair.
    If you do the transmission service every 60 K they will last.
    Here’s the issue, the window and door seals. They crumble into these sharp shards, which then let the rain into the doors. The door seals shrink and pull out of their fastenings, which means you get wet.
    And they are unobtainium, nada, zip, zilch, nowhere nohow.
    If this one was stored indoors, you may get a few years out of it yet before you have to wear a slicker to drive in the rain.
    The other drawback to this one is that as an 86, it will have that horrid carburetor on it, that worked, sort of.

    71 MKIV

    1+
  20. PaulieB

    I had an ’87 version.. and loved it.. Just keep some cash available for alternators..mine would burn one out just about yearly..

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  21. Ron (Florida)

    I had a 96 Century, the Buick version of this car. It was one of the best cars I ever owned. I bought it with 96k in 04 and sold it with 140k in 06. The next owner had it until they wrecked it in 2012 with 238k on the odo. I haven’t seen a Celebrity this nice since I was a kid, in Ohio they were usually covered in rust, in Florida I haven’t seen too many, I think the opening bid is too high but I like it and I think it will sell for at least 4200, if not more.

    1+
  22. Tony

    I have the 4 door model of this with 62,000 original miles. It was my grandmothers car sitting in the garage for over 15 years. Parts were so cheep I said what the heck and rebuilt it, new brakes, calipers, drums springs and pads a new gas tank, fuel pump and filter, water pump, belts, hoses, plugs and wires, Trans filter and all new fluid and oil filter. I am still under $650 in parts thanks to Rock auto and coupon codes at Advanced auto. This car runs PERFECT! The picture was taken before I washed and waxed it so it looks even better now. Its a great “beater car” or 2nd car.

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  23. Poppy

    They offered the 3.8L engine in some of these cars in the later ’80s. Not sure they were ever put in Celebrities, but I test drove a ’88 Ciera wagon with the 3.8L engine and it was surprisingly quick. I doubt these cars top 3000 lbs.

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  24. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Of all of the cars I’ve driven in the past, this is the last one I expected to see on BF.
    I had a Celebrity wagon as my company car when I worked for a magazine company. It was my job to fill the wagon with metal racks and drive around the north – Boston area and stuff these racks in any store that I could.
    I hated the job, but didn’t mind having a company car – I used to take my girlfriend on dates in it and we referred to it as the “rackmobile”.

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  25. Karo

    One of GM’s nicer-looking designs. The proportions are just right. This one has two seats; the ones with three seats have an extra vent window right in front of the d-pillar.

    1+
    • Poppy

      I knew they made 2-seat and 3-seat versions, but I never noticed some lacked the rear vent window. Thanks for pointing that out.

      1+

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