19,000 Original Miles: 1988 Cavalier Z24

Although economy cars of yesterday fail to hold a candle to what your bottom-dollar vehicles can do today, there are still examples of entry level models that were decent performers once gussied up by the factory. The Chevy Cavalier Z24 is one such example, and this pristine 1988 example here on eBay is in scarce supply today. Even better, this one jas just 19,000 miles from new on the clock. 

The seller claims that this Z24 was bought new by his family, and it sounds like it was a gift from his parents. Despite a few different names on the title docs, the Z24 has been in the same family the entire time, and appears like the time capsule he says it is. The Z24 packed ground effects and unique alloy wheels into the package, along with custom badging. The Z24 models came standard with a 2.8L V6 producing 125 b.h.p., and in this car it is paired to an automatic transmission.

So, technically, there are almost 20,000 miles on this car, but I’ll let that slide given the likelihood of finding a Z24 in any kind of survivor grade condition is likely slim to none. The seller is quite enthusiast about the vehicle, noting that its value is likely to only go up and that the Z24 would be equally at home in a collection as it would performing as a daily driver. Not much of anything has been modified from stock, so it likely has some modest collector value, but I wouldn’t expect a massive jump in prices anytime soon.

The worst demerit I can give the car is that blasted automatic transmission. I believe this Cavalier has been for sale more than once, and other than potentially an unrealistic reserve price, the lack of a stick shift is likely holding this one back from a sale. Rule of thumb: if you’re going to buy the “sporty” or “performance” variant of a car, always go for the manual transmission option. Bidding is currently at $5,700 with the reserve unmet.


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  1. MH

    That car is beautiful. These were the cars everyone wanted back in the day. I would like to buy it to relive my youth. Haha

    • Bill Farmer

      You can’t polish a turd!!

  2. Miguel

    I am having a hard time believing a 17 year old did not drive this more than a couple thousand miles before parking it.

    We all remember what we were like at 17, right?

    • Lord Humungous

      That old car saying…
      It’s only got 800 miles on it!
      Put on a quarter mile at a time.

      Like 1
      • DrinkinGasoline

        I’m driving two of My Father’s LeSabre’s which He can no longer drive due to blindness. Both are well below 30,000 miles…..Think Twice !

    • Don H

      He wanted a Z28 but mom and dad only got him a Z24

      Like 2
    • WM

      Agree. This car was up for auction before and it looks great but the tires had me scratching my head. Both front tires are different brands. And then there are Firehawks in the back. I was thinking if only 19K why are they different? Might understand one being an odd ball due to a nail or something like that but it just doesnt feel right to me. I know I’ve swapped good tires off a project car in the past to put on a running car but i either did it in pairs or all 4 of them. Figured it was better to get some use out of them before flat spots appeared but i dont think that is the case here.

      Like 1
  3. Ken Carney

    Oh no! Another trailer queen! Don’t get me wrong, it’s a really nice car,
    but I think I’d take the drop-top version with a V-6– which I passed on
    15 years ago. The car belonged to one of my managers at the restaraunt where I worked at the time. Just thought her asking price of
    3K was too much for a car that needed a new top and interior work.
    I offered her $1,000.00 for it, but she turned it down. Found out later
    that it needed major front end work when the CV joints needed to be
    replaced ($2,500.00 here in Florida) I sure felt bad for her, but happy
    for me as I dodged a huge money pit.

    • rando

      I saw a sharp Z24 convertible last week. Same as this one, white,silver, with same wheels. VGC, older couple driving it. Nice. Yeah, I’d drive it. Heck I liked the square 1rst gen of the Z24.

  4. Lord Humungous

    It’s still a more show than go.
    A V8 Monza or Cogs worth Vega is with the scratch.

  5. DrinkinGasoline

    Everyone surely had their poor experiences with the J Body as there has been timeless reporting’s. Truth be told, there were tons sold. They served a purpose during a time of need. We can all sit back as arm chair restorer’s, barking out claims of glory with gleaming chrome and paint but…..think about this….what could you do with it right now. Right here and now…what could you do with it ?

  6. Chris W.

    I had a Black V-6 Z-24 w/hatchback… Loved that little car!!!

  7. Coventrycat

    Nice, but the wheels are hideous.

    • Miguel

      Those are the wheels that came on that car.

      They look cool going round and round.

  8. 68 custom

    maybe a good daily driver at 4k, thats about it!

  9. Mark

    2500.00 cv joints?

    • Mike H. Mike H

      That’s what I was thinking. I’ve been buying complete remanufactured axles for well under $100 for the last decade or so, and it takes but a minute (or so . . .) to put them in. Some shop gave a “Go-Away!” price or was really intent on gouging with that number.

      Like 1
  10. Matt

    Odo looks messed with…

    • Doug Potts

      When those odometers start to roll over the digits roll up like that. My 88 Chevy truck does the same thing.

  11. Roger

    I had a1998 white Z24. It was a fun car. I drove it for 268,000 miles. The only money I spent on it was for regular maintenance and three sets of tires. I wanted to get to 300,000 miles with it but the trans went bad and the unibody was so rusted the car was ready to collapse into a pile of rust.

  12. Ken Carney

    Yes Mark. When these cars were popular, it was nothing for a repair
    shop here in Winter Haven to rip off the customer any chance they got.
    There is one shop in particular that comes to mind. It was across the
    street from the Taco Bell where I worked. These bozos were trying to
    tell me that it would cost over $2,000.00 to install a new rack and pinion
    on my ’80 Chevy Citation sedan. A lot of these cars went to the crusher
    as a result of crooked practices carried out by mechanics here in Polk
    County Florida. That’s why the industry is heavily regulated here.

    • Scott Staff

      I find just the opposite here in polk county, the industry is not regulated at all. Anybody can call themselves a mechanic and shops and dealerships can charge whatever they want and hire any dude with a few tools. Lots of hacks around here

  13. Doug Potts

    I test drove a Z24 back in 1988. Realized that it was a potential ticket magnet for an 18 yo kid. Still wished I’d bought one!!!

  14. One lucky dude

    Every time I see a z24, it reminds me of this girl I once dated…..she dumped me for a guy that had one of these with a vanity plate which said “baby z”……long story short…..she got pregnant by the guy….the guy was given an altemadem of sell the car or else…..he took the else and was never to be seen again!
    Moral of the story….always test drive with protection!

    • Jason clancy

      LOL perfect hilarious story, I Own a 93 and an 89. The 93 is almost restored and my 89 is going to have a $17,000 L67 Turbo 3.8 V6 Engine with a $6,000 something F40 6speed dropped into it. Can’t wait to happily have them next to eachother in the garage, then take em out once in awhile! Beautiful Rare car regardless.

      Like 1
  15. EJB

    I had one of these as a kid. Same year as this but black. It handled well (much better than the 70’s sedans I had owned previously) and accelerated well despite the small v6. I never had any problems in the snow. I delivered pizza in it and racked up the miles. Young and dumb.

    Like 1
  16. Big Mike

    The first car I bought the oldest Son in 2001 was a 1988 Z24, bought it off of a Lady that was good friends of Mom and Dads. Dad had even worked on the car after a couple of Wal-Mart Parking Lot accident. I knew the car and knew what it was worth, gave her a good price we were both happy with. The car showed 34K on it and the boy drove it until he got out of college and he traded it in on a used pickup. Car had a little over 200K when he was done with it and it was still in descent shape.

  17. Steve

    I had a friend whose girlfriend had a newer Z24 with the 3.1 and a five speed. He used to rag the hell out of it! He straightened a curve out one night after a few beers, ran the car off into a ravine. He walked back to the party I was at and we used my 82 c1 and some chain to pull it out. He took off as soon as I got the chain loose, dragging an old innerspring mattress down the road, sparks flying…

  18. Miguel

    The Z-24s here in Mexico actually had the Pontiac Sunbird front end on them and some even have the Sunbird tail lights but luckily they have the Cavalier dash board in them.

    They are neat little cars. All of the Cavaliers sold here had the V6 in them which always seemed kind of odd.

  19. Joe

    The guy has been trying to sell this for months now! It’s has been listed several time and he astronomical coin for it. Even in cherry condition they are still not bringing much on the market. Note the mismatched tires front and rear.

    Like 1
  20. Rustytech Member

    This car appears to be in excellent shape. I had a first gen z24 that I drove for years, until my teenage son rolled it. I was driving nearly 60 miles one way to work at the time. I had to rebuild the engine at about 130k do to smoke, and replace the rack & pinion twice, but it was still going at 190k. I wouldn’t be too concerned about the tire mismatch as these cars ate tires for lunch. Just do a through inspection. The seller needs to reduce his asking price be about $2k then he’d likely get a deal done.

  21. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I had a Cavalier back in the day, for about 6 months.
    It was a manual transmission hatchback stripper model that wasn’t half bad to drive, because of the manual.
    Traded it when I found the car I wanted – GLH Turbo.

  22. Steve

    Back when these came out they were cool. I owned a 1991 Sunbird LE 3.1. It was quick for what it was. After a 180 degree thermostat, 2.25″ mid pipe and a fox body Mustang flowmaster muffler I was taking down 5.0 TPI IROC’s and Trans Am’s. Not the fastest thing but it was fun.

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