Cheap Commuter? 1986 Chevrolet Celebrity

Not all celebrities are actors, they can be musicians, artists, writers, athletes or even cars, like this 1986 Chevrolet Celebrity, located in Palm Harbor, Florida and available here on eBay for a starting bid of $800, one bid tendered so far.

The Chevrolet Celebrity was an FWD “A” body/platform passenger car produced between 1982 and 1990. They were assembled simultaneously with the Chevrolet Malibu which had been on the RWD “A” body/platform but then shuttled to the “G” platform with the inception of the Celebrity. The Celebrity lived a bit of a star-crossed life as some said it was really an “actor” more so than a celebrity, as in “acting” like a car. The problem stems from its association with the Chevrolet Citation (“X” body) which had its fair share of problems. The Celebrity was not without its issues but by and large, it was an improvement over the smaller Citation.

Celebritys came equipped with one of three engines, the most common being the 2.8-liter V6 like this example. The 2.8 engine is a 60-degree engine meaning that the right and left bank of cylinders are 60 degrees apart making the engine narrower and more accommodating to being transversely mounted for FWD. The power rating is listed as 112 net HP and the seller tells us that it has “confident acceleration off the line and good power in reserve”. Transmission duties are conducted via a four-speed automatic transaxle.

The interior of this Celebrity is oh so eighties but it really looks nice – I actually liked the simplicity and boxy angles of ‘80’s dashes. This interior is bright, clean and belies its 84K miles of use. There is a little carpet wear in the driver’s side foot wheel but that’s to be expected. If gauges are your thing, this isn’t the car for you, it has a small 85 MPH horizontal speedo and a fuel gauge and that’s about it.

The interior “all angles” design follows the exterior or perhaps it is the other way around. Whatever the case, this Celebrity with its squared off formal look is very straight and aligned. There is no evidence of dents, misalignment or rust. The finish, which is not original, is consistent and shows well from any angle though it is a bit of a typical boring GM sedan color.

The Celebrity came in four-door sedans, like this example, a station wagon body style and a two-door sedan which I think made for a nice looking car though they are seldom seen. This ’86 Celebrity is one of about 405,000 produced in MY ’86; a pretty darn good record for a car that wasn’t considered to be particularly special – just basic transportation. And maybe that was the Celebrity’s strong suit, being just basic transportation. It clearly had something positive going for it, there were 2.1 million copies produced during its first and only generation.

In the past three months, I have looked at a significant number of cars for sale or auction and this is the least expensive, at an $800 starting bid, that I have encountered. This Chevy also has one of the most comprehensive sale listings that I have reviewed, check it out! While we don’t know where this one will end up, this seems like a great opportunity to buy a slice of the ’80s for a very reasonable price. Any takers out there?

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Comments

  1. ticketgeorge

    My first company car.

    Like 2
    • Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

      My first company car, too. It was surprisingly……. okay.

      Like 2
  2. nycbjr Member

    I always liked the Euro spec versions.. also the Pontiac 6000 STE was pretty nice!

    Like 7
  3. Fred W

    I guess they can’t be that bad of a car, since 20 years later they seem to be EVERYWHERE in my community, at least with the cash strapped set.

    Like 9
  4. Bob S

    Nice write up Jim! You’re right about the comprehensive write up by the seller, that is till he got towards the end and referred to it about 3 times being a Saturn. You would think the dealer……err… seller would put in a new drivers side headlight. Nice clean car, very curious what it will sell for, too far away for me.

    Like 4
  5. David

    My very first car was a silver Eurosport, 1987, handed down from my parents. They bought it new off the showroom floor and I recall sitting in it while they did the paperwork.

    Engine was the same 2.6, or was it a 2.8? Wheels were five-spoke mags I believe, sort of a semi-flat gray with black edges on the spokes. Unique design.

    Trunk had a “luggage rack” (ribs bolted to the trunk lid with a single raised bar in the back) whose only use during my family’s ownership was for people to hang onto while being pulled around on skateboards. My 16 year old self thought this was a great treat for my friends, seeing how fast we could go before the pullee decided to stop.

    I could be mistaken, but I believe it had a center console with the (automatic) shifter mounted there.

    I handed the car down to my brother and he continued to beat the snot out of it. It finally died circa 1996 due to rot in the front subframe, causing the drivetrain to fall out when parked on a hill with the transmission holding it instead of the parking brake. OOps.

    Like 5
  6. Ken Cwrney

    I just showed this to Mom, and she likes
    it. It would make a great 2nd car for us.
    Other than cash changing hands, all that
    would need to be done would be for her
    and my BIL to test drive it before me and
    my cash would be parted. $800 is a really good price for Florida where worn
    out used cars can sell as high as $33,500
    for a ’98 Chevy Malibu with 300K miles if
    you buy a car from one of those credit
    rebuilding lots they have here. One guy
    tried to sell my SIL a 2009 Honda sedan
    with a bent frame for $15K at a lot in
    Lake Alfred. As for the seller saying the
    car was a Saturn, it’s pretty easy to say
    that as the very first Saturns were to use
    the Celebrity body shell and all asscotiated underpinnings. For its age,
    this car looks great. Usually, the paint is
    baked off of one by now. Gonna think
    hard but not too long as someone here
    will snarf it up before I get a chance to
    bid.

    Like 4
    • Ralph

      These cars have ZERO related to a Saturn other than they are both made by GM.

      Like 2
      • Tom Curtin

        Considering the seller also has it listed on FB marketplace for $1900, it is doubtful they will let it go for the $880 bid it is currently at. Suspect an early end to auction if bids don’t get past $1500…

        Like 1
  7. GTiDave Member

    Saturn was a Z platform, I believe the Celebrity was A body.

    Like 2
  8. Bob S

    One thing I didn’t see in this article was if there is a reserve or not. I doubt very seriously if the dealer is going to let it go for $800. Like I said earlier, if I was closer, I’d take a peek at it.

    Like 2
  9. Mike L

    Back in the day all the GM “A” bodies were great cars. I had an 86 as well but with the bulletproof “Iron Duke” 2.5l 4cyl. Finally parted ways with that car @668,000 miles & it still was a running, drivable car! Replaced it with an 87 Ciera Brougham Estate Wagon also with the 2.5. That vehicle served me over 300k

    Like 5
  10. Brian

    Hey guys! I’m the dealer/seller. I buy cars like this when I can, we recondition them reasonably, and then retail them because I personally enjoy old GMs from the 80s and 90s. I myself own an ’89 Electra as well as a ’96 Aurora and a ’00 Bonneville SSEi.

    We usually deal with much later-model cars for resale, but I enjoy ‘saving’ these old cars from either the scrap yard or – let’s be honest – living its last few months as a drunk or crackhead’s beater as so many cheap cars in Florida end up being. In fact, we just delivered a ’91 LeSabre Limited w/91k miles to a guy who flew in from New York and have a pending contract on a ’96 Ciera Cruiser w/98k miles from a customer in Virginia. We also have a ’97 LeSabre Custom w/108k, ’95 Century Special w/66k, and an ’88 LeSabre Limited w/108k working their way through the shop.

    A few notes:
    1) A new sealed beam is going in before the car is delivered.
    2) The windscreen is also being replaced as there is a crack in it that grew to the point where it needs replacing.
    3) Sorry for the Saturn references. I use a template with eBay ads and sometimes I forget to change a few of the details. My mistake on that.
    4) YES it is $800 no reserve, bid to win. Truly. If it sells for $800, someone got a deal. Enjoy.

    Hope this ends up with someone who enjoys it as much as I did.
    -Brian

    Like 9
  11. Car Nut Tacoma

    Nice looking car. I remember the Chevy Celebrity. I was too young to drive at the time, but I remember finding it more attractive than most cars of the time. I find it way more attractive than what’s offered today.

    Like 1
  12. Andy B

    My parents had a celebrity station wagon, forget what year. If I ever come across the engineer that designed the engine compartment, I will be wringing their neck. Seriously, who designs an engine with the oil filter on the back side, Uber the intake and above the exhaust ??? Only way I could reach that filter was to remove the front passenger tire, pull away the plastic splash liner, and reach across. PITA!!!

    Like 1
  13. Bruce Fischer

    I had 2 of them and then a station wagon one loved them all. Wish I could find one up here.Bruce.

    Like 1
  14. 71MKIV

    I drove a series of these things as station wagons for over 20 years. Truly the Bic lighter of cars. Drive them till they quit, toss the keys on the seat and walk away without guilt.
    at 150 thousand miles the engine electrics get really wonky and the transmission is pretty much done. Pretty reliable up to that.

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