False Advertising: 1985 Chevrolet Cavalier

I’ve written before on Barnfinds about how my first car was an ’85 Chevy Cavalier Type 10 coupe.  Sorry to wax nostalgic but seeing this beautiful survivor listed here on Craigslist in Marcy, New York brings back fond memories of my old car.  I loved my 5-speed stick, despite the fact that the 2.0 liter Chevy 122 series 4-cylinder was dreadfully sluggish, underpowered, and unresponsive.  The eye-catching Z24 package, however, came with a more capable 125 hp V6.  Take a close look at the photo of this ’85 coupe and you’ll notice it wears a Z24 emblem on the rear of the rocker panel cover.  Confused?  You should be because after all, Chevy didn’t offer the Z24 package until the 1986 model year!  Its seller is advertising this Cavalier as a Z24 clone with an asking price of $2,000.


All told, there are six pictures included in the ad for the car and just about every one of them is staged to prominently feature the Z24 emblem.  Well, you can put lipstick on a tortoise but it’s still a tortoise!  Sorry for changing such a time-honored quote but I just can’t allow myself to refer to a beloved first generation Cavalier as a pig!  The good news about this car is it’s always been stored inside and has never seen an upstate New York winter.  That says a lot and is without a doubt the reason it’s in such immaculate condition.  Interestingly, and with no explanation provided in the ad, the seller claims this Z24 impersonator also hasn’t seen the road since 2001 which is why it still wears old-school Lady Liberty NY tags.

Do you see what I mean about the pictures highlighting the Z24 emblem?  There are only two photos of the car’s interior provided in the ad.  One is of the driver side door panel, complete with Z24 emblem attached.  The other is this close-up photo of the stick shift, aftermarket tach, stereo, and climate controls.  That isn’t a bad thing but it sure would be nice to also get a view of the entire cabin so we can see the condition of the dash, seats, etc., etc.  Even though our view of the interior is limited to just the center console there are a couple of unique and interesting features to discuss.  I’ve always loved the cool pedestal (for lack of a better word) design of the console.  As a child of the cassette era of music, I also deeply appreciate the stereo’s auto-reverse feature!  Take a close look at the sliding treble and bass adjusters just to the right of the volume/tuning knobs.  If you ask me, it’s a heck of a lot easier to simply slide one of those levers to achieve the sound you desire rather than fumbling around some modern-day annoying touch screen interface!

Unfortunately, no photos of the 86 hp 4-cylinder Chevy LQ5 motor is provided in the ad.  Mileage isn’t mentioned and the seller fails to disclose whether there are any known mechanical issues.  Was the car routinely started and run during its 18-year storage?  Has any work been done since it was brought out of storage?  Inquiring minds want to know.  If you’re interested in further perpetuating the image of this imposter, a fiberglass Z24 hood is also included in the sale, along with some extra parts.  What do you think of this beautifully preserved Cavalier?  I’m tempted to try to relive my youth and go grab this thing!  If I did buy it I’d quickly strip all of those Z24 emblems and sell them on eBay to someone working hard to restore an actual Z24!


  1. Todd Fitch Staff

    Good eye, Jay. It reminds me of the “Cavalier GT” on which GT apparently stood for “Goofy Tape” because it mainly added tape stripes. That said, a host of fond memories were made in Chevy Cavaliers, many better left untold. Nice one!

    Like 9
    • Jay B Staff

      Thanks, Todd! And yes, there are many stories about exploits involving my Cavalier that should never be told!

      Like 2
    • Thomas Sicbaldi

      I have a set of real z24 rims for a 86

  2. NotSure

    Why are the pics dated 2007? I get that it isn’t imperative that the date setting in your camera is correct but aren’t most folks using the camera in their phone these days? It is almost Summer of 2019 after all…

    Like 6
  3. Jesse

    People actually restore these turds?

    Like 7
    • CapNemo

      I can’t imagine someone ” working hard” to do that. But hey, more power to them if they do.

      Like 5
  4. grant

    Are we sure this is an 85? I learned to drive on an ’87 RS (mom’s, and rather sharp in Candy Rosewood Metallic with some senior-year-art-project etching on the sunroof) and later owned a beater 85 for a work car. This one looks like the ’87, the ’85 had a different grille and dash.

    Like 1
  5. Michael Brooks

    Zoom in on the pic of the rear and you will see a third brake light. 86 and up

    Like 1
    • Jay B Staff

      My ’85 had a 3rd brake light.

      • don

        85 was the first year for the third light on cars

        Like 1
  6. Superdessucke

    It’s a tribute! For some reason, I really had a jones for the Z24 back in the day. But they were pretty expensive for what they were. As I recall, in 1989, when I was looking for a new sporty car, they were way more costly than the Shadow ES and Escort GT, and almost the same as a Mustang LX 5.0. But they were pretty cool, and a lot of people bought them.

    Like 1
  7. Shingo

    Maybe he can stick a Z24 badge on the dangling wires under the dash too.

    Like 6
  8. karl

    That style GM cassette players had to be the worst I’ve ever seen in a car. My wife had an 86 RS Cavalier ,and I was always replacing the unit. the tape function would always just click from one side to the tape to the other .The digital instrument cluster was another ongoing problem . While the car ran good , it was very hard to any work on it as everything was so cramped together . I wasn’t too upset when someone rear ended it and it was totaled .

    Like 1
  9. Jack

    I had an 1984 Type-10 with a 4 speed. I ran it to the ground. The manual transmission wasn’t made for my driving habits. I was between the Type-10 and a VW Scirocco. Wish I went the VW way.

    Like 1
  10. George P

    I had a 85 Chevy Type-10 and I bought it Used, It had very little miles on it and it had a 2.0 4 cyl with an auto transmission and I had no problems with it the car had a lot of pep for what I needed traveling back and forth from Ft. Knox KY to Michigan Great on Gas and got me where I needed it never let me down

    Like 1
  11. Little_Cars

    First girlfriend in college had the hot Sunbird version of this and my mom had her peppy Buick Skyhawk version of this coupe. I thought they were well built, tight little econoboxes until (at two different times) my GF and mom were T-boned in an intersection. No airbags, the doors practically popped off, roof peeled back like a sardine can leaving them exposed to raw metal and oncoming traffic. They both survived, but….Chevy got the small performance coupe design right in 1990 with the introduction of the Beretta GTZ.

    Like 2
  12. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I had an ’85 Type 10, manual with 0 options,that I bought brand new and owned about 6 months before trading it for an ’86 Omni GLH-T.

    It was good for what it was, but I obviously needed something faster…..

    Like 1
  13. Tim

    I had an 85 CL with a dressed up interior with striped velour seats and a great rust colored paint job. I drove it through college. I sold it for $2k in 1990 when I bought another Cavalier that I actually ordered from the factory.

    The kid that bought the ‘85i drove it up until 250k miles, and then sold it to his cousin. They finally killed it at 325k miles. I never got the bashing. Super reliable cheap transportation.

    My wife had an 89 Z24 when we met. Loved that car. The 6 cylinder felt like a rocket compared to the old 2 liter.

    My 1990 was a blast to drive. Factory 5 speed. I got an upgraded trim level so I could have the folding pass through rear seat. Nice car. I drove that one until I traded it for a 93 S-10. Needed a truck.

    If this car was closer, I’d snap it up. Nice tribute car. Nice body style.

    Like 1
  14. William Cawley

    I remember going to the dealer with my Parents in 1985 and them buying a Blue Caviler for well $8,500 here on Long Island New York it was my First Car I learned how to drive in

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