Chevrolet Cavalier

The 1982 J-Body cars (Chevrolet Cavalier, Buick Skyhawk, Oldsmobile Firenza, Pontiac J2000, and Cadillac Cimarron) were GM’s first competitive front-drive compact line. Coming hot on the heels of the successful launch of Ford’s Escort and Chrysler’s K-cars the year before, GM needed a hit. Their first attempt had been the X-Body cars, which were slightly larger front-drive compacts launched in 1980. The X-Body cars sold well their first year but then tanked due to quality woes and recalls. Happily for GM, the same issues were not present in the J-Body cars and the Cavalier, along with various badge-engineered siblings, sold well up until the early 2000s. That said, first-generation J-Bodies, sold until 1988, have become increasingly rare. Cavaliers still exist, but Firenzas, Sunbirds, and the like are hard to find. Even harder to find are cars like this one. The first-generation Cavalier was facelifted after just two years on the market and gained dual square headlights. That means this example, parked in Cambridge, MA, is from 1982 or 1983. It is in remarkably good condition for a “disposable” car close to 30 years old.