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Monday, May 29, 2023

Detroit fanatic embraces Nineteen Eighties Common Motors automobiles

Whereas nearly everybody can respect a pristine Bel Air, a barn-find Mustang Mach 1, or an unmodified Supra, what concerning the common-yet-underappreciated car fashions that one way or the other survived the check of time?

I not too long ago got here throughout a wintertime photograph taken close to the Teton Mountains of my mother in her then-new 1982 Chevrolet Cavalier two-door coupe. She and my dad bought that automotive from Axtell Chevrolet in Logan, Utah proper across the time I used to be born, and so they proudly drove it across the Rockies for a number of years earlier than buying and selling as much as a bigger Celeb.

The 1982 Chevrolet Cavalier Spencer transported from California to Michigan

The 1982 Chevrolet Cavalier Spencer transported from California to Michigan

Mother and pa have been on the slicing fringe of automotive know-how on the time, since 1982 was the inaugural mannequin 12 months for the Cavalier. The automotive was underpinned by the Common Motors “J-body” platform and went on sale in Could 1981 with got here with only one motor alternative: a 1.8-liter L46 inline-four which may very well be mated to a four-speed guide or a three-speed computerized transaxle. The J-platform was extensively used throughout this period for different rebadged Cavalier variants just like the Buick Skyhawk, the Cadillac Cimarron, the Oldsmobile Firenza, and the Pontiac Sunbird.

Forty years later (yikes, that hurts to kind!) mother has long-since moved on from the Common Motors household (she at present splits her time between a late-model Acura sedan and a Lexus convertible). However simply as we’re seeing inside different areas of the collector automotive world, the marketplace for some Nineteen Eighties and Nineteen Nineties automobiles – even the Cavalier – has picked up momentum.

I caught up with Spencer Strucienski, a collector from Detroit who’s a eager aficionado of all these automobiles. Spencer and share an identical ardour for Nineteen Eighties boxy types from Common Motors. His present assortment spans some distinctive nostalgia-inducing automobiles from that period together with a Pontiac Grand Prix and an Oldsmobile Silhouette minivan – a car lovingly known as a “Dustbuster van” for its iconic wedge form.

Beneath is a 10-question Q&A session with Spencer about what it’s like being a Nineteen Eighties and Nineteen Nineties GM collector.

The “Dustbuster” Van

The “Dustbuster” Van

What number of automobiles have you ever owned?

Spencer: I’m at present as much as 52 automobiles within the 15 years that I’ve been driving. They’re automobiles starting from mannequin 12 months 1983 as much as 2018.

What automobiles are in your present assortment?  Which is a each day driver, or do you cycle via?

Spencer: This modifications on a month-to-month foundation, however at present I’ve a 1986 Chevy Cavalier CL, 1989 Pontiac Grand Prix SE, 1990 Pontiac Grand Prix STE, 1993 Chevy Cavalier Z24, 1995 Oldsmobile Silhouette, and my each day driver – a 2012 Ford Fusion SEL. Through the winter months, none of my previous automobiles get pushed, so the Fusion takes up each day duties. As soon as the climate warms up although, I cycle via automobiles; normally driving them for one to 2 weeks at a time.



What first sparked your curiosity in Nineteen Eighties GM automobiles? 

Spencer: My dad was a Mopar man, however I one way or the other wound up being a dyed within the wool Ford fanboy as a child. Two of my aunts had Tempos rising up and for no matter cause, I used to be enamored by them and at all times wished one to be my first automotive. Earlier than I obtained my license, I’d journey my bike via my neighborhood and “Tempo Spot.” Oddly sufficient, I nonetheless have all these pictures I took years in the past saved on an previous laptop computer of mine. Anyway, quick ahead to me being 15 years previous in auto store in highschool. We had a 1993 Chevy Cavalier RS with a 3.1L V6 donated to our store. My auto store instructor determined that we have been going to repair it up and promote it to purchase instruments/provides for the store. My 16th birthday was developing quickly, and I ran the automotive by my mother and he or she stated she’d purchase it for me as my first automotive. I wasn’t terribly enthused as a result of on the time, I wasn’t a giant fan of GMs. However that Cavalier is what sparked my excited by previous GM FWD automobiles. The three.1 V6 was very potent in that automotive and it was extremely dependable within the 5 years I owned it; ferrying me to and from highschool and ultimately school. Rust lastly did it in, nevertheless it nonetheless ran and drove to the junkyard. I owe rather a lot to that automotive as a result of I feel my life would’ve been vastly totally different had I gotten another automotive.

What are a few of the distinctive options that automobiles of that period had (digital dashes, the Grand Prix mixture lock glove field, the Cimarron Symphony Sound audio system, issues like that)?

Spencer: I’m actually massive on any digital shows, just like the 88-91 Cutlass Supreme gauge clusters, data heart/compass shows within the Grand Prixs and Bonnevilles. Mainly, all of the gimmicky stuff that doesn’t add a lot to the automotive, apart from overwhelming nostalgia for what it was like dwelling within the Nineteen Eighties. Quirky steering wheel controls within the Pontiacs have been additionally nice. I nonetheless get a kick out of naïve individuals who get involved concerning the buttons flying in every single place if the “airbag” deploys. I suppose we’re getting into the age the place folks don’t understand not all automobiles had airbags again then. On the subject of security, whereas lots of people discover them annoying, I beloved the motorized seatbelts of this period too. I’ve owned a pair Tempos and I like that characteristic.

Old GM gadgets

Outdated GM devices

I seen you latterly had a Cavalier transported from California to Michigan. What made that car fascinating and what are your plans for it?

Spencer: This was a little bit of an impulse purchase. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve much less and fewer endurance for rusty automobiles and when this automotive popped up on market, I couldn’t look away. It’s a really extremely optioned automotive in a cool colour mixture – it’s solely a pair choices in need of being a Cadillac Cimarron. Fortunately, the vendor was tremendous chill and affected person with me establishing the transport and paying him on-line. I by no means even talked to the man on the telephone – we did the entire transaction over textual content. In right this moment’s society, that’s in all probability going to make some folks cringe, nevertheless it labored out for me! I’m very comfortable to have the automotive now, it’s a local California automotive and it exhibits. The underbody is as clear as could be, simply the best way I like.

What are one or two of your dream automobiles – both from inside your present “scope” or far past it?

Spencer: This can be a robust query as a result of I’m a easy man. I principally personal all of my dream automobiles at this level. I actually love this period of FWD automobiles and personal most every thing I’ve wished. Nonetheless on my bucket listing is a Dodge Omni GLHS and Dodge Charger (the FWD Omni based mostly one). I do know, they’re Mopars however they’re so Nineteen Eighties and I find it irresistible. GLHS’ are promoting at a premium due to their desirability and the Chargers are extremely exhausting to seek out.

When you needed to make a prediction, what do you suppose is a at present underappreciated future collectible?

Spencer: Sadly, I feel these eras of automobiles aren’t going to understand by a lot, not less than the conventional mundane automobiles anyway. I consider they may maybe respect to very low five-figures as soon as availability drops to close inconceivable to seek out, nevertheless it relies on the automotive. Generations X and Millennials don’t appear to be doing as properly financially as child boomers who can afford to pay 6-figures for traditional muscle automobiles. Gen-X and Millennials get pleasure from these automobiles from a nostalgic standpoint, however not too a lot of them have the disposable revenue to pay big-ticket costs for these automobiles. Additionally, the shift in electrification I really feel is slowly killing off automotive tradition.

1982 Chevrolet Cavalier

1982 Chevrolet Cavalier

Are any particular components for these automobiles getting troublesome to seek out?

Spencer: Any vehicle-specific components are beginning to get exhausting to seek out – physique components, inside components, and so forth. Mechanically, I haven’t had a lot subject discovering components for my automobiles. My 1993 Cavalier Z24 for instance has sat for nearly 20 years – it wants a whole lot of random bits and items that basically can solely be rectified with a junkyard donor automotive, however they’re simply not exhibiting up in yards anymore. Additionally, entrance struts are very exhausting to seek out for these automobiles. That’s actually the one components I’ve had a tough time discovering.

What neighborhood assets can be found to somebody seeking to get into this area of interest?

Spencer: Fb teams are completely the perfect useful resource for somebody attempting to get into this neighborhood. I co-run Traditional GM FWD Society which focuses on any GM FWD car 2001 and older. We’ve constructed a neighborhood of 15,000+ members since 2015 and we’re at all times prepared to assist folks with their associated automobiles. Different golf equipment like Underappreciated Survivors and Malaise Motors are nice for exhibiting off your rides as properly. There are additionally extra targeted teams relying in your kind of automobiles just like the Cimarron House owners Membership, First/Second Gen J-body, 5th Gen Grand Prix House owners, Membership APV (For the Dustbuster vans), and a ton extra if you’d like a extra particular membership.

Pontiac Grand Prix

Pontiac Grand Prix

What’s your favourite period-correct Nineteen Eighties or Nineteen Nineties music or album to blast when you’re street tripping?

Spencer: I make it a degree to take heed to period-correct music each time I’m driving my previous automobiles. I don’t have a particular music or album that I like, however I’ve curated a Nineteen Eighties playlist on Spotify that I usually prefer to take heed to. On condition that current Cavalier is a 1986, I’ve been listening to the GTA: Vice Metropolis soundtrack whereas I’ve been driving it. I like getting within the temper of the time when driving my previous automobiles so it’s undoubtedly one thing that helps me get pleasure from my automobiles much more. I’ve additionally curated a Nineteen Nineties R&B playlist for once I drive my ‘93 Cavalier or ‘95 Olds Silhouette.

Dustbuster Van

Dustbuster Van

It was nice to attach with Spencer about his love-affair with Nineteen Eighties GM automobiles.

By the way, the Chevrolet Cavalier made it via two extra generations after the one my mother and father owned and was despatched off into the sundown after 2005. (Value noting: The Cavalier nameplate nonetheless lives on in different components of the world. It’s at present bought in Mexico as a rebadged model of the Chinese language-built Chevrolet Monza compact automotive).

Did you or a member of your loved ones personal a Nineteen Eighties Common Motors car again within the day? Tell us within the remark part. And in case you are prepared to leap in and be a part of Spencer on the journey for Nineteen Eighties malaise-era car-collecting, try the listings on and the auctions at

This text, written by Tyson Hugie, was initially printed on, an editorial associate of Motor Authority.

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