In The Garage: 1985 Chevrolet Celebrity CL Wagon

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When you spend a lot of time as a kid in the back of a Chevy wagon, it feels weird not to have one around. And so when a one-owner Celebrity wagon with original California blue plates shows up for $800 at a tow yard across the bay, you go get it.


Living in California’s mild climate means continually finding rust-free gems like this Celebrity. It appears to have been garaged much of its life, and it had one mechanic working on it throughout the years. The owner of the tow yard where it ended up mentioned the original owner and then furrowed his brow when he mentioned the owner’s daughters. With that forehead crinkle, he transmitted an array of family dysfunction that found the Celebrity abandoned in a Target parking lot.

Of the daughters, he said, “They came to get their stuff out of it. But they left the car.” Perhaps this old pic left in a cargo cubby is of the original owner and mom in her 1985-spec Anne Murray hair bob.


No rips, no tears, and everything is intact. It’s also covered with a layer of grime and cigarette tar.


This Celebrity is just about fully optioned, with everything from the floor shifter to the extra gauges and the interior lighting package. The CL trim brings the ribbed upholstery, luxury steering wheel, wood instrument panel trim and more. It has power locks but no power windows, a curiosity a legacy GM employee told me was common, as parents stuck with crank windows in the interest of kiddie safety.

Rear seat is low to the floor but splits in the middle to fold flat.


If it can’t have the exterior imitation wood of the Celebrity Estate, then at least this CL does have the rear-facing third seat.


Pretty sure the vent windows were included with the third seat. The AAA sticker will be scraped off, but the cop one will stay for good measure.


The 1985 model year was the first for the Celebrity’s fuel-injected V6, which this buyer thankfully chose above the base Iron Duke four-cylinder or the carbureted V6.


Also pretty sure these fakey-spokey wheel covers were included with the CL package.


We look forward to digging into this Celebrity – cleaning it up and figuring out what’s causing the exhaust to moan so much. It’s nice to have a wagon around, and this one isn’t far from being ready for a trip to Los Angeles or similar.


On an unrelated note: how cool is that toy GMC Motorhome!? That’s one lucky kid.


Tell us in the comments – would you have scooped up this wagon for $800?



1 comment

  1. Worst car ever. Drove one for years in high school. Terrible handling, abysmal fuel economy (high single digits). Wouldn’t stay aligned for longer than a week. It’s become that high bar of shitty mid eighties American (GM) engineering that ruined must folks on domestic automobiles. Take it back to the scrap yard, you’ll be happier in the long run.

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