Easily one of the most visibly striking cars that I’ve owned was my 1989 Chevrolet Cavalier. My beloved 1984 Reliant station wagon was not doing well. My mechanic informed me that I had no compression in one cylinder and only half in another. It made sense to put the Reliant to pasture and move on. I headed out to the auto mall and started shopping. After only a few days I discovered this Cavalier sitting on a used lot. it was well cared for and in beautiful shape. I had some trepidation about the 5-speed manual transmission when I bought it but by that time it was too late and I loved the car. My father had a 1982 Dodge Rampage and each night when I came home I had to pull Dad’s Rampage out of the driveway so that his was in the back as he left for work the earliest. Each night I took the car around the block to get the hang of handling a standard but I didn’t feel like I had driven nearly enough to own one of my own. The day that I picked up the car I was terrified of letting the attractive saleswoman who sold the car see me stall the car on the way out of the lot. Fortunately I was successful and had pretty much completed my driving lessons by the time I got it home.
The 2.8L V6 was the perfect match for that short shifting 5-speed and I loved driving that car. It was the car that made me first notice that late 80’s early 90’s GM exhaust note. The contrast between the black and white was really compelling to me and the Cavalier is where my fondness for detailing started. I kept all of my detailing supplies in the trunk and cleaned it regularly. In my bachelor days I headed to the laundromat on Thursdays. I washed the car while my clothes were in the washer and then detailed it in the parking lot while the clothes were in the dryer. Every week the whole car was detailed inside and out and was always gleaming.
The Cavalier is yet another car that I wish hadn’t gotten away.