1989 Chevrolet Cavalier RS Coupe

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.

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  1. Do you know where I can buy this car or one the same color only in 3 speed auto ? I have been looking for the last ten years for one . I had one when I was 19 years old and I let her get away from me and now I am creeping up on 40 years old and I want her back , lol I don’t care where she is at , I will come and bring her back to canada to live out the rest of here days with me . If you have any idea where I can find one like her I would be in your death for a long time . This car would mean the world to me , like you have no idea ! I live in Alberta Canada now and my old girl went to rust for I was living in Newfoundland Canada at the time and there we have salt water ocean and salt on the roads winter time and she went to the crusher before I was able to find her after I moved away from her .I can’t get onto the sited in USA to see if auto trader has one in the USA from Canada to see if there is one in the USA . So if you can help me out and let me know if they still are around it would mean the world to me . Your new best friend , Roy

    1. Hi Roy! Thanks for stopping by the site.
      Alas, I released my Cavalier to the wilds of Ontario some 20 years ago. My hand painted bowtie on the bumper cover stood out and I was able to keep track of it for a while when I saw it around town. There were three identical RS Coupes where I live for a few years but only one with a red bowtie on the back. The last time I saw her cancer had rotted the doors and fenders pretty badly. I don’t really know what happened to her but I suspect she had a date with the crusher some time ago.

      I haven’t seen an RS around here for some time. I did see an ’89/’90 Z24 in the Auto Trader not too long ago but those just don’t have the same flair in my opinion. I’m always shopping for something or other on Kijiji and the Auto Trader so I’ll keep my eyes peeled for one.

  2. I had this car it was really a looker only problem I had the 4cyl. Auto. A crap engine that lost power at the worst possible moments. Chevy never figured it out and traded it for a 1995 Ford Contiur manual that car was the shizzle and I miss that car the auto trans were horrible but it he manuals were awesome put 155,000 miles on that car with original clutch. The cavalier was a downgrade for me I had a 1986 Z24 and you are correct that 6 cyl 4.3 was sick. Fastest car I have ever owned got me in a lot of trouble lol. Wish I had gotten the 6 cyl in the RS.

    1. Hey, thanks for stopping by!
      I know what you mean about the Contour. Most folks overlooked it but an SVT was a force to be reckoned with.

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