The Chevrolet Celebrity is a mid-size car produced by the Chevrolet Division of General Motors . The Celebrity (a name originally used by Oldsmobile in the 1960s) was introduced in 1981 for the 1982 model year. The Celebrity was the best-selling car in the United States in 1986. Although sold for only one generation, it received its first facelift in 1984, and the other in 1986, which included a facelifted front end and restyled taillights. The Celebrity's last facelift was in 1987, when composite headlamps replaced the quad rectangular sealed beam units. The coupe was discontinued after 1988. Celebrity sedan production ended on July 7, 1989, while the wagon was discontinued in early 1990.
The Chevrolet Celebrity was based on the front wheel drive A-body platform shared with the Buick Century, Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser and the Pontiac 6000.
Part of GM's mid-size A-body quartet, the Celebrity used the same engines as one of its siblings, the Pontiac 6000. Power steering/brakes and an automatic transmission were standard equipment in 1982 and 1983; the automatic became optional later on. A 4-door station wagon debuted for 1984, as did a Eurosport handling/appearance package which included Sport Rallye wheels (14" steel), blacked out window-area trim, a black steering wheel, and a heavier duty F41 suspension. While engine choices for the Eurosport were identical to other Celebrities (other than the diesel), the interior of Eurosports featured unique red emblems on the interior door panels and dash. The exterior featured unique red center stripes on the protective rubber door and bumper molding, and fender and trunk emblems were red rather than chrome. The Rallye rims could also be ordered with base models. Another model was the Celebrity CL, which had woodgrain on the dash and wheel and plush seats and diamond-spoke wheels, the Celebrity Classic, which deleted the fixed rear windows and added a mock convertible top and offered power windows (optional on other models), and the Celebrity Estate, which features simulated woodgrain siding.
The base 2.5 L "Tech IV" I4 engine (Pontiac's Iron Duke) was criticized for being underpowered, but a high-output fuel-injected V6 became optional in 1985. The diesel engine departed for 1986. The Generation II engines, reworked for 1987, now had fuel injection standard and had a new distributorless ignition system, and a new, optional Getrag-designed 5-speed manual transmission became available with both engines. The manual transmission option, however, was dropped in 1986 and the 3-speed automatic became stanadard. Balance shafts were added to the Tech IV engine for 1988. The coupe was dropped for the 1988 model year, replaced by the Beretta mid-size coupe. The 4-cylinder engine received a 12 hp (9 kW) gain late in the 1989 model year. The Celebrity also did not share the redesigned roofline and rear quarter window panels its siblings were given (starting in 1989), because the upcoming Chevrolet Lumina would replace the sedan for 1990. Only the station wagon remained for the 1990 model year, with a new optional 3.1 L V6 engine and door-mounted front seat belts with the other A-body cars.
The Celebrity was more spacious than the rear-drive 1978-vintage Malibu that it was intended to replace (more so in wagon form, reverting to 8-passenger seating that had been missing from mid-size GM wagons since 1977), with front wheel drive traction and more responsive handling. These cars bettered the dismal recall record of their X-body parents significantly. There were driveability problems with the computerized engine control system in 1982 models, and deterioration of the upper engine mount (also called a dogbone) caused engine/transaxle vibration.
Chevrolet Celebrities in all models were available with 2 different bolt patterns on the wheel hub - either 100mm (JA1 code) or 115mm (JA2 code). Additionally, the trans-axles and brakes were different on these two patterns. The smaller of the bolt pattern was used in the standard models, and used a non-vented disc brake while the larger bolt pattern was to house the heavy duty vented disc brakes. A misconception is that all Eurosports came with the larger bolt pattern—this was not the case. Most of the heavy duty braking systems went to base model Chevrolet Celebrities for fleet vehicles and taxis.
In addition to the standard Eurosport package, there was a limited edition Eurosport VR version available, based on the 1986 Eurosport RS concept car. These very rare Celebrities were only produced for two model years (1987 and 1988) and came in one of four available monochromatic color schemes: Red, Silver, Black, and White. Notably, Fern Green was omitted from the color selection. Eurosport VR's were also fitted with special ground effects, and body decals. 1987 VR's were available as sedans and wagons only, with the treatment expanding to the coupe, for the 1988 model year. The 1987 models (often considered the most desirable) were given a special "VR only" interior, which included: Red carpeting, special tri-color door panels, bucket seats with thigh bolsters, and a rear seat cup holder. 1988 VR's did not receive the same interior treatment, as it turned out to be too costly. 1988 models got the same interior used in non VR Celebrities, with some getting standard trim, while others got upscale CL trim. All VR conversions were done by Autostyle Cars, right down the street from the Oklahoma City assembly plant, from where all VR Celebrities are believed to have originated.
- 1982–1989 Tech IV 2.5 L (151 in³) TBI I4
- 1982–1986 2.8 L (173 in³) 2 bbl carbureted V6 (RPO LE2)
- 1985–1989 2.8 L (173 in³) MPFI V6 (RPO L44 (iron head, '85-'86) and LB6 (aluminum head, '87-'89))
- 1984–1985 4.3 L (263 in³) Diesel V6
- 1990 3.1 L (191 in³) MPFI V6 (RPO LH0)