The General got his money’s worth out of the J Platform, which stayed in production from 1981 all the way through 2005 and included models on four continents during that period. Once our current century got going, though, the J-Body family had been pared down to just two cars: the Pontiac Sunfire and the Chevy Cavalier. We saw a discarded example of one of the very last Cavalier Z24s about a year back, but the last couple of years for the Z24 included un-Z-ish four-doors. Today’s Junkyard Gem is a Cavalier LS Sport Coupe from the same year, a genuine coupe with almost as much power as its siblings that got Z24 badging.
The LS Sport was the second-from-the-top Cavalier trim level for the 2002 model year, and the MSRP for the coupe with five-speed came to $16,430 ($28,486 in 2024 dollars).
For most of the Cavalier’s long production life, its engines were members of either the pushrod 122 family or the pushrod 60° V6 family. When the third and final generation of the Cavalier debuted as a 1995 model, the V6 went away and was replaced by the DOHC Oldsmobile Quad 4. 2002 was an interesting year for Cavalier engines; it was the final year for the good old 122 as well as the Quad 4, and the first year for Cavaliers powered by the far more modern Ecotec (which remains in use to this day throughout the far-flung GM Empire).
This car, being an LS Sport, has a 2.2-liter Ecotec rated at 140 horsepower and 150 pound-feet. The Z24 got a 2.4-liter Quad 4 (which GM called the 2.4 Twin Cam by that time, though most people have always referred to every member of this engine family as a Quad 4), rated at 150 horsepower and 155 pound-feet.
Very few American car shoppers wanted to operate three pedals by the time our current century showed up, but the original buyer of this car took the five-speed manual.
It’s rough now, but someone loved it enough to put a LeBra on its nose when it was newer.
It still has the LS Sport aluminum wheels.
A big selling point of the 2002 Cavalier was that every single one came equipped with a CD player as standard equipment. This one has the premium audio system with cassette capability plus six speakers and Radio Data System. This was a $330 option ($572 in today’s money).
This car is used up now, with battered sheetmetal, a driver’s door from a gray 2005 Cavalier swapped in, and a faded interior.
Not just the CD player but Texas cash back as well.
They were givin’ Cavaliers away in Florida!