On Hemmings with a good a description of the 1st gen convertible history.
Cheap and Cheerful - 1987 Chevrolet Cavalier RS from Hemmings Motor News
September, 2016 - Mark J. McCourt
As we typically say, you never know quite what will turn up in Hershey. The 2015 Fall Meet, held in Pennsylvania's famous "Chocolate Town," included some interesting surprises in its vast car corral. One of the most striking, for its attractive condition and low survival rate, was this high-content 1987 Chevrolet Cavalier RS Convertible.
A U.S.-built convertible was still a novelty in the mid-1980s, but Chevy's compact Cavalier was an early adopter with a rather high-cost ($10,990, versus $5,888 for a standard Coupe) soft-top variant when it was introduced in January 1983, one year after this nameplate debuted. Just 500 units of this open body style were built that first year, and it represented the first production Chevrolet convertible since 1975. Like the equivalent J-body Pontiac Sunbird Convertible, this Cavalier began life as a standard notchback Coupe that had its roof removed and a folding top fitted by the open-air specialist firm ASC, Inc., in Ohio's Lordstown plant. By 1987, the Cavalier Convertible had become part of the sporty RS trim line, and cost $13,446 before adding options, although that premium price included standard power windows, a power-folding top and nicer interior appointments.
This white-over-blue RS Convertible was advertised as having been driven fewer than 86,000 miles, as well as being fitted with a long list of expensive options. It was one of 4,362 examples built with the $660 multi-port fuel-injected, 125-hp 2.8-liter V-6 (another 1,464 Convertibles made do with the base 90-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder); other add-ons included a console-shifted three-speed automatic ($490), air conditioning ($675), an electronic instrument cluster ($295), AM/FM stereo cassette with graphic equalizers ($479), and cruise control ($175).
The Cavalier's boxy styling gave this car an honest quality that its condition appeared to reinforce. Its most notable cosmetic issue was the blobby, unprofessional paint touch-up work that had been done on the nose, which gave this 28-year-old a teenager's complexion; also, the RS-specific red-stripe body molding was lifting off the driver's door. The stowed roof precluded inspection of the vinyl top and its plastic rear window, but the exposed interior presented remarkably well, with no visible cracks in the dash or other plastics, and no major wear, staining or fading in the plush velour upholstery that covered almost every surface. Indeed, judging by a glance inside, if you'd told us this car was three years old, we'd believe you.
A convertible version of this Chevy best-seller would remain available through two more generations before production ended in 1999, and the higher-volume-production, newer Cavalier soft-tops remain much more common on our roads than this Eighties classic. Today's book value--which peaks around $3,250--doesn't fully reflect this example's fine upkeep. With that in mind, and if you'll pardon the pun, we don't blame the seller for adding a bit on top.
1987 CHEVROLET CAVALIER RS CONVERTIBLE
Asking price: $3,900
Seller description: "Runs Great. Everything Works. 85,800 miles. $3,000 in options."
Known issues: Visible paint chip touch-ups on the nose, driver's door side molding coming loose.
Why buy? It's fully equipped, has a V-6 engine and is in excellent condition, all things considered; when was the last time you saw one?
Price new: $14,106 (Roughly equivalent to $29,830 today.)
Value today:NADAGuides.com offers a value range of $1,400 to $3,250.