By on July 3, 2017

1996 Chevrolet Beretta Z26 in Arizona wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
The Chevrolet Beretta and its sedan sibling, the Chevrolet Corsica, were built for the 1987 through 1996 model years. Today, both models are nearly as forgotten as the wretched Celebrity, though you’ll still see the occasional example on the street today (usually sporting at least one space-saver spare tire).

Here’s a last-year-of-production Beretta — outfitted with the high-performance Z26 package — spotted in a Phoenix yard a few months back.

1996 Chevrolet Beretta Z26 in Arizona wrecking yard, fender emblem - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
The General’s marketers applied the magic of the Camaro Z28’s Z-badged image to several front-wheel-drive Chevrolets from the late 1980s through the early 2000s, starting with the Cavalier Z24 and continuing with the Lumina Z34. The Beretta Z26 replaced the Beretta GTZ for the 1994 model year, meaning it was possible for a devoted Z-Chevy fanatic to buy a brand-new Z24, Z26, Z28, and Z34 during the glorious model year of 1994.

1996 Chevrolet Beretta Z26 in Arizona wrecking yard, Engine - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
For the first year of the Beretta Z26, buyers had the choice of the Quad-4 with five-speed manual or the 3.1-liter version of the workhorse 60° V6 with four-speed automatic. For 1995 and 1996, the V6/slushbox was the only powertrain combination available in the Beretta Z26. Output was rated at 155 horsepower in 1996.

1996 Chevrolet Beretta Z26 in Arizona wrecking yard, dashboard - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
Being an Arizona car, this one has absolutely no rust and a completely nuked interior.

1996 Chevrolet Beretta Z26 in Arizona wrecking yard, wheel - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
These mean-looking factory wheels are exquisitely of their time. Next time you have a 1990s-themed party, hang a couple of these on the wall of the venue.


By the last few years of the Beretta’s production run, the increasingly rare TV advertisements for the car focused on cheapness and little else. The 1996 Z26 listed at $16,690 (about $26,500 in 2017 dollars), which was around a grand cheaper than a ’96 Accord LX coupe

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

72 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1996 Chevrolet Beretta Z26...”


  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    I used to love the way these things looked a the time. Just about 3 weeks ago saw a Corsica that was in pretty good shape. Even saw a Lumina late last year.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Car & Driver said the 1990 Beretta GYZ was M3 with a $20,000 discount. I remember it work over Camaros in the handling departmrnt too.

      https://assets.hemmings.com/blog/wp-content/uploads//2013/11/Beretta-GTZ.jpg

    • 0 avatar

      Most people I talk to hated the way the Corsica looked (same front end), but I kinda prefer their understated looks compared to the competition at the time. I feel it doesn’t age THAT badly.

  • avatar
    threeer

    First wife was gifted a 1988 Beretta when she graduated college in 1989. When I met her in 1991, I had been used to a diet of *mostly* Japanese and European cars. By the time we married in 1992, we decided shortly after that even though the car had been a gift from her parents, it wasn’t something we really wanted to hold on to. The car was four years old when we traded it away for a new Honda Del Sol. By that time, the thin steering wheel of the Chevy was already warping and the paint, despite my best detailing efforts, was already fading fast. It is a minor victory for GM that I now own a 2013 Cruze (and rather like it), while my mother owns a 2011 Verano (loves it).

    Come to think of it, when I met my wife of whom I am now married to (and have been for nearly 20 years), she drove around a Chevy Lumina (gen 1) that her parents let her use. Also a rather horrid car. What was it with the women I dated that had crappy (for the time) GM cars?

    No matter how bad the Beretta was/is, I still kind of dug the overall shape of the slug…

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I prefer the Corsica, I wouldn’t mind building a 1996 with the Quad 4/5spd as a sleeper of sorts.

    I remember driving my neighbor’s 1987/8ish Beretta 5 speed. You had to have the clutch pedal matted into the carpet, it was odd. Didn’t like it like I did the Corsicas I’ve driven, despite being a coupe and a manual. Perhaps its because the Corsica sedan doesn’t put itself on as a sporty car when it most assuredly is not, and the Beretta does.

    Like the Ford Probe, its off my radar.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      The good ol days of BerettaNet! I had a 1988 GT and attending a few BeretaFest, which are still going on today. The GT/GTU got the V6 while the GTZ got the Quad4. I got a ride in one during one of the Bfests that had a freer flowing exhaust. The the louder 4 cylinder exhaust note along with that engine with a balance shaft was a buzz-bomb.

      And the Quad4 wasn’t any faster than a 2.8l V6 with Suoerchips, intake, and exhaust to 130 mph through one corn field lined road. He also didn’t have his spare tire in his car for a little weight savings.

      The Beretta was a good autocrosser at 2,800 lbs. All it took was Eibachs and a $99.00 Addco 3/4″ rear sway bar to make it dance with plenty of torque to you pull you between the cones. I eve got a chance to run with Mercedes club on a twin oval in Dublin, Ohio.

      My block cracked at 140,000 miles of abuse so in went a 3.1l bored .030 over and custom headers. Later with a Powerdyne SC and F.A.S.T stand alone ecu that was originally designed for the Regal/Grand National 3.8l and that light weight made it a quick ride when Neon SRT’s were coming on the scene.

      • 0 avatar
        klinquist

        Now there is a name I haven’t seen in awhile! Hey Norm :)

        I hosted BerettaFest when I was 18 outside or Cleveland.

        Ran a 15.9 quarter in a base model 92 3.1 5speed. Moved to California a year later, got an IT job, and have only owned BMWs since.

      • 0 avatar
        9Exponent

        Poor Norm — suffering from Stockholm syndrome for thirty years now.

    • 0 avatar

      I had a ’88 V6 Corsica with the 3 speed automatic. It was actually pretty quick from a stop, to the point that my younger self gave my passengers whiplash at every stoplight, whether I was trying to or not. Due to the 3 speed, you could tell it didn’t want to go much faster than 70 mph.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        Around that time a lot of GM cars had, ahh, exaggerated throttle response at throttle tip-in (basically what your right foot does when the traffic light changes green). This would make the car “feel” more powerful and maybe help sell it on a test drive. Personally, I’m not a fan of cars that drive that way, but I understand the appeal.

        Regarding the whiplash thing, several years ago there was a TV commercial with the driver playing a brake/gas/brake/gas prank while the passenger was trying to drink a cup of coffee. I don’t remember what the commercial was about but I thought it was pretty funny.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Jim, you’re very much spot on with that.

          @Auto I also had a 1988 Corsica V-6, I didn’t like it, it wasn’t reliable and I hated the interior. I liked the newer interior and prefer the 3.1L over the 2.8L (marginally more reliable).

          I had a Cavalier RS 2.8L/3AT, it was pretty quick.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            *stupid autocorrect, I meant @Suto

            To continue, I got used to a 3 speed in a V-6 small sedan, with a Ford oval on it. Flat out, it would hold 2nd until 70 and then go all the way to the redline, which was 127 MPH.

            I have set my c.c. at 100 mph in that car for extended periods on stretches like hwy 93 through Nevada.

            Touching on what some were saying in the QOTD Jack proposed, I never experienced overheating when running that car at or over triple digits on hot empty desert highway. That was back when Ford temp gauges read car more accurately than from about 1996 on. Even the one in my Taurus moves up and down regularly (as you’d expect knowing what is going on, for example you can watch it fall when the thermostat opens or the fan kicks on) where as the one in my parent’s former 1997 Sable when to its spot and stayed there unless there was a major fluctuation in engine temp. I was told it was because people thought their cars were getting too hot in traffic, even though it was well within spec, as well as showing within “N O R M A L” on the gauge. So, they set them to only go up high when there is a major increase in engine temp.

            Back to driving, I love hwy 93 and others like it. I loved that car. I need another Tempo in my fleet, needs to be the ultimate: 1992 GLS 5-speed (that model had a standard V-6 that year).

            I’d have quite a fleet, HA#

            Lets see, we got a 1996 Corsica 2.4L OHC/Getrag 5spd with Beretta gauges and possibly the sport front clip (undecided), then a 1992 Tempo GLS with the (admittedly not great) Mazda 5 speed from an SHO (same gearing etc) hooked to a 3.0L with a cam from an 04-07 Taurus to bump up the power (Ford put the weakest cam of any 3.0L product because it was too damn fast otherwise, no joke), and what the hell, I might as well have a V-6 Plymouth Acclaim, or maybe a turbo 4/5spd? Would a 3.8L V-6 from a 90s Town and Country fit in an Acclaim?

            I’m a weird duck, in case you guys haven’t noticed. LOL

  • avatar
    dchturbo

    I love the picture of the shifter. The cupholder is labelled. Amazing.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged Miata Man

      It’s a split design: one tab for the ashtray, and one for the cupholder underneath.

      Yeah, it’s still a little silly, but not nearly as dumb or unnecessary as the “SPEEDOMETER” and “TACHOMETER” labels in a Chrysler 200.

  • avatar
    Polishdon

    The only thing I remember about these cars was the lawsuit over the name.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Beretta

    • 0 avatar

      I remember reading the Car and Driver Beretta vs Beretta test. I was disappointed that the Lincoln vs. Lincoln Log one never actually got published. I was 9 at the time, so I didn’t understand sarcasm.

      https://thefiringline.com/forums/archive/index.php?t-126343.html (text of article is in third post)

  • avatar
    nels0300

    I used to like the way these looked as well, but man they were garbage.

    Thanks in part to Mazda, a 1996 Ford Probe was LIGHT YEARS better than this, especially with the very nice Mazda 2.5L V6 and 5 speed manual.

    And $26.5 in 2017 dollars? Geeezus. Paid less for my 14.5 Camry V6. Paid much less for a 2017 Elantra Sport.

    Just goes to show how much better today’s cars are.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    In 94 I was shopping for a new car. Was looking for a 2door sporty coupe. Test drove one of these. I really wanted a manual and the salesperson stated that he never so one with the 4cly manual combination, that the 6cly was all they carried. So I drove it anyway. I was very impressed with the suspension, handled well but was compliant like a BMW and unlike the Ford Probe GT I ended up buying. A couple of years later a friend of a friend had a Z26 and the Mazda Navajo Demo I was driving would walk it from a stop light.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    The last Beretta I remember seeing on the road was driven by a guy who looked 85, had his (remaining) hair slicked back, and was wearing a velour tracksuit. Make of that what you will.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Family friends had a fairly rare Corsica with the 2.8L paired to the Getrag 5pd manual in the mid 90s. I really enjoyed the few rides I had in that thing. The cushy red velour and metal belt buckles and feeling the torquey take-off from a light made the Corsica seem quite solid and impressive to a kid used to the back seat of rusty old Civics.

    The Z26 (and GTUs especially) Berettas were Central NY trailer park terrors. Them and Dodge Dusters with the Mitsu 3.0L V6 could really put a hurt on fart-canned Civics that I lusted after as a F&F watching youngin.’

    • 0 avatar
      Raevox

      The Duster trim (on the Plymouth Sundance, btw) with that damned oil-leaking Mitsu 3.0 V6, complete with “power hump”, was one of the cars I lusted after. It was so quick! But such a piece of junk! My boyfriend at the time had the platform mate, Dodge Shadow ES

      But it was very quick for it’s time, and that SOHC V6 was surprisingly smooth.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        I always thought the Duster (Sundance) was a cool little car, even if it looked like a rebadged contemporary (late 80s-1990) Ford Escort lol.

        I have learned on these very pages that the 3.0L Mitsu is an habitual oil user, which is unfortunate.

        Even before it was cancelled (so its not like its BECAUSE it was cut), I liked Plymouth more than Dodge versions. Especially the Acclaim, it was boxy like the Spirit, but towards the end of its run, had become actually pretty classy looking to me.

        I like the Breeze more than the Stratus, but that’s because one was traded in (2.0/5MT) at a dealer I worked for and I drove it around a lot. It wasn’t quick, but it was decent. You could get the 2.4L/5MT in the Status, but not the Breeze.

        I think pre-Diamler ChryCo should have invested more in Plymouth. It should have gotten the PT Cruiser as planned. The resources devoted to Eagle would have been better spent on giving Plymouth ways to explore the lower end of the market with unique ideas like the PT. It could have found success with a budget version of the LH cars, giving Dodge room to evolve beyond the daily rental market, and could have made the sharp looking Intrepid the true sporty LH (without the invisible Vision to confuse), instead of also trying to hold down the lower end of the market at the same time.

      • 0 avatar

        My senior year in high school, my dad’s Neon was totalled by a very confused lady who t-boned it with what was probably the last running Renault Encore left in NJ.

        My dad didn’t want to spend more than the insurance check, which meant replacing it with a slightly older used car. We test-drove a Duster, a regular Sundance, and an Acclaim. I was really pushing for the Duster, because I figured he could sell it to me in a few years, but he complained it was too loud and bought the Acclaim, which was beige and possibly the world’s most boring car.

  • avatar
    Raevox

    Oh man.

    Back in the high school days, this was one of THE cars to get. Especially during the early days when “blacking out” your car, including the GTS light covers, was all the rage. Especially since… the tail lamps were ALREADY blacked-out!

    In fact, I would say the Chevy Beretta’s tail lamp design was the “Altezza” of it’s time, before “Altezza” took off in the early ’00s.

    Another example: Senior year of HS, our class voted one girl’s baby blue 1994 Pontiac Sunbird, “Nicest Car”.

    Side note: this was a time when I was trying to think of ways to pimp out the BP engine in a 1994 Ford Escort GT. Even test drove and almost bought a fully loaded one, before ending up buying a 1994 Probe GT. Incidentally, that was my first manual transmission. Which also ties into an earlier comment, which yes… the Mazda platform in the Probe was LIGHT YEARS ahead of the J-Bodies.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      My mother had an 89 Beretta GT. I remember I liked to drive it back in the day. Handled well for the time and I even liked the sound of the stock 2.8 V6.

      Sounds like we had similar tastes in cars back then. I had an 86 Escort GT then a 92 Escort GT. In 96 I bought a used 93 Probe GT. Damn I loved that car.

      • 0 avatar
        JSF22

        My mother did as well … bright red and she loved it. She had traded an early-80s Buick Regal for it, which actually was quite an upgrade. At the time I had just gotten an ’89 Audi 100. Mom kept her Beretta a lot longer than I kept that horrible POS … .

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    “…which was around a grand cheaper than a ’96 Accord LX coupe”

    Short of buying Apple stock in 1996, I don’t think a better use of $1000 could be found.

    I did/do like the styling of the Beretta and Corsica, but man did these drop off the road early.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      That Accord LX, while undoubtedly the better car overall, was pretty slow. I had a 1995 LX/4AT, in the mountains, the torque-less wonder was down right embarrassingly slow.

      Say what you will about the cheesy Beretta, but that 3.1L would get gone in a hurry. I had a 3.1L Achieva, despite its quality issues, it was pretty damn quick. Same with a 3.1L Corsica I’ve driven.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        Yep- the manual Accords were better, but (obviously) you had to shift your own gears, and a lot of customers did not want to do that.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          I would take a manual 1994-7 LX coupe. It’d be just fine for what it is. Not as quick or comfortable as it could be, but still fun to drive (with not much weight on board lol).

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        I don’t doubt the difference in powertrain performance for a nanosecond–I briefly owned a 91 Cutlass Ciera with the 3.3 and it moved well even with that archaic 3 speed automatic. Good ol’ GM torquey pushrod.

        Incidentally, given its direct relation to the Lord of the Church of 3800 and the thorny issue of polytheism, I do wonder where that 3.3L fits within Church canon.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          I believe its accepted by the church as a profit of the messiah.

          Be damned if I don’t have a hankering for a Cut Ciera. I’d like it to have the 3.3L, but the idea of shoving a SuperCharged 3800 in it is appealing. I always wanted to do that to a Pontiac 6000, but the Ciera is more easily found nowadays.

          I did find a 1990 Pontiac 6000 a couple weeks ago. Its not in what I’d call great shape, and with that in mind, their $1500 asking price is a bit much IMO.

          Like I need another old American FWD sedan, lol.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          We consider 3.3 to be a cousin of the LORD.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    For some reason I thought these had the GM odd fire 3.4 V6, but I guess that premium power plant was reserved for some even more desirable models in the product line.

    I thought the “Z” badging was unintentionally humorous and ironic at the time… many of the eighties Camaros were nothing special and by the time these Berettas hit the market, some of the more worn out and less maintained Z28s were running on 7 1/2 cylinders (and had lost their quickness). So it was a funny choice for a halo car for a marketing strategy…

    However, these were quick in their day. Some of the competition had a V6 option but a lot did not. Not too many customers in this segment had refinement as a deal breaker. Gotta give GM credit for selling a lot of these and related small cars with that family of engines- they timed the market pretty well and had the production capacity to get a lot of these to the dealer lots.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I think the oddball LQ1 was only available in the Grand Prix.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Not in the Lumina, 28? Cut Supreme? I don’t know, but I thought they had it. Not betting the farm on it lol.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The LQ1 went in the nonBuick W-bodies. So Cutlass, Grand Prix, Lumina, and Monte Carlo.

        The Grand Prix was the only one to get the turbo 3.1L.

        The Grand Prix and Cutlass briefly offered the Quad 4.

        The Regal’s upgrade engine was the 3800 and that engine spread to the other Ws by the mid 90s.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      About that Z badging: I remember a print ad for, I think, the Beretta Z26. It showed that car in the foreground. In the background, up on a hill, the Corvette and the Z28 Camaro overlooked it in the twilight with their headlights on. The headline claimed the Beretta was “a fox raised by wolves.”

      Embarrassing, even at the time. But of course, you can say that about virtually everything GM did at the time.

    • 0 avatar
      cgjeep

      The Lumina had the DOHC 3.4 it was called the Z34. Was quite fast for the time I think it had 215HP. The V6 in the Z26 was the 3.1 but it only has 160HP. The 4cly actually had more HP, 180 but was not as refined/smooth. I never saw one and I worked at a Chevy dealer at the time.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I worked on a few of those DOHC 3.4L V6s once they were out of warranty. All I remember about them is that the packaging as terrible making every job way too much effort.

        • 0 avatar
          CobraJet

          I had a Z34 1994 edition. I got well educated at changing out upper and lower intake gasket sets. Thing was an oil leaker too. I left changing alternators and timing belts to the professionals.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I think the Z2x strategy was a good idea at the time. The “sport” models were all named Z28 (F-body), Z26 (W-body), and Z24 (J-body). Now how “sporty” those were may be up for debate and ridicule, but all three offered a V6 or V8 in a period where that still was not common from the Japanese competition.

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    With this find the key word is “junk”. This was an awful car new. Remember how the roof would just cave in by just sitting the car for in its roof.

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    I had an 89 GT V6.
    It handled well, looked good, had some good get up and go and sounded nice.
    But it was pretty much garbage.
    I had it for 5 years and in that time the door fell off, the driver’s seat broke, the paint peeled off, the panel on the inside of the driver’s door came undone, and it had a stalling problem that finally got fixed by the dealer.
    I eventually sold it after a head gasket went.
    But I would buy one today – if I could find one in the same color, etc. just to have for the nostalgia.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      My mother bought a black on gray 89 GT new. I really liked that car. Fun to drive and it did sound good. She kept it until 2000 and the exterior held up pretty well for her, but the digital dash went out at about 6 years old and she put a rebuilt engine in it at 8 years old. Both pricey repairs.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        Good buddy in high school had one these… the digital dash was honestly the best part of the car because it was so 80s in its awesomeness. It was a pretty quick car at the time too, even with the FWD AT it could easily chirp the tires between shifts. At the time its very futuristic with the grill-less front, hidden door handles and blacked out rear wrapped around tail lights. Worst feature: door mounted seat belts! I guess the idea was to force you to wear them but all they did was get in the way.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Those seatbelts were to comply with a government mandated “passive restraint” requirement. Same reason the Ford Tempo (and others) had those awful powered automatic belts (unless built to be sold in counties other than the United States, or if it was equipped with the optional driver’s airbag).

          • 0 avatar
            N8iveVA

            Had the electric belts in my 92 Escort GT (loved that car) and I remember opening the door and sticking my head out to back up. Did that only once as the car tried to strangle me. :)

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            @N8iveVA

            Those Escorts were pretty good cars. I bought my ex-fiance a 1994 5 door LX. (She had had a 1989 5 door when we met.) The Mazda 1.8L in the GT was pretty quick. I still want to put one in a Ford Aspire 3 door. I found that you have to modify the firewall just a little to clear the intake, otherwise it goes right in.

            A weird note, even when that generation Escort got airbags, it retained the annoying power belts.

            The regular 1.9L in those cars seems to be suseptable to overheating resulting in catastrophic damage (like a lot of Honda and Toyota engines), but so long as you don’t run it hot, its a good engine. Non-interference, and I find its smoother and quieter than the 2.0L SPI that replaced it (which was based on it, but became interference).

            I found that the Tempo was a more durable car overall. I owned many of them, and they earned a reputation for taking abuse other cars would not, or would not for as long as they would. Lack of overdrive aside, I just like it more. Yes, the 1.8L Escort GT is fun, but a V-6 Tempo is even quicker with not too of much a penalty at the pump.

            I actually bought a 1990 Tempo GL with the optional air bag from a carlot in Lynwood, Wa with the specific intent of taking its manual belts and trim around the front doors and putting it all in my beloved 1992 Tempo LX. I was able to get it to run, but they told me it had a blown head gasket that they stopleaked. It was only running on 3 cylinders, the previous owners had driven it for months like that.

            I ended up replacing the head with a junkyard unit (with new sensors, cleaned manifolds etc did it right), and sold it to my good friend for her son to drive. He had it all through high school and part of college before it was stolen and crashed.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    I loved the 1990 Beretta Indy Pace Car at the time, when I just happened to work at the now defunct Cars & Concepts in Michigan, who were responsible for the convertible top and various cosmetic items. Here’s a picture – remember these? https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/19/1990_Chevy_Beretta_Indy_Pace_Car_Replica.jpg
    I still have a stack of those original decals for the Beretta Indy in a box somewhere – don’t know what to do with them!

  • avatar
    tonyvancity

    i bought a brand new beretta z26 with 3.1 v6 in 1995. It looked very nice for it’s time, was a comfy cruiser, but also a heavy little porker , not that quick with the automatic and had torque steer if you stomped on the gas. So i owned it for 3 years till i took a beating on the resale value , basically selling it for $8500 less then new 3 years after i purchased it. I kept mine in very good clean condition but the GM vehicles were horrible on the resales regardless. In the time i had it a few things went wrong: an abs wiring harness disconnected (dealer service warranty), the driver’s seat pump up lumber support bladder burst at least twice (idiot coworker jumping onto my seat …) and that was fixed under warranty, had the spark plugs changed at dealership while getting the failed alternator replaced under warranty (the rear 3 spark plugs are at the back of the motor under the windshield area under the hood…a mechanic has to loosen bolts and TIP the engine forward to replace the three sparkplugs..)….so after all that i knew more trouble be brewing as GM at that time built a lot of unreliable shitboxes plus the fact GM was building many 4 cyls and v6s that loved to destroy head gaskets and leak coolant….so i sold it for a loss and bought myself japanese vehicles…even the used jap vehicles were way more reliable and next to nothing went wrong while i owned them. Avoid these berettas and corsicas if you are wise.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      The ones still kicking around must be okay, I still see a Corsica every now and then. I liked the Corsica more than the Cavalier or Lumina, having owned and spent plenty of time in each. The 2.2L Corsica was pretty reliable, DexCool issues aside.

      When I first bought my old 1993 Taurus (not the 1995 I have today), my cousin’s husband (a hardcore GM guy) told me how awful it was to work on, how I’d be lucky to get the odometer past 100k. Well, since I bought it from a one-family-owner with 224k, that prediction was false (the car eventually made it to around 300k before I sold it).

      One of the reasons he gave that it was such a horrible car to work on was saying you had to unbolt the subframe and lower the entire drivetrain down to access the “rear” 3 spark plugs. What a load of crap. And this guy is supposed to be a top notch mechanic. I changed the plugs in that car easily, and did not have to do any of the crap he was talking about.

      Hell, the same engine (3.0L V-6, the Vulcan) in my 1992 Tempo wasn’t that hard to work on. To change those back 3 plugs, I simply unbolted the upper intake manifold, moved it to the side a little, and was able to access the plugs just fine.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        GM of the period was that horrible to work on, I want to say the dustbuster minivans required a drop of the subframe to access rear motor components.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Yeah, well the Windstar was a PITA too. I briefly had a 3.0L 1997, the back 3 plugs were best accessed from below with the van on a lift. The serpentine belt was another joy. I hate those vans anyway.

          Not that Aerostar was super easy, hehe, but I did tune ups and services to mine, short of major engine work, and it wasn’t too bad. Gaining access through the doghouse made it a lot easier than any FWD minivan.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Back in 1987 I rented a new Beretta which was introduced early that year as a 1988. It had the 2.0 and the 3 speed automatic. Probably one of the first on the road.
    As someone who occasionally drove a X-car Citation company car the Beretta it was a vast improvement.
    The “beer tap” door handles seemed innovative and fit into the “aero” styling theme that was influenced from the Audi 5000. Though I wondered how they would hold up in the snow belt.
    The center stack with the combo stereo/HVAC controls made me think GM was trying to keep owners from going to Crutchfield or their local auto stereo shop for a upgrade. The Sunbird of the era also had a Pontiac only stereo that was a small unit just to the right of the dashboard with a separate cassette player under the dash.
    Back then I remember seeing in one of the car magazines a prototype of a Beretta convertible. It had the same basket handle type “roll bar” as the Cutlass Supreme convertible. They probably dropped the idea since it would have cut into Camaro sales.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged Miata Man

      You’re probably right about your rental being one of the first on the road; GM released thousands of Corsicas and Berettas to rental fleets in 1987 as a market test/final shakedown before the retail models followed for MY88.

      If memory serves, the heavily-hyped Beretta convertible was killed at the 11th hour due to structural concerns. I remember seeing a lot of magazine articles (maybe even some ads?) for it before then. Maybe cognoscenti can weigh in on that?

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    The classic example of these was the “tuned” sound to the exhaust of earlier versions equipped with the 2.8. While the engine did have some scoot — at least in the ubiquitous A-Bodies of the day, which meant a little more hoon-ability in this and the lighter-yet J — that sound didn’t have me fooled!

    IIRC, that “sound” was baked into most of the Chevy V6-engined cars throughout the ’90s.

    Did these ever get a four-speed slushbox?

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Yeah, Pontiacs had that annoying exhaust sound, I remember Grand AMs were particularly bad with it. My buddy at the time (high school years, so late 90s/00) and I were standing outside when one went up the road, he commented “why do they sound like that?!” I was like, I don’t know man, its not better or sporty. Not to me anyway. It sounded broken.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I was a lot boy at a buddy’s father’s Chevy dealership while in HS. I had a teenage crush on 89-90 GT V6 5spd. Nice torquey motor with cool looking BBS style mesh wheels with aggressive offsets. The metallic blue color on gray interior was a popular combo. I could keep up with 2.73 geared 5.0 Mustang for the 1st 2 gears.

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    155hp doesn’t sound like much until you adjust that number for inflation.

    Does anyone remember the Beretta-bodied IMSA GTO (?) cars? They alone made me kinda like them.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I can’t imagine more nondescript, generic car designs than this, the Corsica and the Mirage. Pure nothing visually.

    Also can’t imagine passing over a Probe or Accord or even Corolla for this. Ever.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Yes, because a 1996 Corolla is such an impressively styled looker, and such a dazzling performer. Imagine giving a 5.0 all its worth with the extreme acceleration of a 96 Corolla. (You’d have to imagine it, because that’s the only way it would happen.)

      Who would possibly want a sporty coupe with a V-6 engine when you can have the envy-worthy “M3-only-better” 96 Corolla?


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • slavuta: Rusty Protege buys a lot of good stuff, if you know what I mean
  • krhodes1: Two adults and two kids in a Fiesta? Why not (at least space wise)? I wouldn’t want to put up with...
  • Guitar man: The Riley 1.5 is just a Morris Major with twin SUs instead of one. The Wolsley mini had a much more...
  • Guitar man: Probably a Minor 1000, since it has a single piece windscreen (earlier had a split windscreen). The...
  • krhodes1: I bought a ’13 Abarth new for the same reason over the FiST. It was just so much more fun, and I...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States